tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/strategy-operations Latest Strategy & Operations content from Econsultancy 2017-05-22T11:10:00+01:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4490 2017-05-22T11:10:00+01:00 2017-05-22T11:10:00+01:00 Innovation Best Practice Guide <p>The <strong>Innovation Best Practice Guide</strong> is Econsultancy's most wide-reaching report on the topic of innovation.</p> <p>The report details tried and tested approaches to innovation that are designed to be practical tools to help you think differently and create new things.</p> <p>It challenges notions about startups, offers advice on embedding an innovative culture within organisations and explains that innovation is as much to do with reframing a message or your marketing as coming up with new products.</p> <h2>About the author</h2> <p>This report was written by <strong>Steffan Aquarone</strong>. Steffan is a UK entreprenuer in the film and technology sectors, has founded multiple startups and leads Econsultancy's best practice guides programme as well as delivering training to clients around the world.</p> <h2>Contributors</h2> <p>This guide has been put together and updated with the assistance of leading innovation professionals. They have kindly contributed their time and effort in producing this guide.</p> <p>Contributors to the report include:</p> <ul> <li>Mike Baxter, Goal Atlas</li> <li>David Sharp, 10x at Ocado</li> <li>Clint Hook, Experian</li> <li>James Donkin, Ocado</li> <li>Eric Weaver, XEROX</li> <li>Sarah Churchman, PwC</li> <li>Peter Robbins, GSK</li> <li>Paul Coby, John Lewis Partnership</li> <li>David Heinemeier Hansson, Basecamp</li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69098 2017-05-22T09:45:00+01:00 2017-05-22T09:45:00+01:00 Could AI revolutionize high street retail as well as ecommerce? Ben Davis <p>Fashion, for example, may be getting faster (quicker production time and fulfilment) but the knack is still in predicting the season's trends and riding the wave. In-store merchandising, too, is a matter of long-honed instincts as to what should go where.</p> <h3>Blending art and science</h3> <p>What I'm saying is there's a lot of art in the high-street retail business (particularly fashion), and it attracts suitably artistic people. Yes, sales and seasonal analysis comes into it, but it's a ways behind some of the technology emerging in online shopping, for example: </p> <ul> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67629-in-programmatic-advertising-what-are-cmps-and-dcos/">Dynamic creative optimisation</a> in retargeted advertising</li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68921-an-introduction-to-ai-powered-ecommerce-merchandising/">Automated merchandising optimisation</a> (menus, sorts, categories)</li> <li> <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68777-10-uses-of-computer-vision-in-marketing-customer-experience/">Visual product discovery</a>, such as on Sunglass Hut's website which recommends glasses that share visual affinity with pairs you have previously selected</li> <li>Conversational commerce, such as the much covered <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68770-an-introduction-to-ai-and-customer-service/">North Face online shop</a> which asked customers where they were going and recommended suitable jackets</li> <li>A similar personal shopper style experience on 1-800-Flowers' website which asks questions and recommends gifts</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4883/Navigation_2.gif" alt="automated merchandising" width="615"></p> <p><em>Automated merchandising</em></p> <p>Whilst some of this ecommerce tech is still in its early days, automated merchandising optimisation is of particular interest. Ecommerce companies with big product catalogues (far bigger than stores can hold) are able to optimise sales by presenting products that each user is most likely to buy.</p> <p>This is effectively the same job that a product buyer or retail analyst has, but machine learning may use data points that vary from the visual appearance of products to customer demographics or browsing history, from weather to time, from price to <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67052-a-copywriter-s-template-for-excellent-product-page-descriptions/">product descriptions</a>.</p> <p>The question is, why can't this machine learning approach be applied to the high street store? Self-learning algorithms creating geographical segments and looking at lots of latent variables in order to choose what products are placed in store?</p> <p>Obviously, the personalised aspect of ecommerce cannot wholly be replicated at scale in store, but what about the data-backed merchandising?</p> <p>Well, I'm being a bit disingenuous, because there are companies that are already starting to look at high street product inventory and prices in this way.</p> <h3>Predicting trends, online to offline</h3> <p>What if a computer could ingest fashion magazines and influencer Instagram feeds, along with a fashion retailer's first party data (who is buying what) and help that particular brand pick the styles for the upcoming season?</p> <p>This is not quite happening right now, but an analytics company, <a href="https://edited.com/">Edited</a>, is doing something similar, using natural language processing and computer vision to create a searchable database of millions of products from many brands. This database can be used to inform buying strategy, with brands able to investigate their competitor's pricing and product assortments.</p> <p><a href="https://www.stylumia.com/">Stylumia</a> is another company that offers something similar, analysing unstructured data and images to form trends analysis.</p> <p>This surely hints at a future where ecommerce and social media is a sort of data playground, allowing brands to test certain products, and formulate the right plan for their stores, where (let's not forget) the great majority of sales are made.</p> <p>Once a business' own consumer data is factored in, the technology may become even more powerful.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/6221/edited.png" alt="edited" width="615"></p> <p><em>Illustration of the sort of data Edited compiles</em></p> <h3>An auto-merchandised high street store?