MAD Perspectives Blog

Big Data - Changing the Business of Media

Peggy Dau - Monday, April 21, 2014

Every industry is focused on data, yet the broadcast industry has perhaps been the most obvious in its use of data to drive audience. From Nielsen black boxes to the use of social media to capturing subscriber data from set-top boxes, content owners and distributors aggregate, analyze and assess data. Their goal is attracting an audience relevant to their advertisers as this is their source of revenue. The Guardian refers to this increasing focus on data as Moneyball TV.  Examples ,regarding industry's love affair with data, are everywhere.

  • The new era of data driven content started with Netflix and their analysis subscriber data to justify the production so its hit series House of Cards. But data is being used to drive more than content, it is the basis for delivering new experiences to an easily distracted audience. There is perhaps no greater influencer in the broadcast industry than sports. New technology is typically developed with sporting events in mind and then adapted for other uses. And, sports broadcasters and fans alike love data. Have you ever had a conversation about your favorite team that does not include a significant data point? Both the NBA and NASCAR have invested in combining live viewing experiences with incremental online data, or is it the other way around?

NASCAR has created a Fan Media Engagement Center, using HP's Interactive Media Command Center, to synthesize social and online data in real-time to create greater brand engagement with its fans. The NBA has created the Video Box Score, a destination site combining its comprehensive statistical database with videos of EVERYTHING that happens in a game. The relevant videos behind the statistics are available online to fans, giving them both context and a more engagement experience when reviewing game data.

Less exciting perhaps, but equally important is Time Warner Cable's aggregation of data from public sources and online media combined with their own detailed customer profiles. The resulting insight allows TWC to deliver targeted multi-channel advertising campaigns.

At last week's NAB Show, in Las Vegas, big data was being discussed by vendors across the media supply chain from storage vendors such as Quantum, Hitachi Data Systems and EMC-Isilon (all touting their storage system capabilities) to RSG Media (capturing data by managing rights and royalties across the content lifecycle) or Aspera, an IBM Company (managing the delivery of billions of data sets. The hunger for relevant data never dies. The media industry, like others, can be overwhelmed with data. The key is to clearly define needs and find the tools to extract the most relevant data points which when correlated and analyzed provide meaningful knowledge. 

This desire for deeper insight about customers, content, processes, and revenues is driving the need for technology to gather and analyze data and the tweaking of business models to take advantage of it.

What's your perspective?



Digital Marketing Just Got Smarter

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The mantra for any marketer is attract-acquire-retain. With twenty years of large scale internet advertising and marketing behind us, we are still trying to figure out the best use of content and channel to convert window shoppers into actual customers. As new marketing technologies and platforms emerge to help businesses manage and optimize their shrinking marketing budgets, these same businesses are challenged to figure out which tools can help them manage websites, manage digital assets, optimize content and its use, validate context, measure reach, and analyze the ever increasing volume of data.

The good news for marketers is an expectation of increased digital marketing budgets. Gartner’s 2013 marketing spend survey indicated planned increases in 2013 to marketing spend on e-commerce experience, social marketing, content creation & management and mobile marketing. Perhaps more interesting is the rise of what Gartner calls the Chief Marketing Technologist. This is acknowledgement that marketing has become more science than fluff. The accessibility to and the analysis of data from internal and external sources is changing the face of marketing.

Web content management, marketing automation, social media monitoring, inbound marketing platforms – they’ve all emerged and become increasingly sophisticated to address a company’s need to make fast, smart decisions about what content to create, where to place it and how to respond to customer needs – now clearly and eagerly shared via social networks. The choice of technology is overwhelming, with solutions from small niche solutions to large integrated marketing platforms.

And now there is a new player, but are they really new? Yes, that’s Hewlett-Packard the IT behemoth best known for printers, PCs, servers and various enterprise solutions. They announced the HP Digital Marketing Hub last week.  It's based on the rather amazing assets that HP acquired via Autonomy, in 2011.When combined with HP’s existing technologies for real-time big data analytics, the HP Digital Marketing Hub provides marketers with a unique capability to create a personalized customer experience. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a former HP employee. While we all agree that HP overpaid in its acquisition of Autonomy, they did actually acquire some very smart technology that delivers actionable data to marketing teams.

Marketing craves any data related to a customer’s interaction with a vendor. These volumes of structured data are found in CRM, customer support, trade show and other databases. However, unstructured data derived from online and social interactions, is equally if not more important. This unstructured data provides context to the structured data, revealing sentiment, influence, velocity and preference. When combined, marketers can make intelligent decisions about what channel (web, mobile), what content (banner ad, microsite, webinar) or what device (PC, tablet, smartphone) should be used to improve conversion rates. 

