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Insights, Issue 4 - SapientNitro


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In this issue of Insights, we welcome you to share in our thinking around trends that sit at the intersection of technology and story, like advancements in virtual reality, the Internet of Things, and motion and animation. Explore advancements in the ever-evolving banking industry, opportunities for retail in-store experiences, and insights on performance analytics that help us all make data more actionable. Learn about the buying trends of China’s digitally confident, hyper-connected, socially influential women. Get a view into game-changing shifts like the rise of the Chief Marketing Technology Officer, and our Storyscaping approach – a methodology which combines for our clients the power of stories with the excitement of experiences to create immersive worlds where brands and consumers connect.

If you like what you see, then be sure to download the SapientNitro Insights tablet app to enjoy this issue, future issues, and additional related content in their interactive forms. The app is now available on both the App Store ( and Google Play (!

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Insights, Issue 4 - SapientNitro

  1. 1. 1 AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD TODAY Download SapientNitro’s Insights App, a provocative collection of thinking now available in its interactive form for tablet. It features the full 2015 publication PLUS access to future issues and related industry articles, videos, podcasts, and white papers.
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  3. 3. The human condition is enduring, while its technological environment is fleeting. Understand both, along with their relationship, and anything is possible. - Gaston Legorburu Worldwide Chief Creative Officer, SapientNitro
  4. 4. One of the world’s earliest and most paramount inventions of our time is the wheel, most notably recognized for its enablement of transportation. In its initial development, the wheel was created as a tool to facilitate pottery around the year 3500 B.C., but what is not commonly known is that the wheel was one of the first human inventions that was not inspired by an artifact in the natural world, but rather was 100 percent the result of a Homo sapiens ideation. Over the course of time, humans have imagined new opportunities for the wheel. By facilitating the movement of static things, the wheel increased the efficiency of manual labor and enabled methods for the movement of both goods and people. As technology advanced and the wheel was placed on new inventions, it became an essential component of our everyday lives, withstanding and evolving over time to ultimately enable humans to discover new experiences. So too with the invention of the Internet, which continues to inspire new innovations that further enable and connect people across the world. Its expansion, combined with the proliferation of mobile devices (5.2 billion subscribers and counting), is transforming global human behavior in remarkable ways. For brands, the mobile Internet has strengthened their understanding of consumers by way of increasing data and analytics, and new channels to reach them. More importantly, perhaps, the same technology has also empowered consumers – at home, in transit, at work, or on vacation – to be the ones who now determine when and how their lives connect to those touchpoints. At SapientNitro, we are studying that very fascinating intersection of advancing technologies and the evolving behaviors of those who are integrating it so seamlessly into their daily lives. We see that it is not without story, without dreams, without imagination that these advancements become a part of who we are, and how we connect to people and things in this world. As a new breed of agency, and now as a part of Publicis Groupe, we are helping our clients create meaningful experiences that inspire consumers to invite brands into their always-on lives. In this issue of Insights, we welcome you to share in our thinking around trends that sit at the intersection of technology and story, like advancements in virtual reality, the Internet of Things, and motion and animation. Explore advancements in the ever-evolving banking industry, opportunities for retail in-store experiences, and insights on performance analytics that help us all make data more actionable. Learn about the buying trends of China’s digitally confident, hyper-connected, socially influential women. Get a view into game-changing shifts like the rise of the Chief Marketing Technology Officer, and our Storyscaping approach – a methodology which combines for our clients the power of stories with the excitement of experiences to create immersive worlds where brands and consumers connect. Thank you for your interest in SapientNitro and for taking the time to imagine with us. Just like the evolution of the wheel, we’ll continue to ideate and innovate on the possibilities that are in front of us, creating opportunity never before possible that will further enable humankind. Alan Wexler SapientNitro CEO WELCOME TO INSIGHTS
  5. 5. TABLE OF ONT ENT C INTRODUCTION 6 Contributors 10 Our Storyscaping Approach RESEARCH 20 Analyzing the Chief Marketing Technologist OUR PERSPECTIVES 42 Planning (and Doing) Innovation 52 Where Have All the Brave Brands Gone? 60 Reaching Maturity: Analytics Is Only as Good as Its Data INDUSTRY VOICES & GAME CHANGERS 70 China’s Wired Women and the Future of Global Consumption 80 Banking in the Customer Experience Era 88 Thinking Beyond Smartphones: Building In-Store Experiences TRENDS AT THE INTERSECTION OF TECHNOLOGY & STORY 100 Virtual Reality in Retail 106 Applied Analytics: Creating Serendipity 110 Motion and Animation 116 The IoT: A Revolution Is Under Way THE EYE-OPENER 126 On Engagement
  6. 6. 8 CONTRI BUTORS Flavia Barbat Contributing Editor Flavia, a contributing editor of Insights 2015, is a professional writer merging branding and content perspectives with strategic digital architecture. She is also Editor-in-Chief at Branding Magazine. Hilding Anderson Editor-in-Chief Hilding is the Editor-in-Chief of Insights 2015, and a Director of Research and Insights at SapientNitro. He helps set the thought leadership agenda across the agency, and advises global clients on emerging trends. Donald Chesnut Senior Vice President, Chief Experience Officer, SapientNitro New York Donald Chesnut is SapientNitro’s Chief Experience Officer and the global lead for SapientNitro’s Experience Design practice. Over the course of nearly two decades as an executive and experience designer, he has worked with some of the world’s leading global brands, including Disney, BP, and Unilever. Parvez Ahmed Experience Technologist, SapientNitro Detroit Parvez’s passion for mobile and web apps have allowed him the opportunity to collaborate with designers and developers in order to push coding as a creative medium into exciting new areas where creative technology and motion design meet. Kim Douglas Vice President, Managing Director, SapientNitro Singapore & Hong Kong Kim has spent some 20 years in advertising agencies and has been the MD for the last 5 years. His primary focus today is growing our business across APAC out of the region’s HQ in Singapore. Jon Day Director & Global Lead, Financial Services, SapientNitro Toronto With over 22 years of experience in financial services, Jon guides our development of thought leadership, insights, and research related to dramatic trends and movements that redefine customer experience and how brands connect to customers in the financial services sector. Neil Dawson Chief Strategy Officer, SapientNitro London Neil has previously held strategic lead- ership roles at Havas, Dare, TBWA, and in his own creative agency. He is passio- nate about proving the link between creativity and commercial effectiveness. John Cain Vice President, Strategy and Analysis, SapientNitro Chicago Based in Chicago, John plays an active role in experience and innovation research to increase our understanding of consumer behavior. He provides expertise in advanced analytics and data visualization, data modeling, measurement, and reporting that shapes business innovation and design strategy.
  7. 7. 9 10 Padmini Pandya Strategic Business, Planning, SapientNitro Asia Pacific As an industrial/organizational psychologist and founder of two American startups, Padmini now oversees Corporate Strategy for APAC, focusing on change management, organizational design, integration, and expanding SapientNitro’s footprint across Asia. Rick E. Robinson Vice President, Marketing Analytics, SapientNitro Denver Rick was originally trained as a social psychologist at the University of Chicago. He found the world of design and strategy nearly by accident. He co-founded research consultancies e-lab and iota-partners with John Cain. Ryan Scott Vice President, Global Strategy Lead Digital Marketing, SapientNitro Boston Being responsible for defining capabilities, technologies, and partnerships (including our global partnership with Adobe), Ryan is able to lead development of SapientNitro offerings including our Integrated Experience Architecture to serve clients across a range of industries. Scott Tang Head of Global Consumer & Industry Research, SapientNitro Chicago Scott leads a team of researchers that supports SapientNitro worldwide through secondary and quantitative analysis on topics regarding consumers, industries, and all things digital. Sheldon Monteiro Global Chief Technology Officer, SapientNitro Chicago Sheldon leads global technology capa- bilities, engineering, quality, methods, devops, and tools. He sponsors and is a senior faculty member at SapientNitro’s CMTO University, an in-house executive development program to grow Sapient- Nitro’s marketing technologists. Simon James Vice President, Global Lead Performance Analytics, SapientNitro London Simon is the global lead for Performance Analytics. For the past 20 years, he has worked in marketing as a data analyst. His team is responsible for measuring and optimizing the effectiveness of our work. Sue Su Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis, SapientNitro China Sue is a hybrid of brand planning and digital planning, with strong passion and determination to break the boundary where story and technology meet in this digital era (to make a difference in marketing and communication). Zachary Jean Paradis Director Experience Strategy, SapientNitro Chicago Zachary is a strategist, professor, and writer obsessed with transforming lives through customer experience. He acts as co-lead for the firm’s Experience Strategy domain, supports the company’s innovation efforts, and teaches at the IIT Institute of Design. T.J. McLeish Director of Experience Technology and Emerging Analytics, SapientNitro Chicago With his 15 years of experience in ubiquitous computing and the built environment, T.J. provides expertise in advanced analytics, data visualization, data modeling, and measurement to guide innovation and design in the digital/physical world. Alan Wexler SapientNitro CEO Alan is responsible for overall leadership of SapientNitro globally, Alan has held a number of key management positions since joining Sapient in 1998, including leadership of the North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific regions. Alan has also led several industry verticals including media, entertainment, telecommuni- cation, and healthcare, and launched SapientNitro’s mobile practice in 2000. Joel Krieger Group Creative Director, Second Story Atlanta Joel’s collaborative, lab-based approach to design allows him to focus on experimen- tation and rapid prototyping. And his focus on responsive environments – bespoke interactive experiences for physical places – enables audiences to be immersed in both cultural and brand spaces. David Poole Senior Strategist, SapientNitro Boston David leads strategy for the Financial Services Center of Excellence, which is responsible for supporting our global network of clients in thought leader- ship, innovation, transformation, and consumer insight. Evelina Lye Regional Marketing Lead, SapientNitro Asia Pacific Evelina leads the marketing efforts for APAC and is at the forefront of building the agency brand in China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia. Evelina has worked for some of the best global agencies in Asia, UK, and Australia. Evelina spoke at SXSW 2015 on the same subject of her piece. Adrian Slobin Vice President, Managing Director, SapientNitro Minneapolis Adrian heads up SapientNitro’s innova- tion offering, which includes a lab, an investment arm, and formal relation- ships with university innovation centers. Broadly speaking, he is focused on the continued evolution of both mature and emerging digital experiences. Darren “Daz” McColl Chief Brand Strategy Officer SapientNitro Miami Darren (Daz) McColl is co-author of Storyscaping and Chief Brand Strategy Officer at SapientNitro. Through insight and strategic guidance, Daz helps create worlds of immersive stories and experi- ences for client brands. Gary Koepke Vice President, Chief Creative Officer SapientNitro North America Gary is an internationally acclaimed designer, creative director, and marketing executive who is bringing to life our vision of redefining storytelling for an always-on world.
