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The first post on this “StrategyAudit” blog was on March 30, 2009, and I wondered at the time if there would be a second.

Where were the ideas going to come from?

Would I have the discipline to just keep at it?

Would anyone care?

Now, a thousand posts, and four and a half years later, at least one of those questions has been answered, and much to my surprise, I have stuck at it. The ideas still come, mainly because I see things, read things, make connections that previously I was unaware of, but now I write down, and sometimes they turn into posts.

Does anyone care? Well, a few do. Several hundred subscribers get an email every time I post, and a good proportion get opened, although the rate varies with the headline. (you can always tell an interesting headline) and more are open via twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media. Thanks to you all, and more reposting, and retweeting would be appreciated.

 So, What has changed over the life of StrategyAudit?.

 Marketing has changed,  absolutely. The world is now digital, and the practice of marketing. has been radically transformed, and by observation, many of Australia’s enterprises have missed the boat, so far.

Mobile has not just arrived, but now dominates many net usage categories, particularly social media.  Overall mobile now delivers 25% of web traffic, and growing at warp speed. 

Marketing ROI. You can now calculate the ROI of most marketing investments based on data, where previously it simply was not a reliable calculation.  For the first time, the old adage of “50% of my marketing budget is wasted, just wish I knew which 50%” has become nonsense. It can now be calculated with considerable accuracy using free web analytics. Given that data is free, there is no excuse not to use it.

Crowdsourcing. Creative input, money, advice, as well as crowdsourcing routine clerical jobs. No longer is Intellectual Property king, Intellectual Capital has taken over, as it is what you have between your ears that can influence tomorrow that really counts. It is now much less about what you did yesterday, and are protecting in the hope that it can be a win again tomorrow, than what you can do now that counts.

Visual has arrived, from the growth of YouTube, to Vimeo, slideshare, visual podcasts, instagram, Vine, the list goes on. Content is now visual, a picture replacing a thousand words writ large.

Fragmentation has overcome social media as it has matured, just as the manner in which we get news fragmented a decade ago when suddenly the newspapers, radio and evening TV news became almost redundant. There are choices you now make about which social media for which purpose, the way you use it, the content, Social is now part of our commercial world, not the habitat for our teenage children, and smart organizations are starting to understand the nuances, and use it well, rather than just chasing “Friends”.

Marketing automation is upon us. Everything from consumer CRM, to social media posts and content bait is combining to disrupt the sales and marketing processes that evolved over last century. It is particularly potent in B2B  sales  and marketing, removing the demarcation that is the base of so many organisation structures and cultures.

Transparency has evolved from operational and logistical environments into marketing. There is now huge volumes of great info on the net aimed at helping people to think about and measure the impact of their marketing. It is the age of helping, in the hope of gaining a customer for life, rather than just creating a transaction. Jay Baer has just written a second book,  “Youtility” on the topic, and last week put up a long post that includes slideshare presentation on “how to” publish, doing exactly what he advocates in the book.

 “Big Data” has arrived, although most have no idea what it is, and so are missing the opportunities that evolve from the mass of data now available to those with the capabilities and tools. Apart from the academic interest driven by the challenges of analysing zettabytes of information, enterprises across many categories are looking at ways to leverage the potential. It has also spawned a new job description,” Data Scientist” those who do this mining. Wonder how our universities are coping with teaching something only 3 years old, that is rapidly becoming a defining discipline of the 21st century?

Mortar to virtual retailing has arrived, along with the “Showrooming” whereby people use bricks retailers to touch, feel, test and size products they then buy on line a bit, sometimes a lot, cheaper. However, the research still evolving tends to suggest that the “showrooms” that get visited are first “webroomed”, increasingly from mobile, social media connected devices, and the total of sales is increasing, stimulated by the available information and marketing, while bricks retailers are missing substantial  opportunities by concentrating on price as a competitive tactic. In effect, to be successful retailers need to be “Omni-channel” retailers. However, as noted below, we still go to the local store for much of what we buy.

Local. This is an emerging trend that leverages technology to disrupt at a local level by providing services specifically tailored to the individual. Airbnb, just a couple of years old is busily disrupting the hotel business, and from nowhere Uber, disrupting taxi and limo services is now a billion dollar baby. (Just how the absurdly regulated taxi industry in Sydney reacts will be an interesting exercise in the status quo Vs common sense). Nowhere is this trend more visible than in the growth of local growers markets in urban areas. Web strategist Jeremiah Owyang is calling it the Collaborative economy, and it is just getting started, but what a huge baby, at a current estimate of $26 billion.

 Empowered consumers. Consumers now have enormous amounts of information at their fingertips, and this has removed from sellers much of the power they used to have in the selling process, weather it is paperclips or power stations that are being bought. This means that an ordinary value proposition is simply not good enough any longer!

 Bullshitting the boss. Marketing was always a balance between art and science, but the pendulum has swung decisively in favor of the boss. The “black art” component has been removed, senior management have been around this stuff long enough, and are smart enough, to now be able to discriminate between the real marketers and those who just know the jargon. Baffling the boss with marketing bullshit no longer works, Full stop!

 And, what has not changed.

 The net has not turned all of us into wise, super informed consumers, and few of us are hyper connected, yet, and most of us are just a bit confused at the array of choice. However, if the pace of change continues, and I expect it will only accelerate, another decade will see us living in something akin to a sci-fi movie as Gen Y takes over. 

Our behavior has not changed all that much, just because the tools have changed. We just have a bigger choice of tools, many of which most of us cannot, or choose not, to use. What we like  and dislike, the people we choose to share a meal with, and how we spend out time have not changed all that much, human behavior is too hard wired for rapid evolution. The exception to this sweeping generality is social media, which has been adopted in the manner of a starving man being presented with a feast.

The web has not replaced our old buying ways completely, despite the hype. Most of our shopping (95% depending on whose numbers you use) is still with bricks and mortar retail, and much of the so called lost 5%, the B&M’s would  not have made anyway, as the demand is a creation of the information and choice available via the new tools.

The web is not a cure for the disease of crap advertising and communication we suffered last century. If anything, it has multiplied the opportunity for us to be bored, turned off, and just plain aggravated. Were it not for our innate ability to ignore that which does not interest us, we would all be bonkers by now.

I’m glad you stuck with me this far, thanks, I hope I have scratched your brain. And so, on to the next thousand.