Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Customer Relationship Management Is Not About Tools, But About People

I could have chosen a different title for this video, but as I wanted a larger spectrum for the ideas of this video. This video has been filmed during last year Leweb event. Chris Pirillo is discussing about community.

Indeed community management is nowadays a hot topic for companies, and we see community management job description blossoming all over the Internet. Companies start to understand how important it is to connect with customers, and the great shift media are experiencing, from mass media like TV or newspaper, to the Internet, and especially social media.

But these companies are thinking in an empirical way, which might not be appropriate with the media. Indeed, there are tons of tools to drive these community activities, through services like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, Foursquare among others. But what really matters, in order to make your community management strategy works, it is people.

People are the ones who create the community
You can not create your own community around your brand. People are. This is what explains in this video. What really matters, in order to create a strong community, is the culture your company has, the culture which surrounds its product, even more than the corporate culture, that might even be perceived in a different way.

You can not control nor create a community. You should guide them. This is a very interesting concept, because it links your branding and your community management strategies.

Your brand results in your brand culture, which you will be able to build your community on.

But this is the very same thing with customer relationship management. For so long people have been talking about CRM softwares and programs, occulting totally the ultimate goal, customer relationship. By focusing on the tools, they have created some non sense situation, where customer service and satisfaction has decreased, because the way the company interacts with them doesn't make anysense.

Both community and customer relationship management are linked. Community and social media is a new medium for customer relationship management. The different is that social media requires a new approach focused on people and not on tools.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Mastering The 4 C's Of BtoB Marketing

You might know the 4 Ps of marketing, which is one of the basics professors might have talked to you about in your first class. But as marketing is a wide science which will evolve depending on the industry and your place in the market, I found this very interesting article about the 4 C's of btob marketing.

I have worked in the marketing field for a btob company, PB Gelatin, in Davenport IA. It has been a very fun experience, because I was in a totally unknown market, and as an intern, I understood a lot about btob issues and how it was different from btocs. Therefore, having an appropriate strategy really matters.

According to this article, the 4 C’s of B2B Marketing are:

  • Content – the creation of a steady stream of engaging content
  • Connection – connecting with the audience you wish to attract
  • Communication – communicating with them in an ongoing conversation
  • Conversion – and then converting them at the illusive moment of need

Now what is interesting with these 4 Cs, it is that they are all a component of a community, and actually of the concept of web 2.0. Therefore, mastering the web 2.0 sphere could give you an incredible advantage upon competition.

This is the reason why I have always considered the Internet as one of the best tool you could use for your business to business activity, especially blogging. Because as you are blogging:
  1. You create content, that shows out your expertise, and also gives the will to engage the conversation
  2. By blogging, you set up a relationship with your audience, that may come back, comment your posts, and even contact you.
Therefore, I believe that in any btob company, you should have blogging activities. What do you think about it?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

US Oil Companies Are Setting Up Partnerships For Loyalty Reward Programs

Loyalty reward programs aim to keep your customers into your clientele, and hence to maximise your sales/customers by making sure he won't go to the competition. If loyalty reward programs involve a reward system, it does not necessarly imply to give some of your actual products, or even some special offers in your store.

Hence, there are some very interesting loyalty reward programs that are set by several companies. This is what is happening in the US Oil market.

"In what one loyalty provider called ’a huge turn’ in how loyalty plays out in the convenience store channel, oil companies have launched or are in the process of initiating large-scale programs involving price rollbacks, grocery-store ties and their own branded credit cards," reports cspnet.com. "San Antonio, Texas-based Valero is the latest to confirm that it is in the testing phases of a loyalty program that could potentially be rolled out to its entire network. While ’still under development,’ officials told CSP Daily News that their California pilot program ’worked well.’ Though too early in development to discuss details, the official said rewards kick in after a certain number of fillups or purchases, with one of the incentives being free movie rentals from DVD kiosks."

Also in the article: "Just last month, Houston-based Shell and Cincinnati-basedKroger Cos. announced a partnership involving grocery ties to fuel-reward redemption. Beginning February 15, Kroger and Shell said they would roll out the grocer rewards program in Cincinnati and Dayton, Ohio; Knoxville and Nashville, Tenn., and San Diego. Customers can earn rewards including a minimum of 10 cents off a gallon of gasoline for every 100 Fuel Points they earn by using their free loyalty cards when purchasing a variety of products inside Kroger and Ralphs stores. Last fall, Houston-based BP announced a loyalty agreement with Irving, Texas-based Excentus Corp. to work with the loyalty provider’s fuelperks! program. The companies announced that BP will become the fuelperks! redemption partner in the majority of marketing areas in which BP operates."

