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Sunday, November 23, 2014

What’s Missing from the Industrial Internet of Things Conversation? Software

What’s Missing from the Industrial Internet of Things Conversation? Software

  • 3:14 PM  |  
These days, you can hardly have a technology conversation without talking about the Internet of Things (IoT). And when that conversation shifts its focus to the industrial sector, including energy, Oil & Gas, Power & Utilities, and petrochemicals, among others, the discussion changes to what is being called the “Industrial Internet of Things” (IIoT).
So what is all this hype about? The convergence of cheap processing, unending storage, massive bandwidth, near-ubiquitous connectivity, and cloud-based applications is driving new capabilities for gathering information and changing the way we interact with machines and services. The data generated by sensors in this network of connected devices is being collected and analyzed, spawning the growth of big data analytics and applications. And the resulting analytics are being used to improve business efficiency, better serve customers and disrupt old business models.
There will be nearly 26 billion connected devices by 2020, according to Gartner, which is an increase of 30 fold over 2009. Impressive, but what does it really mean to have all these devices connected to the internet? Is there any real value involved? Just because you can, does it mean that you should? We all remember the technology boom and bust of the late 1990s and early 2000s (aka Dot-com Bubble) that was fueled by an excessive amount of wishful thinking or “irrational exuberance.”
But the IIoT can and will be different – if we keep our collective eyes on the prize. Unlike consumer-based IoT that is trying to devise a way to make your world a better place by telling you when your washing machine needs service or letting you control all of your home’s systems while you are away, the IIoT is working to make our collective world a better place by improving the monitoring, control and safety of everything around us. In short, reducing risk and improving the reliability of our massive industrial systems. No small task given the amount of data that will be generated by all of those devices running around the clock.
But there is an important component missing from many conversations that will glue it all together: software.
Think about it: How good is your computer without a good operating system to make all those programs function properly, or your smartphone without a million apps to connect you and your friends or coworkers and the information you share? Large hardware vendors recognized long ago that it is the software that makes the hardware more valuable. Software supports the human interaction side of the equation by helping to turn data into information. But not just basic information, I am talking about critical, insightful, influential, and actionable information, without which we run the risk of potentially dangerous outcomes.
This next-generation software should be cloud-based because, let’s face it – on-premises solutions require significantly more time, money and resources than you would like to afford while trying to remain competitive. Advanced software should easily connect the existing enterprise asset management (EAM) or computerized maintenance management system (CMMS) with the field-based industrial devices and equipment. It should provide early, rapid insight into the volumes of data and information that mere mortals are expected to evaluate to find business opportunities and make recommendations as part of a larger asset performance management strategy. But more importantly, software should make it easier for your organization to achieve its highest objective: operational excellence.
Even in today’s increasing connected environment, industrial organizations do little more than make use of a minimal set of vendor-supplied analytics related to machine-specific solutions – automated instrument calibration, instant vibration analysis of pumps and compressors, or other equipment related algorithms. The analytical capabilities of affordable processing and storage capacity in new software solutions are just beginning to be tapped.
One key to discussing the software needs of the IIoT is to include asset performance diagnostics. More specifically, to take advantage of all the useful information out there and the connectivity promised by equipment and software vendors, we need to discuss asset performance diagnostics; the ability to quickly assess a plant’s equipment/asset status or ‘health’. This ability can be critical for merger and acquisition activity versus building new. This implies that we must be able to check across many equipment types, not just one or two manufacturer-specific reports, in order to understand where our metrics stand in relation to our industry peers.
Additionally, with next-generation software, organizations will gain enhanced asset reliability and comparative analysis for operational goals. Operators can perform better and faster analysis on collected data to report to the C-Suite executives, who then have better context for defining strategic goals. Comparative analytics provide the ability to internally compare the status and performance of the equipment or assets to “get your own house in order” and really ignite your continuous improvement initiatives. Next-generation software must help organizations “take it to the next level.” To get there, you need to benchmark your operations against your peers and competitors. That capability will help you move to the pinnacle of continuous improvement, and closer to overall operational excellence.
There is an enormous amount of data generated today and as new sensors are introduced in global industrial facilities, big data will become even bigger. Organizations still struggle with how to leverage that data operationally and strategically to better manage reliability strategy, operational risk and facility operations, which is why we need to insert software into our discussion of the IIoT.
Matt Cicciari is Associate Director of Solution Marketing at Meridium.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Getting Millennials To Buy CPGs: Bring On The BOGOs

