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The Evolution of Pakistani Real Estate Marketing

If housing bubble’s have taught us anything, its that real estate has a direct impact not only on home valuations, but also on a nation’s mortgage markets, home builders, real estate, home supply retail outlets and foreign banks.

According to The State Bank’s Quarterly Housing Finance Review, Pakistan’s “housing units’ shortage can be estimated more than 9 million units” in a nation where property prices average USD 480,000 and buyers have weighed down by a GDP per capita that barely brushes the USD 2,000 line.

Local and international players have convened on Pakistan to solve this problem, the first of which was Zeeshan Khan and his brother in 2006 with their online property portal Zameen.com, a site that educates, informs and empowers nearly 1.3 million visitors every month. The brothers have dominated the property portal market place in Pakistan ever since.

Rocket Internet’s entered Pakistan in 2012 with eCommerce start-up funding for electronics, fashion and apparel verticals, and further invested a year later with Lamudi.pk, a property portal with strong brand recall, footing & trust in northern regions.

But Pakistani’s don’t just live in Pakistan.

Overseas citizens send around $10 billion back home each year and most of that money goes into real estate. Sadly, they are often misguided about property prices by real estate agents and at times by their own relatives. While Zameen.com and Lamudi.pk fill this need for locals, the nation needs a property evaluation and consultancy service to help the millions of Pakistanis abroad as well.

Enter Arazi.pk, a property portal (founded by business magnate Umair Sheikh) that aims to revolutionize the user experience for real estate customers in Pakistan. It’s the first (and so far the only) Pakistani startup to be recognized as a disruptive startup by WebSummit and was also selected for the upcoming RISE Conference.

Apart from having similar features and services to Lamudi.pk and Zameen.comArazi.pk is the first property portal to introduce virtual tours, panoramic views and floor plans. To ensure a much safer experience, advanced security features include the automated account verification system (activated via a short messaging service).

Property evaluation services for Pakistani diaspora can help settle family disputes that are often caused by misunderstandings rather than bad intentions. The only components of this missing is a a value assessment service for foreign embassies (immigration services) and commercial banks as well. Corporate customers of real estate demand access to a map showing the recent value assessments in a particular area, ensuring transparency and accuracy. Time will tell which new player will bring this to the fold, or whether existing players will add it on.

Megaphone model – An approach to influence an entire market

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 20.48.54

I’ve been involved in some cases that had to do with introducing something new to the market place and/or  required changes to legislation, public opinion and awareness. Such cases are about energy legislation, taxation, medical legislation, healthcare, vaccination programs, trade legislation, nuclear power plant permits, etc. In such a case I and Minna Ritoluoma (Marketing Architect at Toinen PHD) came up with an approach to communications and influence design that can act as a foundation for influence planning. I named the approach “The Megaphone model”. (Click to enlarge the picture)

Megaphone model_lobbying and public opinion influencing

The idea is to recognize and plan the shared vision and goal that other parties would share and be willing to support. Once you have the vision you can start designing the comms flow – what messages are relevant for the cause and who are the persons, parties or institutions that would be most capable of getting them thru to the over all public opinion and legal entities. These cases have to do with very long term market condition creation that often enable huge business potential. Let’s say that your goal would be to increase the natural gas demand in the market – it would be better for the cause that a car company offering cars that run with natural gas would start marketing their offering for the market than the gas provider to try to increase the natural gas demand on their own. The message makes more sense for consumers when the fuel and its practical use benefits along with pure energy claims are communicated simultaneously. On the B2B side, for example food production lines are major natural gas clients that act as enablers for gas line extensions or building a LNG terminal, which requires building permits and long-term investments that then again can be used for consumer distribution network creation. The energy as such isn’t interesting – the cars are, the lower cost warm water and heating is and the more efficient manufacturing is.

In some cases it’s also better that some neutral scientist to make the environmental claims instead of a brand with vested interests. On the other hand the legislation preparing entities and public opinion can and often should be influenced simultaneously for the positive outcomes, sometimes over a very long period of time. Such cases are about strategic Must Win Communications Battles that can be very expensive or impossible to win solo.. As some wise man once said something like this: “If you want to move fast, go alone. If you want to go far, take a team with you”. A company can act as a kind of orchestrator designing the market place and mastering communications via different public or behind the scenes players like lobbyists, but the company needs the shared vision and goals to fuel the megaphone model. Such synergy can also be approached with Symbiosis Strategy that I published about earlier

Let’s move to details that make or break the case: Influencer mapping (Click to enlarge the picture)

Megaphone model_influencer mapping and comms designThe keys to success can be found with influencer mapping. The map is three dimensional tool that has two axis a) legislation decision power b) public opinion influencing power and c) color coding for each actor > positive, undecided/neutral and negative towards the shared vision and goals. This map is a fantastic tool for creation of the plan further and design influence patterns > who’s listening who, what goals do they have, who’s influenced by public opinion, who’s in alliance with who etc. Each actor should be thoroughly researched in order to master the communications scheduling, actors and routing for the messaging. Like most things, the whole model is about doing the hard work and being smart. Advertising can be a very powerful tool but it’s rarely the only solution – these cases are about market creation and foundations for a completely new ecosystems. When the opportunities present themselves, make sure you are ready to make most of them.. or contact me 🙂 Nothing is as fun and rewarding, as challenging the existing status quo and re-writing the rules in a certain market place!