"These moves represent the most significant turn of events regarding loyalty in the channel since Speedway SuperAmerica LLC (SSA) established a formidable program within its 1,600 stores five years ago, according to Anton Bakker, president of Outsite Networks, Norfolk, Va. The sheer numbers involved back his assessment, with as many as 8,000 BP sites, many in major U.S. markets, being eligible for upgrade."

What is very interesting about this idea, is that you could get a good customer relationship management strategy by setting up some key partnership with some companies that your customers visit, and hence propose a wider range of services to your customers.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How The World Is Connected

One of the main result of globalization has been that most of countries economies are interconnected. The subprime crisis has been a great example of it. The national US real estate market has collapsed, and had lead to the main financial crisis the world experienced since the great depression.

If the world has been bipolar after the second world war, divided in two groups of same strength, the fall of the Soviet Union drove the world into a global market. I have found this great picture, which maps all the different major global risks and how they are interconnected to each other. The fact is that we are in a complex world, composed by thousands of different potential risks of all kind, which makes it difficult to read through and to find simple solutions.

Of course, you may try to find easy solutions for segmented problems, like a sandwich composed by layers you would add on to each others. But as you solve a problem, the component of your solutions have great chances to impact other components. I think this idea of mapping an interconnected world is very interesting.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

If You Can Harness Social Media You Don't Have To Pay For Advertising Anymore

These words come from Sequoia Capital partner Mark Kvamme, in a New York Times interview he accorded. Mark Kvamme is a venture capitalist, which had some experience in social media. Indeed, he believes that social media is way cheaper than advertising, and with the Spike of uses of those social network, you can have a large audience to interract with.

I believe that advertising is still very powerful, but somehow, I think he is write. We are still far from this era where we won't need advertising for mass media marketing. But at some point, we have already some examples of companies which would rather spend money on social media than on TV advertising. As a matter of fact, more and more advertisers switch their budgets from TV, which TV markets is collapsing, to the Internet, which is actually becoming the main investment.

Social media could be way more efficient than advertising, because it allows customers to interract with a brand, and there for provide a great customer relationship.

What is interesting, it is that it is not the words of an advertiser, but of a venture capitalist, which is more interested into return on investment than on brand equity. I believe this is a sign.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Marketers Facing Information overload

Information and data are very important to marketers. Marketing is based on monitoring markets, in order to identify trends and opportunities, and then to measure the return of the different campaigns. Hence, information systems have provided them with tons of data. Especially, those companies who own CRM programs are most of the time overwhelmed with data.

A new study has bolded this fact.
Although marketers collect large amounts of data, they struggle to apply that information to their campaigns, according to a study of global marketers by Unica, an analytics and integrated marketing firm.
“The State of Marketing 2010” survey found that 70% of marketers say the data issue is “very important,” while 24% said it is “somewhat important.” Unica and independent research company Salloway & Associates surveyed 200 online and direct marketers for the report.
“This proliferation of channels is creating a lot data, but marketers don't always know what to do with this data,” said Jay Henderson, director of product marketing at Unica. “They have plenty of data and not enough insights, and they struggle to turn them into action.”
Indeed, a lot of CRM programs provide large amount of data, but it requires know how, expertise and people to analyze and then to get information that you could base your future campaigns onto.

I believe this is the reason why it is important, while owning large amount of data, to actually focus on small projects, and very simple issues to leverage the potential of it. But that studies shows that owning lots of data don’t necessarily mean you’ll have a competitive advantage. What really matters is being able to leverage it for efficient marketing campaigns.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Kraft Iphone App Case Study

I have checked the Kraft Iphone app for quite a while. I believe it is very nicely done. I have found this interview of Ed Kaczmarek, Director of Inovation and Consumer Experiences at Kraft Foods. He gives us some insight about the application.

Kraft Foods launched the iFood Assistant in late November 2008 and released the upgraded iFood Assistant 2.0 a year later. The $0.99 app offers access to more than 7,000 recipes, cooking tips, a shopping list builder and how-to videos commingled with ads for Kraft brands. Ed Kaczmarek, director of innovation, consumer experience, discusses the branding goals of the iFood Assistant and insights into consumers’ app usage.

eMarketer: What is the goal of the app?

