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Satya Nadella, Chief of Microsoft, on His New Role

The New York Times

This interview with Satya Nadella, his first since taking over as chief executive of Microsoft, was conducted and condensed by Adam Bryant.

Q. What leadership lessons have you learned from your predecessor, Steve Ballmer?

A. The most important one I learned from Steve happened two or three annual reviews ago. I sat down with him, and I remember asking him: “What do you think? How am I doing?” Then he said: “Look, you will know it, I will know it, and it will be in the air. So you don’t have to ask me, ‘How am I doing?’ At your level, it’s going to be fairly implicit.”

I went on to ask him, “How do I compare to the people who had my role before me?” And Steve said: “Who cares? The context is so different. The only thing that matters to me is what you do with the cards you’ve been dealt now. I want you to stay focused on that, versus trying to do this comparative benchmark.” The lesson was that you have to stay grounded, and to be brutally honest with yourself on where you stand.

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Four lessons from the world of mobile gaming to get people to pay for news

The Media Briefing

I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating paid content strategies and alternative revenue streams for digital news operations, so when I recently attended the Mobile Games Forum, it felt like catching a glimpse into a parallel universe aeons ahead in terms of user monetisation.

While news publishers are starting to turn to paywalls and move away from an almost complete reliance on advertising, game publishers are already creating experiences that attract millions of paying users and, according to Shai Drori of Appsfire who spoke at the event, “most revenue for mobile games is coming from in-app purchases, not advertising.”

Mobile games are generally categorised into two groups when it comes to monetisation: pay-to-play and free-to-play. Pay-to-play apps act much like the paywall of The Times of London, in that one must pay before downloading the app and accessing any of its content.

Free-to-play apps are free to download, and generally a portion of their content is available to all, while certain levels, power-ups, or accessories must be unlocked via in-app purchases.

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Why All-Programmatic Doesn’t Work for Everyone

Folio

Programmatic is still very sexy.

After coming to the fore in 2013, it remains a key—if not the key—buzzword of 2014 (and, yes, we’re only two months in). But beyond buzz, programmatic is a legitimate force in advertising.

Not only will it account for just under 30 percent of all display ad spend by 2017, already,85 percent of advertisers are using it, in some form. We also can’t ignore the very real benefits with respect to streamlined workflow, cost efficiencies, and transparency between partners. So, it’s not a matter of who will ultimately use programmatic, but how quickly everyone will use it.

And we’re seeing this play out in the market. Just recently, Federated Media and Demand Media both made headlines, deciding to completely forego their direct sales efforts to focus solely on the still young, but increasingly successful, programmatic and RTB category.

The news fit neatly into the ongoing, polarizing direct versus programmatic debate, while heightening that schism and making the sexy, all-programmatic approach appear to be better suited for the long-term. But, while this was a very compelling narrative, it just isn’t true.

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As B2B marketing dollars shift, publishers can fill a void – or get left out in the cold

eMedia Vitals

B2B marketing budgets are rising, but ad pages are declining. This ongoing shift away from traditional advertising creates an expertise gap that publishers should be looking to fill more aggressively with a broad set of marketing services.

Content, of course, lies at the center of this shift – which is good news for publishers. In Ad Age’s annual BtoB marketing outlook survey, 52.5% of marketers said theyplan to increase total marketing budgets in 2014, the first time since 2011 that more than half of B2B marketers expected to spend more than the prior year. Three-quarters said they planned to spend more on content marketing,

The findings are in line with other recent studies. A study by Econsultancy and Adobefound that content marketing was a top priority among 44% of B2B marketers, clearly outdistancing other digital marketing activities. Forrester, in a joint study with the Business Marketing Association, found that that 59% of B2B marketers plan to increase content marketing expenditures in 2014 and that B2B marketers overall expect to spend what analyst Laura Ramos called a “fairly sizable” 12% of budgets on content marketing in the year ahead.

“As buyers rebuff conventional outbound approaches like email and sales calls, marketers must capture their attention through inbound approaches that offer more enticing fare — like benchmarks, social interactions, videos, and games — instead of the conventional product pitch,” Ramos wrote.

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Introduction: The 7 Principles of Content Optimization

IDG Connect 08111 Introduction: The 7 Principles of Content Optimization

If you are concerned about the expanding demands to create digital content for prospects and customers, your feelings are well founded. The surface of the communication bubble continues to expand in every direction, driven by fragmented audiences, expanding buying team size, new rich media formats and social media.

You simply can’t be everywhere you want to be without content creation costs consuming an ever greater portion of your marketing budget. However, you can optimize what you spend and the time you invest by paying attention to how you create content. I suggest you do it based on the seven principles outlined below.

The Time is Now

The timing has never been more relevant. If you truly want to maximize alignment with your audience needs and be relevant to buying team members, you have to get better LEVERAGE out of team efforts. Otherwise forget it – the communication bubble will consume you. Content creation will take up a greater percentage of budget dollars. Sales and channels will continue to complain about what you create.  End result: your customers will find what you offer less and less relevant.

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Mobile advertising more than twice as effective as desktop, BBC World News study shows

The Drum

Mobile advertising is twice as effective as desktop among the general population and up to four times more effective when targeted towards affluent consumers, a global study from BBC World News has claimed.

The study also found that more affluent consumers around the globe were more connected to the internet via mobile than less affluent users, with 39 per cent accessing the internet via mobile devices at least once and hour – 18 per cent higher than the general population.

