Uber from Consumer Disruptor to Consumer Disaster (and it didn’t take long)!

One word I detest in my world of marketing is the word “digital disruption”, exactly what does that mean? What the mobile phone all of a sudden wakes up and changes your world? It’s like saying guns kill, when in fact it’s people that kill!

So in the world of “consumer disruption” (the actual “geek” word every digital expert is meaning to say), there can be no one more disruptive than Uber and Lyft et.al! Within a very short period Uber created a consumer experience, that connected with the consumer, an easy to use mobile driven experience to get us from A to B from almost anywhere, the world’s largest taxi company that owns no taxis . . . I could go on.

So, what went wrong?

In the initial days, it was a great consumer experience. Open an app, enter your location and destination and within a fairly quick moment, there was a car waiting for you.

Now generally, it was a great consumer experience, you knew what you were paying for, the driver was usually an interesting person doing another job, the car was perfection, water-bottles, phone chargers, massive amounts of leg space and well enough groomed to be able to eat your lunch off the seats. All in all – a “great consumer experience”, that you thought was built around you, it just worked!

But, as all strategically and greed led aggressive growth strategies go, they have let go of their differentiator, the “consumer experience.”

You see, there’s nothing new, innovative or differentiating about Uber, lots of other “venture” money realized that it’s not that difficult to build a competitive set (when you don’t own anything but an app and the ability to employ anyone)!

So where does this leave Uber?

In Chicago (where I live), they are a total disaster, the cars are dirty, beaten up, clueless drivers are mesmerized by “Waze” leaving the common-sense of direction well at home. With the inaccuracies of the navigation downtown in Chicago and the hyper inflated “surge-pricing”, the whole concept becomes an inept, expensive waste of time, that just makes you angry!

So, will big-money win over consumer experience, will this “joke” of a concept finally float and repay some $’s to the speculators of nations bank-accounts. I think not!

But as Forbes pointed out recently, many of the top 500 companies of today will not exist by 2025, will Uber, be the Blockbuster of the “car-pool” world, or will it get it’s head out of it’s ass and realize that their consumers (experiences) are beginning not to give a crap about their business?

Lets wait and see, however in the meantime, I do hope that my “Ubereats” doesn’t take a wrong turn!

The logic behind Microsoft buying Sitecore?

As the marketing technology arena hots up with the big players like Oracle, SAP, IBM, Salesforce and Google all snapping up “new marketing tech” companies, you ask yourself, why hasn’t Microsoft made a move for Sitecore to strengthen it’s “marketing cloud” portfolio.

After all with Microsoft CRM and Marketing Pilot in it’s portfolio and an increasing move towards “Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud” (SMAC) technology stacks through it’s Azure program, it’s missing one critical component in the marketing platform framework, an omni-channel content marketing platform.

Sharepoint may be a CMS, but in reality it’s really an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform, more for corporate collaboration/sharing, than for building consumer experiences. However with Sitecore technology being firmly in the .NET/Microsoft camp, it makes you wonder if Microsoft will be sniffing out a modern “content web” partner sooner or later.

Marketing Technology is booming, look at the vendor growth 100+ vendors in 2011, now stretches to 1000+ in 2014, with no signs of slowing with new vendors diving into Analytics and Social experience platforms in particular – it’s easier to “choose who to buy” than start one for yourself.

So with Sitecore being firmly embedded within the top WEM partners by the likes of Forrester and Gartner, how long will it be before Microsoft makes a move and instills Sitecore within an Azure “on demand stack?”

Microsoft needs an agnostic play in the marketing space, it doesn’t have an “experience platform”, but is building an interesting stack of on demand platforms via yammer, Skype, lync, and Office365 to name a few and Microsoft cannot go for the open-source players like Drupal or WordPress, it just doesn’t sit right.

So investing in a mature WEM platform that drives omni-channel communications agnostic of devices, may be a play to increase adoption of the WindowsPhone/mobile platforms or will it?

What is for certain, I don’t think it will be too long before Microsoft has to go sniffing for some other technology to plug the gaps, or it will be letting the likes of Oracle, IBM and Google steal the lead.

Multi-Channel Customer Experiences drives the next evolution for connected DAM

Webinar: Delivering Multi-Channel Customer Experiences:

Wed., Feb 19, 2014
8am PST/11am EST/4pm GMT

Expert panelists David Parker (Chief Marketing Technologist), Rich Carroll (Technical Sales), and Jill Talvensaari (VP Marketing) have over 60 years combined experience at some of the top customer-centric and marketing services firms including McCann Worldgroup, Adobe, Microsoft, Leo Burnett, Kodak. Will discuss why multi-channel content marketing is driving a new evolution in the DAM and CMS technology space. Organizations should leverage maximum value for brand experiences from a developing a total marketing technology strategy for the adaptive world, avoiding fragmented marketing strategies and executions.