Ed Kaczmarek: Ultimately, our goal is to engage the consumer in a meaningful and relevant way. We want to make their life easier and to get closer to them during the point of purchase.

eMarketer: How does the app work?

Mr. Kaczmarek: The iFood Assistant provides a Recipe of the Day idea for seven days, as well as Dinner Tonight suggestions. It allows users to search our database of over 7,000 tested recipes, all with photos. We have a What’s on Hand search where they can type in up to three items they have and the app will offer recipe suggestions for those three items.
There’s a full-functioning shopping list that’s been refined a bit so that users can now check off items as they shop.

eMarketer: How do you promote the app to consumers?

Mr. Kaczmarek: We promote it across all of our Kraft channels, so it’s promoted on KraftFoods.com, KraftCanada.com. We have a recipe by e-mail that goes out on a weekly basis so we have periodic promotion there.
“We’ve concentrated on the mobile ad network and it’s very beneficial.”
We’ve concentrated on the mobile ad network and it’s very beneficial because we’re able to track actual conversion. We’ve added code into the app for the different ad networks. These have been efficient media buys that have driven a good amount of downloads for us.

eMarketer: How does the app interact with the online channel?

Mr. Kaczmarek: Users can sign in to iFood Assistant and their recipe box and shopping list will also be saved online. So if they’re at the computer, they can go to KraftFoods.com and access that recipe or shopping list. At any point, they can e-mail a recipe or shopping list to themselves or a friend.

eMarketer: What are the social hooks that are built into the iFood Assistant? For example, can users upload their own recipes?

Mr. Kaczmarek: We have that capability on the Website, but we have not yet activated it on the iFood platform. The social media hook right now is being able to send the different items to themselves or someone else. They can e-mail any recipe or their entire shopping list. We activated push notification where they can choose any day of the week and a time to be reminded of the Recipe of the Day or Dinner Tonight, even if the app is off. We also added a promotions and announcements section where we can notify users if something special is happening.

eMarketer: Since the iFood Assistant’s launch, how many downloads have you had?
“Six months after people download the app, we are experiencing over 60% of continued user engagement, which we feel is phenomenal.”

Mr. Kaczmarek: We do not share our download information, but what we’ve noticed is that six months after people download the app, we are experiencing over 60% of continued user engagement, which we feel is phenomenal. If you look at any of the stats out there, it’s more like 5% continued engagement two months after download.

eMarketer: Can you share any insights about consumer interactions with the app that were surprising or unusual?

Mr. Kaczmarek: We have 25% men using the platform, which was surprising to us. Also, over 90% of the people signing in to the iFood Assistant are new to the Kraft Foods environment so it has really been a great acquisition vehicle for us. Another observation is that when people share recipes, they definitely e-mail them more than they send them via text message.

eMarketer: How does the app promote the Kraft brand overall?
“The most important thing is we’re providing utility above branding.”

Mr. Kaczmarek:It’s a halo of innovation and helps position Kraft as contemporary. It really has connected us to the consumer closer to the point of purchase in a relevant way. The most important thing is we’re providing utility above branding. It enables all of our brands to connect with consumers because they are being included as a recipe ingredient. We also have advertising within different places in the app.

Here are some remarkable points of this interview, which you should think about while creating an Iphone App:

  • Iphone apps are meant to improve customer experience. As we have seen with Kraft: 60% of people who downloaded the application was still using it afterward.
  • The mobile advertising network could give you a real boost to promote the application. Indeed, the easiest way to download and use the application is by using a mobile webpage to download and set the application right away.
  • Iphone applications are a tool for coach branding. Coach branding is an important element because it sets the brand as an expert of its product, and allows the brand to enter the every day life of customers. This is the main reason why I believe the Iphone application is the best customer relationship management tool so far.

    You would like to discuss about mobile application topics? Please leave a comment to start the conversation.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Risky Single Distribution Channel Strategy: Nexus One’s Case Study

Distribution channel strategy is one of the main key factor of success for a commercial success. I believe that it is more and more complicated to rely on a single distribution channel, as it could have been thought couple of years ago.

One of the best case is Nespresso. Nespresso is one of the leading company in the coffee machine and capsules market. Even though they aren’t distributed in retails, they have applied a multi channel strategy:

  • By phone
  • By direct marketing tools
  • But now they are developing some retails activites for both a branding strategy and sales purpose.

