June 17, 2019
Welcome back to your weekly update on the changes, trends, and movers-and-shakers making headlines across marketing, brand, consumers and more!
From Deepak’s neuroscience desk, a look at how Spotify is capitalizing on the emotional power of music to drive growth.
Below are a few thought-provoking articles to kick-start your week. Thanks as always for reading, sharing and sending your contributions.
BRAND & MARKETING
- BCG digs into the science of organizational change, and suggests that, as businesses and strategies evolve, the future of work is in optimistic employees.
- Kantar’s Dr. O’Gorman recommends we stop talking about customer loyalty, and rethink what’s needed to drive it.
- An HBS professor insists that the basis of modern disruption is customers themselves and the entirety of their value chain, not technology, competitors, or other external forces. Related, one CMO shares his recipe for building a disruptor brand (it starts even deeper than the product or service being offered).
- Related, Ideo examines what it means to “act like a startup” – especially when your organization doesn’t enjoy the conditions endemic to most startups.
- A new wave of prescription-grade apps is putting the future of medicine – and digital wellness more broadly – in the palms of patients’ hands.
- Despite efficiency being today’s top aspiration for many, creativity plays a critical role in driving effective, profitable marketing.
- IRI’s president/media warns against “micro-targeting,” and suggests that “quality scale” is the ideal balance between mass marketing and mass personalization. Still, the combination of customer demand and the power of software tools, AI and machine learning is translating to mass customization in everything from chocolate to jeans.
- Axios examines the “fake meat gold rush,” reflecting on the incredible growth of the industry’s star players as well as the side-effects of this new market. Related, “ugly produce” is also growing in popularity – even via subscription box offerings.
- Another week of significant conversation around the role, power, and potential of marketing: Mark Read cautioned that CMOs are at risk of becoming chief communications officers,
- The Drum discusses the data-driven marketer of the future powered by the ubiquity and evolution of data and technology,
- Business Insider profiles the most innovative CMOs of 2019, and
- Ogilvy Consulting speaks to how transformations give CMOs a “new lease on life” and the “opportunity of an era.”
- Meanwhile, Just Eat’s CMO-turned-CEO shares his struggles with this transition, and
- an industry expert offers a framework that marketing can leverage for addressing its challenges with leading brand and business growth.
RETAIL, SALES & SHOPPER
- HBR digs into how voice assistants can and are changing the way we shop.
- Consulting POV – HBR publishes a lot of stuff that is glorified advertising like this (the author runs a voice experience design company). The best way to think about voice is to think about things it is logically good at (replenishment ordering of something you’ve already bought, inquiry when your hands and eyes are busy) to aid figuring out what the use case looks like.
- Amazon Restaurants is shutting down due to significant competition in the food delivery space, but a new offer is in the works: Amazon is reportedly building out a subscription box offering to forge closer connections with brands selling through the site.
- Consulting POV – The restaurant delivery world in the US is a tough market to crack, dominated by a quasi-monopoly in Sysco. B2B markets are often harder to disrupt than they appear since so much of the stickiness of customer relationships is in unusually structured discounts and relationships.
- Target and Walmart are racing to keep up with retail’s proliferation beyond goods and services. This comes as Target leverages its recent acquisition of Shipt to expand its same-day pay-per-order delivery service feature as the war against Amazon, Walmart, and consumers’ rising demands for speed and convenience rages on.
- Consulting POV – The furor over same day / 2-day delivery is a short-term thing the media loves to get excited about but may not matter in terms of the long-term competitiveness of these companies. Eventually, the market will stabilize with a variety of owned and leased logistics models getting products to consumers when they want it. If omni-channel was the word you got tired of in the 2010s, ecosystems will be the word of the 2020s, as retailers seek to expand into a wide variety of non-retail lines of business.
- Despite all the discussion and apparent momentum around DTCs, it’s increasingly a misnomer: as the model becomes more complex, brands are recalibrating their strategies– hacking CAC and refreshing their playbooks altogether.
- Consulting POV – This quite sensibly lays out the idea that different brands / products need different route-to-market strategies, and that while D2C can be disruptive for some, it’s incomplete for many. A practical look at D2C can be found this perspective from Malcolm Pinkerton.
- Aldi is entering China with smaller, convenience-based stores designed to celebrate and convey product quality and value.
- Consulting POV – This makes sense for China; where retail margins are already very low, a discount store based on price would struggle to find a foothold. A convenience store with a strong value proposition makes more sense.
- Salesforce’s latest “State of the Connected Customer” found, unsurprisingly, that most global consumers (52%) want to be able to find what they need from a company in three clicks or less.
- Consulting POV – A good comprehensive report with a ton of stats that reinforce some core CX principles!
- Walgreens’ CMO recently spoke about the retailer’s expanding role in digital healthcare and its partnerships with Microsoft and Verily.
- Consulting POV – In this case the CMO is the Chief Medical Officer, laying out the role that a relatively small piece of the US healthcare ecosystem (Walgreens) can play as part of a broader, more holistic health information/network provider. A good resource on how retail, digital and healthcare intersect to review is Brian Owens’ perspective on the Amazoning of healthcare.
- Capitalizing on the resurging popularity of murals and the brand’s increased focus on eCommerce, Schick is exploring a new retail format … or is it a channel?
- Consulting POV – This is an interesting promotional tool from a business worth watching, as its entire North American commercial operation will be run in 2020 by the management team from Harry’s. Expect a lot more innovation, but realize Edgewell has a number of troubled brands in its portfolio.
ON THE HORIZON
- In case you missed either of the two big reports released last week, the BrandZ Global Top 100was launched (additional perspectives on Amazon taking the top spot and Lululemon as one of the fastest-rising brands here) and Mary Meeker shared her annual Internet Trends tear-down.
- HBR shares three strategies that effectively prevent failure-causing issues in corporate-startup partnerships (incubators, accelerators or otherwise).
- Salesforce is acquiring Tableau to improve its data visualization capabilities and ability to help enterprises make sense of their seas of data.
- Unilever has purchased Japanese skincare company Tatcha, famous for its superior product experience and unique combination of natural ingredients and high product efficacy.
- Merck, Walmart, KPMG, and IBM are linking up on a pilot program to explore how blockchain can better track prescription drugs as they move down the pharmacy supply chain.
- Business Insider and eMarketer are merging, citing the massive opportunity to better tackle “all the stuff that we’ve been covering.”
- Citi and Grab, the Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm, are partnering on co-branded credit cards, helping Grab get more into financial services, and supporting Citi’s plans to offer digitally-forward products.
- Airbnb introduces Adventures, three- to seven-day all-inclusive trips off the beaten path, as it strives to become the go-to travel company for everyone of all preferences and styles.
- McKinsey debunks four myths around driving and sustaining organic growth.
- Costa Coffee’s first product since the Coca Cola acquisition is a lower sugar, ready-to-drink beverage that has Costa’s “coffee expertise” and Coca-Cola’s “scale and marketing expertise” as core ingredients.
- Every company needs a Chief Experience Officer, according to one industry expert who strongly cautions against separate leaders owning CX and the employee experience given the importance and value of their close integration.
- LaCroix, perhaps eluded by its own growth trajectory, is facing a lawsuit around executives falsely claiming its cans were free of toxic chemicals.
- Mailchimp just launched an entertainment division, which targets entrepreneurs and small-business owners and features original series, films, and podcasts.