by Sarah Miller Caldicott    

If you’ve been hanging onto your hats as the gale force winds of social media blow away the traditional marketing tools you’ve mastered, the ride isn’t over.

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The pace of integration between innovation, strategy, and marketing – let’s call it “the big three” – is being palpably felt inbusiness model redesign, open innovation strategies, and mobile marketing programs in virtually every industry.

There is a new skill marketers need to develop to stay relevant in this newly integrating realm.  According to experts, marketers will have to polish up a new skill – collaboration –  as they increasingly rub elbows with other disciplines.

In 2009, a year after the Great Recession sank its grizzly teeth into economies across the globe, top-ranked Thinkers50 sage and strategy guru C. K. Prahalad, during a speech at theWorld Innovation Forum pronounced the world was undergoing a “global reset.”

In addition to the disappearance of traditional boundaries which once parsed “markets” and “industries” into discrete bundles, Prahalad predicted that long revered functions like strategic planning and product development would be totally reshaped.  Smaller, nimbler team configurations that could “sense and respond” effectively would dominate, pushing Industrial Age hierarchies aside.  In this new reality, marketing, innovation, and strategic planning would all become one function.

And Prahalad was right…his prediction is becoming a reality.  How can marketers respond and remain distinguished players in this new mash-up?

Collaboration Is the New “SuperSkill

Rishad Tobaccowala, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer for media group VivaKi, commented to me in a recent interview, “The top three things for businesses to focus on today are: 1) relevance; 2) innovation; and 3) attracting and retaining talent.  Collaboration is crucial to all three.”

Although his answer caught me off guard, I see Tobaccowala’s emphasis on collaboration echoed by others, including Yves Morieux, a BCG Fellow in Boston Consulting Group’s Paris office – specializing in organizational and team design – who believes that soft skills will begin driving “power and influence” in companies for the next decade.  Prime among these?  Collaboration.

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Collaboration has not been as widely researched as teamwork, and the two are often confused.  But marketers arewell served to note crucial differences between them.

In teamwork for example, each member typically fulfills a prescribed role, completing designated tasks and assignments. In collaboration, however, the capabilities of the group merge in a discovery learning process, forming knowledge assets that actually exceed the sum of the individual expertise in the group.

To become strong collaborators, marketers need to leverage clusters of skills which might individually be considered “secondary” rather than primary.  According to research published in the Harvard Business Review by John H. Zenger, Joseph R. Folkman, and Scott D. Edinger, these seven qualities together drive collaboration excellence in individuals:

  1. Inspires and motivates others.
  2. Displays honesty and integrity.
  3. Communicates powerfully and broadly.
  4. Establishes stretch goals.
  5. Develops strategic perspective.
  6. Builds relationships.
  7. Develops others.

Although collaboration is emerging as a crucial new “superskill,” few organizations have yet groomed superior collaboration prowess into their marketing, innovation, and strategy mash-ups.  But some of them have.

Integration Between Marketing, Innovation, and Strategy Honored by Edison Awards

On April 25th, the 2012 Edison Awards will honor dozens of nominees with gold, silver, or bronze accolades in twelve categories.  Many of the nominees you will recognize – including Apple, Corning, 3M, Amazon, Whirlpool, and Kraft.  Others, like IdeoMed or PixelOptics, may be less familiar.

But this year, the Edison Awards has also established a special new category recognizing the blurring lines between innovation, strategy, and marketing. Powered by MENG (Marketing Executives Networking Group), the new award is called the Thomas A. Edison Marketing Awardand reflects outstanding collaborative ability in “crossing traditional lines” within markets and industries.  By dovetailing the big three disciplines of marketing, strategy, andinnovation which Edison himself mastered, the following products and services will vie for special recognition:

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Please join me in congratulating this year’s 2012 Edison Awards nominees, with particular kudos to those in line for the Thomas A Edison Marketing Award.  We can all learn from the leading edge collaboration abilities of these extraordinary teams!  


by Maura Mitchell   


Tablet ownership is growing so rapidly that forecasters can’t revise their estimates fast enough.

Marketers are scrambling to catch up with the trend too.

Here are the fast facts you need to know to get up to speed quickly and impress your clients or your boss.

1. Tablets are growing faster than any other consumer electronics device in history. More tablets were sold in their first 2 years of existence than smartphones in their first 7.  Household penetration jumped from 11% to 19% over the 2011 holiday season.

2. Everyone is buying tablets – they don’t just appeal to one group.  Boomers are purchasing them fastest.  One quarter of college kids now have one.  Parents are hiding their tablets so that their young kids and Tweens don’t take over the devices.