  8. 8. 12 Launched in 2014’s bestselling book Storyscaping, our strategic approach has continued to fuel powerful thinking about brands and experiences at the intersection of story and technology. Our Storyscaping approach is a way of looking at the world that we have refined into a powerful model for working with brands, people, and technology. Storyscaping’s principles guide how we create worlds, and we have had the opportunity to create some great ones in a huge range of sectors this past year. Born from our unique expertise in technology and storytelling, we are excited by the results that it has helped us, and our clients, achieve. The Storyscaping approach’s two key components are the “Organizing Idea” and “Story Systems.” Inspired by the Organizing Idea (described on the next page), this approach transforms a great storyline into an immersive Story System, where people enjoy connecting with and participating in brand stories. It teaches us to delve deeper to understand consumers and, with that knowledge, craft opportunities for them to invite brands, products, and services into their worlds – thus creating Shared Stories and building brand loyalty. DARREN “DAZ” MCCOLL OURSTORYSCAPING Our approach envisions content and experience as parts of a holistic, enveloping system rather than as components of a deterministic, linear journey. APPROACH
  9. 9. 13 14 The core elements of the Storyscaping approach The Storyscaping approach transforms a great story into an immersive Story System. Using this approach, brands start with their strategic pillars to develop Shared Stories that live at the intersection of the brands' and consumers' values and experiences. To create worlds, the Storyscaping approach uses Organizing Ideas, combined with a deep knowledge of the Experience Space, to ultimately create the final Storyscape: a flexible, holistic, and enveloping system of experience that brands use to make their stories real for customers. FIGURE01 The Organizing Idea An Organizing Idea does just what its name implies. It organizes (see Figure 2). It’s a strategic idea that guides and organizes the interactions between consumers and brands that transpire across all channels, to build emotion- al connections and inspire behavior. The very premise of what content you create, curate, or associate ought to be considered relative to your Organizing Idea. A good Organizing Idea gives purpose and tangibility to how a story is communicated, expressed, delivered, and experienced. It is built from the insight and knowledge gathered during research about brands and their desired consumers. Without a connection to the Brand Purpose, the Organizing Idea is just an idea – and probably a random idea at that. The six main characteristics of an Organizing Idea An Organizing Idea is a key step in creating a holistic, immersive, non-linear Story System. The Organizing Idea guides and organizes interactions between consum- ers and brands across all channels. FIGURE02 The Experience Space The Experience Space is a three-dimensional representation of the physical and virtual places where brands and consumers meet. By defining the potential Expe- rience Space, you can then develop the actual Story System – the chosen points of interaction that make sense for the brand and customer. FIGURE03 An Organizing Idea is the statement of action that defines what the brand must do to change consumer behavior. Mar- keting has long been dependent on the power of a great idea. And while great ideas are critical, it’s more important than ever to create systems in which ideas can live. The proliferation of channels, the power of microaudience targeting, and the necessity of support- ing multiple stories by and about every brand makes having a system essential to executing strategies. By establishing Organizing Ideas – not just big ideas – and thinking about systems that live in experiences and stories, brands can drive effectiveness on all levels of consumer engagement. Story Systems The second powerful aspect of the Storyscaping approach is the Story Systems emphasis, which enables the development of complete platforms for marketing, or as we like to say, “worlds of experience.” Organizing Ideas create great experiences when they are realized as part of a dynamic, multidimensional Story System that stretches across many channels and touchpoints, with well-tuned variations and adjustments. The systems approach envisions content and experience as parts of a holistic, enveloping system rather than as components of a deterministic, linear journey. This is perhaps best expressed in the idea of an Experience Space (see Figure 3). The Experience Space is a three-dimensional representation of the physical and virtual places where brands and consumers meet. It helps define the role of channels, the storyline connections, and the types of experien- ces that matter. Planning potential connection points across an Experience Space is key. It’s how marketers map all the possibilities to then narrow down the options by identifying the most effective brand-consumer connections. This canvas also helps them develop the technologies and platforms that connect the many points of the consumer experience. By understanding the whole space of possibility, you can build interactions that, as the saying goes, end with a comma rather than a period (or “full stop”). A system’s aim is to allow every interaction and connection to inspire connections to other useful pieces of content or great experiences. Exemplary Organizing Ideas X-GAMES “Activate Awesome” LYCRA “Lycra Moves You” REGIONS BANK “Live and Grow With Confidence”
  10. 10. 15 16 Some exemplary cases At Regions Bank in North America, the Agency Integration Team (a small, multi-agency strategy team) has adopted the Storyscaping approach for all work across agencies, with a very positive response from Regions and the client teams. Having defined Organizing Ideas, the activities of each specialized agency are connecting more efficiently and effectively. Using the Storyscaping approach and working across agencies, Regions Bank launched a consumer campaign called “The Next Step Project.” The Next Step Project is a platform for Regions to tell these stories through the narratives of actual customers. These go beyond just the banking relationship. They show the impact that the right financial guidance can have on important life decisions and the ability of customers to achieve their goals. The Next Step Project tells people's real stories, highlighting life and financial planning goals by using the Organizing Idea of “Live and Grow With Confidence.” The print, OOH, TV, radio, and other promotions all direct customers to branches and inter- active channels that present an array of self-service and guided financial tools as part of the Experience Space. FIGURE04 Regions was guided by the organizing idea of “Live and Grow With Confi- dence,” and used that as one input into creating the platform that utilized long-form videos, TV, radio, print, OOH, digital, and social media. “Regions challenged all of its agencies to create more meaningful content to engage prospects and customers across a variety of channels to share the message that Regions can make a difference in their lives by providing an array of financial solutions, including expertise, education, products and self-service tools to make banking easier,” stated Michele Elrod, Executive [The] Storyscaping [approach] really helped us take a step back in the process and look at things in a consumer-centric way. We naturally have more cohesion in everything that we’ve done using the Storyscaping process. - J. Adams Regions Bank Senior Advertising Manager Consumer Insight: Understanding the daily needs of a 2- to 5-year-old child Using ethnography, the Storyscaping approach places a strong emphasis on understanding the customer journey and cus- tomer behaviors. In this example of a customer journey, you can see how digital ebbs and flows through a single day. FIGURE05 ACTIVITIES DIGITAL USAGE THE ROLE OF DIGITAL + - MORNING ROUTINE PRE-K / KINDERGARTEN PLAYING WITH FRIENDS & SIBLINGS PARENTS BACK FROM WORK END OF DAY BREAKFAST LUNCH NAPTIME DINNER BEDTIME Digital play helps the parents get ready in the morning “We start the story halfway through, so it’s shorter” No digital permitted at school Digital only if used collaboratively Outdoor play time (weather permitting) One parent bonds with girl while the other prepares dinner Occasional special movie-nights, but otherwise no digital Books & stories at bedtime SUPPORT EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION IDENTIFY OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLABORATIVE DIGITAL PLAY INTRODUCE NEW PLACES AND ADVENTURES PARENT CHILD BONDING END OF DAY RELAXATION Vice President, Head of Marketing at Regions Financial Corporation. “Regions is committed to the financial well-being of our customers and offering education, tools, tips and calculators that they may use in making their life better.” The Storyscaping approach has been rolled out around the world and in many other industries beyond banking. In Australia, for example, it gave a CPG firm, Dairylea, a new way of looking at the packaged goods environment with the “Mummy Hacks” project.
  11. 11. 17 The Story System app will soon be introduced to assist with business goals, prioritization, and collaboration. Shown below is a Story System with performance metrics for a major travel and hospitality business. FIGURE06 Looking forward In partnership with our clients, we continue to drive innovation around the Storyscaping approach. Soon we will be introducing an add-on to our approach: a Story System app that assists with driving business goals, prioritization, and collaboration through 3-D interactive visualization (see Figure 6). This new tool enables systematic business goal-setting and scoring of Story System components. Each and every touchpoint can be identified and scored for relative priority or value against desired business goals. This provides multiple dimensions for the application of Storyscaping principles. The tool also renders a 3-D visual representation of a Story System with ways to adjust the images to stimulate new conversations around the values Darren “Daz” McColl Chief Brand Strategy Officer SapientNitro Miami of different touchpoints. It enables marketers to more clearly visualize the spaces of opportunity. As you will see throughout Insights, there are many ways in which we continue to evolve our thinking across a wide range of markets, businesses, and technologies. The Storyscaping approach continues to grow and evolve by incorporating new insights, helping our teams create wonderful results for our clients’ brands, and making a meaningful impact on the world.
  12. 12. Analyzing the Chief Marketing Technologist Sheldon Monteiro, Hilding Anderson & Scott Tang20 RESEARCH
  13. 13. RESEARCH 22 A reflective survey of MarTech professionals and what it means for brands and the profession It’s yesterday’s news that marketing and technology have become inextricably intertwined. Tectonic forces, enabled by technology, have fueled more disruption and competition for customer attention in the last five years than corporations experienced in the fifty years prior. On the one hand, Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) have realized that marketing’s success is gated by the digital acumen of their own organizations. On the other, Chief Information Officers (CIOs) find that the expectations of their engineering teams are influenced more by digital exemplars like Amazon, Google, and Silicon Valley start-ups than by peer benchmarks within their own industry. It’s no surprise then that Harvard Business Review recently joined the chorus and profiled the Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist (CMT) – a new type of executive responsible for bringing marketing and technology together.1 According to a 2014 Gartner study, 81 percent of large organizations now have a CMT.2 ANALYZING THE CHIEF MARKETING TECHNOLOGIST SHELDON MONTEIRO, HILDING ANDERSON & SCOTT TANG 1 Scott Brinker and Laura McLellan. “The Rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist.” Harvard Business Review. July, 2014. 2 Gartner. “How the Presence of a Chief Marketing Technologist Impacts Marketing.” 2652017/presence-chief-marketing-technologist-impacts.