Now I have read this interesting article about why the Nexus One launch. Indeed, Nexus One has decided for a online only retail strategy. But in fact, this decision may have a great impact on the slow start they have.

Google don’t have no experience neither in E commerce nor in any kind of retailing. Retailers, even though it has a price to deal with, are experts, and are able to market properly such a product to make it a success. For a mass market product, it is important not to rely only on Internet retailing.

If you compare to how the Iphone has been set there is a large difference. Apple is already present in electronics stores, and have an e commerce website they master. Hence, I believe Google should try to set partnership with larger retailers to boost its Nexus One sales.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Facebook Generates More Visits Than Google

Facebook has passed Google in terms of frequentation between March 7th to 13th. This is the first time Facebook is more frequented than Google, establishing 7,07% of the overall Internet frequentation, versus 7,03% for the Mountain View firm.

One year ago, Facebook was counting only for 2%, whereas Google has grown by a little 1.03 points. Of course, Google’s search engine market is more mature than Facebook, but this is an important step for web 2.0. Hence, for the first time, its main actor overpassed a 1.0 monster.
“The true value of Facebook and social networks is just becoming clear to marketers,” said Augie Ray, analyst at Forrester Research.

Facebook has doubled in a year its number of users, from 200 to 400 millions. Now these results only count google.com activities, and occult for example gmail or Google maps results, which if we sum up counts for 11.03%.

Now Google remains way more profitable than Facebook. Moreover, I believe that the operational costs of Google, which is mainly text indexation are far lower than Facebook, which hosts videos, pictures, chatting activities and so on. The main difference in terms of revenue generation capabilities between both is Google’s advertising program which rocks and is way on top of the line. Facebook struggles to propose to advertisers such targeting potential.

Indeed, Google has been able to set up the perfect targeting potential with its Adwords program, and Facebook lacks of know how makes it difficult to get the same kind of return on investments.

This remains a milestone for Facebook and social media, which have hence proven they were able to compete with the largest competitors.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Google On The Edge To Live China

Couple of months ago we have seen the fight the Chinese government and Google has undertaken. Due to some pirate attacks on google.cn, Google has identified it was coming from Chinese government representatives, and therefore, have condemned those attacks. Google has already made a lot of concessions to enter the Chinese market, hiding some searches which could annoy Chinese politicians, especially related to the Tien A Men events. But it seems that Google and China has gone to a no coming back point.

If that was the case, Google would turn its back to a multi billion dollar potential market, which is probably one of the most important in the future. The results of this fight is not miscellaneous, and it might even help some of its competitors like Bing or Yahoo to gain some global market shares. Of course, I don’t think it will change dramatically the landscape of this market.

As Google stops its search engine activities, it seems obvious they will probably leave with its mobile phone activities.

In my opinion, it would be no surprise to me that China has made on purpose to make Google leave in order to help its local search engine have a boost, and hence have a chance to earn some market shares on Google worldwide. China has no remorse on preventing foreign competitors to rule its market.

What do you think about it? Do you believe this news will actually change the face of the search engine market worldwide.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Has Twitter reached its peak ?

I have written on this blog not so long ago that Twitter was working on some business plan. I was saying that it was actually a good sign that Twitter was starting to envision how they would make money out of their audience.

Now I have read this very interesting article. Indeed, it seems that since September 2009 Twitter accounts growth was flattening. Twitter and its use was starting to mature.

These results might seem some kind of disappointing, as they are far from the expectation, and moreover far from Facebook’s figures.

I believe actually that Twitter is a little bit late, and that they should have started to work on building revenues before this maturation. Indeed, Youtube was making revenues way before they reached their best scores. Twitter should have been able to generate revenues and still increase its number of accounts.

Now this may explain why Twitter is multiplying the projects on how to make money with Twitter. Its main issue is that it has already allowed some competitors to get into its own advertising market, either Google, which owns a powerful Tweet search engine, Seesmic which enable people to tweet from a computer or a mobile phone, among others.