HP’s Digital Marketing Hub which integrates and exchanges data from HP Teamsite (content management), HP MediaBin (digital asset management), HP Optimost (multichannel analytics), HP Explore (multichannel discovery) with data from partners (e.g., BlueKai, Kenshoo, ExactTarget). The data analytics capabilities of HP IDOL and HP Vertica to determine how to best engage with customers. The Digital Marketing Hub uncovers the behavior, attributes and positioning of customers, using customer specific data, to make recommendations for marketers to best target and engage with them. The ability to combine structured and unstructured data, provide real-time analysis and tangible recommendations requires heavy lifting and is, of course, technology dependent. This is why HP is in this space. They "get" technology, own the required intellectual property, deliver the relevant infrastructure in the cloud and know how to apply solutions to solve customer challenges. It's interesting, HP has never been know for it's marketing prowess, yet they may actually have the integrated marketing solution that will provide game changing insight.

Marketing has always been data driven. However, the challenge has always been what to do with all that data. It’s not enough to generate reports. It’s about what, how, when where and why to use content to attract, acquire and retain customers. The HP Digital Marketing Hub addresses some of the biggest problems facing marketers - analyzing all that data, figuring out where, when & how to engage, and converting browsers into shoppers. To paraphrase HP's catch phrase, it will be interesting to see how the HP Digital Marketing Hub creates better outcomes for businesses.

What’s your perspective?



Communication Requires Consistency

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, November 02, 2011


When it comes to making a good roux (pronounced "roo"), it is all about consistency.  it is about combining the right proportions of flour and oil (you pick the oil needed) to create a thickening agent, used in sauces and soups.  A good roux has a silky smooth body, but this is only achieved through patient attention to the process.  That said, each chef may use the ingredients of his choice to create the roux.  Consistency in communication requires the same focus to ingredients, proportion and patience.

In these days of instant and broad communication, using social networks, the internet and email, a focus on consistency is often overlooked.  In fact, it seems that the information shared in the daily news cycle shifts from moment to moment as incremental data is collected and analyzed.  This begs the question as to how any business can create a meaningful communication strategy, that still fulfills the need for authenticity and transparency.

It's all about integration.  Each communication outlet (e.g., website, collateral, events, online, email, social network) serves a different purpose.  Some audiences are unique and many overlap.  However, the representation of your brand and what it stands for must be consistent across each of these outlets.  This means your logo, your voice and your culture must look, sound and feel the same.  It does not mean that the words used to communicate are identical.  It is possible to maintain a consistent voice while communicating in the direct, un-scripted manner expected in social communities.

For example, HP (my favorite target since I worked for them for 24 years) is lacking consistency at the moment.  Their roux is a mess.  There external communications as it relates to corporate strategy has confused shareholders and employees.  Competitors love it when a vendor loses its way, it's an opportunity for them to capitalize on the confused messaging.  Each of HP's CEOs of the last 10 years, has tried to put their personal stamp on the HP logo, strategy and culture.  As a result, the culture, that was bred by its founders, fostered by employees dedicated to innovation and customer satisfaction, and appreciated by the industry, has been lost.

In addition, HP's identity (see our guest blog on Corporate Identity) is unclear.  Are they an enterprise company or a consumer company.  While I understand, and even agree with, the announcements to retain the PSG business (which is where PCs and WebOS reside), this extends the identity crisis.  HP needs to clearly communicate who they are to each of their constituencies and clarify the benefits of providing value to both enterprise and consumer customers.

This benefit of using different communication outlets is to reach a broader set of customers who are interested in your company and its products.  Aligning your communication with their needs is critical.  Continuing to use HP as an example, HP needs to communicate with its enterprise customers via face to face, website, industry specific  communities, industry analysts and online influencers/bloggers.  Regardless of the outlet, they need to reflect consistent value and commitment.  HP's consumer customers are leveraging the social networks to understand HP's commitment to various product lines and future direction for this segment of HP's business. 

HP uses social networks broadly and will, I'm sure, leverage them to respond to customer concerns, reinforce strategic goals and augment communications through other channels.  They use different Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels to reflect each business.  Each of the customers for these businesses have different expectations for what content is communicated.  HP successfully provides the most relevant content to each channel, but perhaps misses the mark when representing the holistic company.  As they work through their current strategic challenges, I only hope they exhibit patience is achieving a level of consistent communication about their goals and the overall benefit to each constituency.

Clarity of goals, consistency of communication, relevant use of communication channels - its a recipe for success. Like a good roux, when developed with patience the results are tasty!

What's your perspective?