  14. 14. RESEARCH23 24 Despite the excitement around market- ing technology and the CMT role, the ambiguity as to who these individuals are, the skills they possess, and where they sit organizationally has led to con- siderable confusion. And the confusion results in two related issues. One, executives need better clarity regarding how they can identify, recruit, bring on board, and retain these talented individuals. Second, aspiring market- ing technologists have no guidelines against which to benchmark and level up their own skills. To help us shed more light on these issues, SapientNitro partnered with Scott Brinker, the host of the MarTech conference and popular chiefmartec. com blog to conduct a first-of-its-kind study of marketing technologists’ skills, career paths, attitudes, and behaviors.3 For the first time, we have been able to “x-ray” the professional marketing tech- nologist. And the results are striking. Today’s marketing technologists cluster into six distinct archetypes, and they are not equivalent or interchangeable. Of the six archetypes, three are focused on technology and three are focused on marketing (see Figure 1). Respondents’ self-identified skills fell into distinct clusters, revealing the archetypes. MARKETING MAVENS (26%) With marketing skills emphasized over technology, mavens specialize in build- ing marketing programs using expertise in marketing strategy, strategic position- ing, and promotion. 3 We asked the community of marketing technologists – recruited from the MarTech 2014 fall conference and Scott Brinker’s popular blog – to help us document this group. We contracted an independent market research firm – Decision Analyst – to execute the survey. Our study had 280 respondents, and took place from August 15th, 2014 to September 8th, 2014. (For more details, see “About the Survey” at the end of the article.) DATA DIVAS (17%) Divas are skilled in marketing opera- tions management, customer rela- tionship management (CRM), data science, analytics, and modeling. They know how to acquire, integrate, and make data perform. CONTENT CURATORS (16%) Storytellers. Message crafters. Marketing strategists. Content man- agement platform experts. This type exercises considerable knowledge of content marketing and related tech- nologies to direct communications- oriented marketing. INFRASTRUCTURE ARCHITECTS (16%) Enterprise-level technology chops define this archetype, but they are also business consultants and bring a high-level understanding of a compa- ny’s marketing initiatives. EXPERIENCE ENGINEERS(15%) One foot in technology and the other in experience. They are experts in cutting-edge technology: from e-commerce to front-end technology and mobility. MEDIA & MARKETING ANALYZERS (10%) This archetype specializes in research, consumer insights, and strategic planning. Members think strategically about segmentation and connections planning. The six archetypes have two main areas of focus We found that marketing technologists are grouped into six archetypes – three with a marketing focus and three with a technology focus. 52% Marketing 10% Media & Marketing Analyzers 16% Content Curators 26% Marketing Mavens 48% Technology 17% Data Divas 16% Infrastructure Architects 15% Experience Engineers Marketing technologists cluster into six distinct archetypes FIGURE01
  15. 15. RESEARCH25 26 The emergence of these archetypes may represent specialization within the profession, often seen in mature fields such as medicine or engineering. However, we doubt it. More likely, the skill gaps we found indicate that the archetypes are emerg- ing through a Darwinian selection pro- cess as individuals who may not meet the full job specifications are promoted into this new role. One immediate implication for those organizations in search of the best person to steward marketing tech- nology through a period of profound disruption is that they need to define the role more specifically than simply as “marketing technologist.” The needs of an organization may in fact require that the CMT embodies a combination of at least two – and possibly as many as all six – of the archetypes. This said, the archetypes are a starting point to contain search efforts and costs, as they are clear segmentations of today’s talent. Marketing technologists report to marketing While 69.2 percent report to the C-suite, just 8.6 percent of marketing technologists reported to the CIO, with the majority reporting to the CMO or CEO/President. Our findings matched other recent industry surveys in this regard. In our view, this reporting bias could explain the surprising underweighting of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) academic back- grounds in the population, which we describe further below. Our hypothesis: Marketers and business leaders are promoting from within their own depart- mental ranks and backgrounds. This is understandable, but executives should consider where pure-play digital firms – who are setting the pace of today’s disruption – are sourcing their talent, and then consider proactive skills development to level up existing talent, or increase the diversity of their talent sourcing, for instance, by overweighting IT and business analytics capabilities. Today’s practitioners are learning technology on the job Today, marketing technologists are strongest in core marketing skills, and only 26 percent have STEM degrees. Additionally, nearly half of the respon- dents reported that their prior job was managing technology or programming – often in a marketing context – provid- ing the job environment for developing technical skills. We believe the lack of hybrid academic programs is forcing talent to train on the job. The implica- tion? Rudimentary preparation in com- puter science fundamentals, systems and algorithmic thinking, statistics, and data science may be glossed over or completely skipped, which will undoubtedly impair job effectiveness. Interestingly, technology-oriented mar- keting technologists are 20 percent more likely to be the “primary” or “chief” marketing technology officer, indicating that greater responsibilities are award- ed to those with technical proficiency. Current and desired job skills are balanced between marketing, technology, and business The top five skills that respondents report possessing are marketing strategy and positioning, marketing operations management, website design, the ability to persuade and negotiate, and marketing channel strategy/connec- tions planning. Perhaps attributable in part to confirmation bias (the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s precon- ceptions), three of these were also fea- tured in the five skills that respondents said are most important to the future of marketing. Regardless, we are delighted to observe a balance between marketing, technology, and business domains, all three of which are essential for success in the role, in our view (see Figure 2). There are alarming deficiencies in current skill sets Advertising technology, system per- formance and resiliency, and several omnichannel-enabling technologies are featured in the bottom ten of self-assessed current skills, with infor- mation security coming in dead last. This lack of skills is of huge concern in light of recent, massive security breaches across industries, the extreme scale at which digital businesses must operate during periods of high demand, and the ever-increasing requirements for brands to imagine and deliver immersive and pervasive experiences. The future of the CMT role The most important future job skills, according to our survey, include marketing, technology, and business skills (see Finding #6). In addition, when we examined the largest skill gaps (differences between stated future importance and current self-assessment), big data techniques and technologies emerged as the skills with the widest gap. The absolute de- ficiencies in current skills, the gap be- tween current and desired future skills, and the under-representation of STEM academic backgrounds reinforce our view that today’s marketing technolo- gists must level up their technology chops with great urgency. The gap between marketing and technology is real, even for marketing technologists While 94 percent believe that market- ing and IT skills could be combined in a single person, respondents identified a stark polarity between marketing and systems integration expertise. Most technology archetypes are less likely to describe themselves as “marketing experts” and marketing archetypes don’t think of themselves as “systems integrators.” This subtle indi- cation of how respondents described who they are may be indicative of the culture gap that must be overcome for the role to attain its highest potential. In our view, the CMT role must strad- dle both functions as a native, rather than majoring in one and minoring in the other. Business Skills Marketing Skills Technology SkillsThe emergence of these archetypes may represent specialization within the profession... however, we doubt it. FIGURE02
  16. 16. RESEARCH27 28 1 Findings and analysis THE DATA DIVAS (17%) The second-largest group loves its data. Member skills are grounded in marketing operations management, CRM, data science, analytics, and modeling. They scored themselves highly in managing big data – one of the biggest skill gaps identified by the overall survey population – and they are also proficient in data management software/systems. With their expertise in systems; tag management; CRM tools; and data science, analytics, statistics, and modeling, they know how to acquire, integrate, and make data perform. Sixty-eight percent of members of this group said that they are the primary marketing technologists in their organizations – the highest of all the archetypes – reflecting the impor- tance of data-driven marketing. Data Divas: Self-reported skills Professional self-description: I think of myself as... Data Divas have much stronger sets of skills in database marketing, system inte- gration, and data scientist related skills than the other archetypes. They were the most likely to be the primary marketing technologists in their organizations (68% reported being the CMT). We asked our survey respondents to rank their skills in relative, not absolute, terms. We also asked them to choose from monikers they might use to describe themselves professionally. Analyzing these data sets, we found clear evidence that the population of marketing technologists is fractured around distinct areas of expertise. We identified six different archetypes of marketing technologists by identify- ing distinct clusters of skills (rank your strongest/weakest skill…) and attitudes (I think of myself as…). Sorted by size within the overall population, the six archetypes are: Content Curators: Self-reported skills Professional self-description: I think of myself as... Content Curators specialize in content creation, content management, and the cus- tomer experience. They are also the youngest, with 42% being under 35 years old. THE CONTENT CURATORS (16%) If you want to tell a story – and efficiently disseminate it to your consumers – this is the group you want. With consid- erable expertise in content creation, content optimization, marketing strategy and positioning, and content and digital asset management platforms, this group helps your brand converse with customers. Marketing Operations Management Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems and Platforms Data Science, Analytics, Statistics, and Modeling Marketing Strategy and Positioning Data Management Software and Systems A Marketing Expert55.3% A Database Marketing Specialist53.2% A Business Consultant53.2% A Systems Integrator51.1% A Data Scientist, Statistician, Analyst A CRM Expert A Customer Experience Specialist 42.6% 42.6% 40.6% Although most organizations may have a CMT, they are certainly not all alike or interchangeable. The CMT role is pervasive, with Gartner recently reporting that 81 percent of large organizations now have a CMT. But the roles are not alike. The July 2014 edition of Harvard Business Review defined the CMT role noting, “CMTs are part strategist, part creative director, part technology leader, and part teacher.” Our survey findings took this analysis one step further, providing deep insight into the ratio of those parts in the current cadre of professionals. 