3. Tablets will be mainstream very soon.  Roughly a third of all online US households will own a tablet by 2014, according to eMarketer (And there’s a good chance that percentage will be revised upward later this year).

4. People are very attached to their tablets.  77% of owners use theirs every day for an average of ninety minutes.

5. Consumers are willing to pay for content on tablets.  50% of tablet owners have spent money to download a book or movie, and 40% have forked over cash to buy a magazine.  That’s a huge bonus given that content viewed on laptops and desktops is still subject to the mantra “If it’s on the Internet it should be free.”

6. Tablets drive online shopping. Tablet shoppers spend 54% more than smartphone shoppers and 20% more than laptop shoppers. People who access websites via tablets are three times as likely to buy as those who use smartphones.

7. Almost half of all tablet owners use them while watching TV, making the gadgets a powerful force in the social TV trend.

8.  Screen size and clarity are driving consumers’ love affair with these devices. Tablets deliver what consumers hoped to get from their smartphones but secretly knew was impossible on a small screen.

9. Consumers will replace other devices with tablets.  46% of consumers think tablets will ultimately be used instead of laptops and desktops.  30% of Gen Y tablet buyers said they now use their tablet instead of another device.

What do tablet trends mean for your marketing plans?

10. It’s no longer enough to have a mobile strategy.  Brands now need separate smartphone and tablet strategies and tactics.

11. You need to optimize your website for tablets, taking into account that the new iPad’s screen resolution is twice that of the old one.  This is particularly important because tablet owners wait less than two seconds for a website to load before they move on and oftentimes never return.

12. It’s critical to create a tablet app that includes shopping.  56% of owners have downloaded one shopping app.  Shouldn’t yours be their second?

What would you add to the list of “must knows” about the tablet trend?

HT: Beverly Kaye, Fast Company

Did your “job EKG” ever go flat? Did the feeling of challenge change to a feeling of routine? Did you think something was missing? Did you start to look around?

Unfortunately, your most valued employees are the also the ones most likely to suffer this sense of job discontent. They are savvy, creative, self-propelled, and energetic. They need stimulating work, opportunities for personal challenge and growth, and a contributing stake in the organizational action. If good workers find the job with your company no longer provides these necessities, they may decide they have outgrown the place and will consider leaving.

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HT: Extra Paycheck Blog, Alex

The question of ranking high on Google search and other search engines is probably the most asked question when it comes to internet marketing or simple website development. Back in 2008 I wrote a post on this blog; Dominate Google’s First Page for Free and although it got a lot of interest and 50 or so comments, the Internet has evolved a lot in the past 3 years and I feel it’s about time I updated the post with the new and the fresh. I am still an active member at The Wealthy Affiliate and many other Internet Marketing communities, I am growing my online business every day so I stay updated on what works and what doesn’t. So… Google has been playing a lot with page rankings and its search algorithm. The most recent Google’s update targeted so called “link farms”. Link farms are basically networks of interlinked sites created by some questionable software and used to get backlinks and better ranking for your sites. Google cracked down on these “link farms” and a lot of useless websites went under, however some bigger sites (like Overstock and JCPenny) lost their rankings as well. The NYTimes even did an investigation on that and revealed the Black Hat SEO tactics that JCPenny used to get high rankings. Lesson #1; do not do any black hat funky business, Google will punish you.

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HT: Harvard Business Review, Jodi Tripodi

A lot of us remember when the role of the CMO was much simpler. Information flowed in one direction: from companies to consumers. When we drew up our plans and budgets, the key metric was consumer impressions: how many people would see, hear or read our ad?

Today the only place that approach still works is on Mad Men. Now information flows in many directions, consumer touch points have multiplied, and the old, one-size-fits-all approach has given way to precision marketing and one-to-one communications. Perhaps the most consequential change is how consumers have become empowered to create their own content about our brands and share it throughout their networks and beyond. It has changed my role as the chief marketing and commercial officer at Coca-Cola, and the company’s approach to consumer engagement as we work to double our business by 2020.

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HT: GOOD: Business, Tim Fernholz & Alex Gorosh

Ian Yolles has been working in the social impact economy for years. A long-time brand and marketing manager with tours of duty at Patagonia, Nike and the apparel company Nau, Yolles is now chief sustainability officer of Recyclebank, a clean-tech firm that partners with municipalities to promote sustainability by rewarding green behavior. Asked what lessons he would share with new social entrepreneurs, Yolles focused on the personal side of running a business, the need for perseverance, and the importance of building a team of partners who are equally passionate about your enterprise.

Every Friday, GOOD gives you a minute of insight from an impact economy leader.