</h3> <p>In a recent roundtable discussion at Econsultancy and Marketing Week's Digital Therapy Live event, I spoke to some retailers who were intrigued about machine learning and its ability to drive commercial decision making.</p> <p>What if real-time weather data, footfall and sales were used to merchandise a store each day. Could positions in the store be formalised in the data set, too? Could store tracking be used to analyse where people are browsing, and then add this into the algorithmic mix, too?</p> <p>There is an obvious counter to many of these questions – would it really be that much more efficient than the brain of an expert human, and wouldn't it be far too expensive?</p> <p>At the moment, maybe these questions only make sense online, where data is more manageable. In an offline world, without an all-seeing computer eye understanding everything going on in a store, the number of variables involved may be prohibitive. </p> <p>What's much more likely, in the long run, is the concept that IBM Watson Marketing calls 'augmented intelligence'. Rather than letting a computer optimise merchandising in stores, technology such as that provided by Edited will get more and more sophisticated and be used as an aid to human buyers and merchandising, cutting down on product gambles and costly mistakes, and making sure product assortments are statistically likely to sell.</p> <p>It's exciting times in retail.</p> <p><em>For more on in-store tech, see: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69095-how-coca-cola-is-using-smartphone-data-to-personalise-in-store-ads/">How Coca-Cola is using smartphone data to personalise in-store ads</a></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69068 2017-05-10T15:00:00+01:00 2017-05-10T15:00:00+01:00 Reorienting to the customer journey: Three lessons from successful brands Stefan Tornquist <p>In Econsultancy research, conducted in partnership with Google, we look at how leading brands are shifting to a model that takes a practical approach to this complexity and preparing themselves for the future.</p> <p>This is the second in a four-part series (see parts <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69067-research-three-ways-leading-marketers-are-using-measurement-to-grow/">one</a>, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69069-an-audience-of-individuals-leading-marketers-are-investing-in-a-first-party-future/">three</a> and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69070-three-secrets-to-leading-in-customer-experience-customer-focus-speed-and-the-profit-motive/">four</a>) that presents the top findings from a recent survey of 514 executives at companies averaging more than $1 billion in 2016 revenues. Part one examines <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69067-research-three-ways-leading-marketers-are-using-measurement-to-grow">how leading marketers use measurement</a>.</p> <p>Respondents have been divided into two groups based on performance. <em>Leaders</em> significantly exceeded their top 2016 business goal and comprise roughly one-fourth of the sample. The remaining 75% are designated the <em>mainstream</em> for comparison.</p> <p>Throughout the research, the differences between these groups are significant and educational; leaders are consistently further along in building organizations that are data-driven, focused on larger business goals and committed to customer experience as a path to growth.</p> <h3>Addressing the entire journey</h3> <p>Modern customers have enormous freedom of choice and movement. Personal technology gave them information and power; the costs to switch from one product or service to another have diminished or disappeared in all but a few sectors.</p> <p>Traditional marketing is product-centric and unprepared for a world where the customer defines the service they expect and has the tools to find the best alternatives.</p> <p>Organizations are responding to this change by undergoing <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">digital transformation</a>, because delivering orchestrated experiences requires them to rethink their model of the customer journey and develop the best processes and structures to match it.</p> <p>The drive to understand the customer wherever they are has evolved from a marketing priority to a top business concern. <strong>89% of leading brands</strong> say that it is critical to their growth that they <strong>anticipate customer needs and provide assistive experiences</strong> along the consumer journey. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/5942/local_chart_1-blog-flyer.png" alt="chart" width="470" height="286"></p> <h3>Building an organization around the customer </h3> <p>One of the most important signs of real transformation is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66223-with-a-blank-sheet-what-organisational-structure-would-you-choose-for-marketing-and-digital/">team structure</a>. </p> <p>Among leading organizations, there’s a clear commitment to aligning internal teams and lines of communications in the image of customers’ needs and choices. <strong>55% strongly agree</strong> that they are <strong>building teams that uniquely solve for end-to-end customer experiences</strong> and journeys, across channels and devices, compared to a third of mainstream respondents.</p> <p>This kind of change can only be successful when leadership understands and encourages it.</p> <p>For example, many businesses were slow to invest in the mobile customer experience because despite rapid traffic growth, it wasn’t seen as a direct revenue driver. As their understanding of the interplay between traffic, influence and sales improved, executives gained a more balanced view. </p> <p>Companies that have connected customer experience with financial growth in their thinking are further along than those who have simply made investments in technology.</p> <p>This new emphasis is especially apparent at leading organizations, where <strong>87% report that their C-suite is following the right KPIs</strong> to understand how mobile and digital are driving business outcomes.