We like to think of ourselves as a progressive, modern, innovative nation here in Australia. We proudly point out examples of Australian ingenuity but in reality these are few and far between. The truth is that, despite our economic prosperity and extremely high standard of living, Australia risks being left behind in the booming digital economy.
Its not that we aren’t an innovative race; there are some extremely talented people dreaming up many amazing ideas, and there is something of a talent rush on Aussie tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley at the moment. The problem is that very few of those businesses or digital entrepreneurs will remain in this country unless things change considerably. The talent, the intellectual property and the businesses will move offshore.
The other risk is that, in an increasingly global and digitally connected economy, Australia will find itself being less than competitive due to a sluggishness in adopting new technology. Once again, this rubs against the popular stereotype that we are a nation of early technology adopters. That may be true as consumers, but the corporate world appears to be less enthusiastic about embracing change and technology.
A recent global study by IBM revealed that Australian marketers are lagging significantly in tech and social media. The study showed that Australian marketers still rely heavily on traditional forms of promotion and research and are yet to embrace the more modern techniques of their global counterparts.
At the same time research by GE indicates that Australia is seen as one of the least innovative nations on earth. The GE Innovation Barometer had Australia lagging behind countries like Brazil and Finland by corporate chiefs who were asked which countries were leading the way in technology and business practices.
The question is, why are we lagging behind? Here are 5 reasons I can see:
Almost six out of ten consumers (59 per cent) have stopped engaging with four or more brands as a result of poorly targeted communications, according to research released today by Experian. The report, titled ‘The future of multichannel marketing: marketer and consumer perspectives,’ shines a spotlight on disconnects that exist between marketers and consumers and highlights the opportunities available to marketers to minimise the impact of poorly targeted communications.
The Experian figures show that, as a result of poorly-targeted communications, eight per cent of consumers have stopped engaging with 20 or more brands. A further 27 per cent of Australians have gone as far as creating a separate email address to receive this information to avoid other email accounts from being inundated.
However, marketers are also making strides to change traditional marketing practices demonstrated by a significant 89 per cent of marketers now using a customer segmentation strategy. In addition, 69 per cent are becoming more selective about the channels they use to engage with customers. A key challenge identified by half (50 per cent) of Australian marketers lies in cutting through the white-noise to get messages through to the consumer.
It’s clear that many marketers are investing in tools to get the right message to the right audiences at the right time, yet the findings suggest that they may not be applying this strategic segmentation across all marketing disciplines, particularly among newer channels such as social media.
The evolution of social media
The findings show that consumers are least trusting of newer marketing channels such as social media, SMS and LinkedIn for direct communication with brands. Almost three in 10 (29 per cent) consumers ranked social media as among the three marketing channels they trusted least when receiving information about a brand. While just four per cent said it was the channel they trusted most.
Yelp launches in Australia30Nov11
Popular US-based user recommendation website Yelp launched today in Australia. First launched in San Francisco in 2004 by founders Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons, Yelp has grown to 14 countries and more than 61 million monthly unique visitors.
Aussies are now able to create accounts on Yelp to share their opinions about local businesses and services in their neighborhoods. Yelp’s free iPhone and Android mobile applications are available, as is Yelp for Business Owners, the company’s free suite of business owner tools.
Stoppelman was in Sydney today talking to a handful of bloggers about how Yelp was created to replace Yellow Pages, who he considered a dead tree business crying out for reinvention. Initially the Yelp founders didn’t believe user reviews would be key to the site but were surprised when they took off and became the main focus of Yelp and a major point of differentiation. Remember, this was back in the days before Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and even newcomers Oink and Roamz.
For millions of US users, Yelp has become an invaluable search resource to discover what’s nearby and how its rated.
It’ll be interesting to see how Yelp does launching in a new market 7 years later with many other location and recommendation contenders on the scene. Stoppelman is confident that the site can get good traction in Australia via their (rather ironic) partnership with Sensis (publisher of Yellow Pages) who provide the initial database of businesses and the sales force for future ad sales. Certainly the Yelp model of engaging community manager in each territory will go a long way to determining the public take-up of the service.
Yelp will be available throughout Australia; however, the company will focus its initial community-growth efforts in Melbourne and Sydney. This city-by-city expansion strategy has proven to be an effective one for the company in other markets.