Every now and then new major opportunities become possible. I hope these tools help you to make most of them. I would love to get your feedback for this approach and possible experiences you have had about this kind of cases!

Check out these articles too:

The SYMBIOSIS STRATEGY – Creating an ultimate value propositionMarketing’s new and re-designed 7P’s
Managing Brand – The most profound KPI’s and measures /

About Author

Toni Keskinen ,Chief Editor for Future CMO Movement (http://futurecmo.org)
Toni.keskinen(at)futurecmo.org

http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen

Marketing has an identity crisis – Blue Ocean dashboard

I just found Dr. Rod King’s Blue Ocean dashboard and process tools from SlideShare today and thought about how necessary it is to understand the whole value creation process in order to manage brand effectively. The number one branding responsible inside the company is actually the CEO, as he is often the only person in a company responsible for the total experience.

Brand identity is a reflection of the company, it has to be real and true. False promises and wrong kind of identity only generate dissatisfaction and distrust. You are what you are and you can improve, but you can’t stretch too far. Marketing is often responsible for the identity design, business managers are responsible for the experience. This approach doesn’t work anymore – The brand from the customer’s perspective is one single entity and the experience and perception must be a solid combination.

Mr. Graham Hill, well-known and great CRM and customer experience expert whom I respect very much just published an article: How Stupidity, Short-termism and Immorality Ruined Marketing in Customer Think -blog. Here’s a quote:

“If you take a step back you will see that the ethos of marketing has changed over the past 50 or so years. It used to be the driver of a three-step process of 1. understanding what customers want, 2. organising to give it to them profitably and 3. telling them all about it.

Today, this has been changed so that marketing is now the driver of a much more intrumental three-step process of 1. create more stuff that we already make or that competitors make, 2. tell customers about it over and over again, and 3. manage away the customer queries, complaints and returns as cheaply as possible.”

In my opinion the article just emphasized how important it is to act now and change the way how companies organize for marketing and define the role marketing has within the organization. (Below the article there is also great dialogue about the matter.) Read here

The CMO’s should have the best view on how the customers both perceive and experience the company and translate that reality for business owners and the CEO. Mandate for this position comes from the customers. The CMO’s role is to understand how the product/service range and customer experience influence the overall value experience, brand perception and preference, demand and capacity to generate premium pricing. CMO should define how the company should position different products and services in order to optimize the overall growth, sales and profit margin.

Dr. Rod King’s tools for Blue Ocean dashboard tool felt like rather easy and rapid tool for over all view creation, opening eyes for the whole. Here it is:

Naturally branding and brand identity has a lot to do with subconscious and emotions along with rational mind. The business owners are  rational, which doesn’t guarantee success and most certainly doesn’t drive willingness to pay premium. Business owners often demand rapid results, which easily leads to tactical marketing emphasis, which only decline people’s willingness to pay for quality and drives opportunistic customer behavior. This is where marketing must bring the magic in. Creativity has more demand now than it has ever had due to the cluttered market and overwhelming amount of marketing messages everywhere.
Marketing has a strategic role inside the corporate hierarchy, it’s time to act and wipe away the perception of marketing, that is now dominating business owners minds.
Let’s face it. Marketing has an identity crisis and Marketing as a “brand” is suffering from wrong “brand perception” and customer experience defects. Lets re-define the meaning of marketing, polish the “brand” and it’s value for other corporate board members. This is why Future CMO Movement was founded!
I hope this community could become a place for game changers to exchange ideas and share experiences. In case you think you would have great material to share, please contact me and I’ll grant you author rights for this blog. Contact me via toni.keskinen(at)gmail.com
Also check out these articles:

Author: Toni Keskinen, Marketing Architect & Customer Journey Designer

http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen

Join Future CMO Movement LinkedIn Group here

Big Data, Big Decisions and Big Management Change

Big data is out there. Data volumes, velocity and varieties have multiplied, in fact exploded.  The big question is how to find the best ways to make all of it and how analyzed data is changing decision-making ways and management. Are big decisions based on analyzed evidence or intuition?