Marketing will never be the same again. Technology, integrated channels, real-time analytics, and brand experiences now shape the conversations that companies have with their customers. The changes in the way we market have been so prolific in the last 3 years that marketing has changed more since 2010 than it did in the previous 6 decades. We’ll look at where marketing is headed and how technologies like DAM and CMS truly enable better brand communications, online and offline.

Key topics include omni-channel content marketing, adaptive strategies, and the role of inbound user generated content to drive contextual relationships and reinforce brand value. See how top brands in Retail, Sports Marketing, Media and Entertainment, and Finance are adapting and using multichannel marketing technologies to reach new prospects and win markets.

Moderated by IOI Sales Director Mike Watson.

Keeping “marketing technology” simple is the key to getting it right.

The “marketing cloud” is looming frighteningly large on the marketing industry, players like Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle and Google, have driven a hard marketing path, both through aggressive marketing programs and the acquisition of niche players to make-up a more conducive and connected technology framework for the CMO’s.

However, if you look at recent research, you will probably see that within the “cloud” hype there is a still a very young, naive and confused market place. Both on the brand and agency side investment strategies in these technologies are tentative to say the least, and when marketing technology is implemented it is often isolated from other applications or the marketing supply chain as a whole. The leader is still probably google analytics and that’s about it. However, the research does show one thing. That the brands are now taking control of their marketing results as they clearly show more investment directly in analytical technologies like Adobe’s omniture technology.

There are reasons of course, like the good old day’s of Coleman’s mustard, where it was recognized they made more money of what was “left on the side of the plate”, the agency industry as done the same for many years. So any technology that drives transparency, accountability and an audit trail through marketing is not over welcomed in these corridors.

On the brand side however, it is the other way round, the old adage of “I know half of my marketing investment is wasted, I just don’t know which half”, surely attracts marketing technology like bees around a honey pot!

So where do you start?

Well, the agencies know change is coming, so they will sit around on the cliff-edge avoiding the investment until the someone pushes them. The brands, well they really are  in control, if they invest in marketing technology they will start to achieve the following:

1. Using enterprise savvy, Content Marketing Solutions (CMS), will enable the brands to have some consistency, measurement and global capability around content generation, and regionalization. These technologies are built on industry standards as Adobe InDesign and enable uniform and consistent generation of content that drives multi-platform (digital, mobile and traditional) content engagement and consumer experience. Even better they can link the brand to the agency, closing that “client services” vacuum that has been driven by email and spreadsheets for years. These CMS tools not only centralize content, they also manage the campaign and projects from a creative/brand engagement and content view instead of from a program view and after all it’s the content that drives the campaign. Check out vendors like Adobe, censhare, Sitecore and SDL.

2. Infusing your content with CRM, geospatial and demographic information based on your customers interactions in the consumer experience, is another key element for the marketeers, CRM has brought new insights and trends to the brands that they have never seen before. The first step in this process was personalization, being able to drive content with some personal relevance to the end consumer, great for variable content, but also in someways limiting. Now, the more CRM information on user interactions, the more relevant you can make your content. Check out Salesforce, Eloqua for more information.

3. Understanding the consumers behavior and brand engagement. Social, digital and offline analytical data have enabled many brands to “influence” the entire consumer journey from the initial “spark” to “shop”. So now the content can be linked to the behaviors of that customer during their interaction, whether through website “hot-spots”, email marketing or social interactions, much data is now available for the brands to chew on for their next engagement.

So these three technologies provide one clear new opportunity for the brands and agencies, the ability to build “Customer eXperience Marketing” CXM, the combination of content, data and analytics, provide the brand with the ability to build an experience during the customers engagement with the brand. CXM really is the end goal for the brands as it encompasses all points of marketing+sales, a mix been sort for years.

So, if you want to make the “marketing cloud” work for you, take these main steps, content, data and analytics in that order. Start with content as it generates the “buzz” in your brand (it’s also where much money is wasted through the manual generation of multiple content). Then look at your CRM (normalize this if you can and take the basic data you need and dump the rest), then look at your analytics (both online and offline, so the journey is complete).

The final element, which is more difficult is finding a “systems integrator or consultancy” that can stitch this platform together for you, integrating dashboards for not only your data, but just as importantly your competitors. Take a peak at netvibes for this.

Best of Luck.