HP's Tug of War

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, August 24, 2011


(caveat:  I am a former HP employee.  The comments below do not reflect any official opinion from HP)

The big news last week was HP's announcement that it MIGHT spin-off its PC business.  It is assumed that this is in response to the appalling sales of the HP TouchPad.  But can the failure of a single, albeit significant, product launch incite the sale of a multi-billion dollar business?  Sure, tablets are replacing laptops in the consumer space.  Why?  Because they are easy to use and enable the consumer to easily find and access the content they desire through the use of apps.

However, HP's PC business is about more than the consumer.  PCs are still used by businesses large and small.  It's not that enterprise workers don't carry a tablet, but ask them how they use it and most will answer that it's great for email and sharing content in the form of a presentation or demos.  But it is not for managing day to day business (i.e., ERP, Supply Chain, RFPs, financial management, etc.)  HP's commercial PC business is thriving and profitable.  In fact, in its recent earnings announcement, HP revealed that revenue from its commercial PC business increased by 9%.

So why all the negativity in the press?  In my opinion, HP's in a persistent state of tug of war - with the many markets it plays in, with its competitors and most importantly with itself.  The market's disappointment is due to several factors. 

1)  HP confuses the market.  It does not easily fit into a single category.  It is both a commercial business and consumer business.  The business models are quite different for each of these markets. While HP enjoys great leverage (call it buying power in the supply chain) due to its wide array for products using Intel, Microsoft and other core technologies, the ultimate use of the resulting products is quite different.

2) HP has an identity crisis.  What does HP want want to be?  Are we the leading provider of PCs and printers or are we a solutions provider to the enterprise?  I can only assume that the difference, between the consumer marketing budget and the enterprise marketing budget, is
dramatic and widely in favor of the consumer budget.  Does HP want to be about price or value?  IT hardware is a commodity business.  Only volume can make it viable.  That was the route pursued by former CEO, Mark Hurd.  Now, Leo Apotheker wants HP to become a software & services company.  And with each new CEO, the plan changes and Board of Directors approves it.  In the social media arena, we talk about identity.  I'm not sure I'd know where to start with HP anymore.

3) HP's intentions are unclear.  Never has this been more true.  The launch and subsequent cancelation of the TouchPad and WebOS is a complete debacle.  HP needs a cohesive strategy that is cut s across all business units.  If that strategy cannot be supported by a business group due to lack of logical alignment, then it might make sense to offload that business group.  For example, if it is HP's LONG TERM (not 3, 6 or 12 months) intention to become a leader in cloud computing and enterprise software, they must align all efforts around that strategy.  HP printers support this strategy with their ePrint capabilities.  Perhaps there is a play for WebOS within this strategy.  Does the Autonomy acquisition support this strategy?  If not, they should forget about overpaying (they've already done that in the past - remember Compaq?).

HP must learn how to communicate.  I worked at HP for 24 years.  I always laughed off HP's appalling attempts at external communication.  Somehow customers were faithful to HP regardless of their communication skills.  However, the world has changed.  The financial markets are demanding.  The need for clarity, consistency and measurable results is a basic requirement, not only to appease the market but to serve customers with excellent products, solutions and services.  Change is painful.  Change is constant.  In my early days at HP, former-CEO John Young had a poster distributed to all offices.  It stated something like "change is constant for technology to evolve, if you cannot keep up with the pace of change you are in the wrong industry."

Like others commenting on this recent news, I would like to see HP pull itself up by the bootstraps.  I would like HP to remember its roots of innovation.  I would like to see HP plan for the long term and execute against the short term tactics that will achieve the long term goal.  HP may not be as exciting as Facebook, Google or Apple, but it can be relevant.  It simply must make a decision about who it wants to be than JUST DO IT (thanks Nike!). Good Luck HP!

What's your perspective?



HP, Culture Shock & Social Networks

Peggy Dau - Monday, August 09, 2010

Last week I began a discussion about the impact of corporate culture on a company’s level of comfort with social media.  While I was thinking about this week’s continuation of this discussion, the CEO of my former employer, HP, resigned due to allegations of misconduct.   This news hit the social airwaves like tsunami last Friday. I enjoyed a 24 year career of Hewlett-Packard Company, which means I was lucky enough to have learned from the founders, Bill and Dave, what it means to be open, ethical, moral and to do business with integrity.   One of the key elements of HP’s Standards of Business Conduct is to “think about how your decision or behavior would look in a press article”.  This is a good foundation for us to consider when we think about how a company’s culture and organizational model impact the company’s use of social media.

HP’s culture and what became known as the “HP Way” focused on innovation, integrity and collaboration.   This culture was a natural match for social media.  The predecessor to today’s social networks was “MBWA" or management by walking around.  In HP, this meant an ability to learn from others in your office.  Employees would mix and mingle and share experiences.  Many careers grew through discovery and learning from peers.   HP’s founders would have been cautious about protecting HP’s Intellectual Property but they would have loved the ability to crowd source innovative concepts. However, over the past decade or so, the culture at HP changed.  This was a result of both external and internal forces.