35.0 34.0 31.7 17.4 16.8 A Marketing Expert64.4% A Content Management Expert57.8% A Writer or Content Creator53.3% A Business Consultant46.7% A Customer Experience Specialist35.6% Marketing Channel Strategy and Connections Planning Content Creation, Copywriting, and Content Optimization Marketing Strategy and Positioning Content Management and Digital Asset Management Systems Website Testing and Optimization Website Design, Including Responsive and Adaptive Design The Ability to Persuade and Negotiate 45.6 39.8 24.6 23.4 21.6 17.2 16.0 Marketing Mavens: Self-reported skills Professional self-description: I think of myself as... Mavens view themselves as professional marketers, business consultants, and customer experience specialists. They are the oldest (43% are 45+ years old) and have the highest mean salary ($149k). THE MARKETING MAVENS (26%) The largest single group. The skills and attitudes of this group show that more than one in four marketing technolo- gists have a much stronger marketing orientation (and, conversely, a weaker technology orientation) than we had previously assumed. This group’s key skills are dominated by marketing strategy and positioning, and (to a much lesser extent) marketing opera- tions. They think of themselves as mar- keting experts, business consultants, and customer experience specialists. Marketing Strategy and Positioning Marketing Operations Management The Ability to Persuade and Negotiate Marketing Channel Strategy and Connections Planning Website Testing and Optimization A Marketing Expert80.8% A Business Consultant61.6% A Customer Experience Specialist41.1% An Entrepreneur38.4% A CRM Expert27.4% 79.7 20.5 20.4 17.0 11.8
  17. 17. RESEARCH29 30 THE INFRASTRUCTURE ARCHITECTS (16%) This is a classically trained cohort of technologists, with expertise in developing enterprise marketing platforms. With a deep understand- ing of technology architecture and selection, software development, and content and digital asset management platforms, they describe themselves as the IT specialists, systems integrators, and business consultants that deploy marketing technology at scale within an enterprise. THE MEDIA AND MARKET- ING ANALYZERS (10%) A rare breed in our survey, this type has significant skills in research, consumer insights, and strategic planning. They think strategically about segmentation and connections planning. Infrastructure Architects: Self-reported skills Professional self-description: I think of myself as... Infrastructure Architects are much more aligned with technology. Information technology, systems integration, and even developing/coding scored highly. They are also the most male (89%) and 40% had an undergraduate technology degree (versus a 25.3% average across all archetypes). Media and Marketing Analyzers: Self-reported skills Professional self-description: I think of myself as... Our final archetype is also the smallest. Media and Marketing Analysts bring strengths in advertising, business, and customer experience. They tend to be younger – 45% are under 35 years old – and are the most likely to have a graduate degree – 59% have a graduate degree, of which most (71%) are in business. THE EXPERIENCE ENGINEERS (15%) This group pushes boundaries at the intersection of technology and experi- ence. They have remarkable proficien- cies in the technologies (e-commerce, front-end, and mobility) that directly touch the customer experience. Experience Engineers: Self-reported skills Professional self-description: I think of myself as... Experience Engineers play a hybrid role – blending depth in IT and SI (system in- tegration) skills – but also have breadth in the form of customer experience. They have considerable skills in mobile app development, e-commerce technology, and other core competencies, as well. The existence of these archetypes shows us that today’s marketing tech- nologists do not have equivalent com- petencies. In fact, the differences in the ratio of skills between the archetypes are quite large. One immediate implication for brands looking to appoint a CMT is that they must be more specific in creating a job description – the term “marketing technologist” is simply insufficient. Lacking specifics when casting the role will increase the odds of professional failure. For instance, recruiting a Mar- keting Maven when the job situation calls for a Data Diva or Infrastructure Architect will require additional senior team members with complementary skills to build out a capable marketing technology function. We recommend an outline of the specific skills required, followed by a determination of which primary and secondary (or more, if needed) archetypes fit best. Brands with stable business models should be able to define their needs succinctly (e.g., evolve and manage the marketing automation infrastructure). By doing so, they will be able to focus on the archetypes required, which will increase the likeli- hood of finding experienced candidates who can fill the roles effectively. Of course, employers concerned about changing consumer behavior or digital disruption to their core business will need a “unicorn” with breadth and depth across multiple or each of the archetypes to lead the marketing technology office. In this case, expect the candidate pool to be much smaller and the search to take longer. Enterprise Architecture, Tech Selection, and Lifecycle Management Software Design, Programming, and Coding Content Management and Digital Asset Management Systems Software Development Operations and IT Operations Front-end Technologies (e.g., HTML5, Javascript, and CSS) Visual Display of Data Iincluding Infographics and Dashboards 46.8 31.6 23.3 17.1 An IT (Information Technology) Specialist73.3% A Systems Integrator64.4% A Business Consultant60.0% A Software Developer, Coder, or Programmer35.6% An Entrepreneur A Customer Experience Specialist 33.3% 33.3% 11.4 9.0 An IT (Information Technology) Specialist46.3% A Systems Integrator41.5% A Business Consultant39.0% A Software Developer, Coder, or Programmer39.0% An Entrepreneur A Customer Experience Specialist 31.7% 31.7% GIS, Geomapping, and Geotargeting Website Design Including Responsive and Adaptive Design Content Management and Digital Asset Management Systems Design and Development of Mobile Apps and Platforms E-commerce Technologies and Platforms Front-end Technologies (e.g., HTML5, Javascript, and CSS) Software Design, Programming, and Coding Marketing Research, Consumer Insights, and Competitive Intelligence Marketing Strategy and Positioning Advertising and Marketing Communication Development Market Segmentation and Psychographics Marketing Channel Strategy and Connections Planning A Marketing Expert An Advertising Expert A Business Consultant An Entrepreneur A Customer Experience Specialist 72.4% 51.7% 44.8% 37.9% 31.0% 33.9 29.8 21.5 17.0 17.0 13.6 12.9 58.4 47.3 24.1 16.6 13.5
  18. 18. RESEARCH31 32 32 Archetypes are split evenly between marketing and technology disciplines. Marketing archetypes are more likely to operate as a team, while technology archetypes are more likely to play the role of Chief Marketing Technologist. In our data, we found a roughly even split between marketing and techno- logy orientations (see Figure 3) – 52 percent of the respondents are cla- ssified in one of the three marketing archetypes (Marketing Mavens, Con- tent Curators, or Media and Marketing Analyzers), while the remaining 48 per- cent are in the technology archetypes (Data Divas, Infrastructure Architects, or Experience Engineers). Interestingly, those with a marketing orientation are far more likely to ope- rate with a team rather than as the sole marketing technologist. We hypothe- size that marketing-oriented archetypes need additional technology support in order to realize the marketing technology function. MARKETING ARCHETYPES (52% OF RESPONDENTS) Marketing-oriented archetypes tend to be self-taught in technology, have more marketing academic training, and be equally divided by gender. They are slightly more likely to report to the CMO than any other group (33.9 percent report to the CMO versus an overall average of 31.4 percent). TECHNOLOGY ARCHETYPES (48% OF RESPONDENTS) Technology archetypes are younger, are more likely to have STEM degrees, and are more likely to report to non-marketing leaders (e.g., the CEO, CIO, or “others”). A full 55 percent of the three techno- logy archetypes reported that they are the CMT, a moniker roughly equivalent to the Chief Marketing Technology Officer (CMTO). In contrast, only 35 percent – a full twenty percentage point change – of the three marketing archetypes report themselves to be the Chief Marketing Technologist. Our hypothesis is that today’s techno- logy archetypes (Data Divas, Infra- structure Architects, and Experience Engineers) possess more of the skills needed to align the marketing team, technology vendors, service providers, and corporate IT. Our recommendation for brands? Evaluate your CMT’s ability to be the glue between these teams, including his/her ability to represent the interests, viewpoints, and concerns of the different stakeholders without bias, to see the big picture while not missing key details, and to show his/her gravi- tas as a cross-functional leader. The six archetypes have two main areas of focus Our six profiles are evenly split between marketing-focused and technology- focused archetypes – consistent with the blended nature of the role. Data Divas Infrastructure Architects Experience Engineers Technology 48% 17% 16% 15% Marketing Mavens Content Curators Media Marketing Analyzers 26% 16% 10% Marketing 52% 16% 10% Marketing technologists most likely work for the CMO. They also have marketing titles. Our respondents report to a marketing function most frequently. Just 8.6 per- cent of marketing technologists report to the CIO; most report to the CMO (31.4 percent), CEO/President (23.9 percent), or CDO (Chief Digital Offi- cer)/CSO (Chief Strategy Officer) (5.3 percent). In sum, 69.2 percent report to the C-suite. CMTs are similar, with just 5.5 percent reporting to the CIO. In our view, this distribution of report- ing relationships is supportive of our thesis that the marketing technologist is broadly the equivalent of a CIO or Chief Technology Officer (CTO) dedicated to marketing, and the CMO or CEO needs a trusted advisor skilled Participant job titles – Overall and CMT The most common title for a marketing technologist is a marketing title such as Director of Marketing or Marketing Manager. CMTs are even more likely to have marketing titles than overall respondents. And a formal Marketing Technology title is quite rare. 6050403020100 in technology and marketing on his/her team. Current job titles are predominantly in the marketing domain (see Figure 4). CMTs were 7 percent more likely to have a marketing title. We also found that the title of “Marketing Technolo- gist” is rarely used and made up only a small fraction (11 percent) of CMTs in the field. Given the title variance and reporting to IT by exception rather than norm, we recommend that the individual tasked as the CMT: has explicit objectives; is socialized with all con- cerned stakeholders; is tasked to align marketing and technology concerns; and owns the blueprint for how marketing technology is deployed and will evolve in the context of the enter- prise technology estate. Business Title • CGO/CSO/Director/VP/Manager of Strategy • Project Manager/Account Manager/Director/ VP/Manager of Business, Product, or Applica- tion Development/Strategist Technology Title • CTO/CIO/Director/VP/Manager of IT • Director of Market Automation • Director of CRM • Director of Analytics • Market Automation Specialist Marketing Technology Title • Marketing Technologist • Marketing Technology Consultant • Marketing Technology Manager Marketing Title • CMO • Director/VP/Manager of Digital Marketing • Marketing Manager/Director/VP/Manager of Marketing Technology Marketing Technology Title CMT 55.9% Overall 48.9% CMT 16.5% Overall 23.2% CMT 18% Overall 16.8% CMT 11% Overall 7.1% Overall 7.1% FIGURE03 FIGURE04