Twitter's growth seems to have lost its momentum, according to a new study.
Growth in the micro-blogging service's number of users peaked at nearly 20% last April, but had dropped down to 0.15% in December 2009, says a study by Barracuda Networks.
Recent web analytics had already suggested that Twitter had reached its peak, as Twitter.com recorded a traffic high in July 2009 and has never reached that level since. According to Compete, Twitter reached 23.5 million users in August 2009 and stayed put. However, as Twitter client applications have grown and have become a bigger percentage of Twitter's user base, the numbers didn't necessarily reflect the actual situation of the micro-blogging service. By using the growth in Twitter users, instead of the site's traffic, the Barracuda study now puts things into perspective.
Strong growth in user numbers of 21.17% in April dropped to 10.95% in July and to 0.82% in September, and has ever been under 1% since – 0.58% in October, 0.34 in November and finally 0.15 in December. The accounts deleted by month also was growing, from 3.36% in April to 12.03% in October from which they peaked off to 8.48% and 8.14% percent in November and December.
To get these figures, Barracuda analysed more than 19 million Twitter accounts for frequency and content of tweets, user-to-user interactions, and each account's overall activity level. "We have been monitoring Twitter for more than one and a half years and keep track of the public timeline, and any new account of the public timeline," says lead researcher Nidhi Shah.
The concentrated growth of users reached its peak in April 2009, according to Barracuda
Barracuda's chief research officer, Paul Judge, explains the stagnation of Twitter with the end of "The Red Carpet Era". Twitter shows "a very concentrated growth spurt during the early part of 2009 – a period that we define as the 'Twitter Red Carpet Era'. Twitter users came online to follow their favorite celebrities. The most famous people have already joined Twitter, so I don't think they'll see another growth spurt like that," says Judge. From November 2008 to April 2009, several big celebrities, including Ashton Kutcher, Oprah Winfrey and John Mayer, joined Twitter.
In comparison, the number of Facebook users has been rising continously. According to Facebook, today 50% of the 400 million active users log on to Facebook in any given day, with more than 35 million users updating their status and more than 60 million status updates posted each day.
Another Twitter study published by US web analytics company RJMetrics last month seems to confirm Barracuda's report. It says that Twitter has 75 million users, an estimation that Barracuda roughly agrees upon, with a large percentage of accounts being inactive.
Another study by RJ Metrics says Twitter is still gaining new users, but has lost 20% of its growth since July
According to RJMetrics' data, about 80% of all Twitter users have tweeted fewer than 10 times, about 40% of accounts have never sent a single tweet, and 25% of accounts have no followers.
RJMetrics concludes that "the past six months have shown steady decline in the number of new account registrations", but the number of new users a month is currently at about 6.2 million. Their report doesn't say anything on the number of deleted accounts.
Twitter, which has not yet commented on the reports, recently announced that it had hit 50 million tweets a day. According to Barracuda's report, users are becoming more active on Twitter, with the most active users being those with about 1,000 followers.

According to internal documents leaked to TechCrunch, the company's forecast that it would go "from 25 million users at the end of 2009 to 1 billion in 2013".

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Google seeking for new branding products

Google is the king of keyword advertising. But this advertising system is far from being interesting on a branding point of view. Indeed, keyword advertising is text based, and there is no references to anykind of design or artwork.

In order to generate new revenues, Google is aiming to boost a new advertising program, on display ads. The clientele is much different than Google’s core target: Keyword advertisers are sales driven, looking to create traffic, and therefore well designed for e retailers.
Display ads are better for brand equity, and might be more appropriate for companies which don’t own a e commerce.

This is also a sign that TV advertising will continue to decrease and advertiser will focus more and more on Internet as the new mass media. TV still has an image advantage, providing a better experience while watching the commercial. But the Internet is creating new ways to have such a branding capacity.

What do you think about it?

Inside AdWords Blog Post:
New tool for brand advertisers on the Google Content Network
Two types of advertisers run campaigns across the Google Content Network. The first group, direct response advertisers, measure the success of their campaigns by looking for clicks, traffic to their sites and sales. In contrast, brand advertisers typically use display ads to raise awareness and purchase consideration for a product or service a person might buy down the road. Other advertisers are looking to achieve a combination of these goals to both drive awareness and elicit a response.
On the Google Content Network, we’ve been focused on building new capabilities that make it a great place for brand advertising of all kinds. For example, last year we introduced frequency capping to enable advertisers to manage how often their campaign reaches the right users. We’ve also developed new innovative tools to measure the impact of brand campaigns. Today, in response to feedback from brand advertisers, we’re announcing a new feature that allow these advertisers to reach their advertising goals more easily.
This feature, which filters out “Below the Fold” inventory, enables brand advertisers to be more selective about where ads appear. The new filter gives advertisers the ability to show ads only in places that appear on the user’s screen when the page loads, without requiring them to scroll down. Learn more in the Help Center.
With a host of different web browsers, monitor sizes and screen resolutions, it is hard for advertisers to predict where an ad will land, since the same placement may appear significantly different on each user’s screen. To simplify the process for advertisers, Google has implemented a statistically driven solution to determine which ads are above and below the fold. The statistically-driven model only considers ads “above the fold” if they are completely on-screen when the browser window loads.
Our goal with this release is to give brand advertisers greater control over where their ads appear, and make the Google Content Network an even more powerful, controlled environment for running, high performing brand campaigns.