In addition, more than half (51 per cent) of affluence consumers use their mobile phone for business, compared to 40 per cent of the population. A third of affluent consumers agreed that brands need to be on mobile if they wish to be considered modern and dynamic – 15 per cent more than the general population.

Furthermore, high income earners were found to be marginally more positive towards advertising on mobile (19 per cent) ahead of desktop (18 per cent). For sites where content is free, 41 per cent said they would be happy to see ads on mobile websites.

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Google+: just 35% of users are active

Econsultancy

Google+ has achieved 1.15bn users, but only 35% of those use are active monthly.

These figures come from We Are Social, after analysing the growth trends for Google+ year on year, globally and locally.

Is this data a damning insight into the general malaise around Google+ or is this merely reflective of general social media sign up trends?

Registered user numbers for Google+ have shown extraordinary growth between Q4 2012 and Q4 2013, rising from 359m users to 1.15bn.

However, the percentage of actual active users has been left far behind. Currently only 35% of registered users are active on a monthly basis.

By Q4 2012 Google+ had the much higher registered user to monthly active percentage of 51%, but then it only had 435m users. This figure has now doubled.

It’s a similar ratio for the UK.  30% of registered users in the UK are active monthly users.  Let’s compare this to the active versus registered figures of other social media networks.

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IDG CEO Friedenberg Sees a Data-Driven Mobile Future

PBS Mediashift

The words “International Data Group” conjure up an old era of computers that took up entire rooms with data-punching experts wearing white coats. And it’s not a coincidence that the International Data Group, or IDG, was founded in 1964 near Boston. But what started as a research firm turned into a series of tech trade publications (e.g. InfoWorld, Computerworld), consumer tech pubs (e.g. PC World, MacWorld), and events that spanned the globe. Now, the private company is looking toward a data-driven, mobile future.

“I think mobile will be fascinating in two areas: How do you gate that content and use that channel to deepen that relationship with readers? And from the advertiser’s perspective and with responsive design, how are you going to leverage video and native ads on those platforms?” said Michael Friedenberg, who ascended to IDG CEO last summer, and spoke to me recently via Skype.

IDG has been slowly moving its U.S. publications from print to digital, moving InfoWorld in 2009and more recently PC World went online-only, with an emphasis on charging annual subscriptions for tablet editions. While newer tech blogs such as TechCrunch and Engadget have gained prominence — and borrowed from IDG’s playbook of mixing content with events and research — IDG continues to plug away quietly. The company has turned its focus to programmatic ad sales with its Tech Media Exchange, and continues its global ambitions by focusing on the emerging MINT (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, Turkey) area.

While many people wrote off tech trade publications as obsolete in the digital era, IDG continues to expand, diversify and find new ways to serve the tech industry.

Below is an edited version of my interview with Friedenberg, with audio clips for some of his answers.

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Drive Marketing Innovation by Processes Not Technology

IDG Connect 0811 Drive Marketing Innovation by Processes Not Technology

By Bob Johnson, VP & Principal Analyst

I’ve heard the same refrain over and over from organizations who invest in marketing or sales automation:

• It has been hard to implement

• The return has not been as large as hoped

• Adoption is slow

We are continually blinded by the new, shiny object in the corner. And the light from this particularly source is extremely bright. Did you know that according to IDC, there are over 20 categories of marketing automation technology? Can you imagine the time and effort it takes to review each area, let alone adopt one or more?

I suggest you make a full stop on your automation investments, take a step back and change your view that the technology investment is the most critical consideration. It is not, rather it is more important to consider your existing processes and how they need to change. Otherwise, you’ll make investments in technology and just shoe horn them to onto your existing processes.

Look at your content creation, management, and demand generation processes from both an inbound and outbound perspective. Consider how you interact with the customer, how they interact with you, and how that will change. Understand from that where the gaps are relative to your processes, emphasis, and steps.

Continue reading… 

Forget 2014 Marketing Predictions – Instead Focus on Marketing Imperatives

IDG Connect 0811 Forget 2014 Marketing Predictions – Instead Focus on Marketing Imperatives

I’ve read through many predictions for the coming year about marketing and sales, but feel that in reality making predictions is meaningless unless marketers address several foundational requirements. So predict all you want, but what really is important is a few key imperatives.

We are overrun with talk about content marketing, the importance of challenger sales techniques, and the impact of big data on marketing to and reaching the customer. Stop listening and get busy with a focus on three imperatives because without them nothing else matters.   These imperatives come down to three words: alignment, relevance and research.

1. Alignment is about how well your value propositions, offering and approach match buyer preferences. From our research we see value propositions are frequently miss-stated, missing or misaligned with what buyers consider important (up to 30% of digital assets fail to touch on them). According to Lisa Dennis, President of Knowledgence Associates and author of the book360 Degrees of the Customer, marketers have a very inconsistent understanding of value propositions and need to think of several success keys:

“Buyers too often mistake features and functions for value propositions,” according to Lisa.  “After assessing thousands of pieces of content and working with technology vendors for over 15 years on value proposition development, it’s clear that we need a reality check on what a value proposition is and what it is not.”

Many technology value propositions are not distinct, are thinly veiled advertisements, and generally end up sounding the same. “The key is to map your value propositions to your differentiators, ones that actually matter to your target audience.”  Dennis continues, “in every workshop we do, we see that how teams define value tend to be generic, not defensible and worse yet, can’t be quantified in any way.  The best value propositions are formed from an outward-in perspective – how the buyer would see it, how they would describe it, and why it is important to them.”

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