  19. 19. RESEARCH33 34 4 tion (13.7 percent of undergrads and 41.4 percent among graduates). Once in the workforce, “marketing manager” is the #1 job leading to a marketing technologist role, followed by web/CRM/automation platform technology management. But when we group all responses by domain (see sidebar entitled “What Were the Previous Jobs of Marketing Technolo- gists?”), the technology/programming domain emerges as the most com- mon prior job focus, followed by the business/management and marketing/ communications domains. Almost half of all the respondents had a prior role in technology, and primary marketing technologists skew higher – 53.5 percent report having a technical/ programming role prior to their current primary marketing technologist role. Our conclusion? Today’s talent has cross-skilled themselves, especially in technology, on the job. This is understandable given the paucity of cross-discipline academic programs. However, we are concerned that prepa- ration in computer science fundamen- tals, systems and algorithmic thinking, statistics, and data science are hard to pick up on the job absent curricula, coaching, and skill roadmaps for which there is no industry consensus. The marketing technologist is, by its very moniker, a technical and marketing role, and those recruiting or planning their own careers must have a strong grounding in the fundamentals of both. We recommend that both brands looking for CMTs and aspiring CMTs themselves evaluate their skills across the archetypes to understand existing gaps, and then create development plans or source additional talent to fill those gaps. Areas of study for marketing technologists Marketing technologists are a highly educated group, with 92% having at least a bachelors degree – compared to 29.5% for the general U.S. population. Undergraduate areas of study include liberal arts, and, at the graduate level, skew toward business. 39%Business/Management Background Business/management was also a popular job category, and we observed prior general management roles described as consulting, managing teams, and project management. 37.3%Marketing/Communica- tions Background While marketing background/ marketing manager/marketing is the single most common (historic) role for marketing technologists, the marketing/ communications category as a whole ranked below technology- focused prior roles. Only a quarter of today’s mar- keting technologists have STEM degrees. Predictably, technology training is done on the job, not in school. Surprisingly, three in four marketing technologists do not have a traditional STEM degree. Approximately 25.3 percent have a STEM undergraduate degree, while 18.8 percent have a STEM graduate degree. Instead, the most common academic majors for marketing technologists (see Figure 5) are business and business administra- Business or Business Administration Marketing Communications Computer Science Information Technology Engineering Science or Math Social Sciences (Economics, Sociology, Psychology) Art and Other Majors (Net) AREAS OF STUDY Undergraduate Graduate 41%14% 16%11% 8%9% 14%12% 3%9% 2%4% 5%10% 11%31% Web/CRM Management/Automation Platforms Web Developer/Programmer/Software Engineer IT/Tech Background SEM/SEO/Search Engine Management Background in MobilePlatforms/Apps 20.7% 14.5% 14.1% 4.6% 3.7% 2.9% E-commerce 01 02 03 04 05 06 Consulting/Management Consultant/User Experience Consultant Management Background/Manage a Team Account/Project Management Sales/Lead Generation Business Development/Strategy/Research Strategy Analytics/Business Analyst/Business Background Market Research/Research and Development 10.4% 9.1% 9.1% 8.3% 7.5% 5.4% 4.1% 01 03 04 05 06 07 02 Marketing Background/Marketing Manager/Marketing Digital/Interactive Marketing Digital Producer/Graphics/Animation/Video/Audio Engineer Communications/Market Communications/Database Marketing Background in Social Media/Social Platforms 22.4% 13.7% 4.6% 3.3% 3.7% 01 02 04 03 05 01 02 03 04 05 01 02 03 04 05 06 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 4 We asked respondents “How did you transition into the marketing technologist role? That is, what were your job responsibilities and role before your current market- ing technologist role?” FIGURE05 46.9%Technical/Programming Background Technology/programming is the dominant background for mar- keting technologists. Specifically, we found focus areas in web/CRM platforms, web development, and general IT/technology. WHAT WERE THE PREVIOUS JOBS OF MARKETING TECHNOLOGISTS?4 We are concerned that preparation in computer science fundamentals, systems and algorithmic thinking, statistics, and data science are hard to pick up on the job absent curricula, coaching, and skill roadmaps for which there is no industry consensus. - Sheldon Monteiro
  20. 20. RESEARCH35 36 65 Marketing technologists are stron- gest in core marketing skills, and weakest in information security and system performance/resilience. Our respondents say their strongest skills are marketing strategy/position- ing, followed by marketing operations management and website design (including responsive and adaptive design). At first glance, this is great – a mix of strategy, operations, and tech- nology, in that order (see Figure 6). Our concern? Operations – the second strongest skill – is ranked 2.5 times weaker than strategy, while technology – website design (responsive and adaptive) – is ranked almost three times weaker. Given the demo or die mode in which most digitally native competition operates, marketing technologists must be as proficient in the details of execution (operations and technology) as they are in strategy. System performance and resiliency, advertising technology, and several omnichannel-enabling technologies (e.g., in-venue/in-store experience tech- nology, physical computing and IoT, tag management, and geotargeting) all featured in the lowest ten self-assessed current skills, with information security dead last (see Figure 7). Of all our findings, we were concerned with this one the most. In our view, marketing technologists must envision and lead the delivery of omnichannel experiences that are integrated, scal- able, and reliable. This, in fact, is a core mandate of the role. Further, the bottom ten list also included some core mar- keting topics, such as loyalty programs, internationalization, media, and ad-tech. In light of recent massive security breaches in many industry verticals, the extreme scale with which digital busi- nesses must operate during periods of high demand, and the need for brands to imagine and create immersive and pervasive communications and experi- ence, the lack of needed skills in these areas is worrisome. Our recommendation? Understand your weakest skills and source help from specialists to mitigate risks and avoid blind spots. Consider immediate audits in gap areas and strategy retainers for forward planning. Current job skills: Strongest skills In these data, we were particularly surprised at the strength of marketing strategy/positioning and the relatively balanced set of current strengths across disciplines. Current job skills: Weakest skills We were startled by the importance of several of the skills on which marketing technologists evaluated themselves poorly. Information security, particularly, is of growing importance, yet was the weakest job skill in the study. In the future, desired skills span marketing, business, and technolo- gy, but mind the data gap. We asked our respondents which job skills were the most important for the future success of marketing (see Figure 8). Of the top five skills important for the future, two are marketing-related, two are technology-related, and one is business-related. This supports our view that the marketing technologist must span marketing, technology, and business. However, the technology- oriented skills are narrower than we’d anticipated. We also compared responses for “skills ranked important in the future” to those for “skills they have today.” By doing so, we identified specific skill gaps and their magnitudes (see Figure 9). 38.1 15.6 13.3 12.3 12.2 Marketing Strategy/Positioning Marketing Operations Management Website Design Including Responsive and Adaptive Design The Ability to Persuade and Negotiate Marketing Channel Strategy/Connections Planning In-venue/In-Store Experience Technology Physical Computing and the Internet of Things Tag Management and User Management (United User Profile) Loyalty Programs Media Planning and Buying International Marketing/Translations/Legal Issues Digital Ad Networks and Real-Time Bidding System Performance and Resiliency GIS, Geomapping, and Geotargeting Information Security/Firewalls/Encryption/Data Recovery 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.1 Marketing Technologist skill gaps When we compared the most important skills with their current strengths/ weaknesses, we identified a set of skills with the greatest gaps, shown below. It’s notable that the biggest gaps span technology, marketing, and business skills. JOB SKILLS Target Market Identification Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Systems and Platforms Data Science, Analytics, Statistics, and Modeling Big Data: Techniques and Technologies for Handling Data at Extreme Scale Market Segmentation and Psychographics IMPORTANCE TO FUTURE SUCCESS5 2 3 6 7 9 GAP -20 -7 -6 -27 -8 STRENGTH OF TODAY’S SKILLS6 22 10 12 34 17 The most significant skill gaps are seen in target market identification; CRM systems and platforms; data science, analytics, statistics, and modeling; and big data and marketing segmentation. The list indicates that leveling up is required on both the marketing and technology sides. But by far, the most significant absolute gap is in big data: techniques and technologies for hand- ling data at extreme scale. We recommend a careful analysis of skills needed for the future of your business, and building these skills through development, talent sourcing, and retainers. In particular, given that data centricity will dominate marketing for the foreseeable future, we suggest additional emphasis on acquiring data science and data management compe- tencies within the marketing techno- logy function. Most important future job skills When we asked respondents for the top skills for future success, the top two skills which emerged were traditional marketing skills, although technology skills rounded out the next two slots. 0 20 40 60 80 62.1% 44.3% 43.9% 43.9% 42.9% Marketing Strategy/Posi- tioning Target Market Identification Website Design Including Responsive and Adaptive CRM Systems and Platforms The Ability to Persuade and Negotiate FIGURE06 FIGURE07 FIGURE09FIGURE08 5 Importance to Future Success: Lower numbers are more important. 6 Strength of Today’s Skills: Lower numbers are stronger.