</p> <h3>Bridges across the gap</h3> <p>Mobile has made measurement more difficult in many respects, but it also offers new approaches to the challenge of connecting the online and offline worlds. Some of these methods are simply better ways of capturing customer data at the point of sale, while others rely on geo-fencing and other emerging technologies.</p> <p>All of these methods are important to omni-channel marketers. Among leaders, <strong>60% have invested in technology that connects their digital and offline/in-store experiences</strong>. They are 26% more likely than the mainstream to be deploying these technologies, which can include <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68950-how-shakespeare-s-globe-used-proximity-marketing-to-increase-ticket-sales/">geo-fenced marketing</a>, real-time updates in mobile apps, and internal digital tools to allow employees to better capture customer intent or use capture data.</p> <p>The omni-channel experience is unique to each brand and is evolving with the customer. If brands are going to adapt, they need a regular practice of testing and experimentation to stay ahead of, or at least respond to consumer demands.</p> <p>But making it routine to apply the scientific method to marketing is part of the transformational challenge faced by established brands. They have to commit not simply to experimentation, but to asking the big questions. Optimization is an important capability, but it’s a practice of refinement, not of discovery.</p> <p>Even among leaders, tests like these aren’t ubiquitous. Half of these companies are currently investing in experiments for new omni-channel experiences, 47% more than the mainstream.</p> <h3>Looking ahead to continuous change </h3> <p>Historically, upheavals in media and advertising took years to develop and were followed by relative calm, allowing business to adapt slowly.</p> <p>The lesson of the digital era is that there is no eye of the hurricane. Companies have to constantly change as quickly as the behavior of the people they’re trying to reach. To treat online and offline channels separately is to deny the obvious blurring of the lines between them. </p> <p>The research and buying process can only get more complicated as artificial intelligence and the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/a-marketer-s-guide-to-the-internet-of-things/">Internet of Things</a> add new waypoints and modes of interaction. A growing universe of connected devices means new challenges, including adapting to voice-driven interaction and deciphering the clues hidden in a rapidly expanding set of behavioral data. </p> <p>These innovations will enable better experiences but simultaneously raise the bar of consumer expectation.</p> <p>The most successful brands are doing more than implementing technology; they are remaking themselves to be more experimental, flexible and better informed. </p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69039 2017-05-08T15:00:00+01:00 2017-05-08T15:00:00+01:00 12 do's and don'ts for attracting digital talent in job postings Patricio Robles <p>Here are 12 do's and don'ts for job postings for digital roles. </p> <p>And to learn more on this topic, apply for a free place at our <a href="https://goo.gl/LO5VrK">Digital Transformation Conference</a> in London on June 14, which will focus on Digital Talent and Culture.</p> <h3>1. Do: describe what your company does and what makes it unique</h3> <p>For many digital professionals, what you do and why it's interesting can be what first interests a candidate in learning more about an opportunity at your company.</p> <p>In describing what you do and why it matters, KISS (keep it simple, stupid) works best. Focus on the who, what, when, where, why and how, and do it succinctly. In effect, this portion of a job posting should be thought of as the elevator pitch for prospective employees.</p> <h3>2. Don't: talk about "changing the world"</h3> <p>Even if you truly believe that your company is "changing the world", let your description of what your company does make this evident instead of incorporating this overused and increasingly meaningless phrase in your job postings. The smart people you're trying to recruit will have no problem determining the impact of your company on the world if you describe what you do well enough.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/IXuFrtmOYKg?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>3. Do: use a standard job title and make sure it's accurate</h3> <p>When it comes to job titles, don't get clever. Make sure your job postings use industry-standard job titles.</p> <p>Sometimes, this can be more difficult than it sounds, particularly for creative roles. For example, there is a lot of debate about UX roles and job titles. In cases where there's some question as to the job title, ask for input from the employees who will be managing and working with the new hire.</p> <h3>4. Don't: try too hard to look cool or creative</h3> <p>While adding a dash of humor or creativity to a job posting is not a no-no – when done well, it can be especially helpful for creative roles and firms – be careful not to try too hard to look cool or creative.</p> <p>Modesty is best when attempting to inject humor, irony or pure awesomeness into a job posting because more often than not, attempts that are overdone produce postings that are confusing, awkward or even cringeworthy.</p> <h3>5. Do: describe the skills and experience you want in a candidate</h3> <p>Far too many job postings fail to describe in detail the skills and experience the successful candidate will possess. Not including this information is one of the primary reasons job postings fail to deliver quality candidates who are capable of performing the duties of the job.</p> <p>Specificity is key. For example, what specific software, tools and processes should the candidate have knowledge of? And how many years of experience do they need? Often companies don't include detailed enough information because the person who writes the job posting doesn't ask for or receive enough input from the employees who are best-positioned to know what the job actually requires. So it is important to ensure that there is collaboration between HR and hiring managers when this portion of the job posting is written. </p> <p><strong>Bonus tip:</strong> be careful about substituting adjectives like "ambitious", "analytical", or "assertive" for a legitimate description of skills. These are <em>not</em> skills, and they <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/06/02/textio-unitive-bias-software_n_7493624.html">can even reveal bias that turns candidates off</a>. Fortunately, if skills are adequately described, ambiguous adjectives often become unnecessary.