Inside AdSense Blog Post:
Attracting new brand advertisers to your site
We’re constantly focused on bringing new advertisers and more advertising spend to AdSense sites. One way to do so is to make it easier for brand advertisers to reach their goals on AdSense sites. Brand advertisers are focused on raising brand awareness and driving engagement, typically with display ads, for a product or service a person may buy in the future. Brand advertisers differ from direct response advertisers, who typically look for clicks and conversions from the campaigns they run on your site.
For example, an advertiser selling DVDs online may want users to click through and make purchases, while a brand advertiser for an upcoming summer blockbuster may want to generate awareness among users. Because of their campaign goals, brand advertisers tend to be more selective about the sites their ads run on, as well as where on the page their ads appear. We want to help these new advertisers compete for the portions of your ad space that are most attractive to them so that we can increase your earnings over time.With that in mind, we’re launching a new beta advertiser feature that we believe will help accomplish this goal. The new feature enables brand advertisers to target their ads to ad units that are immediately visible when a page is loaded—in other words, the portions of the page a user can see without needing to scroll down. The ads that are immediately visible are called ‘above the fold’; those that require a user to scroll down in order to be seen are called ‘below the fold.’

In order to determine which ads are above and below the fold, we’ve implemented a tatistically-driven model. The model takes into account various user experiences and situations, including different web browsers, monitor sizes, and screen resolutions, and only considers ads above the fold if they are fully on-screen when the browser window loads.
If you’ve placed your ad units above the fold, advertisers using this feature will now be able to reach your site in a new way. If you haven’t, placing new ad units above the fold will enable them to do so. We believe this feature will help attract new brand campaigns to AdSense sites, bringing more revenue to publishers over time.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Moving Toward TV Apps

The TV concept is changing fast. The TV advertising market is plummeting and new technologies have revolutionized the way we consume it. Several changes have made TV consumption not a mass media any longer:

  • Video on Demand
    Cable TV, which provides more and more channels, more and more specialized
    The rise of P2P first, and then streaming videos on the Internet, with shorter content

    Hence, TV sets producers and high tech companies are rethinking the concept. And it would not be surprising if we will see soon enough some TV applications, which would makes the TV usage more interactive, and more compelling. Indeed, there is little difference between an Iphone and a TV except for the size. You may watch some TV shows on your mobile phone, and if you have Iphone apps, why couldn’t you use them on TV. Therefore, some companies have started to work on TV applications.

    So far, it is a struggle to launch into the market. Regulation is heavy. But I believe that the difference between a TV and a computer will be slim, and you will be able to access some nice applications, like the ones you may use on video games hardware for instance. I believe the market is penalized by the large number of TV makers, which makes it difficult to have a consensus and hence to create applications that could generate thousands of downloads. But once TV makers, and maybe a provider like Itunes has become for Iphone apps will appear, I believe this market will become very interesting.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

E merchants Willing To Monetize Their Audience

E commerce is still fast growing market, but the growth speed is decreasing as the market is becoming more mature. Hence, e retailers start to seek for new opportunities to grow.

Hence, according to Forrester, 97% of people visiting an ecommerce website leave without buying anything. The idea is to leverage this mass of people into revenues. And therefore, some big e merchants have started to use advertising on their website.

Monetizing audience of emerchant has become a strategic talk in the US. And this is no surprise to me such programs are being discussed right now. Indeed, some of these websites are among the most popular in the US. In October 2009 Walmart.com generated more than 31 million unique visits on its website. Any other content based website with this audience would be profitable.

The key is not to allow any kind of competition to advertise on their pages.

Nespresso To Face A New Challenge In The French Market

Casino, one of the largest retailer in France, has announced it will sell a private label version of the famous Nespresso capsules. Hence, Nespresso owned an exclusivity contract which allowed it to be the only producer of those capsules.