  21. 21. 37 38 With the shift from analog to digital, from communications to experience, from story “yelling” to the Storyscaping approach, companies need a new breed of technologist. This new breed sees around corners, paints the big picture, and “gets” marketers, ad types, and marketing. They are scrappy innova- tors who also understand scale and complexity, and who are awesome at influencing people. For all the hand-wringing about Chief Marketing Technologists (CMTs or CMTOs), talent that gets both marketing and technology is rare. While marketing technology talent is in very high demand, there is an enormous industry skill gap. SapientNitro decided to do something about it – by creating a CMTO University within our agency. The CMTO University is an internal lead- ership development program dedicated to growing some of our best technolo- gists and focusing on three core topic areas: technology, marketing, and com- municating with influence. It is a year- long experience that combines elements of a corporate leadership development program with the rigor, challenge, and learning of an executive MBA. Modeled as a cohort-based program, our students are selected through a competitive application process which includes a formal application from the prospective student, agency business sponsorship and references, and a re- ference interview with a SapientNitro client who has worked closely with the applicant and can attest to his/her prowess. SapientNitro technologists hailing from any of our global offices at the Vice President, Director, and Senior Manager career levels are eligible to apply. Participants are required to com- mit to investing an extra ten to fifteen hours every week over the course of the program year, in addition to their de- manding jobs. In our most recent cohort, fewer than one in three applicants who applied were admitted into the program. The curriculum includes four inten- sive workshops, conducted in different SapientNitro locations around the globe, with “interim” periods between the workshops (see Figure 10). Each inten- sive and interim has a specific focus; activities include group projects, weekly individual assignments and discussions through an online collaboration tool, and semi-weekly virtual classroom sessions (with presentations) held over the weekend. Sessions are taught by SapientNitro thought leaders across the globe, in- dustry and academic external experts, and by the participants themselves as their skills and knowledge are honed. Throughout the program, participants are assessed for progress, share feed- back with their peers, and receive per- sonalized coaching from the program faculty. The curriculum is designed and delivered in collaboration with Hyper Island, a leader in digital learning and executive training. Students must also complete an inde- pendent study project, the capstone experience of the CMTOu program. Similar to a thesis, the independent study demonstrates competency in a specific aspect of critical marketing technology as well as the opportunity to creatively communicate thinking. Intensive (4+ days, over weekend) E-meet (3 hours, Sunday, virtual) OCT JAN APR JUL FIRST INTERIM • Marketing Technology Breadth • Physical Computing • Marketing Theory SECOND INTERIM • Marketing Technology Depth • Individual Development Planning THIRD INTERIM • Independent Study • Work Emotional Intelligence • Marketing Theory FOURTH INTERIM • Complete Independent Study • External Conference Proposals • Plan for Influencing SapientNitro CHICAGO • Marketing Fundamentals for a Digital World • Group Dynamics • Influence Skills ATLANTA • Marketing Deep Dive, Culture, Practice • The Storyscaping Approach • Influence Skills LONDON • Authentic and Fearless Communication • Pitching and Story Practice • Design Aesthetics INDIA • Conference Thought Leadership Presentations • Evangelizing the CMTO Role Participants select a topic and then de- sign, plan, and complete this work with the assistance of internal and external advisors, including several industry luminaries. Each student is required to present in public at a conference held during the final intensive. This program also imparts the tools to ensure that the graduates continue to stay on top of what’s next – a critical skill in the digital world as many mar- keting technologies become obsolete and new ones rise in importance. Our clients reap the benefits through the work we produce, and our participants see the impact of their collective transformation throughout the program, both in the curriculum and on client work. Program Schedule The CMTOu is a year-long, internal leadership development program. The curriculum includes four intensive workshops, conducted in different SapientNitro locations around the globe, with “interim” periods between the workshops. FIGURE10 GROWING UNICORNS: SAPIENTNITRO’S CMTO UNIVERSITY
  22. 22. 39 Conclusion The rise of the Chief Marketing Technologist is bridging the worlds of marketing and IT. In these data, we see a new picture emerging of the market- ing technologist. This first-ever analysis of the professional population gives us a remarkable view of six discrete archetypes, their skills, and where in the organization they sit. Importantly, we have a clear view of the skills and attitudinal gaps which employers must recognize when hiring and that the profession (and, ultimately, academia) must address. We can logically infer from the data that marketing technologists are cultivating their skills on the job. That’s great news. But, it should be deeply concerning to both marketing technologists and the brands that rely on them that the largest skill gaps are in areas of significant opportunity (e.g., targeting, CRM, and data) and high risk (e.g., information security, performance, and resiliency). Academia has yet to create programs for hybrid talent that must operate at the intersection of marketing and technology. The need for marketers who understand technology, data, and algorithms is as pressing and urgent as the need for technologists who have a grasp of marketing, advertising, and the art of growing customers. Against this backdrop, we believe it is critical for organizations to invest in ongoing training and skill development to grow marketing technology talent. As an agency, our clients often ask us to play advisory CMTO roles. To fulfill the demand, we founded our own CMTO University. We decided to challenge, rather than coddle, our best technologists. We go deep by teaching marketing, business, applied influence, and persuasion skills, modeled in the style of an executive MBA. For busines- ses that want to thrive, and increasingly those that want to survive, grooming leaders with relevant skills to operate with competence and confidence in the age of the customer is the single biggest investment we can make in our future. Sheldon Monteiro Global Chief Technology Officer, SapientNitro Chicago Hilding Anderson Director Research Insights, SapientNitro Washington, D.C. Scott Tang Head of Global Consumer Industry Research, SapientNitro Chicago About the survey The survey was an online questionnaire distributed through two primary channels – and the 2014 Boston MarTech conference (August 18–20). Sur- vey responses were collected from August 15 to September 8, 2014. The majority (76 percent) of respondents were based in the U.S., while 24 percent were based outside the U.S. (mostly Europe and Canada). A total of 280 surveys were completed. The distribution of the sample appears to be representative of the marketing technology community, as defined by the blog and attendees from the 2014 Boston MarTech conference. SapientNitro sponsored the study and worked alongside Decision Analyst, a market research firm, to design and execute it.
  23. 23. OUR PERSPECTIVES 42 52 60 Planning (and Doing) Innovation John Cain Zachary Jean Paradis Where Have All the Brave Brands Gone? Kim Douglas Reaching Maturity: Analytics Is Only as Good as Its Data Simon James
  24. 24. 44OUR PERSPECTIVES These days, nearly everyone touts the importance of “innovation,” yet most compa- nies struggle with how to replicate it regularly. And the rise of the interconnected and increasingly digitized world has raised even more questions about innovation and agility – questions about how new technologies might be rewriting the rules. Clients frequently ask us how to produce meaningful innovation in their businesses. Amidst tremendous choice and change, the questions remain: “What is innovation? And how can we use it to deliver results?” Put simply, innovation is the process of creating value for people through new or improved products or services. And while companies do innovate regularly, many still struggle with the everyday obstacles of using innovation effectively. An understanding of how to support constant innovation systemically through internal processes, culture, methods, and tools is required. This, along with the incorporation of different approaches, can lead many firms to creating stronger value through innovation. Organizations should consider introducing a portfolio of innovation approaches to maximize agility across the finding and vetting of opportunities, the scaling of responses, and the optimization of details. Here we will address a few of the common myths that hinder organizations from integrating meaningful and continuous innovation, and recommend a set of approaches for developing your innovation mix. PLANNING (AND DOING) INNOVATION JOHN CAIN ZACHARY JEAN PARADIS With contributions from Joel Krieger, Adrian Slobin and Pinak Kiran Vedalankar
  25. 25. 45 46OUR PERSPECTIVES 2 1 Innovation myths It’s worth debunking a few of the common myths about innovation, starting with the idea that innovation only pertains to the introduction of breakthrough or disruptive products or services. This is not always the case. Incremental innovation (the improve- ment of current products, services, and processes) can be hugely valuable. A second myth suggests that inno- vation requires a focus on key, new products. But ranges and types of innovation can flow from different types of attention to people, business, or technology. Instead of one imagined scale and a single “object,” we see vari- eties of scales and differentiation in the focus of innovation: external to internal, product to system, and incremental to disruptive. FIGURE01 Different innovation approaches offer different attributes There is a range of innovation approaches available depending on your objectives. For some, incremental approaches focused on optimization and platform evolution make sense. For others, labs, pilots, and start-ups are a better approaches. Each has different criteria for planning, scaling, and agility. With so much innovation present in the innovation process itself, the third myth is that there is a single approach to innovation. As you’ll see, there is actually a range that enables different types of agility to increase the hit rate of innovation at every level. Innovation approaches Along the range from incremental to breakthrough, we see four main appro- aches to innovation in large organiza- tions (see Figure 1): analytics-driven optimization, hybrid agile, labs and pi- lots, and the spinout of a (lean) start-up. Analytics and optimization Analytics and optimization are often seen as necessary evils rather than opportunities for innovation. Driving value from this approach assumes rapid implementation of changes and a team with a test-and-learn attitude. Aggregat- ing a series of apparently minor A/B an- alytics-driven tweaks in a programmatic way can be shockingly beneficial. It’s a tremendous way to evolve your current business and platform to maximize per- formance. SapientNitro’s Global Lead of Analytics, Simon James, calls this the “war of marginal gains.” For a recent client, our analytics teams identified more than 100 potential improvements to digital touchpoints, which we projected to result in a total uplift of over $46 million. For a separate client, we hypothesized that a persistent shopping cart would improve customer satisfaction and increase conversion. FIGURE02 Typical release schedules versus a hybrid agile approach Moving from a typical quarterly release schedule to a monthly hybrid agile approach reduces risk and speeds the release of enhancements to the market. Ultimately, this allows more innovation, sooner. Release 2 Release 1 Release 3 Release 2Release 1 Release 4Release 3 Release 6Release 5 Release 8Release 7 Typical Release Schedule Hybrid Agile Release Schedule The brand actively improved this (and several other original recommenda- tions), driving an additional $25 million in annual revenue. These incremental innovations only come if the analyt- ics-driven approach (along with the team) is understood, valued, and included in the innovation portfolio. Hybrid agile The second approach, “hybrid agile,” seeks to deliver the benefits found in agile development, while also permit- ting the long-term horizons typical in large companies. Unlike more tradi- tional agile (e.g., Scrum), hybrid agile is a better fit for large programs with dependencies across multiple groups. We often see large organizations with heavy planning processes built around quarterly (or even less frequent) releases. Internal teams are doing more in each release, thereby accumulating risk without value with every unreleased change rather than splitting the risk and value introduced over smaller releases. Moving to a hybrid agile approach might break a set of what would originally be three releases over eight months to one release per month (see Figure 2). For a top retailer, we led a program to redesign across the brand’s digital touchpoints, re-platform its core capa- bilities, and move the organization from a quarterly release cycle to a monthly hybrid agile model. The “hybrid” part of hybrid agile allows for the introduc- tion of milestones around each agile delivery release (ADR), which enables reprioritization both within and between ADRs. Key enhancements were intro- duced within a month of re-launch, increasing conversion and sales while simultaneously minimizing risk for later enhancements. The bulk of major enhancements or platform builds that companies execute would be best achieved through a hybrid agile approach. Ultimately, these enhancements can flow from different types of innovation, such as identified customer needs, industry improve- ments in core capabilities, or internal process evolution. Analytics Optimization Evolve Platform Hybrid Agile Build/Evolve Platform Labs Pilots Identify New Platforms (Lean) Start-up Identify New Businesses Incremental Breakthrough Planning Scale Agility Analytics Optimization Hybrid Agile Labs Pilots (Lean) Start-up