</p> <p>For example, a well-written job posting for a data scientist role would probably not need to use the word "analytical" because a candidate with the skills described would obviously have a track record demonstrating analytical prowess.</p> <h3>6. Don't: use words like "ninja", "rockstar" and "guru" or state that you hire only the "best"</h3> <p>Words like "ninja", "rockstar" and "guru" mean nothing, and given that <em>every</em> company only hires candidates it feels are up to its standards, stating that you're looking for the "best" in a job posting is pointless. Enough said.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5914/ninja_turtles.jpg" alt="" width="709" height="493"></p> <h3>7. Do: post the salary</h3> <p>While many job postings do not list a salary or salary range, it's a seller's market for many digital roles today. Desirable candidates usually have no shortage of options – a recent survey <a href="https://medium.com/@wbelk/68-of-high-performance-employees-are-contacted-about-new-job-opportunities-at-least-once-per-month-c710f0393654">found that</a> 68% of high-performance employees are contacted about new job opportunities at least once a month – so keeping salary a secret in your job posting can sometimes even result in it being passed over.</p> <p>Posting salary also eliminates the need to spend time dealing with candidates whose salary expectations aren't aligned with yours and could be especially helpful in attracting engineers, who, thanks to the hot market, have over the years become increasingly sensitive to and savvy about salary negotiations.</p> <h3>8. Don't: oversell your sweet digs</h3> <p>There are few people who don't want to work in a comfortable setting, but chances are that the awesomeness of your office is a lot less important to job candidates than it is to the person who decorated your office. So while it's okay to mention the basics about the physical environment you offer, don't make your office a focal point of your job posting.</p> <h3>9. Do: list benefits</h3> <p>Health and life insurance, retirement accounts and paid leave aren't sexy, but they are very, very important to many candidates. So be sure to detail them.</p> <h3>10. Don't: play up perks that could give the wrong impression of your company culture</h3> <p>While there's nothing wrong with an awesome ping pong table or hosting epic parties from time to time, companies should resist the urge to play up perks that probably aren't all that important to many good candidates. In many cases, these perks can even be turn-offs to talented prospects because they can create a false impression of company culture.</p> <p>Obviously, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68840-culture-and-digital-transformation-how-to-build-a-living-business/">company culture <em>is</em> important</a>, but if your company culture is defined by perks, your company likely has a problem.</p> <h3>11. Do: explain the challenges and opportunities the job will offer candidates</h3> <p>Salary and benefits are generally important considerations for talented professionals who often have numerous options, but offering a high salary and generous benefits won't necessarily seal the deal if a candidate doesn't feel that the job will be challenging enough and/or offer significant enough opportunities for growth.</p> <p>For that reason, it's incredibly important that a job posting explain what the job offers candidates beyond salary and benefits. Examples of things that can entice candidates include the ability to work on unique technical challenges that a candidate likely won't encounter elsewhere, or the opportunity to work on high-profile projects.</p> <h3>12. Don't: ask for a unicorn</h3> <p>The fast-paced and ever-changing nature of digital means that organizations are often looking for candidates who have cross-disciplinary skills and are comfortable taking on a wide range of tasks, even if it means learning on the fly.</p> <p>But be careful about giving the impression that you're unrealistic in your expectations. Nothing will turn off a qualified candidate more than the impression that you're looking for a single employee who can do anything, anywhere, anytime. There are no unicorn employees, even if your company is a unicorn.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69038 2017-04-26T15:30:00+01:00 2017-04-26T15:30:00+01:00 Shea Moisture's customer backlash was caused by poor brand management, not bad advertising Patricio Robles <h4>The backstory</h4> <p>Shea Moisture was founded by Liberians Nyema Tubman and Richelieu Dennis, who came to the US as refugees. They built a business reportedly valued at $700m by developing natural beauty products that cater to a market historically underserved by large beauty brands – women of color.</p> <p>But with outside investment from Bain Capital and skyrocketing consumer interest in natural beauty products, Shea Moisture's parent company Sundial Brands is betting that there is a bigger market for Shea Moisture's products.</p> <p>With that in mind, the company recently unveiled a 60-second ad developed by agency VaynerMedia as part of its #EverybodyGetsLove marketing campaign. The ad features a black woman, but it also features a blonde woman and two redheads. That did not sit well with some Shea Moisture customers who felt that the ad was a sign the company is moving away from the market segment that made it what it is today.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">SheaMoisture is CANCELLED <a href="https://t.co/T4Dru1JgAq">pic.twitter.com/T4Dru1JgAq</a></p> — NANA JIBRIL(@girlswithtoys) <a href="https://twitter.com/girlswithtoys/status/856563772223365122">April 24, 2017</a> </blockquote> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Black women have supported and gave free press to Shea Moisture for YEARS. And then they have a "hair hate" commercial with white women?