Monday, September 26, 2016

The Wider CIO Role In A Digital Age

The role of the CIO has evolved over the last decade or so. In my opinion this is primarily as the technology services, digital products and online marketing industries have changed considerably over that period.

Cloud, Apps, SaaS, micro services, and a bunch of other technologies & paradigms now means that:
  • Hosting a online service with 99.9% availability is just a £10/month subscription rather than a £100,000 per year investment
  • Developers no longer go to offices and work where work is, but instead sit in their bedrooms and offer themselves to the most innovative opportunities
  • Your customer (or customer's customer) is now online at any time... and more than ever before likely to be viewing your services via a smartphone
  • The new Chief Digital Officer role came & went, with a lot of their work being picked-up by the CIO (and some by the CMO)
  • Vendor lock-in is less of a concern than a vendor that doesn't have an API

All this also means the CIO role in the digital age has become more strategic than ever to the CEO. 

This is because, as software replaces more and more things, every business is becoming a technology business.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Personas vs Customer Segmentation

I my opinion the process of developing customer segmentation is different from creating personas.
Segments are different customer types based upon similar attributes such as demographics (and usually just cuts of your existing customer data). They are typically used to focus marketing spend.

Personas should also go into defining the customer's attitude, propensity to buy, purchase history, device usage, etc. They are there to shape the user experience by giving you (crude) stereotypes to build product/functionality and create content for.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Digital Roles Overlap

I think it is becoming harder and harder to understand all the roles a modern and competent digital organisation needs. In my opinion this is because each specific skill-set now overlaps others.

This makes is difficult to classify some roles and the people that could fill them. 

Hopefully this diagram goes some way to explain things.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Can Google Continue To Increase Revenues?

You've no doubt heard the phrase "nothing lasts forever", well that line works just as well in business as elsewhere. Yet in recent years Google seems to have bucked the boom & bust trend on other online companies and continues to record record revenues.

As this graph from shows, Google posted $74.54 Billion in revenue in 2015.
Google's revenue is mainly made up by advertising, of which Google AdWords is a major factor, which in 2015 accounted for $67.39Billion or over 90%. Currently Google is the Internet company with the highest market capitalization, $373Billion - 5 times its revenue.

But the question for me is.... is this rate of growth sustainable?
Or more realistically I think we need to ask at what point Google's revenue slows down as it finds the optimum way to extract money from advertising customers.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Traditional news wants new media to fund them

A think tank has called for online giants Google and Facebook to pay for the news they take from media outlets and then use on their own websites.

No, it is actually a real article!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The benefits & pitfalls of Scottish companies selling online

As a specialist digital consultant, I speak with a lot of Scottish businesses of all sizes about the opportunities that eCommerce can bring. Most agree that using the Internet to open up new markets and sell a greater amount of products is of commercial interest to them – who wouldn't want more customers and more revenue?

However a lot of businesses have still to venture into eCommerce and time after time the same key reasons for not doing so keep cropping up:

  • Concerns about the cost of setting up and running an online business
  • Concerns that “you need to be technical” 
  • Concerns about online payments and security
  • Concerns about distance selling and the appropriate regulations
  • Concerns about delivery, returns, etc.
  • Concerns about getting & keeping customers
However, help is on-hand from Scottish Enterprise for those organisations who want to learn more about how to go about setting up an online store and grow their business via electronic means. Courses, workshops and dedicated digital and eCommerce expertise via specialist consultants are all available.

Plus it is important to remember is not just about selling to the home Scottish market, eCommerce opportunities also lie abroad. In fact, back in 2013 a report on Scotland’s Digital Future stated that more than 90% of eCommerce in Scotland was already being conducted with other UK or overseas customers. It is therefore unsurprising that in the last few years a Scottish Enterprise workshop on the topic of International eCommerce has been run in many locations across the country. I sometimes help take this popular workshop and it covers topics such as: researching new markets, translating content, global payment methods and international digital marketing techniques.

So what are you waiting for?

What’s in store for digital retailing and Scottish companies?

There’s been a consistent growth in UK one retailing for over a decade now. In fact, the number of UK citizens ordering goods electronically has increased significantly from an already impressive 44% in 2005 to a huge 79% in 2014. This means that nearly everyone with an Internet connection in the UK has now bought something online and actually makes us the biggest adopters of eCommerce in the EU.

This increase also shows no signs of stopping any time soon. All predictions are that more & more products of increasing complexity will be purchased via a browser or app in the future. You only have look back at the types of products bought online just a few years ago… cheap, simple, off-the-shelf, branded and easily packaged- such as books and CD’s (which is how Amazon started off). But now practically everything gets bought online including: complex, expensive, bespoke and considered products – from cruise packages thought to tailored fashion clothing and hand-made furniture if you so wish.

So in my view, the eCommerce future for Scottish companies is very bright and Scottish companies should be no different to any other in the UK when it comes to online selling. There’s still huge opportunities to sell products (and even services) to customers in the UK, Europe, North America and even further afield. Whether you come from the suburbs of London or the shores of Loch Ness, it is possible to sell to the global village of 3.2 Billion online users (which is about 40% of the world’s population).

Unsure what will sell? Well tastes and trends change across the globe, so you shouldn’t necessarily restrict the products that you offer online. There’s also no physical limits on space, so why not put everything online and see what gets bought?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Digital Product or Proposition

Are you struggling with the difference between a Digital Product or a Digital Proposition? I was for a while, but think I've now found the best way of explaining each:

A product is an item, idea or service for sale that satisfies a need (or want)

A proposition (or value proposition) is an explanation of why your customer should purchase your product. It should answer the question “what’s in it for me?”.
It should therefore ideally:

  • Be relevant - answer the question "why me?"
  • Communicate key benefits -  - answer the question "what will it help solve?"
  • Provide differentiation -  answer the question "why not buy something else?"
  • And.... It is NOT a slogan or a positioning statement