Now the exclusivity contract has come to an end, and therefore some new competitors can reach in the market. Nespresso has based its success on its exclusive mindset. Hence, you could not find any of their capsules in traditional retails. You needed to order it to Nespresso, either over the phone, on the Internet, or by catalog.

What makes Nespresso’s coffee unique was especially the high pressure the machines could provide, and hence astract the most of coffees’ flavors.

Now Nespresso has to compete on its “own market”. Customers won’t have to buy their products in order to use their machines.

What does that implies?
Nespresso had a huge competitive advantage: They owned a comprehensive data base about customers usage. As customers needed to create a profile and then order through their services the coffee, they had a clear view of custmers. This is the dream of any customer relationship manager: Have comprehensive data on which you could settle your strategy. Now this will not be possible anymore. Is it hence still worth it to keep a direct sales approach? I believe there are some chances we’ll see some capsules on sales in retails like Carrefour, Casino or Auchan.

It also implies to strengthen the image of the products quality. Because if private labels gets into the market, we should not wait for long until other competitors gets in it too. And it will be a hassle to keep a clear position in the market.

For many years Nespresso has worked on its CRM program in order to create a real club, and hence, they have a clear advantage, as the customer relationship is already legitimate.

But for how long? How will the market turn in couple of years? It will be interesting to see the strategical adjustments Nespresso will make.

What do you think about it?

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Casino place des bornes cdiscount dans ces hypermarchés

Casino vient d’annoncer qu’il allait placer des bornes de commandes « cdiscount dans ces hypermarchés ». L’objectif ? Faire le lien entre le canal de distribution Internet, en forte progression, et l’hypermarché, endroit de trafic, mais où les produits électro ménagers sont à la peine en terme de chiffre d’affaires. Ainsi stratégiquement Casino se prépare à diminuer la surface des rayons électro ménagers, tout en proposant plus de choix au consommateur.

L’idée est bien sûr intéressante, et pour être honnête, cela fait au moins 6 ans où j’ai la vision de magasins d’electroménagers sous forme de show room, sans stock ni caisse, où les vendeurs feraient vraiment du conseil et de la demonstration et où les consommateurs commanderaient sur des bornes Internet.

Mais là où j’ai un doute sur la stratégie, c’est sur le fait que cdiscount est tout de même loin du positionnement de Casino. En effet, cdiscount est un vrai discounter en ligne, et je ne pense pas que la qualité de service soit encore en mesure de remplacer celle d’un magasin Casino. De plus, la marque « cdiscount » est loin de la marque Casino, et une convergence des deux seraient souhaitables.

Maintenant, cdiscount reste tout de même une référence dans le ecommerce en France, et Casino a ainsi un avantage sur Carrefour par exemple, qui est toujours en recherche d’un partenaire pour gérer son ecommerce en Europe.

Le groupe va proposer des borne dédiée pour commander sur Cdiscount, avec l'assistance de "quelqu'un qui pourra réconforter et rassurer le client" ainsi que lui expliquer "comment opérer sur Internet". Le groupe Casino compte ainsi amener les clients de ses magasins sur son site Internet de ventes d'électroniques et de culture, Cdiscount. Le PDG du groupe, Jean-Charles Naouri, explique que "certains clients n'aiment pas passer par Internet, notamment les clients âgés. Ils sont méfiants, notamment du paiement en ligne, à tort ou à raison".Le groupe Casino compte ainsi proposer une offre "plus large qu'en hypermarché" avec l'exemple de la dizaine de machines à laver en hypermarché Géant contre 150 références sur Cdiscount. "Nous pensons qu'il y a quelques catégories" de produits "comme le gros électroménager sur lesquels sur une longue période il y aura un glissement au détriment des hypermarchés" prévoit le PDG.Cette stratégie s'inscrit en plus de la volonté de Casino de proposer un service de "drive". Casino, à l'instar d'autres enseignes, va proposer de passer commande sur le site Internet du supermarché et d'aller la chercher en magasin avec sa voiture.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Carrefour lance Promo Libre (2)

Je souhaiterai revenir sur le lancement de « Promo Libre » par Carrefour. En effet, le système est novateur en terme de programme de fidélisation mais aussi de gestion de la relation client.

