Andy on Twitter

  • Learned

Amazon Goes to War

Adam nails it…. L2 also has a good read

Digital transformation is all the rage. With few exceptions, every business now grapples with how the digital economy changes how things were done in the past. Traditional industries wonder worriedly how they’ll be able to keep up.

Take note, then, that a master class on digital transformation is about to begin. Amazon announced Thursday that it will complete its purchase of Whole Foods on Monday. The screaming headlines focused, rightly, on Amazon’s promise to transform “Whole Paycheck” to affordable organics. Amazon will apply its consumer-friendly cost-cutting regimen to a range of Whole Foods products.

The bigger news, though, was how Amazon intends to make Whole Foods into a digital powerhouse—or least how it’ll integrate Whole Foods into its digital engine. The high-end supermarket’s loyalty program will become Amazon Prime, instantly boosting the value of the Whole Foods shopping experience and of Amazon’s free-delivery-and-other-benefits program.

Amazon also plans to put many Whole Foods products onto its online platforms, including many that hadn’t previously been available through e-commerce. This will be a possible step function up for Whole Foods and a boon to Amazon too.

Lastly, for now, Amazon plans to test its delivery “lockers” in Whole Foods stores. This drop-off location service is good for Amazon’s shoppers and also enhances the traffic potential for Whole Foods.

Each initial innovation that Amazon is bringing to Whole Foods is something the grocer either couldn’t or didn’t do for itself. At the same time, Amazon is able to “synergize” its e-commerce machine with one of the premier non-digital brands in the country.

Let the transformation commence.”

Adam Lashinsky

  • Connect

Where Martech Went Wrong

The current preoccupation with Martech as fancy CRM and demand generation is as baffling as it is strategically off-base.

The programmatic train-wreck occurs daily with corporates over-spending and under-auditing. Stupid is as stupid does. Most Martech investments are failing to deliver anything like the ROI promised while unleashing a wall of spam on unsuspecting and unwanting customers. And, marketers continue to chase the latest, bring shiny tool rather than returning to fundamentals.

Meanwhile, retail and distribution is being monumentally disrupted by voice and services such as Amazon Prime. Marketers need to look at Martech as the enablement of products and services, not just the distribution of messages and offers. Where is your voice strategy? Where is your ‘presence’ strategy for meeting customers in new places? How do you partner deeply with Google and others to counter Amazon?

I’d say one in ten marketers I speak to are working strategies that go beyond the 15 year Martech journey we’ve all been on. Instead that work has been left to chief digital and marketing officers. In doing so, they are ceding marketings vital role in architecting customer experience. More importantly, they are loosing touch and control of what will be one of the most important distribution and media channels emerging.

It’s time to rethink your Martech strategy.

 

 

  • Inspired

Amazon’s Beehive

Loved looking at Amazon’s newly granted a patent for ground-based mobile drone fulfilment and maintenance carriers. Further evidence that the big new battleground in retail is fulfilment and logistics.

  • Connect

Great data in the iPhone Impact

iPhone 10th Anniversary: How the iPhone Changed Visual Communication

iPhone 10th Anniversary: How the iPhone Changed Visual Communication
Via The Shutterstock Blog.

  • Loved

The Big Question on Facebook’s mind…

Is video, video, video… and they are right to have this as priority #1. YouTube is so powerful. How to compete? Zuckerberg said this week that the biggest question on Facebook executives’ minds these days is whether it can pull off its ambitious video strategy, which includes rolling out TV-style programs as well as shorter videos on a new section of the app known as “video home.”

The challenge IMHO isn’t just how to get me to spend more time in the Facebook feed watching video, but how to break Facebook free of the constraints of the Browser and Facebook Mobile Interface. YouTube does this well – especially for offline viewing. How would I enjoy Facebook video on my TV or iPad Pro? In offline mode? This is why Facebook is launching apps for Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Samsung Smart TV. And no doubt some serious marketing dollars will follow to drive downloads.

Then there is the grim reality that the video game is lower margin with players like Netflix and Amazon investing big (so much bigger than Facebook’s $25m per episode for Nitro Circus. Both facts leave less room for mis-steps.

Going to be exciting to see you Facebook plays its cards in the new Video tab coming soon.

  • Learned

The Cannes Conundrum

Lets not forget that this is the “Festival of Creativity“. It’s not meant to celebrate marketing effectiveness, efficiency or even relevance. It’s not there to heap praise on creative that drives commercial outcomes for its sponsors. It’s not a platform to discuss the challenges facing marketers. No, its just a festival of creativity. And its ok for that, and that alone.