The great thing about inbound marketing is that there is no shortage of excellent tools to help you go about your job of attracting qualified traffic and converting it into something more meaningful like leads, inquiries or sales.
Here are the 16 top tools I use regularly for inbound marketing;
WordPress website. Sure there are other excellent open source content management systems available but for inbound marketing its hard to go past WordPress. Its easy to use, very search engine friendly, extremely optimisable and has thousands of great plugins to address just about any requirement. There’s a reason over 60 million people have chosen WordPress for their websites.
WordPress mobile app. Inbound marketers like to post content. Lots of content. From almost anywhere. That’s where the WordPress mobile apps come in. You can create and publish content directly from your iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry or Nokia to your website.
Website optimisation is a fascinating field. Most of the gurus will tell you to look at code and build links…lots of links. And, true, that is important. But if you really want to be found on Google you should be trying to answer questions and provide solutions.
The biggest mistake most companies make when optimising their sites for search engines is poor keyword selection. They tend to optimise for themselves; company name, products and services. This is fine if the person searching knows exactly what they want or who you are already, but in most cases they don’t….they’re usually looking for an answer or solution.
The rise of the web has led to a fundamental change in the way we research, share information and shop. Search engine optimisation, blogging and social media have combined to create a new form of marketing around attracting potential customers rather than interrupting them. It’s called inbound marketing.
This excellent infographic from Voltier Digital – Inbound Marketing Rising, the dawn of marketing you won’t hate – demonstrates the differences between Inbound Marketing and the traditional Outbound Marketing. In light of recent studies revealing that Australasian marketers are lagging in tech and social media expertise these are some statistics that need to be shared:
1. 200 million Americans have registered their phone numbers on the FTC’s “Do Not Call” list. Tweet this stat
2. 91% of email users have unsubscribed from a company email they previously opted into. Tweet this stat
3. 84% of 25-34-year-olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising. Tweet this stat
4. 86% of people skip television ads. Tweet this stat
5. 44% of direct mail is never opened. Tweet this stat
A new global study of Chief Marketing Officers by IBM has revealed that Australian and New Zealand marketers are lagging behind their international counterparts when it comes to technology savviness and social media expertise.
From Stretched to Strengthened – Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study, was presented to a round-table of marketers yesterday in Sydney and some of the findings were concerning in this age of global competition.
The major insight appears to be that Australian and New Zealand marketers still rely heavily on traditional forms of promotion and research and are yet to embrace the more modern techniques of their global counterparts.
Especially concerning was the belief that Aussie and Kiwi CMOs rated technology savviness, social media expertise and finance skills as low priority capabilities crucial to their success in the next 3 to 5 years. in fact, IBM revealed that our ranking of 12% for social media expertise was HALF that of the global average.
This is despite CMOs acknowledging that ROI will become the primary measure of success.
The much anticipated move to paid digital subscriptions will take place in the next few weeks Richard Freudenstein, CEO of News Digital Media and The Australian, told a selection of bloggers last night.
Freudenstein was candid in his acknowledgement that this is a very necessary move for the organisation as the current model of free websites with display advertising is not enough to support quality journalism. When asked if this was a big risk they’re were taking, the general consensus at News was that it was a bigger risk not to try subscription. The current model just didn’t add up economically.
News will begin their subscription experiment with The Australian newspaper, the more “premium” of their daily news journals. Following the lead from The Times in England and the New York Times, The Australian will be serving up news content on a new website that leads to walled content. Headlines and the first two paragraphs will be viewable on the website but payment would be required to go further.
The key to success, News believe, will be the bundling of offerings. Pricing is anticipated to be:
- Digital pass of $2.95/wk accessible across multiple platforms.
- $4.50/wk for a digital pass & the Saturday Australian newspaper.
- $7.95/wk for a digital pass & 6 day a week Australian newspaper.
At this stage News do not expect that this will be something to lure new readers to The Australian, but will appeal to a percentage of existing subscribers who they hope to migrate to the digital products.
They cite the experience of the music industry that moved from a pirated free period back to a paid digital product as evidence that people will favour convenience and reliability over free in the long run.
News also draw on their experience in another subscription model, Pay TV, where Foxtel took year to grow and become profitable but is now the most profitable TV model in Australia.
One suspects that if this gambit is to succeed that bundling of all of the News products will come into play. Foxtel, news press and niche publications could all be bundled for a larger, but more cost effective combined spend. Tellingly, News acknowledge that they now consider The Australian a “media franchise” rather than merely a newspaper and they are exploring how it will be utilised on “bigger screens”.
