Tomorrow’s cities: How big data is changing the world

Here is a very insightful and interesting article from the BBC about Big Data and how it could be used to shape the nature of cities in the future. It includes a nice mention for the company I work for – IBM. There are also some great factual snippets which you could use in conversation.

  • Each engine of a jet on a flight from London to New York generates 10TB of data every 30 minutes “TweetThis
  • In 2013 internet data, mostly user-contributed, will account for 1,000 exabytes “TweetThis
  • Open weather data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association has an annual estimated value of $10bn “TweetThis
  • Every day we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data “TweetThis
  • 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the past two years “TweetThis
  • Every minute 100,000 tweets are sent globally “TweetThis
  • Google receives two million search requests every minute “TweetThis

The 7 Success Factors of Social Business Strategy

In a comprehensive social business research study, Altimeter Group uncovered some pretty surprising realities about the state of social media strategy within enterprise organizations…

Only 34% of businesses feel that their social strategy is connected to business outcomes.

Just 28% of companies we studied feel that they have a holistic approach to social media, where lines of business and business functions work together under a common vision.

A mere 12% are confident they have a plan that looks beyond the next year.

Only half said that top executives were “informed, engaged and aligned with their companies’ social strategy.”

The full article can be ready here:

via The 7 Success Factors of Social Business Strategy | LinkedIn.

Engaging customers on their terms with Exceptional Digital Experience

Guest PostLarry Bowden,

Portals and Web Experience Software

 LarryBowden

In June during a Commerce Conference in Monaco, I had the pleasure of introducing our Exceptional Digital Experience software along with Amadori, a leading Italian Food Company, who showcased the exceptional digital experiences they are creating to delight their customers.

Ben Martin

Amadori was on a quest to find ways they could communicate more effectively with their growing numbers of young consumers. They decided to harness the potential of online marketing to create a series of mini-sites for a line of similar products using “digital” communication. “We wanted to create fun, innovative sites with interactive features which would engage a group of consumers who are more likely to surf the Net,” Marco Magnaghi, Business Innovation Manager at Amadori explains.

Having passed through two eras — content is king and social/analytics — digital experience is now entering its ubiquitous stage. Putting customers first has long been the elixir to a business’ success.  A few years back, providing an exceptional customer experience meant having a website strategy, but in today’s reality, to successfully deliver a tailored and consistent experience online that meets and exceeds audience expectations requires a broader approach — you must consider the entire customer journey. In other words, a somewhat straight-forward web strategy of years past has evolved into the need for a more comprehensive digital strategy.

A digital experience strategy takes into account the emerging trends around the use of web and social analytics, more advanced rich media management and delivery, deeper social engagement and robust responsive design for mobile delivery. In this age of digital, a business’ success relies heavily on their ability to create and deliver exceptional digital experiences for their customers, engaging them on their terms and on their time. In fact, a Forrester survey found that more than 90% of respondents said that customer experience is a top strategic priority for their firm*.

Do you want to make an exceptional customer experience a strategic priority? Join Larry on July 17 at 11 am EDT to hear how you can transform the way you reach, understand and relate to customers through a rich and robust digital experience across multiple channels and devices.  Click here to register for the webcast: Reinvent Relationships with Exceptional Digital Experiences.

Simple & Brilliant Outdoor Ad Campaign

IBM Ben Martin Smarter

Advertising for innovative products and services are everywhere, but it’s rare to find any that will actually help you out in that very moment. IBM does just that with its new outdoor advertising campaign from Ogilvy & Mather France, Adweek reports.

A simple curve in three different outdoor ads help them turn into structures that are actually useful to passersby: benches, shelters, and a smooth runway along a stairwell for bikes or luggage. The simple bit of innovation showcases the way IBM approaches the world while also hoping to inspire others to share their ideas on making cities more efficient and effective for its residents.

Each ad encourages consumers to visit People4smartcities.com. “If cities were smarter, then life in cities would be better,” IBM points out in its video of the ads while also noting that the hope is that the ads will “spark positive change” and “unite city leaders and forward-thinking citizens.”

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Orignal post from BrandChannel by Mark J. Miller

Social Selling – The Evolution of Sales

What is social selling?

Social Selling is use of social media platforms to listen, relate, engage and identify opportunities for engagement at the right time.

A social seller is someone who demonstrates the ability to blend digital technology, innovative web and social media to increase reach, depth, leads and expedite the sales cycle.

Why is Social Selling important?
The average company can access twenty times more information about you and your competition than they could five years ago. Sales people today are at a huge disadvantage, if the statistics are right, customers are not interested in picking up the phone until after they have scoped solutions. How can the salesperson reach them early and then keep their attention.

Isn’t this Social Marketing?
Social Media Marketing is the use of social networks to create awareness and broadcast a brand message. Social Selling leverages  social networks to build relationships. A marketing team will handle a brand account versus a salesperson will handle a personal individual account to create engagement.

Social Selling vs Traditional Selling
The good news is that Social Selling is not a break from traditional selling practices. In fact the use of ABC (Always Be Closing) is now ABC (Always Be Connecting). Social Sellers do not and should not abandon email, phone or face to face methods. In fact a deliberate use of social media will make these traditional methods far more productive. The customer becomes a warm contact, so if anything Social Selling will eliminate the wasteful parts of a sales process such as cold calling.

