Creative Lewisham blog - thoughts on B2B Marketing and beyond

Brand Strategy, Creative Thinking, Digital Evolution and more...

August 06 2008 10:42 PM

B2B marketing in the petabyte age

This month’s lead article in my very favourite magazine Wired posits that we are now in the petabyte age. This heralds ‘The End of Science’ as we know it. 

The central theory proffered is that with the massive amount of data that we now have, we no longer need to use the centuries-old ‘hypotheses->experiment->prove/disprove’ empirical approach to make new discoveries, we simply need to analyse and understand what this data is telling us to make advances in the future.

Hmm, at first glance for the B2B marketer of a digital persuasion this sounds very nice indeed. All we need to do is glean this information then give them to the data geeks, then voilà , the answer! Pass me those log files…

But here lies the issue. How do get the answers from all this data? Google may be the undisputed #1 as it worked out to be the most efficient way of organising the web, and even it can’t claim to be definitive (e.g. see Knol - an attempt by Google’s head of search to fill the gaps in information he says exist on the web). The analysis seems to lag way behind the gathering. We still find that we need to use - shock horror - real people to get the most insightful information when researching. Data gives you statistics, results, validation, but can it give you insight? Can it tell you how people behave and interact with your products?  

If Wired are right, the answer is probably yes, but we just aren’t very good at doing it yet. In the near future perhaps those that can create tools to visually interpret data, but in a meaningful way that relates back to actual people and their behaviours, will be very powerful.  Watch this to be inspired.

August 01 2008 11:55 AM

QR codes - has B2B got the picture?

They always say that it’s the pioneers that end up with the arrows in their back. So why be on the leading edge?

A case in point occurred to us the other day when talking about using QR codes as a response mechanism. For those who don’t know (and where have you been for the last two years?) they are two-dimensional barcodes, that can be scanned with a mobile phone to provide a URL which then delivers the user to a given website.

A typical use might be to provide a QR code for a new album, which directs the user to a site where they can download a sample of the music on offer. A bridge from the physical world to the online world - and a whole lot easier than remembering a long and confusing URL. In certain consumer markets - especially in more technical ones - they’re reasonably well-known and well-used.

So - it’s great technology, but what about QR codes as a response mechanism for B2B campaigns? There are lots of questions. Is it appropriate? Do enough people know how to do it? Are their phones able to do it? Maybe the answer is ‘no’. But with every month that passes, the answer gets closer and closer to ‘maybe’.

You could argue (and you’d be right) that most people are unable to deal with QR codes at the moment (whether through lack of knowledge or because it’s beyond the capabilities of their phone). Which makes it a pretty damned poor response mechanism. But using new techniques like this makes a great statement. And at some point, one of the major B2B brands will start doing it regularly. And surely it’s worth a few arrows to steal a march on your rivals?

July 31 2008 9:56 AM

Anaesthetic anyone?

There’s an interesting report just released by McKinsey about the adoption and satisfaction with Web 2.0 technologies. Whilst I’m not keen on the label of Web 2.0 and the bundling of these technologies into a category, it is an interesting snapshot of how Enterprises are recognizing the potential value (slowly), including an analysis of what gets in the way.

We have a couple of clients who have tentatively dipped their toes with the idea that they will evaluate performance and then make a decision whether to dive in, and we know (if we’re honest) they haven’t really got it. Yet.In this report there’s an analysis of dissatisfaction with Web 2.0 and a perception of the barriers. Those that are most dissatisfied identify the biggest barriers as being:

  • My company’s leadership team doesn’t encourage the use of Web 2.0
  • My company’s culture doesn’t encourage the use of Web 2.0
  • My company doesn’t understand the potential financial return from the use of Web 2.0
  • My company doesn’t provide sufficient incentives to adopt or experiment with Web 2.0

This highlights some of the challenges facing those of us who believe in the potential. We have to be clear about our arguments. We have to engage businesses at the highest level and we have to paint of picture of just what is possible.

Coincidently, I heard an interview on the radio this week with the author of a book that charts the development of medical sciences and recounts the resistance the Victorian “so called” medical profession offered to things like general anaesthetic. Apparently, at the time a good surgeon was one who was best at restraining patients through the pain, and so they saw the idea of an anaesthetic as a threat to their prowess. It was the surgeon who was known as being the fastest who could see the benefit, as it enhanced his reputation.

To me this suggests that we will have more success in introducing new techniques to B2B marketers who recognize their true role as building sustainable brands and reputations, not supporting sales or creating brochures. If you are one of those, please put your hand up.

July 29 2008 8:00 AM

Corporate commenting

The New York Times recently flagged up this issue, which was probably overdue to appear, in Griping Online? Comcast Hears You and Talks Back. Comcast, a US cable services company, not only has a full-time staff to trawl blogs and other social media for customer complaints, it has a policy of responding immediately online - by commenting on a complaining customer’s own blog, for instance.

Well, why not, you might say - if it’s a public blog or Tweet, everyone’s invited to chime in. But at least seven Comcast customers have called the practice ‘creepy’. It’s one thing for companies to respond promptly to customer complaints on the company blog, quite another to up periscope on customers’ own turf.

But maybe it’s just the shock of the new. I admit it seems vaguely Big Brother, as one customer mentioned in the article, but it also seems to be the next logical step in conversation marketing, B2B or B2C.

Could be it all depends on the quality of the response. At least one Comcast customer received much faster resolution to a service problem thanks to the spying, I mean proactive listening, than he was getting from phone-based customer service.

And of course, anyone can delete a comment they don’t want from their blog, just like that.

What do you think: Big Brother or fair play?

July 28 2008 1:36 PM

Do you RSS? Can you Digg it?

A recent survey of the online experience of Creative Lewisham employees showed that while we’re a pretty web-savvy bunch, there are some popular web tools we currently don’t use very much - namely RSS and social bookmarking.

July 25 2008 10:33 AM

2b or not to be.

So why have we attached a playground label to our noble profession?

July 22 2008 4:29 PM

What is SEO anyway?

You have no idea how many times I get asked this, and the different ways I have tried to explain what it is, and why it is so important. In fact, in some cases I’ve just given up.

July 21 2008 9:51 AM

One idea or many interlinked ideas?

For a while at Creative Lewisham we’ve been questioning the logic of the single big idea as the basis of a brand’s campaigns. Having spent years creating consistent and compelling campaigns around a single idea, why change?