</p> — no. (@DatGirl_ICEY) <a href="https://twitter.com/DatGirl_ICEY/status/856569496508747777">April 24, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>On Facebook, the company's Page has been inundated with more than 7,000 one-star reviews.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5738/shea.png" alt="" width="774" height="531"></p> <p>The backlash was fast and big enough that the company quickly pulled its ad and Richelieu Dennis, Shea Moisture's founder and the CEO of Sundial Brands, took to social media <a href="https://www.facebook.com/SheaMoisture/photos/a.108636299188014.8145.108628512522126/1495966387121658/">to apologize</a>. "Wow, okay – so guys, listen, we really f-ed this one up," he wrote. "Please know that our intention was not – and would never be – to disrespect our community, and as such, we are pulling this piece immediately because it does not represent what we intended to communicate."</p> <p>He further stated, "While this campaign included several different videos showing different ethnicities and hair types to demonstrate the breadth and depth of each individual’s hair journey, we must absolutely ensure moving forward that our community is well-represented in each one so that the women who have led this movement never feel that their hair journey is minimized in any way."</p> <h4>When marketing mistakes aren't marketing mistakes</h4> <p>While the media coverage of the backlash caused by Shea Moisture's ad largely focuses on the notion that the company made an advertising mistake, this is really a brand management mistake because the truth of the matter is that Shea Moisture is a company that was probably going to have a hard time extending its brand without alienating the customers in its core segment.</p> <p>Strong brands that focus on underserved market segments risk upsetting their customers when trying to expand beyond those segments or to "go mainstream" because the customers in those segments feel strongly about the brands. </p> <p>In Shea Moisture's case, the segment it built its brand serving – women of color – know Shea Moisture as a company that for years has focused on their needs when other beauty brands didn't. That gives them a stronger-than-usual level of perceived investment and ownership in the brand.</p> <p>This can be a powerful asset, and it's one of the reasons there are riches in niches. But with the wrong strategy, this asset can become a liability because loyal customers, when they feel slighted or abandoned, are more likely to speak out. Unfortunately for Shea Moisture, its parent company, Sundial Brands, appears to have made a major brand management faux pas that caused just that to happen.</p> <p><a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/nbcblk/shea-moisture-ad-falls-flat-after-backlash-n750421">According to</a> CEO Richelieu Dennis, the decision to extend Shea Moisture into new market segments was based on the notion that "we have to grow the business." He elaborated...</p> <blockquote> <p>Brands that didn't service women of color for decades are all of the sudden creating campaigns for them to go after that because of the growth they've seen come from us. The competition that we now see, puts businesses like ours at risk.</p> </blockquote> <p>But it's not clear to this author that trying to extend the Shea Moisture brand to market segments already dominated by the very newcomers he speaks of represents a wise growth strategy because this type of brand extension is very difficult and actually risks brand dilution.</p> <p>In my opinion, a better strategy would have been for Shea Moisture to double down on the market segment that it built its success on by playing to its strengths, which include brand loyalty and a reputation as a pioneer, rather than intentionally trying to bring the Shea Moisture brand to segments that are already saturated by bigger companies that are hoping to make inroads in Shea Moisture's segment.</p> <p>If Sundial Brands truly believed there are opportunities in other market segments, it should have explored launching one or more new brands for the effort. While doing that would not be without its own challenges – building a new brand is never easy or cheap – clearly the company did not fully grasp how risky the attempted extension of the Shea Moisture brand to new customer segments would be.</p> <p>Risking customer segments in which you have a strong position for new, competitive segments is usually not a pillar of sensible brand management. </p> <h4>It's too easy to blame advertising</h4> <p>At the end of the day, had Shea Moisture better managed its brand, it never would have produced a backlash-inducing ad in the first place.</p> <p>So while many are focusing on the company's ad, it's important for brands to remember that good advertising can't fix bad brand management, and advertising shouldn't be blamed for consumer backlash when poor brand management all but ensured that advertising couldn't be good in the first place.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:ConferenceEvent/869 2017-04-26T11:19:43+01:00 2017-04-26T11:19:43+01:00 Digital Transformation Annual Conference: Talent and Culture <p>As digital impacts ever more broadly across every area of your business, fostering an environment where digital culture and talent can thrive is key. </p> <p>Join us for an exclusive senior leaders’ conference, focusing on two of the key pillars of <strong>Digital Transformation: Talent and Culture</strong>. </p> <h3>On the agenda:</h3> <ul> <li>Find out how the customer experience revolution is impacting every area of your business </li> <li>The importance of HR in supporting your people and change </li> <li>Understand how best to bring your people on the Digital Transformation journey  </li> <li>How to manage the challenge of attracting and retaining digital talent </li> <li>An overview of how best to support the right culture for agility </li> </ul> <h3>Benefit from:</h3> <ul> <li>Insight from those at the forefront of transformation</li> <li>Learnings from speakers from some of the world's leading brands</li> <li>Networking and discussions with your peers </li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2017-04-21T12:55:00+01:00 2017-04-21T12:55:00+01:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to two sector-specific reports, B2B and Healthcare &amp; Pharma) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet statistics and digital market research with data, facts, charts and figures. The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need - a huge time-saver for presentations and reports.