Getting Millennials To Buy CPGs: Bring On The BOGOs
by Larissa Faw, Thursday, November 13, 2014 5:45 PM
Millennials are projected to spend $65 billion on consumer packaged goods (CPG) over the next decade, yet there are many misconceptions and challenges in reaching these shoppers, according to a white paper by WPP's Geometry Global.
There are “many traps CPG marketers can unknowingly fall into if they make decisions by only referencing generalized information or trends about Millennials," says Eric Pakurar, Chief Strategy Officer, Geometry Global North America. "When we took a close look at Millennials’ shopping behavior in CPG categories, we found that very few widely-believed assumptions about Millennials held up. For instance, when they’re going out to buy paper towels, shampoo or make-up, they don’t travel in packs, they don’t research products online and they’re not using their mobile phone as an in-store or list-making tool. This research showed us how critical it is to examine the life stage and shopping goal— such as the categories they’re shopping for— to understand or predict their shopping behavior."
One important insight uncovered by the research is that digital and mobile play a very limited role — if any — with Millennial CPG shoppers. Retailer apps are competing with every other app on a Millennial’s phone, which means that no marketer should assume that just because Millennials are "mobile," they will seek out a retailer or a brand app. Most Millennials actually weren’t aware of these apps at all. 
Millennial-age shoppers rarely look online before shopping  and even then, the main resource they seek is customer reviews. They avoid manufacturer Web sites, viewing them as biased.
Instead, once in stores, Millennials are task-oriented shoppers. They like to get in and out of stores quickly and they are on the lookout for shortcuts and cues to help guide shopping or alert them to special offers. The like to use aisle endcaps, for example, as navigational tools and are more likely to go down the aisle to “get the best deal.” They want to make the comparison at shelf based on all of the choices they have.
And a recurring theme is that most Millennials tend to purchase products only when they run out. Indeed, these young shoppers do not typically plan their shopping trips or make shopping lists. Only one in five shoppers will set a budget for their trip, and the majority have only a semi-defined, total-trip estimate that they didn’t plan to stick to “strictly.”
In addition to their procrastination, Millennials are loners. Many of these shoppers prefer to shop alone while grocery shopping, a sharp contrast to apparel shopping. And, with a few exceptions, they don’t ask for input from their (Facebook) friends. 
Meanwhile, Millennials are typically less driven by defined possessions, and that extends to communal ownership of many household products — although there are still some personal items that are off-limits. Those with roommates were not likely to have set schedules or rules about how purchases for the home were split or consumed. Often, when something runs out, the next roommate to visit the store makes the purchase.
The research also found that although Millennials are very aware of climate change and opt for environmentally friendly products in most categories, few “green” products actually make it into their carts due to confusion about the actual benefit and the fact that most of their purchasing decisions are dictated by price.
"While they didn’t always buy cause products, many were very aware of bringing in their own bags to shop," says Pakurar. "Bringing your own bag is a more visible sign of being socially-conscious — rather than buying environmentally-friendly toilet paper — and it’s easy to connect using your own bag to a direct environmental impact. They reality is Millennials do tend to rally around causes, but brands need to do a better job of communicating the impact and give Millennials a reason to care."
Ultimately, brand loyalty among Millennials may seem like an oxymoron, yet Geometry Global's research shows that these young consumers do respond to promotions and retailer loyalty programs that offer the specific kinds of rewards they seek — namely, something tangible (besides points), such as gas benefits, free products, or a percentage discount off a purchase. "Coupons, discounts and loyalty programs are often viewed as being for an older crowd, but Millennials love them too," says Pakurar. "What they don’t love, however, is the old-fashioned execution of deals. Many don’t have printers—so forget about digital coupons, they don’t like clipping and the key-chain loyalty cards are outdated. They love [buy-one, get one] BOGOs. They love getting 15% more product. Those are tangible things and you can point to what you're getting. There is a big opportunity to rethink how we use coupons and promotions to get Millennials to try something new."

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Card-Linked Marketing: The New Wonder Channel?