Many organizations are thinking how to drive the real business value behind big data. They are drowning with data and don’t know what to do with it. To drive competitive edge from big data, organizations need new competence and new management style. These are very big issues in today’s business environment and get accentuated all the time. For example, Gartner’s top 10 strategic technology trends for 2013 addressed strategic big data and actionable analytics. These two trends were number six and seven. And believe me, these two trends are raising top of that list the near future.

Ten years ago I created Intelligent Contact Management (ICM) concept at MicroMedia. It was holistic approach for sales and target marketing. The main idea was to translate inside and outside, online or offline data into information, information into deep knowledge, knowledge into action and action into measurable results. Action means in this case multichannel sales and marketing approach. Right and relevant message to right targets at the right time. Way of handling and managing touch points in customer journey.  The concept of ICM presents in picture below.

Is there any significant changes in ten years. Nothing much, except tsunami of unstructured information has swept over. After ten years we are facing with information that comes in varieties and volumes we could ever imagine. That is not a threat, it is the big opportunity to handle and manage more precise information for predictions and decision-making.

Big data is a management revolution.

There was a very interesting article about big data and management revolution in Harvard Business Review, October 2012 issue by McAfee and Brynjolfsson.  They wrote that “data-driven decisions are better decisions – it’s as simple as that. Using big data enables managers to decide on the basis of evidence rather than intuition. For that reason it has the potential to revolutionize management”. I could not agree more, using and analyzing data for evidence-based decision-making is the quantum leap from hunch and “super intuition”. This leap composes a big managerial challenge.

Are data-driven companies’ better performers?

There is a lot of buzz and skepticism about the real value of being data-driven organization. McAfee and Brynjolfsson made a research to find real evidence that using big data will lead to better business performance. They interviewed executives at 330 public North American companies about management practices, both organizational and technological and their annual reports. The major finding was that companies using big data and data-driven decision-making are performing better financially and operationally. In fact they are 5% more productive and 6% more profitable than their competitors.  But, and this is a big but, 32% of respondents set their companies below 3 at 5-point composite scale when asking is your company data-driven. So, there is a lot of work to do in this field.

Destroy the empire of HiPPOs

Is your organization making decision HiPPO-style? McAfee’s and Brynjolfsson’s definition for HiPPO: the highest-paid person’s opinion. These executives are making decisions based on their experience and old intuitive patterns. The big question is are these executives ready to cancel their decisions if analyzed data is telling the opposite than their intuition and hunch. The answer is yes and no, but the big shift is happening. In today’s business world, executives can rely on data and predictions. The biggest factor is that they can ask the right questions. When the data-driven decision-making movement advances further, HiPPOs will mute and extinct. New data experts will arise. Future CMO will be this kind of expert in executive group.

Manage the big change

McAfee and Brynjolfsson picked up five management challenges when moving towards data-driven company and evidence-based decision-making.

Leadership

  • create leadership teams, set clear goals, define success and focus on asking the right question
  • do not forget the human insight
  • think creatively
  • communicate clearly with employees, stockholders and stakeholders

Talent management

  • employ data scientists

Technology

  • invest in technology
  • update IT competence

Decision making

  • create cross-functional cooperation
  • locate the big information and decision-making in the same place
  • improve problem-solving techniques
  • ask the right questions

Company culture

  • move actively away from hunches and instinct
  • do not pretend be more data-driven than you really are
  • forget the HiPPO-style decision-making

The big data will become a key basis of innovation, productivity and competition. According to research by MGI and McKinsey’s Business Technology Office there are five ways in which using big data can create value. First, big data can create value by making information transparent and usable widely inside the organization. Second, organizations can collect more accurate and detailed performance information, analyze it and drive performance. Companies are using big data and analysis to make better management decisions. Third, big data allows ever-narrower segmentation of customers and therefore much more precisely tailored products or services. Fourth, actionable analytics improve decision-making. Fifth, big data can improve the development of the next generation of products and services.

In the end, one rule of thumb to remember: Big data will never replace Big thinking!

Future CMO & Strategic Marketing

Customers are on a journey with your brand. In today’s business environment, the greatest purpose of organizational functions is to give the roadmap to that journey. Well then, what is a customer journey? It is the art and science of customer-centric methods, skills and tools to synchronize customer’s needs and company’s offering optimally by handling and managing offline and online touch points profitably. The Customer journey covers all stages along customer’s transition from never-a-customer to always –a- customer. Customer journey is the customer life-cycle from brand as a platform to initiation, choosing and buying, using the product or service to re-consideration and re-purchase or attrition. Handling and managing customer journey is the first priority for CMO’s in the future. But, are CMO’s ready for this? Are they specialist of customer insight and knowledge management? Can they turn data into information, information into deep and rich knowledge and knowledge into feasible results? And not only the CMO, can organizations as a whole meet the challenge. 