We should celebrate creative that is beautiful, brilliant, witty and wise. I’ve long argued that marketing is a product, and creative is a key ingredient. But you’d be forgiven wandering through the halls of the Palais for forgetting that it is just one ingredient. Every other element – from effective research and use of data, through technology and business results – takes a back-seat to the primacy of creative.

David Ogilvy was right when he said: “You cannot bore people into buying your product.” That idea follows a more important reality which is “You can’t make commercial creative detached from a commercial reality”. Wieden + Kennedy have won a stack of Lions at Cannes in for the Old Spice campaign “The man your man could smell like”. And they doubled sales in only six months and put the brand back on the world map. That’s what was missing for me across the board. Beautiful creative powering beautiful commercial outcomes.

So with that as the caveat, what can I offer you up from a predominantly sober attendance over seven days at Cannes. In no particular order:

  1. The creative halo (reality distortion field) in marketing is alive and well. While more subdued than last year there was plenty going down around the event. There are few events that offer the opportunity to connect and light-up opportunities like Cannes. As Scott points out, Cannes mimics the broader chasm emerging between the digerati and those that can only aspire. The intensity (whether meetings or partying) of activity around the likes of Facebook and Google was a step ahead and up from any other media there. What was seriously absent was executive presence and a focus on the CMO from digital brands. Any media brand trying to justify their presence at Cannes should invite a friendly B2B marketer to audit their event – they’d likely be embarrassed by their performance in generating leads, connecting and generally reaching the hundreds of CMOs there. Quick aside, more than half the CMO’s I talked to at Cannes were either partially or totally there on their own dime. A ‘workcation’ of sorts.
  2. The PR Profession needs to get its shit together and that starts with fixing both the work and the judging. Entries based on a mix of antiquated (ad equivalency and eye-balls) and short-term metrics resulted in stunts taking the limelight over effective campaigns. Earned brand power is all the rage but there is little substance to PR’s new moniker. PR must create a new performance playbook.
  3. New Media – Youtube, Facebook, Snapchat, Google and others dominated the beaches with rich experiences. Old media and their advisors sat atop super yachts seemingly unaware of their impending annihilation. Snapchat had a ferris wheel out front – a great meeting spot but looked like an awful idea to take a ride with the airborne cabanas akin to floating microwaves.
  4. Consultants are coming in force. Accenture, PWC and others plied their trade from the marina but have a great deal of work to do to become relevant to CMOs. Why is the creative industry so slow in concocting a response?
  5. What happened to Augmented? Snapchat Spectacles littered a few tables but the Samsung tsunami of last year was gone. Not a headset to be seen.
  6. AI, Machine Learning and Data circled nearly every keynote. Baidu’s work in China was super impressive.
  7. Grandstanding was a distraction. Publicis’ posited the bizarre idea that cancelling attendance at and participating in events like Cannes would somehow result in a inflow of cash to fund an AI experiment. Wow. There is nothing like a little grape throwing while hiding behind your Rose and enjoying the view. I tried to connect the dots but still haven’t. When I try I get lost in a weird agency alter reality – they really spent that much money on parties, awards and Rose? Just. Saying. Like. WOW!
  8. Industry issues make the agenda and that’s great. We desperately need more diversity, for instance. Fake news made for good fodder with few ideas on how to solve. No real discussion of the blatant fraud in video media. No talk of the rise of the CCO and CDO over marketing – and their rationalisation of spend and strategy. The usual CMOs (noticeably white male) trotted-out their egotistic drivel on what our agenda should be while largely skirting the fact that Google and Amazon are eating their lunch. What didn’t get discussed enough is the slow and agonising death of the advertising-industrial complex which is likely to lose 130,000 plus jobs if Google and Facebook meet their combined targets. 
  9. Noticeably absent – Amazon. Amazon will cause havoc on the media ecosystem over the next two years and present an unprecedented opportunity and threat to major brands. Alexa and the Amazon brain is about to set-up shop in two-thirds of US households – disinter mediating traditional media. I’d say Amazon will have little interest in Rose, La-Colome Dor, or the beach.
  10. The old stuff while decreasing in relevance and importance to those of us who are interested in the numbers was still beautiful to watch. Seeing Stan Smith on stage talking about his partnership with Adidas was special. The Saatchi new directors showcase is still a spellbinder.

So, to go or not to go, that is the question.

I’ll take a pass this coming year while the organisers find some real moderators and new generation CMOs that probe and speak to what is actually happening. They’ll hopefully also fix their shitty event app and impossibly bad website that makes connecting and figuring out what is happening a bit impossible.

And during that time maybe, just maybe, the agencies and media elite will figure out they are actually spending their clients money and work harder to engage CMOs.

It’s a beautiful event showcasing beautiful creative.

The opportunity is to connect it to beautiful commercial outcomes.

C’Eest La Vie Cannes.