I am an incredibly curious person. I am also, at least I like to think I am, a very well-read person, particularly when it comes to the world of marketing and advertising.
When something new comes along, especially something that has 75% of marketers singing its praises, I am immediately curious and want to learn more instamatically, as Burt Young infamously said in Rocky. You just knew I had to get a pop culture reference in, right?
The “something” that had 75% of marketers clamoring it over was something called card-linked marketing (CLM). Now perhaps you have heard of this before but I had not – not until I read the results of a survey of 300 marketers which revealed that three-quarters of them “believe this approach could replace existing types of advertising, including email offers (48 percent), coupons (48 percent), newspaper advertising (30 percent), online search advertising (29 percent), and TV advertising (24 percent).”

That line in quotes above comes directly from an article on CMO.com re: the survey and results.
Before I go any further let me state categorically that I do not believe anything, ANY channel will replace any of the above for the simple fact that in today’s world brands and marketers and advertisers need an integrated marketingapproach to reach consumers.
I am, in case you did not know, perhaps the world’s biggest proponent of integrated marketing so I surely do not think any channel will be replaced.

However, that does not mean there is not room at the integrated marketing table for another channel.
Enter CLM, which according to Kasey Byrne, SVP ofCardlytics a leader in card-linked marketing, is defined as “a new digital media channel for retailers, restaurants and other consumer facing brands which uses actual past purchase information to create targeted, relevant advertising for consumers, presented through the consumer’s mobile and online banking application.”
It is also worth noting that the aforementioned survey was conducted by Cardlytics.
But be that as it may, the survey found that 87% of marketers believe there are benefits to CLM with the top benefits being:
  • Better ability to reach loyal customers – 49%
  • Helps consumers save money – 47%
  • Ability to target offers based on consumer purchase history – 45%
  • Increased sales for retailers – 43%
  • Better ability to target new customers – 41%
  • Improved customer satisfaction due to more relevant ads – 33%
  • Precise measurement of marketing campaign results – 27%
On top of all that, says Byrne, CLM has the unique advantage of targeting consumers based on their actual, individual, recent purchase history, not aggregated profiles or personas.
How ‘Bout A Nice B&B?
A nice vacation would be nice right now what with all the snow on the ground here on the East Coast. A quaint B&B would be just right and… Oh wait, I’m not referring to that kind of a B&B.
No, the B&B I am speaking of is bank and brand as in you need a bank, or financial institution and a brand to work when it comes to this form of marketing.

Jason Blackhurst, Senior Vice President, Payment Strategy & Emerging Commerce Executive, Bank of America on why they use card-linked marketing.
Photo of Bank of America ATM Machine by Brian Katt, Framingham Rest Stop, Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
“Card linked marketing allows us to simultaneously deepen our relationship with customers and with our wholesale merchants. It really is designed to be a win-win-win,” he said. “Merchants win because we’re driving more people or volume and they get to define how they capture that. For the customer, obviously we hope we’ve built a simplified way of receiving offers that doesn’t require searching multiple websites.”
One of those offers may come from a brand such asCalifornia Pizza Kitchen, who use card-linked marketing as a a tool to target new guests and change their dining behavior.
I was curious, from a brand’s perspective, if customers were unhappy about seeing ads in their financial statements but according to Ashley Ceraolo, VP of Marketing for California Pizza Kitchen, the response they received was all positive, adding that “guests were excited to see the special gift from us.”
In terms of their overall budget Ceraolo said card-linked marketing accounted for nearly 20% and may in fact reach 20% in 2014 and added that card-linked marketing “definitely cut into some of the print and traditional advertising (budgets).
So Where Does A Brand Go From Here?
I think if you are a B2C brand this channel of marketing is at the very least worth exploring and investigating if for no other reason it may give a given brand another opportunity to utilize a certain nine-letter word: relevance.
Byrne told CMO.com that “CLM is different because the recommendations provided to consumers are based on actual purchase history, so the ads are more relevant, increasing their likelihood of use.”
If there’s a way to increase the relevancy factor I am all for it – or at the very least the testing thereof.
Look this is no different than any other new “thing” when it comes to marketing. You need to test the waters first. No diving into the deep end, unless you’re feeling lucky, punk. Sorry, another pop culture reference. See Eastwood, Clint.
What do you think?
Do you think you card-linked marketing is at the very least something you would consider testing?
Or do you think it’s not even worth doing that?
Image source: Google GOOG -0.46% Images