En effet, Promo Libre permet de choisir ses promotions, et ainsi, Carrefour reprend sa liberté en terme de promotions. En effet, la plupart du temps, les distributeurs proposent aux consommateurs des mécaniques promotionnelles proposées par les industriels et ainsi, ces choix ne sont pas forcément basé sur l’intérêt du client, mais plutôt sur les opportunités offertes par les fournisseurs. Maintenant, ce système est pervers, mais permettaient de proposer des offres promotionnelles très fortes, tels le « 1 acheté = 1 gratuit », qui est impossible à réaliser sans un fournisseur. Ainsi, il va être difficile de piloter la marge.

La deuxième chose qui est fascinante, c’est que ce programme soit reprise par l’ensemble des formats de la marque Carrefour : Carrefour hypermarché, Carrefour market, Carrefour City et Carrefour Contact. En effet, chaque format a ses spécificités, ses largeurs de gammes, et être capable de faire une campagne promotionnelle cross format est très intéressant. C’est certainement un exemple des synergies que Carrefour attend de ces enseignes, et la raison pour laquelle il a décidé de changer les noms des différentes enseignes.

Maintenant, il sera intéressant de voir les prochaines offres issues de « Promo Libre », pour identifier l’utilisation qui en est faite.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

How To Turn Twitter Profitable ?

The latest news from Twitter is that they are working on a business model to actually earn some money pretty soon. I believe the crisis and the questions about its economic potential have driven its CEOs to speed their revenues search.
Twitter has announced they are working on a way to advertising on Twitter search pages.

A story at the Wall Street Journal's AllThingsD says that "Ads will be tied to Twitter searches, in the same way that Google's original ads were. So a search for, say, "laptop," may generate an ad for Dell. The ads will only show up in search results, which means users who don't search for something won't see them in their regular Twitterstreams.
"The ads will use the Twitter format – 140 or fewer characters – and will be distributed via the third-party software and services that use Twitter's API. The services will have the option of displaying the ads, and Twitter will share revenue with those that do.
"Twitter will work with ad agencies and buyers to seed the program, but plans on moving to a self-serve model like Google's, down the road."
That will be a dramatic change from the present advertising model, where small text adverts appear on the top right of Twitter users' home page. It is not known how much those garner in revenue - but given the low public profile of many of the advertisers there, it's unlikely to be as much as the search deals that Twitter signed on the same day last October with Google and Microsoft's Bing.
It is not clear how soon the new service would launch, though AllThingsD suggests it could happen "in the first half of the year".

Now, what the article shows out, is that Twitter’s audience is still to low to actually secure profitability. But this is a godd step toward a healthy business model. I have always questioned most of web 2.0 business plans for two reasons:
They’ve loved to show off they are not working at all on a business model. They have settled their future on the number of people which would use their service.
They’ve considered brands and advertisers as milk cows. But the advertising market is hurt deeply by the crisis, as marketing budget is most of the time the first one to be cut. Also, they might focus on main web 2.0 platforms like Facebook and Youtube, but they won’t multiply their investments on the web.

But actually, the fact Twitter is working on those projects is a good sign for the company: they start to shape the way the service will look like in the future, in a shape that will be healthy and strong.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Chevrolet Spark: Une mauvaise illustration du Glocal

L'art d'adapter une marque à un marché internationale est difficile. Souvent, plus la marque est puissante, plus il est dur a lui faire épouser les aspérités et spécificités des cultures où elle s'installe. Ainsi, Mc Donald ou Coca Cola sont de très bons exemples car partout où ils sont installés, ils incarnent les valeurs fortes des marques US, tout en trouvant ces mêmes aspérités pour accrocher le consommateur.

Certaines sociétés internationales, ayant pour ambition d'optimiser et de rationaliser leurs budgets marketing et leur image, décident de créer une unique campagne de publicité qu'ils déclinent partout dans le monde. C'est le cas de Gilette, qui le fait très bien, notamment grâce à des sports internationales connus de tous.

Mais là, depuis quelques semaines, nous pouvons voir sur nos écrans cette publicité pour la Spark de Chevrolet. Rien n'est compréhensible. On se trouve dans une situation où est mis en dérision l'absurdité du nom des produits des kings du fast food américain. Très loin des préoccupation et du mode de vie des français. De plus, le slogan "tout commence par une spark", ne veut rien dire. En anglais, Spark est une étincelle, et la "tout commence par une étincelle", cela a plus de sens. Pour moi, cette publicité copiée collée des Etats Unis certainement pour des raisons budgétaires, et un très mauvais exemple du "glocal", une communication internationale reposant sur des adaptations aux marchés locaux.

Et vous, qu'en pensez vous?