It is almost impossible to differentiate with the quality of products and services. Target marketing with intense positioning are very similar among competitive products and services. It is difficult to get your message through in infinite number of push marketing media. To achieve success, organizations need to focus on customers and differentiate brand by developing exclusive customer experience and build unbeaten trust.  Organizations need to get closer to customer, to understand the real drivers of customers behaviour and attitudes. It is all about driving insight. In the future CMO’s will be a specialist of driving customer insight. 

Strategic marketing is the sweet spot of operational and tactical activities, corporate strategy and customer insight. In practice this means need to synchronize organization, resources, supplies and customer touch points to customer behaviour. Leading with knowledge is the core of strategic marketing. Leading marketing is leading the organization. Future CMO’s is facing new, inspiring and challenging job description in the centre of corporate management. 

Strategic marketing will be in the corner room, on the table of top executives. But why it is not there?  Because marketing is as expense item and too far from concrete added value, which called the money. The most important thing is to bring central facts alive coherently that marketing and especially strategic marketing would be the interest for CEO and CFO. Future CMO has to simplify strategic marketing to executive group, packet and crystallize business benefits and glue them to corporate strategy. 

Bring the outside world into your organization. Lead with knowledge and explode the corporate silos. Lead the customer journey and optimize the touch points in multidimensional world. It is time for a real strategic marketing, customer driven organizations and constant development and innovations on customer interface. The fastest companies are on their way. Like one of the most famous hockey player has said: “I don’t go where the puck is, I go where the puck will be”. The best organizations know where the next pass is going to. Do you?

Why Futurecmo.org movement is important?

This is the home page for the Future CMO movement. We  recognized a need for new kind of collaboration and movement.  The business environment has grown more and more complicated to understand and manage. CMO’s and business managers have great difficulties staying up-to-date with the change and finding ways, methodologies, technology and partners to help them.

The most difficult challenges are inside each corporation: silo organisation, fractured information, data,- goals and resources. Managers within corporate management are specialists, very often great vertically experienced professionals who are great at what they do. The challenge is that in the rapidly changing business environment vertical is not enough but the emphasis is moving to horizontal understanding.  Simultaneously the availability of data has exploded and the cost of technology decreased. As a result business managers are drowning in data and blind to the opportunities surrounding them. Paradoxically, making sense of the world, business drivers and customers has become more difficult than ever.

IBM did a major study in 2010 and interviewed over 1500 CEO’s around the world. Mr. Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman, President and CEO of IBM Corporation captured the findings in three major issues in his pre-words of the study report:

  1. The World’s private and public sector leaders believe that a rapid escalation of “complexity” is the biggest challenge confronting them. They expect it to continue – indeed, to accelerate – in the coming years
  2. They are equally clear that their enterprises today are not equipped to cope effectively with this complexity in the global environment
  3. Finally, they identify “creativity” as the single most important leadership competency for enterprises seeking a path through this complexity.

The reason why complexity is such a rapidly increasing challenge in Mr. Palmisano’s words is because: “the threats and opportunities aren’t just coming at us faster or with less predictability; they are converging and influencing each other to cerate entirely unique situations. The first-of-their-kind developments require unprecedented degrees of creativity – which has become a more important leadership quality than attributes like management discipline, rigor or operational acumen.”

When we considered this challenge, we came to conclusion that CMO’s role will change profoundly. The CMO should be capable of offering the horizontal view of the market and deep understanding of the customers, their behaviour and motives. CMO’s should show the way in this ongoing change management and management change corporate wide. Here’s why:

  • CMO is constantly analyzing and tracking the brand’s success and perception in the market compared to other brands and players offering their solution to the basic needs their products and services are paid for
  • CMO’s role is to know and understand how the market works from customer point of view
  • CMO should know how different strategies influence customer behavior, loyalty and consequently business
  • CMO has resources to allocate and he can react in both brand related issues and tactical sales
  • CMO’s job is to make the money work for the company and invest in any purpose resulting profits, growth and competitive advantage
  • CMO has a role is in between corporate strategy, operations, and customer understanding

CMO’s role is obviously too narrow if his silo is only responsible for advertising and promotions. Having the best view on the customer’s needs and perception, CMO should most certainly take responsibility for customer experience, product and service development/concepting. The Future CMO’s role is to be the catalyst for change and to provide the KPI’s to measure it.

CMO has a lot on his table and he can not do this alone. This movement is about supporting the management change and CMO’s. This is an open forum for sharing experiences, opinions, practices and cases.

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