  26. 26. 4847 Package Test, Learn, Iterate Idea Generation FIGURE03 Lab-based approach for a partner innovation lab Lab-based approaches use a traditional top-down methodology. Hypothesis- driven, they are organized around an open-ended hunt for solutions. Unlike the Second Story approach (see Figure 5, right), this traditional approach starts with the hunt, not the technology. Opportunity Spaces Context Building Knowledge Artifacts: Basic Knowledge Knowledge Artifacts: Learning Perspectives Drive Adoption Discovery Ask Driven Self Directed Idea Driven Executable Idea Hunt 3Labs pilots The next two approaches share similar intents, but assign differing levels of autonomy and responsibility to teams. The lab approach marries a dedicated team to a distinct physical environment, purpose-built with state-of-the-art tools. As an organization, a lab understands opportunity spaces in a usefully ambigu- ous way, organizing explorations around an open-ended hunt with high standards, but loosely defined goals (see Figure 3). This can be a tricky line to walk, and doing it well requires a willingness to “kill your darlings” before the rabbit hole gets too deep. Over the past two years, SapientNitro has invested in a series of labs across five North American offices, building off of capabilities from our acquisi- tion of Second Story. Second Story was, initially, a small interdisciplinary design studio that was tackling critical areas with explicitly lab-based approaches and obsessed with the intersection of digital and environments – blended physical-digital worlds which were becoming ever more prevalent and not well understood. Needless to say, this is a critical new space for those in retail, hospitality, financial services, and sports. With the expansion across North America, Second Story is poised to help a much broader set of our clients innovate. Second Story’s approach is different because it recognizes that there are few, if any, “best practices” which exist in this new world of blended physical-digital environments. They have deep relationships with display and other pertinent hardware manu- facturers, as well as a blend of archi- tects, content strategists, designers, and technologists. Rather than rigidly trying to solve a business challenge, they leverage an understanding of an organization’s mission, and use this to explore how technology and story can be woven together in an environment to ad- dress business problems and provide distinct value. This approach can produce incredible results, but it also forces clients and teams to accept less-bounded problems. For example, Second Story’s lab- based approach for a consumer brand addressed the unique challenge of explaining what technology and benefits exist under the skin of a product in this category. Rather than creating a big touch screen to walk customers through the product details, Second Story created a series of functional spike solutions based on the latest capabilities found in the lab. While there were hits and misses, one specific interaction suggested a pattern not just for the specific industry, but also for the future of retail itself. The chosen solution (see Figure 4) embedded gyroscopic sensors in the products (such as an electronic device or jewelry) on wall shelves and connected them to a screen sitting behind the physical display. When no products were touched, the display cycled through videos and ima- gery that activated the space and drew SECOND STORY FIGURE05 SecondStory’slab-basedapproachincubatesbycreatingspikesolutionsinareaswherethereareno“bestpractices” Second Story’s lab-based approach starts with technology experimentation – for example laser projection and product scanning – and then links it to an overall experience vision, which ultimately links to a business challenge. This flips the traditional approach of business problem to application on its head, helping to ensure that the chosen vision is achievable, while still being cutting-edge. BUSINESS CHALLENGE (“This may help us combat Amazon by using one of our greatest strengths: the store.”) SPIKE SOLUTION (“Let’s Experiment with Pico Projectors on different surfaces: I bet some will look cool!”) SPIKE SOLUTION (“Laser projection looks awesome. Let’s figure that out.”) SPIKE SOLUTION (“Let’s learn how to scan stuff because scanning is a fascinating technology.”) APPROACHES TO INNOVATION Incubation Focused DESIGN/IMPLEMENT THE EXPERIENCE UNIQUE EXPERIENCE VISION (“We can use these technologies to bring traditional utilitarian e-com- merce paradigms into the physical space as a delightful experience!”) FIGURE04 Second Story’s product-as-Interface proof of concept One specific innovation created in the Second Story lab was a product-as- interface proof of concept. In this exam- ple, the shoe controlled a digital inter- face that highlighted relevant features. customers in. This not-yet-interactive scene then transformed once a customer picked up the product. As he/she turned the product to inspect different aspects of its construction, corresponding infor- mation was displayed on the screen behind it. In this way, the actual product for sale – the electronics device or piece of jewelry – became the primary interface for the interactive experience. This birthed the core in-store design paradigm of “product as interface,” and we’re seeing the relevance of this notion play out in a variety of categories. Second Story’s lab-based conditions for success enable this type of innovation to occur.
  27. 27. 49 50OUR PERSPECTIVES Inventing something entirely new is not the only worthwhile output of a lab. In a retail lab, we examined a start-up that claimed its technology could drive a recommendation engine that would radically increase revenue on our client’s massive e-commerce site. The lab was able to quickly create a large-scale, working proof of concept with the technology to determine if the start-up was everything it said it was or if it was too good to be true. Unfortu- nately, it proved to be the latter. The lab protected a tremendous amount of resources by being able to evaluate the new platform. SapientNitro is involved with various sector-focused client labs that are seeking to identify new platforms or adjacent businesses germane to an industry. We’ve helped retailers explore retail, insurers explore health, and banks explore financial services, all with the explicit intent of discovering technology-based platforms or adjacent businesses.The opportunity spaces and hunts explored have been focused on the context of the industries themselves, combined with the latest technology, and applied to the prob- lems and opportunities that we see in people’s behavior. 4Lean start-up The last approach is focused on a sin- gle opportunity space. Lean start-ups are undertaken with the idea of creating both a business and a product. A great example of a successful start-up stemming from a large organization is “giffgaff,” spun out of the UK mobile telecom, O2, in 2009. Leaders at 02 recognized an opportunity for a mobile carrier built on a new business model. Created in late 2009, “giffgaff” is a SIM-only mobile network targeting price-sensitive, digital-savvy customers who avoid traditional networks. The network attempts to reward its customers for doing much of the work normally done by employees – namely, customer service and promotion.1 This customer-driven business model is something O2 could not execute within the company itself given its manage- ment’s focus on incremental growth. As a separate entity, however, it had a definite market impact. And “giffgaff” continues to be successful. Its financial performance was helped by a loyal customer base and it was named Best Telecom Provider in 2014.2 Most major corporations could use this lean start-up approach when they identify a key opportunity within the market, but don’t see a way to pull it off within their current structure. 1 Wikipedia. giffgaff. 2 Which? Tech Daily. “Why giffgaff is our Best Telecom Services Provider 2014. phone-networks/why-giffgaff-is-our-best-telecom-services-provider-which-awards-2014/. FIGURE06 Set of concepts and enablers Venator focuses on exploring “opportunity spaces” – areas or trends that we believe will have a substantial impact on our digitally-enabled world. Opportunity spaces are on two levels: Concepts, which are high-level categories that combine different emerging technologies toward a solution, and Enablers (the emerging technologies themselves). Venator is SapientNitro’s internal innovation team. It’s a small, highly specialized group that integrates business, technology, user experi- ence, and data science expertise with a core mission to identify, create, and invest in breakthrough innovation. Venator, Latin for “hunter,” focuses on discovering key innovation trends and understanding what impact they will have on the intersection of technology and story. The group is a driving force for stewarding clients to see around corners toward what’s next. The inspiration behind Venator came from co-running an innovation center with a client. We realized that a similar model, operating indepen- dent of any single client, could act as a vehicle in defining our industry’s future. The team focuses on three main areas: • Sourcing and assessing innovative start-ups to discover companies that are solving business problems in new and unique ways, but are likely not on the radar of our corporate clients. • Engaging in research and deve- lopment activities that employ emerging technologies to explore key topics of interest that are trending and relevant to our clients’ thinking. • Evaluating potential strategic investments in start-ups that SapientNitro should consider. The opportunity areas that Venator focuses on include a set of concepts and enablers that run across our business and clients (see Figure 6). Venator regularly collaborates with leading venture capital firms and the investment community, top uni- versities, and corporate innovation labs. The team will also collaborate internally with other hubs of innova- tion, such as the Second Story Labs, Instrumented Intelligence, and client teams. We see Venator as another key differ- entiator that reinforces our position as a new breed of agency, breaking boundaries where technology and story meet. With the momentum of our recent recognition as a leader in the Forrester Innovation Wave, Venator has become more relevant than ever before. VENATOR CONCEPTS Virtual Reality Digital Augmentation of Physical Worlds Inspiration Discovery Internet of Things Participatory Economy Alternative Distribution Real-Time Experience Optimization Advanced Analytics/Insights Customizable Products/Services ENABLERS Machine Learning Multisensory Recognition Robotics Non-Conventional Interfaces Sensors Cognitive Science 3-D Printing Wearable Computing Location Detection 50
  28. 28. 51 52OUR PERSPECTIVES John Cain Vice President, Strategy and Analysis, SapientNitro Chicago Zachary Jean Paradis Director Experience Strategy, SapientNitro Chicago Conclusion Every day, large organizations struggle with how to maximize innovation, not realizing that their struggle stems primarily from the singularity of mindset and process with which they approach problems and opportunities. What they might need, in fact, is a portfolio of approaches that enables different altitudes of investigation and types of agility. Each of the four approaches has its benefits in specific scenarios. Focusing – even obsessing – over analytics and optimization can garner real rewards. The hybrid agile approach can be used to accelerate delivery of complex enhancements more quickly. Labs and pilots are good ways of exploring new technology platforms and collaborating with start-ups. And the ability to spin out start-ups allows for the quick test- ing of entirely new business models. There is no one-size-fits-all to innovation; however, by varying their approaches, companies can maximize the potential hit-rate of their innovation investments. Six innovation principles While each approach is capable of attacking opportunities with differing scales, time horizons, and concreteness, there are six innovation principles that can be applied in any context: PORTFOLIOS NOT PROJECTS Innovation in large organizations is maximized by understanding which problems align with which approaches. Consider how your set of opportunities aligns to potential teams and approaches. MOVE THROUGH THE INSIGHT MAKE MEASURE CYCLE QUICKLY At every level of innovation, the faster a team can move to drive change and then measure its effect, the better it will perform. INNOVATION MUST BE PEOPLE-CENTRIC (EVENTUALLY) Innovation can be effectively driven by technology and organizational work, but it is ultimately realized by understanding how it solves problems for people. THINK BEYOND THE FOUR WALLS OF YOUR ORGANIZATION Don’t think that a problem has to be solved only within your team. The culture of experimenters in the innovation space lends itself to collaboration and idea-sharing. Creating an innovation network is an important component of creat- ing an internal innovation offering. BEST PRACTICES DO NOT DRIVE LEADERSHIP If your goal is to drive leadership or breakthrough innovation, then perhaps asking your teams or partners to produce best practice reports is not the best solution. Breakthrough innovation comes from focus directed at your customers’ ecosystems and larger journeys, the exploration of new tech- nologies, or the experimentation of new business models. It doesn’t necessarily come from what your competitors are already doing. NOT EVERY TEAM MEMBER IS READY OR WILLING TO MOVE AT LAB PACE Labs may sound exciting, but they can be tremendously difficult. They require constant reprioritization, and ask team members for a level of rigor and focus that many cannot – or do not wish to – invest.