11 Marketing Trends To Watch For In 2015

The fundamentals of marketing are always going to be the same, but with the landscape changing at the speed of technology, what matters most now is how one activates the fundamentals. Smart marketers know that they need to get ahead of the trends and anticipate the next big things, or else be devoured by their competitors. Here is what I believe could be some of the most interesting developments next year:

Transparency will become the most important tool of marketing. Consumers are going to continue to exert power and influence. The idea of radical transparency is something that few brands are taking advantage of now, and most brands fight it. Next year the best brands won’t be those with the best stories, or sort of made up fictional stories, but those that will give an accurate and real time picture of what they are doing in the interest of the consumer, at any given time.
CMOs will become Chief Simplifier Officers.Most companies create complexity, especially even as the landscape itself is turning more complex. They’ve arranged themselves in endless new vertical silos, by geography, product, or function that hamper them when it comes to working more closely and with the free flow of ideas. To optimize consumer and customer engagements, CMOs will begin to put silo busting on top of their agenda and begin to think holistically about the company’s overall value proposition, integrating messages and insights across business units, geographies, and functional groups.
We will witness the emergence of the marketing technologists. Too many companies think in terms of digital marketing. Instead, they should be thinking in terms of marketing in a digital world. The best marketer in a digital world would be the marketing technologists, people with heavy digital DNA and technology acumen. They will be integrated seamlessly with the marketing groups and will play an important role in how marketing strategies are developed and applied.
The winners will be adept at agility marketing. Social media produced a different, more elusive consumer with short-term thinking. Marketers are now chasing their daily meanderings in “likes”, “shares”, “tweets”, click-through rates, and ever more immediate but pointless metrics. The best marketers will have ever more consumer data, capable of faster adaption, shorter lead times, and always-on, real-time marketing. Instead of the next month or next quarter the focal point for the winners becomes the next hour.
Media agencies will step up and lead. Media agencies have been built to give strictly narrow media recommendations. But today creativity is the currency of an effective media placement. Media agencies will be moving from being media-facing to consumer facing. Uniquely positioned at the intersection of technology and the consumer, they will become their clients’ key strategic partner, even more so than creative agencies, as big data and technology make “Math Men” the most important asset of marketers.
Hispanic agencies will go mainstream. Hispanics are 17% of the U.S. population, and are 56% of total U.S. population growth since the last decade. U.S. Hispanic purchasing power exceeds $1 trillion and is expected to grow by 2017 80% faster than non-Hispanic. Marketers will finally pay attention next year and stop marginalizing Hispanic ad agencies. Those agencies are capable of engaging consumers well beyond this demographic. Hispanic agencies will reach the mainstream in 2015.
Marketing will shift from globalization to personalization. The world is more connected because of technology these days, but marketing is becoming more regionalized, and more localized, even more individualized, as consumers resist homogenization. Personalization is not a trend. It is a marketing tsunami, here to stay, which will transform how we think about and how we manage global brands. Companies will decentralizing their structure and increase regional and local influence.
Procurement will become more powerful. Companies will continue to maintain a cautious financial stance, and marketing procurement will continue to carry a lot of clout, driving for greater accountability and transparency. Procurement will partner more closely with the CMO, CIO, CTO and CFO to remove internal roadblock and it will become more focused on agency operations and improving efficiencies there, not just fee negotiations.
There will be a growing focus on Internal Communications.Companies will be focused on internal communications as a marketing asset. They will look at it as a key challenge and opportunity to create brand ambassadors and make sure that employees and vendors understand and live “the brand,” as well as the vision and strategy of the company.
Holding companies will start divesting assets. The legacy agencies, those that still adhere to the obsolete TV model, having become mature businesses. The ad giants have been frantically gobbling up digital agencies, but the labor intensive digital model is less lucrative than the TV-focused business model. With growing pressure on their bottom line and with fewer opportunities to grow via M&A activity there will be pressure to divest non-essential assets.
The economics of marketing in a digital world will challenge marketers. Because smart content creation should be native to the digital channel that reaches the audience, the single biggest challenge that marketers will need to solve is how to scale content in an economic way.
Avi Dan is founder of Avidan Strategies, a leading agency search and compensation consultant