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Sector-specific data and reports are also available:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a><br></strong></li> <li><strong><strong><a title="Financial Services and Insurance Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/financial-services-and-insurance-internet-statistics-compendium/">Financial Services and Insurance</a></strong></strong></li> <li> <strong><a title="Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals Internet Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/healthcare-and-pharmaceuticals-internet-statistics-compendium/">Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals</a></strong><strong> </strong> </li> <li><strong><a title="Retail Statistics Compendium" href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/retail-statistics-compendium/" target="_self">Retail</a></strong></li> </ul> <p><strong>Regions covered in each document (where data is available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69017 2017-04-21T10:25:00+01:00 2017-04-21T10:25:00+01:00 Get a free copy of our report on how marketers learn by completing this short survey Seán Donnelly <p>Still need convincing? Here's some more information about the research and what you can expect to learn.</p> <h4>1. What is the purpose of this research?</h4> <p>The report’s overarching purpose is to bring together different professional perspectives and experiences on learning and development (L&amp;D) within marketing in a way that hasn’t been done formally before.</p> <p>It will have Econsultancy’s signature tone of clarity and usefulness so that it can be used as a practical guide for both organisations and individuals.</p> <h4><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/5560/research_image-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="309" height="236"></h4> <h4>2. Who is this research for? </h4> <p>Individual marketing professionals, strategic decision-makers including Heads of Marketing, Learning &amp; Development Professionals and HR Managers.</p> <h4>3. Why are we doing this research?</h4> <p>This report is the result of suggestions from a wide range of people from Econsultancy’s client base.</p> <p>It seeks to identify a baseline as to how marketers and their employers approach learning and development. The report will help organisations remove barriers to learning and development and help determine the value of marketing training.</p> <h4>4. What will the final report contain?</h4> <p>The report will feature, among other things:</p> <ul> <li>Original research via this survey into how marketers currently approach their own professional development.</li> <li>Insights from in-depth interviews with educators, senior marketers and thought leaders from a range of industries.</li> <li>Approaches that organisations can use to ensure their people are fully equipped with the knowledge and skills they need.</li> <li>Resources that individuals can use to support their professional development.</li> <li>An evaluation of the learning and development landscape available to marketers.</li> </ul> <p><img style="vertical-align: middle;" src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/5559/knowledge_transfer-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="" width="414" height="207"></p> <h4>5. What do we need from you?</h4> <p>We want to survey marketers like you. This survey will help shape the report and enable us to identify an industry benchmark of how marketers currently approach learning and development.</p> <p>This survey will take a maximum of 10 minutes to complete. The link to the survey is available <a href="http://bit.ly/HML-2017">here</a><strong>.</strong></p> <h4>6. Can you share the survey with colleagues?</h4> <p>By all means, feel free to share this survey with marketing colleagues or indeed colleagues from functions supporting marketing such as L&amp;D and Human Resources. </p><p>The link to share the survey is: <a href="http://bit.ly/HML-2017">http://bit.ly/HML-2017</a></p> <p>If you have any questions about this research, please do get in touch.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68999 2017-04-19T10:00:00+01:00 2017-04-19T10:00:00+01:00 Eight ways to kill email bureaucracy in your organisation Ben Davis <h4>1. 'Four sentences'</h4> <p>In a recent correspondence with PR Matt Mirandi, I noticed his email signature, which declared: "Q: Why is this email four sentences or less? A: <a href="http://four.sentenc.es">http://four.sentenc.es</a>"</p> <p>If you follow the link you'll see the remarkably simple premise - limiting the length of email responses (where desired). Short emails can be composed and the signature explains that far from being curt, the intention is to increase the efficiency of communication.</p> <p>Anyone who works in a busy administrative job understands the burden that email can become. Being able to respond quickly, with brevity, perhaps in lower case, with little care for grammar or courtesy, can be a massive help.</p> <p>This is an elegant solution to a particularly British dilemma.</p> <h4>2. An internal blog</h4> <p>The privacy of email is a problem. It does not offer an easily searchable history and can detract from the ease with which employees can assess the progress of a project. Even when using project management software in tandem (e.g. Basecamp), this problem still exists.</p> <p>One solution which Automattic (the parent company of WordPress) uses is the internal blog. This blog uses the P2 theme (<a href="https://p2classicdemo.wordpress.com/">try it here</a>) and allows different teams to maintain their own pages, where people can comment and search for information.