Friday, March 15, 2013

A personal conversation about personal branding

"Australians and New Zealanders don't like personal branding- they find it distasteful". 

I was having lunch the other day with someone from one of the big US social media companies.  He looked stopped eating and stared and me blankly. 


"What do you mean?" he said "That's how social works". 

"I know", I said, "but I'm in the minority. People will sit in meetings and agree in theory but when you start putting real people's faces on conferences, blog posts and videos, the feelings start to kick in- it's seen as self promotion and not being a team player."

Mr social media company guy looked even more confused.

"That's the complete opposite of what our company does and how we advise other companies. If you are the Lego guy you be the Lego guy. If you are the Android girl you be the Android girl. We do everything to support people in personal branding. It builds our brand, it expands our reach into their networks. Why would you not do that?" he said in his overly dramatic SoCal way. 

"People are still working off an old paradigm where the Big Eagle gets featured on the glossy business magazine cover and everyone else should perch silently behind the brand. Try to feature a call-centre person in an article and all you'll get is a long list of reasons why that's not possible and why only certain brass get to comment. It's frustrating but it's a cultural thing and I don't think you'll shift it any time soon," I said. 

"So much time is wasted worrying about curbing someone else's profile when people should be building their own. It's a very pessimistic view. What if they leave? What about people that aren't comfortable being on Youtube? It doesn't reward people who have developed those skills and put in the time. It's a cultural thing. We think it's 'showy' or something."

"Wow that makes no sense at all," said mr social media guy. "What if they stay! They'll own that topic! That thinking massively disadvantages Aussie and Kiwi companies in social,  and marketing in general. It limits the conversations they are a part of. They really need to get over that thinking- I just can't believe that," said mr social media guy shaking his head. 

Yes indeed. 




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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Content marketing usage in Australia by tactic

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) and the Association for Data Driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) have released an interesting report  'Content Marketing in Australia: 2013 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends.' 

The tactics graph provides a good snapshot on the range of tools available to marketers and where opportunities exist to extend your online marketing mix. 


Organisations have figured out the power of social to drive traffic on to native properties (company website) and are exploring more resource intensive activities such as video and podcasting. 

Facebook and LinkedIn are still the most popular social sites and, consistent with global mobile data, Australia continues its leadership in mobile apps and content. 

View the full report below: 


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Monday, February 18, 2013

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Market Share Analysis: Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 4Q12 and 2012

Android was top with 144.7m smartphones sold, for a 69.7% market share. iOS ranks second with 43.5m iPhones and a 20.9% share. Gartner has BlackBerry in third place (7.3m sales / 3.5% share) and Windows Phone in fourth (6.2m / 3%) but with the former falling considerably year-on-year, and the latter growing.

“2013 will be the year of the rise of the third ecosystem as the battle between the new BlackBerry 10 and Windows Phone intensifies,” predicts Gartner.


Worldwide Smartphone Sales to End Users by Operating System in 4Q12 (000s of Units)


Operating System



4Q12 Market Share (%)



4Q11 Market Share (%)











Research In Motion































Source: Gartner (February 2013) 



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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Eating your own beats getting eaten.


I had a bit of a brain jolt this morning when I saw Apple CEO Tim Cook's comments on cannibalisation as part of the Q113 earnings call today. 

“I see cannibalisation as a huge opportunity for us,” Cook said. “Our core philosophy is to never fear cannibalisation. If we don’t do it, someone else will. We know that iPhone has cannibalised some of our iPod business. That doesn’t worry us."

Why waste resource protecting territory that your competitor has under full attack and customers don't want? Keep going and take new ground with more advanced products as the technology and user preference develops.

It's so damn obvious I can't believe the years I've sat in meetings nodding along to 'evils of cannibalisation' pep talks. 

My first job was in FMCG sales and I remember we had to sell a new Weight Watchers branded product into the supermarkets. It was a fantastic product. Dripping chocolaty goodness with sexy packaging and hardly any calories. The issue was, we already had a plain old 'Lite' product that was doing quite well and we weren't allowed to cannibalise it.  Our instruction was to create new shelf space and not take any facings off the existing diet product. 

When presented with the Weight Watchers sample, buyers would always point at the 'Lite' product on the shelf and say: "so we don't need that one?"

All the 'anti-cannibalisation' tactic did was create confusion and slow down the adoption of the new shiny product. In the meantime. competitors could refine their their own 'Lite' offers by copying ours and gain more market share by picking off our older, weaker incumbent. 

Eating your own might sound primitive but it does keep you at the top of the food chain. Something Apple is very good at. 


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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Six Marketing Metrics Your CEO Wants to See via Hubspot

I've just seen this handy little post from Hubspot and thought I'd post it up for reference.

1) Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

This is your total Sales and Marketing cost -- add up all the program or advertising spend, plus salaries, plus commissions and bonuses, plus overhead -- in a time period, divided by the number of new customers in that time period. That time period, by the way, could be a month, a quarter, or a year. For instance, if you spent $300,000 on Sales and Marketing in a month and added 30 customers that month, then your CAC is $10,000.