I said earlier that the sales people of today are at a disadvantage, so let me quickly mention the Social Buyer.
The huge amount of online data gives the seller an opportunity to create value for the buyers. Buyers may well be incredibly informed but they are desperate to shorten their purchasing cycles. The more data they have to process and the more stake holders they must consult, the longer it takes for them to make a buying decision.
If salespeople could deliver insights to buyers at the right times, they could bring purchasing times down and then everybody is happy.

The Evolution of a Salesperson
We as a species are social creatures, we always have been and that will not change. Social media has exploded into this era because of technology, the fastest adoption of technology in human history in fact. Your customers being on a social platform is just the tip of the iceberg. Smart devices are allowing us to be social 24/7. As younger generations step up the career ladder and become your customer are you ready to communicate directly into their pockets. Social Selling is an evolutionary step forward.

I will leave you with this last question:

Will the traditional 9-5 sales role be replaced with a 24/7 seller? I look forward to the conversation.

How to build a social business [Infographic]

Social business adoption is expected to increase to 57% by the year 2017. Companies will need to better incorporate social business processes into how they communicate, engage and interact with employees if they want to innovate more, grow more and be more successful overall.

How to build a Social Business

If you noticed, the ten steps listed above include many references to people and process, further emphasizing the significance of the employee experience. Your social business strategy will be only as good as how well engaged and connected your employees feel to the company.

 

Social Business matters today – and will matter even more tomorrow

Social business is just getting started. But its value is clearly emerging for innovation, operations, leadership and marketing. So what are companies really doing?

In 2012 MIT Sloane Management conducted a survey to really investigate that question. Below you will find my highlights and takeaways from this study.

Even though social technologies have been around for some years now. The sentiment from the report is that many companies are still holding back on the adoption of social tools. Of those surveyed, 52% said that it was important or somewhat important to them today. Whilst 86% believe that it will be important or somewhat important in three years.
Social business is primarily viewed as a tool for external facing activities with marketing departments, sales and customer services being the main driving force with customer relationship management being at the forefront.
The second important use of social software was to drive innovation and competitive differentiation. So whilst the majority see the importance over the coming years most are viewing social tools as external activity, with a smaller group understanding its potential for internal innovation and collaboration.

The Barriers.
The report highlights the biggest barrier is leadership vision. However it is noted that CEOs are twice as likely to drive strategic adoption of social tools than the CIO and CFO.
Lack of understanding on how to measure the effectiveness of social tools is also cited as an inhibitor of adoption with many not measuring at all. Social business depends on leadership, metrics may not be critical when experimenting with social software, but as it becomes more important to organisations, having metrics in place can help managers assess, encourage and reward related behaviours. Helping shift their cultures to be more compatible with social business. CEOs recognise that leadership can be improved with social business, may be more than other members of the C-Suite.

The Challenge
Gartner estimates that the failure rate for social business projects is 70%. That is astonishingly high. Factors that could be responsible include:
– Not using the software deployed to solve a true business problem
– Integration into daily work flow
– Lack of senior management support
– Thinking email is a collaborative tool
– The use of “Social” with the word “Business” vs “Social Media”
– Not realising we are Human. (The three basic psychological factors : The need to connect, feel competent and the need to be autonomous in one’s actions)

The report asked “Why do you use social business at work?” The top three answers being : To network, effectiveness and to voice opinions.
Motivations to participate in social business activities are thus far from superficial and even go beyond just our social nature. They can help fulfil basic psychological needs.

The report also noted that larger organisations and smaller organisations appreciate the value of social business more than that of mid size organisations. With the smaller companies saying they could increase their voice and connect with customers to really make themselves seem bigger than they really are.

The Plan
A clear vision of how social media supports the business strategy was top facilitator in the report. So the first step in your social business journey is to create and communicate the broader social strategy for your organisation. What business challenges are to be solved with  social business activities? What is the Strategy to make this happen? What technology best supports these objectives? What kinds of social networks will support this strategy? Most important is to realise that your social business journey will take time, require and drive changes to your business processes. Defining organisational structure an how you interact with customers and employees.

Take the time to access where you are today, identify problems that are currently being addressed with social tools. Consider if the correct resources are being directed towards the right problems. If you are heavily regulated make sure you have governance process in place to address these. Identify the people or roles that will focus on social business and how these individuals will coordinate with each other. Use listening tools to collect information about your brand, customer service and competition. This area hols tremendous potential for organisations.

Ensuring that your business has enough resources is fundamental. Have you chosen to assign the tasks to an individual or will it be on top of someone’s day job. Will you have incentives in place, targeting and rewarding the correct people. Have you resources in place for communication, content creation, community management and training.

Whilst the report makes it clear that many companies are not measuring and whilst in experimentation mode this may not be so important. Measurement will however need to be conducted especially when redefining practices and processes, measuring adoption thought will be misleading so not advised. For people, often what matters most is whether the tools helps them to do their jobs more effectively.

 

Given that social business is just getting started you may be tempted to wait. But that approach may delay achieving its potential in your organisation, to the detriment of your innovation, leadership, operations and marketing.