</p> <p>Such a solution immediately gets rid of small talk, and pushes all project conversation into the open. Email may still prove its value, but not as a way of keeping record. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5515/Screen_Shot_2017-04-18_at_14.03.49.png" alt="p2 theme" width="615"> </p> <p><em>The P2 theme developed by Automattic</em></p> <h4>3. Video</h4> <p>How many emails do you get each week to which you simply want to reply TL;DR (or indeed, do reply as such)?</p> <p>When managers send out emails to explain decisions or events, reams and reams of text is often not the best format. Why not try short form video with subtitles? Not only is it easier to digest but it gives management a face.</p> <p>Brief highlights and a transcript should be provided, too, and the video should live in a central location (blog again?). With video an increasingly common format of communication thanks to messaging apps, and production a hell of a lot easier, with quality achievable even on a smartphone, it should be part of internal comms.</p> <p>Even if you think this level of production is something you're unprepared for, experiment with apps such as <a href="https://www.apple.com/uk/clips/">Apple Clips</a> that may offer a quick-and-easy solution to subtitling.</p> <p>Oh, and silly as it sounds, if you're linking to a video from an email, do so via an embedded screenshot of the video - it just makes the whole thing more tangible and will increase clickthrough rate.</p> <h4>4. Don't check your emails in the morning</h4> <p>When you get in at 8.30 (each to their own), use the first hour of the day to do some actual work, rather than wading through emails.</p> <p>Later in the day, when correspondence starts to pour in, you can deal with emails knowing you have already gotten some work under your belt.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5513/office.jpg" alt="office" width="500" height="375"></p> <p><em><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/mxmstryo/3999669009">Image via Flickr (mxymstyro)</a></em></p> <h4>5. Slack</h4> <p>I won't dwell on Slack - most readers will be familiar with it, if not in practice then in theory.</p> <p>Slack is a chat tool that encourages group communication and better prioritisation of messages, through a well-designed user interface and functional search and notifications. </p> <h4>6. Stand ups</h4> <p>How to encourage less email? More face-to-face meetings.</p> <p>This can be achieved by committing to a regular standup meeting. It could be weekly or daily, but the important thing is that a standup be quick and efficient (hence why it happens standing up and not in a meeting room).</p> <p>Not too many jokes or chatting about the weekend, no navel-gazing digressions, just a sharing of jobs done, jobs to be done, and anything of note in relation to current projects or sprints. Standup meetings are characteristic of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67346-agile-development-what-do-marketers-need-to-know/">agile teams</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5512/standup.jpg" alt="standup meeting" width="500" height="339"></p> <p><em><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/improveit/1470213987">Image via Flickr (improveit)</a> </em></p> <h4>7. Walls</h4> <p>What comes as a set, along with standup meetings? Walls, of course.</p> <p>By that I mean space with which to visualise the status of your projects. The more important information you have on display, the fewer update emails that have to be sent - just go and look at the wall. </p> <h4>8. Cloud platforms</h4> <p>The fancy version of a wall is a cloud platform. I have recently written about the<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68957-the-future-of-content-is-marketplaces-not-ai/"> trend for content marketplaces</a> which include a cloud platform for workflow management (invoicing, storage, comms, sign-off etc.).</p> <p>Of course, software as a service has existed for project management for quite a while, but you should be encouraged to look for further solutions, such as in HR. Though clunky software or poor implementation can lead to further bureaucracy, if it's done right it can reduce email.</p> <p>At Econsultancy we have been using <a href="https://motivii.com/">Motivii</a> for a number of months and I've found it to be a useful way for staff and managers to check in on the major challenges and tasks of the week ahead. These tools are not silver bullets, but if you find the right one for you, you're on to a winner.</p> <h4>Summary</h4> <p>There are doubtless many other things to try, when attempting to reduce email bureaucracy. The key points are to value transparency, searchability, brevity (where achievable), varied forms of communication, co-location, and a commitment to questioning the status quo of outdated process.</p> <p>Let me know in the comments below if you have implemented your own solutions or hacks.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68957 2017-04-18T11:15:00+01:00 2017-04-18T11:15:00+01:00 The future of content is marketplaces, not AI Ben Davis <h4>AI for content generation is a long way off</h4> <p>Though <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68496-10-examples-of-ai-powered-marketing-software/">AI</a> seems to be a trend that is living up to the hype, content generation is one area where its potential impact is perhaps overblown.</p> <p>Yes, deep learning is proven to craft more effective email subject lines and other short calls to action (such as in display advertising) but natural language processing is nowhere near good enough to craft long form copy.</p> <p>Yes, deep learning can be used to <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2016/12/20/14022958/ai-image-manipulation-creation-fakes-audio-video">manipulate images and even create convincing new ones</a> (see below), as well as create movie trailers <a href="https://thenextweb.com/insider/2016/09/01/watch-ibm-watson-creates-first-entirely-ai-made-movie-trailer-really-eerie/#.tnw_Z5E40XK8">it seems</a>, but the training of these networks and the 'robot hand-holding' necessary means they are also a long way from proving an autonomous solution.