2) Marketing % of Customer Acquisition Cost (M%-CAC)

I like to compute the marketing portion of CAC and call it M-CAC, and then compute that as a % of overall CAC. The M%-CAC is interesting to watch over time, and any change signals that something has changed in either your strategy, or your effectiveness.

For instance, an increase either means that 1) you are spending too much on marketing, 2) that sales costs are lower because they missed quota, or 3) that you are trying to raise sales productivity by spending more on marketing and providing more and higher quality leads to Sales.

For a company that does mostly outside sales with a long and complicated sales cycle, M%-CAC might be only 10-20%. For companies that have an inside sales team and a less complicated sales process, M%-CAC might be more like 20-50%. And for companies that have a low cost and simpler sales cycle where sales are somewhat humanless, the M%-CAC might be more like 60-90%.

3) Ratio of Customer Lifetime Value to CAC (LTV:CAC)

For companies that have a recurring revenue stream from their customers -- or even any way for customers to make a repeat purchase -- you need to estimate the current value of a customer and compare that to what you spent to acquire that new customer.

To compute the LTV, you need to take the revenue the customer pays you in a period, subtract out the gross margin, and then divide by the estimated churn % (cancellation rate) for that customer. So, for a type of customer who pays you $100,000 per year where your gross margin on the revenue is 70%, and that customer type is predicted to cancel at 16% per year, then the LTV is $437,500.

Now, once you have the LTV and the CAC, you compute the ratio of the two. If it cost you $100,000 to acquire this customer with an LTV of $437,500, then your LTV:CAC is 4.4 to 1. For growing SaaS companies, most investors and board members want this ratio to be greater than 3X; a higher ratio means your Sales and Marketing have a higher ROI. Higher is not always better though; when the ratio is too high, you might want to spend more on Sales and Marketing to grow faster, because you are restraining your growth by under-spending, and making life easy for your competition.

4) Time to Payback CAC

This is the number of months it takes you to earn back the CAC you spent to get a new customer. You take the CAC and divide by margin-adjusted revenue per month for the average new customer you just signed up, and the resulting number is the number of months to payback. In industries where customers pay one time upfront, this metric is less relevant because the upfront payment should be greater than the CAC, otherwise you are losing money on every customer. On the other hand, in industries where customers pay a monthly or annual fee, you usually want the Payback Time to be under 12 months, meaning that you become “profitable” on a new customer in under a year, and then after that you start making money.

5) Marketing Originated Customer %

This ratio shows what % of your new business is driven by Marketing. To compute it, take all of the new customers you signed up in a period, and look at what % of them started with a lead that Marketing generated. This is much, much easier to do when you have a closed-loop marketing analytics system, but you can do it manually -- just know it will be time consuming. 

What I like about this metric is that it directly shows what portion of the overall customer acquisition originated in Marketing, and it is often higher than Sales would lead you to believe. In my experience, this % varies widely from company to company. For companies with an outside sales team supported by an inside sales team with cold callers, this percentage might be pretty small, perhaps 20-40%; for a company with an inside sales team that is supported by a lot of lead generation from Marketing, it might be 40-80%; and for a company with somewhat humanless sales, it might be 70-95%.

Note: You can also compute this percentage using revenue, not customers, depending on how you prefer to look at your business.

6) Marketing Influenced Customer %

This is really similar to the Marketing Originated Customer %, but it adds in all the new customers where Marketing touched and nurtured the lead at any point during the sales process, not only by originating the lead. For instance, if a salesperson found a lead but then the lead attended a marketing event and then later closed, that new customer was influenced by Marketing. This % is obviously higher than the "Originated" percentage, and for most companies I think this should be between 50% and 99%.

Your Marketing Metrics Cheat Sheet

ceo metrics chart

Read more:


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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Is paid-earned-owned media thinking still relevant?

A recent post by Richard Edelman, nudges us closer to what marketing practioners have seen coming for the last two or three years- a blurring of the lines between paid, earned, and owned media. 

I agree with Edelman that we need to start looking at media buying deals in a fresh way. Classical terms such as 'advertorial' may make editorial teams feel safe about boundaries but they also have a negative connotation and can close the door on the development of new media products and advertising products. It doesn't make sense that the media and publishing technologies would continue to change but the resourcing, budgets and deal structures would stay the same. 

I don't agree with Edelman that we need to 'take on the chance to make content the basis of advertising' in that I think it always has been.  What is changing is where the content is being created and client-side marketers need to take more responsibility for developing content engines inside their companies. 

Customers are smarter than we give them credit for and welcome information that is presented to them in an informative and engaging way. If it's sponsored- tell them it's sponsored. If a blogger is paid to review a product, again, tell people that and let them decide how they will manage the influencer relationship. How the deals are brokered behind the scenes shouldn't be hamstrung by media categories that are increasingly less relevant and assumptions that customers don't understand their consumer world. 

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