Putting CEO styles into context

Just musing today on some of the similarities and differences amongst some of the CEO’s I’ve worked for.  Not sure if you’d ever see these three names put together in any other context…

Some things they have in common:  a drive to WIN.  An entrepreneurial spirit.  Creativity and brilliance.  Ability to make tough decisions.  Passion for the brand.

Two of those brands (PUMA and Razorfish) have been reinvented.  We’re currently extending another one (Forrester) into new areas, i.e. marketing.

It’s pretty easy to rally around a brand when it starts from the top.

Pew: Future Of The Internet II

Hey – did you catch this report from Pew?  It’s called The Future Of The Internet II and was released in late September, but was just recently brought to my attention.  The research inquired as to "how technology might evolve" and "the impact of this evolution."

Here are some of the thoughts I shared that were published in the report:

  • Scenario:  A global, low-cost network thrives.  I disagree:  "Profit motives will impede data flow.  Although interconnectivity will be much higher than ever imagined, networks will conform to the public utility model with stakeholders in generation, transmission, and distribution. Companies playing in each piece of the game will enact roadblocks to collect what they see as their fair share of tariff revenue."
  • Scenario:  The internet opens worldwide access to success.  I tentatively agree:  "I think this is feasible, but not in the timeframe. Government regulation will slow the pace of this change as political constituencies fight to keep revenue sources local."
  • Scenario:  Some Luddites/refuseniks will commit terror acts…  I agree: "WTO-type protests grow in scale and scope, driven by the increasing economic stratification in society. Some fringe groups or even cults emerge that isolate themselves from society, using virtual private networks."  Unfortunately, this is probably already happening.

If you have some time, download the report (it’s free) and let me know what you think!

Business lessons from F1

A couple of articles were published this week focusing on the lessons that companies can glean from Formula 1 racing.  The WSJ reported on how F1 has improved one hospital’s processes and Time reported on the use of F1’s decision analysis software in other industries.  With the precision involved in the sport, this isn’t too surprising – but what’s cool is the application of process and technology to other disciplines.  If you’re not familiar with the sport, it’s much different than a faster, non-US version of NASCAR…probably most akin to the difference between football [i.e. soccer] and basketball.

In case you were wondering, there used to be a Formula 2.  Not to be confused with Formula 51.

What’s the state of the interactive marketing organization?

I’ve got some thoughts.  But my colleague Shar VanBoskirk is currently fielding a survey of interactive marketers and will write a piece of research in Q4 on this topic.

To contribute your experience and receive a copy of the completed research findings (whether a Forrester client or not), follow this link:


Brand partnerships ala Jerry Maguire

BlissOne way to build a brand is via partnerships with others that share similar ideals.  What’s interesting is when you string some brands together and see where it gets you.  Pictured at right is the JetBlue Shut-Eye Kit from bliss.  Let’s actually start this chain with the in-flight coffee:

Dunkin’ Donuts + JetBlue + bliss + W hotels + PUMA + MINI + Mandarina Duck = "lifestyle."

Make sense?  Let’s try another one:

Nike + Apple + BMW + Intel + Skype = "performance."

Seems like we’re move towards a persona-based world where brands help define Jerry Maguire-style customer segments, where our target is "holding a beverage, wearing a shoe, playing a video game, singing a song in a commercial starring her/himself."

Reinventing the Marketing Organization

Late last week, I published my biggest piece of research yet at Forrester, called “Reinventing The Marketing Organization.” Here’s the executive summary:

Today’s marketing organizations are broken. Three out of four marketing departments have reorganized in the past two years. Almost 80% of marketers don’t influence a critical customer interaction like customer service, and 85% don’t even own the “four Ps” of marketing anymore. To regain effectiveness, marketers must transition to a Customer-Centric Marketing Organization. Doing so requires:
1) redesigning P&Ls and metrics;
2) shifting culture away from marketing communications;
3) investing in a customer relationship infrastructure; and
4) rethinking agency relationships.

One of my favorite concepts that ended up on the editing room floor: the marketing mix is fine – tactics may change (e.g. branded entertainment or social computing) but strategic principles remain the same (e.g. relationship building and consumer engagement). However, the traditional model needs to be expanded to incorporate a 5th “P”: Participation.

Unfortunately this isn’t PGM (i.e. Pete Generated Media), so I can’t give it away for free – but if there are particular points you’re interested in discussing from the summary or otherwise, feel free to comment or drop me a line!



Google Checkout vs. Paypal – $100 is the magic number

Lots of posts today about Google Checkout – best analysis by far from my colleague Charlene Li.  For a more tactical angle, by breaking out some algebra – unlike Shaq’s game, which is hard to figure out – it’s easy to see what this means to your bottom line vs. using Paypal.

Google Checkout is free up to 10x of your monthly Adwords spend.  Thinking realistically about a business budget, this should pretty much seal the deal, assuming that you’re spending money on paid search placement.  Focus on net margin, not revenue and expense separately.

So if you don’t buy AdWords (ignoring the fact that integration is the whole point) – say you’re a niche seller with great organic results – what to do?

If you do under $100,000 a month, use Google.  Otherwise, solve for x in this equation:  $0.20 + 0.2x = $0.30 + 0.19x.

If your average selling price is above $100, then you should use Paypal instead.

Two likely actions:  Someone will develop a user-friendly FAQ on how to integrate implement Google Checkout with  into eBay auctions now that it’s banned.  Then the Paypal fee structure will change to be more competitive.

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Google completes 3 of 4 pieces in its web office suite

Various sources report that Google will announce a web based spreadsheet application on Tuesday.  This means that they offer a free web-based version of 3 of the 4 components of the standard version of Microsoft Office:

Given the challenges that many people have with good ppt usage, the 4th link could be grounds for a true revolution.  In the meantime, there are resources like Presentation Zen to help us make the best of what’s around.

Looking forward to one hell of a product announcement tomorrow.  Get it?  6/6/06?  Anyway, at least it’s not my birthday tomorrow.

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Amazon.com Restaurants

Have you ever noticed restaurant listings on Amazon.com?  They aren’t available from the home page or any of 32 product categories.  There isn’t any mention in the press releases or investor relations.  However, you can search the site for "restaurants" and something interesting shows up – menus from local dining establishments.  Don’t search for "restaurant" without the "s" – that’ll give you a regular product search.

As far as I can tell, there’s no affiliate revenue involved here for Amazon.  Here’s the FAQ.  It looks like they’re extending their business model into information delivery and not just online sales.  Prior moves, such as "search inside" were still driving to a sale.  In this case, I’d expect to see the affiliate business model evolve eventually (e.g. restaurants pay to have their menu published – they may have already), but for now there’s no way of tracking if a customer calls to make a reservation as a result of viewing the menu on Amazon – same phone number (click to call would be nice here too).

I stumbled across this content – in thinking about a trip to New York later this week, I was wondering how far away I’d be from this great pasta place, Lamarca.  I remembered it was near Irving Place.  Then I checked for "lamarca" on the map.  Clicking on the first link, the restaurant’s address card showed amazon.com as the source of its contact information – which was interesting.

Amazon.com may not be as sexy as Web 2.0 newcomers – but don’t count out the company that revolutionized e-commerce just yet…

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