Of course there are plenty of cynics who believe that digital subscription will not succeed. One respected pundit I had breakfast with this morning scoffed at the plans to charge for The Australian online, adamant it would fail.
However News have done plenty of homework on this and feel they have no choice but to launch subscription models. They admit that they don’t have all the answers and the experiment will continually evolve. They have deep pockets and seem prepared to patiently see the industry follow suit and join them on the other side of the paywall.
News Ltd has launched a new website to take the discussion further. Read more and have your say at Future of Journalism
Other coverage of the #newsdigsub briefing at:
Lets face it, influence is the main currency of the web.
Google realised it early on when they created an algorithm to rank the influence and relative power of websites based on inbound links and the relative authority or popularity of those doing the linking. Google called this PageRank, and whilst not being the perfect system of website influence it has been the standard measure of this currency for a long time now.
The advent of social networks created an informal market for peddling influence. As networks have grown certain people, celebrities and groups have become powerful influencers of their wider audience.
A mention, tweet or link by the likes of Robert Scoble can be extremely beneficial (or detrimental) for a tech company. A link in Seth Godin’s blog (which is usually shared in social networks thousands of times a day) can generate incredible traffic for the recipient. And believe it or not, having Kim Kardashian tweet her love for your brand can provide a powerful marketing boost. In fact, she now charges companies tens of thousands of dollars to access her Twitter influence.
Why? Because these people have credibility and influence within their respective audiences and communities.
That’s the premise behind a new influence metric called Kred. Created by the team at PeopleBrowsr, Kred trawls Twitter around the clock to measure levels of influence for different topics and people. They currently score 100 million Twitter users for 200 different groups (subjects).
I was at the Australian preview of Kred last night and was very impressed with the level of data and potential uses of the Kred system.
While it is easy to sneer at influence metrics such as Kred, Klout and Peer Index as ego driven vanity scores, that is missing the real point. Looking beyond your own score you can discover groups who are influential in certain topics and even gauge whether they are “spammy” or not.
To me, Kred seems to be the next step on from Klout in measuring social media influence. Jodee Rich, the founder of PeopleBrowsr, is the first to admit that influence metrics such as Kred will continually evolve and improve, but you have to start somewhere. He says that Kred’s granularity will continue to evolve as they measure influence in each country, then cities.
This can be a valuable resource for marketers, PR companies, political operatives, lobbyists and entertainment companies. Driving back from the launch I came up with many ideas about how I could use Kred as a marketer, for both my business and for my clients.
I’ve long believed that building your ‘digital resume’ is crucial for future employment and company pitches. Now we are coming to an era where many employers will use metrics such as Kred (and others) to help identify or compare potential recruits. If you are perceived to be influential in that area of expertise (relative to other candidates) then that might be enough to get you the job.
Kred launches this week. Check it out and tell me what you think.
Characteristics of new digital media and music environment:
Agile – able to move quickly to develop, produce & release
Independent – no longer controlled by traditional owners
Interruptive – whole industries being radically reinvented or fragmented. Rather than be protectionist we must embrace this otherwise we will be left behind.
Collaborative – clusters, crowd sourcing, geographically diverse
Fresh content – amazing amount of new, fresh content every day which can be organized and curated.
Fluid transactions – push button downloads for apps, music, books, TV shows & movies. New commerce models ie Facebook credits for content.
Issues and Needs for Australia
- Hi speed broadband required to keep pace with rest of world
- Better fostering of innovation – funding, tech VC market (tax incentives?)
- Digital Education – both business and students. Greater emphasis on modern digital practices. (NLYZR study). Strongly question whether current tertiary education is preparing people for the digital economy.
- Celebration of success – plenty of talent and up & coming media & music stories that need to be told. We’ve been proposing a leading event…like sxsw. But needs support and funding.
- Intellectual Property laws and processes are archaic and barely viable for current fast moving digital environment. We require a very different approach to licensing, IP, property “rights” and other elements of the underlying framework.
- Retaining talent in Australia – Oz mafia in Silicon Valley, moving where things happen.
- Overall need to decrease friction and roadblocks to enable rapid delivery of content and transactions.
Rather than laws to protect old establishment industries, new laws to enable creation of new business & industries.