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5400/generated_images.jpg" alt="ai generated images" width="650" height="706"></p> <p><em>Images created by generative networks, <a href="http://www.evolvingai.org/ppgn">via paper</a> by Nguyen A, Clune J, Bengio Y, Dosovitskiy A, Yosinski J</em> </p> <h4>What are content marketplaces?</h4> <p>Content marketplaces are in vogue. They connect businesses with writers, graphic designers, film makers and the like. Though marketplaces are nothing new, the technology they offer is improving and plays a big part in eliminating inefficiencies during large scale content production.</p> <p>One such marketplace is Quill, which specialises in creating what it calls 'primary content', the content that influences consumers at the point of conversion, be it product descriptions or buying guides.</p> <p>Quill's cloud platform automates network management, quality control, production and delivery processes. Work can be viewed and edited in the platform, and APIs can deliver the content to a client's CMS or ecommerce platform. Access to hundreds of freelancers and the automation of bureaucracy such as allocation of tasks and invoicing is what makes this kind of platform a candidate for increasing scale and speed.</p> <p>For companies with thousands of product SKUs, platforms like Quill are a way to achieve well-crafted content quickly.</p> <p>Another notable marketplace is Gigster, this time in engineering. Gigster is a software development service which uses more than 700 freelancers to work on projects for corporate giants such as MasterCard and Airbus. One interesting component of the Gigster service is its use of AI to increase the efficiency of its projects.</p> <p>The company monitors projects to look for patterns that predict bugs or issues with deliverables, assessing activity data across software such as Trello, Slack and GitHub.</p> <p>Gigster ultimately allows its clients to use a blended workforce of inhouse and freelancers, and to develop projects with much greater speed.</p> <h4>Wider workforce trends</h4> <p>Content marketplaces are part of a wider workforce trend for flexible teams that are able to deal with rapid change, as well as create new digital products and services.</p> <p>Though much discussion of digital transformation has focused on the need for companies to create cross-functional internal teams, there are also many benefits of maintaining an external network to assist with task-based work. The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67263-skills-shortage-the-biggest-barrier-to-digital-progress-overtaking-legacy-systems/">digital skills gap</a> has been much publicised and marketplaces allow companies to compete in a competitive jobs market.</p> <p>In Accenture's recent<a href="https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-future-workforce-trends"> research into future workforce trends</a>, 73% of survey respondents said that corporate bureaucracies are stifling productivity and innovation. A large majority (85%) indicated they planned to increase their organization’s use of independent freelance workers over the next year (2017).</p> <p>P&amp;G is one such company that Accenture cites as having recently completed a pilot program using Upwork Enterprise, a freelance management system, with products from the pilot program delivered faster and at lower cost than with conventional methods 60% of the time.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5401/marketplaces.jpg" alt="workforce trends" width="615"></p> <p><em>The spectrum of role-based and task-based work, taken from Accenture's Future Workplace Trends.</em></p> <h4>The dispersed workforce model - Automattic</h4> <p>There are some companies that have taken the marketplace model to its logical conclusion and whose core team of full time workers is dispersed, too, thereby allowing the company to pursue the best employees wherever they live.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.inc.com/glenn-leibowitz/meet-the-ceo-running-a-billion-dollar-company-with-no-offices-or-email.html">an interview on Inc.com,</a> Matt Mullenweg, the creator of WordPress and CEO of its parent company Automattic, describes the dispersed nature of its workforce:</p> <p>"Automattic is a totally distributed company, so everyone works from wherever they are in the world. It could be a coffee shop, it could be their home, it could be a co-working space. We hire people regardless of where they are.</p> <p>"We now have folks in just over 40 countries. This has been amazing for the company in that we can attract and retain the best talent without them having to be in New York or San Francisco or one of the traditional tech enters."</p> <p>Part of making this model work is ensuring effective communication between remote workers. Much like Quill and Gigster using cloud platforms for workflow, Automattic avoids email and uses its own blog theme called P2 for internal comms.</p> <p>Mullenweg says "I think email is definitely on its way out, between things like <a href="https://p2theme.com/">P2</a> and Slack... Email just has so many things wrong with it. I've never heard anyone who've said they love email, they want more of it--have you?"</p> <p>He continues, "Imagine if, in your company, instead of email, everyone could post and comment on a blog. Different groups or teams could have their own space on it, but fundamentally everything was tagged and traceable and transparent. That's kind of what P2 looks like." </p> <h4>In summary</h4> <p>There are a number of factors that make freelance and content marketplaces increasingly attractive.</p> <ul> <li>A skills shortage means companies cannot always find the right talent to take on full time.</li> <li>Inhouse teams need flexibility, the ability for the team and its skills to wax and wane as projects come and go.</li> <li>Inhouse teams want to avoid bureaucracy wherever possible, using cloud platforms to cut down on admin.</li> <li>Content is so pervasive now and is still a differentiator for businesses both online and off. Compromising on content quality is not an option.</li> </ul> <p>Expect to hear more from marketplaces such as Quill, Gigster, Catalant and Upwork, as the gig economy enables traditional big corporations to innovate in content and beyond.</p>