  29. 29. 54OUR PERSPECTIVES53 What do Robin Williams, the World Cup, and Ebola all have in common? They were Google’s three most searched terms in 2014. Not a single for-profit brand found itself in the top ten because of its marketing campaigns. Wondering why? Well, it might surprise some marketers to discover that consumers are not likely to go to the Internet for advertising. Brands and agencies that are committed to finding ways to enter their consumers’ always-on worlds have a special sort of bravery. They see in new technologies and media a call to step away from the familiarity of “trusted” messaging and media strategies, and to start experimenting with new, non-traditional marketing initiatives that thrive in the digital environment. Responding to that challenge means that they must welcome digital’s unique opportunities versus simply repurposing existing assets from traditional channels. BrandsthattreattheInternetlikeatraditionaladvertisingmedium oftenirritate,ratherthanengage,people. As with the launching of any new medium, the first instinct is to adapt current media successes to the new channel. This “horseless carriage” thinking is why we still find YouTube pre-rolls (reformulated TV commercials) and banner ads (reformulated print ads) all over the Internet. But brands are slow to admit that these placements do not always work as well as they had hoped. Accepting disappointing returns on time, creative, energy, and media investments is not the brave course to follow. WHERE HAVE ALL THE BRAVE KIM DOUGLAS BRANDS GONE?
  30. 30. 55 56OUR PERSPECTIVES 1 PR Newswire. “Younger Viewers Find Targeted Ads More Invasive Than Older Viewers.” http://www.prnews ads-more-invasive-than-older-viewers-267164601.html. 2 Ruder Finn. “RF Intent Index.” Updated quarterly, accessed May 15, 2015. 3,4 Mashable. “Internet Users Send 204 Million Emails Per Minute.” every-minute/. 5 Apple. “iTunes Store Sets New Record with 25 Billion Songs Sold.” 02/06iTunes-Store-Sets-New-Record-with-25-Billion-Songs-Sold.html. 6 We Are Social. “Digital, Social Mobile Worldwide in 2015.” mobile-worldwide-2015/. INFORMATION Google it! Information gathering is the highest rated category of people’s time on the web. • 91% go online to research • 89% go online to remain informed • 82% go online to educate themselves2 ENTERTAINMENT Just for the fun of it. 84% of those surveyed claim to use the web primarily for entertainment, explaining why, every 60 seconds of every day: • YouTube adds 72 hours of new videos3 • Instagram users upload 48,600 photos4 • And 15,000 tracks are downloaded from iTunes5 SOCIAL INTERACTION Making connections. Consumers look to the web to socialize, express themselves, and advocate personal belief systems. On a global scale, there are two-thirds as many active social media accounts (2.08 billion) as there are active Inter- net users (3.01 billion people).6 SERVICE Can I do it online? This is probably the consumer request heard most frequently by brands. Consumers expect: • To perform offline functions online • Brands to provide any service any time of day Consequently, brands that fail to meet one or another of the consumer’s “need states” are struggling to make tried and tested offline advertising principles work in new, and very different, digital environments. Four consumer need states In our experience, there are four predominant needs that drive consumers to the web: information, service, entertainment, and social interaction. In a recent study of online ad viewer- ship, over 50 percent of viewers – across all age brackets – found both targeted and non-targeted ads to be equally intrusive. Also noteworthy, the survey revealed that only 10 percent of respondents believe that online video advertising (despite its ease in audience targeting) is actually tailored to them correctly.1 These numbers aren’t new. Statistics and insights like these have been readily available for brands to digest and apply for some time now, yet adap- tation to the changed environment has been slow. Perhaps this is because brands are overwhelmed by the barrage of digital opportunities; they’ve gone from run- ning print and broadcast campaigns to maintaining multiple social, digital, live streaming, print, and broadcast mes- sages (often for the same budget). Often then, it seems that brand managers find themselves coping by becoming managers of agencies, rather than acting as marketing entre- preneurs pursuing clear visions of their brands’ futures. Power to the people Unfortunately for marketers, consumers have increasingly more control over how, when, and even if they see an advertisement online. A few clicks is all it takes to skip a YouTube pre-roll, hide a sponsored post on Facebook, or choose to pay for ad-free streaming. In short, digital audiences are not cap- tive (and they know it), and they have the power to opt in and out of “interrup- tive messaging.” Brave brands see in new technologies and media a call to step away from the familiarity of “trusted” messaging and media strategies, and to start experimenting with new, non-traditional marketing initiatives that thrive in the digital environment.
  31. 31. 57 58OUR PERSPECTIVES Lufthansa’s Travel Companion platform – built for the Apple Watch and for the iPhone and iPad – is a great example of digital technology facilitating always-on Story Systems. The watch app, in particular, is a seamless, hands-free way of providing upcoming flight information such as the terminal, boarding time or seat number. FIGURE01 7 Macrumors. “Spotify Approaching 10M Paying Users, Revenue May Soon Surpass iTunes in Europe.” So, what does a courageous brand look like? To be brave, brands need to re-evaluate their roles in both the online and offline lives of their consumers, a step often involving accepting difficult truths. Core organizational structures and the traditional funding practices of marketing are being challenged at the same time as demands for results are increasing. It’s akin to changing the wheels while the car is moving, and it requires that brands become more flexible with their roles. Brave brands should envision how digi- tal technology can facilitate always-on story systems, creating an optimal range of roles in consumers’ experien- ces. For instance, if your business relies on selling products, it is worth considering how your digital experience can provide a service layer that serves another need state. And vice versa. If you offer a service, think about what products can bolster that service to deliver scale and growth. Brave brands have removed their fin- gers from the triggers of purely tradi- tional advertising scatterguns. They have embraced consumers’ newfound powers and have taken the time to un- derstand need states before engaging consumers in a dialogue. Nike, for example, has repeatedly revolutionized its original brand offering over the past five years, shifting from ads to hardware and now to apps. Ini- tially focused on producing ads about sportswear (as well as sponsorship), Nike started by building the Nike+ FuelBand, its proprietary hardware that directly provides consumers with relevant information about themselves. And as wearable devices continue to proliferate, Nike has now pivoted again toward software creation – apps that live on other brands’ hardware – to enhance its digital platform and engage its customers. With the launch of the Apple Watch, the Motorola Moto 360, and many others, Nike has an oppor- tunity to put its brand on the wrists – and in the real lives – of aspiring and serious runners alike. Similarly, Spotify challenged Apple in music streaming by offering a music product more deeply founded upon the sharing economy, and capitalizing on social network integration, peer recom- mendations, and a “freemium” on-ramp monetization model. It has become a one-stop shop for listening to, sorting, and sharing music across devices, besting Apple’s iTunes in terms of reve- nue for some record labels – at least in its European home market.7 Focusing on a different need state, Red Bull has reimagined modern media practices by avoiding paid-for interruption entirely and moving into the production of entertainment itself. The brand has become a major producer of content through initiatives such as Red Bull Rampage, Red Bull Stra- tos, and regular live experiences that generate tremendous digital activity and engagement. Both Samsung and Cheerios found social media success with quick-witted (and subsequently viral) responses to the 2014 Oscar Awards and 2015 Super Bowl. The Samsung “ad” – a photo by Oscar host, Ellen DeGeneres – had twelve A-list stars in it and lev- eraged the event’s real-time audience to generate 3.3 million retweets and 2 million favorites. It also briefly crashed Twitter’s servers. The photo was taken by a device made by Samsung (the main sponsor that year) and they claimed it was unplanned. Cheerios also cleverly chose a real-time moment to promote its trademark pro- duct: When New England’s Malcolm Butler picked off a pass by Russell Wilson at the goal line to seal a win in the 2015 Super Bowl game for the Patriots. At that moment, Cheerios tweeted an image of its renowned cereal (shaped like an “O”), along with the caption “Everyone's mouth right now.” Both Samsung and Cheerios accom- plished their marketing not through traditional ads, but rather by being ready to seize a momentary opportu- nity during live cultural events and appealing to consumers’ delight in social interaction. All of these brands have found success by identifying a gap and inserting them- selves – authentically – into consumers’ online conversations.