External forces include the internet and the rampant availability of information.  They also include the increased demands from the financial services sector for all companies to provide and meet quarterly estimates.  This kind of instant gratification will change the way any company works.  Internal forces took the shape of CEOs and managers hired to lead change (defined in many diverse ways) but who each also had personal agendas.  In all cases the “HP Way” was deemed out dated and the collaboration of old gave way to siloed, hierarchical organizations with formerly empowered employees fearful of making even the smallest mistake.  Could Mark Hurd's HP, with a culture of cost containment, hierarchical decision making and limited employee empowerment, succeed in social media?

Interestingly, the answer is yes.  Consistent with its current command and control model, HP has a well defined, publically available, blogging policy.  They even have a digital media council, which includes representatives from all business units, that sets the policy for how HP will participate in social networks.  Any employee that will represent the company on a social network must take the requisite training.  So, HP empowers its employees with guidelines of expected behavior.  Is that really empowerment? I check on various HP blogs from time to time and follow several twitter feeds.  I find them interesting but cautious.  I think that HP could use social media as more than another PR channel.  I believe this is indicative of the internal culture.  That said, HP is number 22 on the NetPropex Social Index, which measures the social network activity of the largest U.S. corporations across a variety of social platforms.  Imagine what HP's score would be if the former culture of openness and collaboration was prevalent.

As a former HP employee and current HP shareholder, I hope HP’s next CEO balances innovation and operational excellence.  I hope they remember that their 300,000+ employees are the company’s biggest asset.  I hope they empower them to connect, communicate and collaborate, using social media, with their peers both inside and outside the company to create and innovate market changing solutions.

What’s your perspective?



Printing Heads to the Clouds

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, June 09, 2010

HP announced its ePrint Center at Internet Week New York on Monday.  Due to some laptop problems, I've been delayed in sharing my thoughts.  As a former HP employee who left on good terms, I'm still very interested to see what new technologies HP pursues.  While I never worked in the printer group, I feel affinity toward the LaserJet as it was announced the same year I joined HP.  The printer business has been a mainstay for HP ever since. 

 This weeks announcement takes printing to the next level. What does Hp ePrint Center do?  It federates your print capabilities by associating an unique email address with every new ePrint enabled printer.  This allows you to store files in the "cloud" and print to the designated web-enabled ePrinters.  Why is this cool?  It removes the need for print drivers on your device - bit it a laptop, PC, handheld, phone, iPad, etc.  The documents are rendered in the cloud with the relevant print drivers associated seamlessly.  We've all been down the road of downloading or updating print drivers when we upgrade to new devices or printers.  this removes that challenge.

The other interesting aspect of ePrint Center is a service called Scheduled Delivery.  Now companies can create widgets that users can elect to download to their printers.  Based on the personalization that the individual assigns to that widget, they can schedule content to print at pre-defined dates & times or on-demand.  For the purpose of this announcement, HP focused on consumer needs with partners like Nickelodeon and Live Nation sharing the ability to print kids coloring books or concert information without going online via your PC.  it allows simple, fast access to printed content.  As much as we would like to paperless, we simply are not there - yet.

HP will announce the business benefits later this year, but I was imagining how this can benefit B2B companies.  Assuming that web-enabled printers become the norm (and is there is a reason that they wouldn't) this truly enables Print-on-the-Go.  You can print brochures, quotes, proposals, product roadmaps, price lists, manuals to the desired printer from any device.  It truly is content anywhere, anytime.  Imagine you left your sales presentation in the taxi (god forbid!), you can use your smartphone to access the presentation in the cloud and have it print at your local print shop (i.e., Fedex Kinkos, Staples) or at your customer.  This also enables you to create content on the fly and print it easily, without concern for the right print drivers, wherever your are.

Similar to Apples App Store, HP has the App Studio for partners to create printer apps.  Consumer centric businesses are already creating widgets to be downloaded to the new ePrinters, B2B companies could do the same.  Imagine creating customer support or FAQ widgets.  I'm sure there are many more creative ideas out there!

This announcement does take printing to the next logical step and turns what have been primarily output devices into smart devices that can bring incremental value to consumers and businesses.  As with all things "cloud", the usual concerns for security and control still exist.  Yes, this will likely continue to drive ink sales.  And, yes, it gives us all a reason to buy new printers.  But, it addresses long existing challenges with printer drivers, it addresses the conundrum of wanting to be mobile but still need hard copy docs, and it solves that pesky inability to connect an iPad to a printer.

Share your thoughts on this topic.  I'm interested to understand what you think about web-enabled printing.  Will the ability to download widgets make the printer social?

What's your perspective?




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