Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blackberry Enters the Tablet Fracas

Battle over corporate mindshare of mobile heats up. Battle over disgruntled talent should drive corporate knowledge capture arena. Hottest areas for talent are hybrid roles that previously didn’t exist.

In case you missed it, Research in Motion, best known for its best-selling Blackberry corporate texting and PDA devices announced Monday that is has entered the tablet computer arena. The Blackberry Playbook will target corporate users (no surprise) and will get a leg up on the Apple iPad in at least one important area for business marketers – it can display Web pages that are created via Adobe Flash oftware, something that iPad currently cannot. Our prediction is this: B2B marketers will look first to reach target customers on whatever device they’re using, regardless of who makes it or how snazzy the features. The battle for the corporate share of the mobile marketplace should be a great one to watch as that will likely determine the flow of ad dollars in the B2B arena. We’re hoping for a long-hard fought battle that will raise the bar for innovation and make mobile advertising and sponsorship, a must-have on everyone’s budget by 2011.

“Take this job and shove it”…OR…”Shove that job, I’ll take it”?

Speaking of the corporate marketplace, as we mentioned last month, there’s lots of work to be done, but most organization lack the confidence to hire full-time, salaried, highly-benefitted workers to do it. Thanks, Rick Telberg, of Bay Street Group Research, who shared his take on a recent Hewitt Associates study that showed workplace tensions are at a 15-year high. Seems even those lucky enough to be employed, are running out of motivation and energy as they do two or three people’s former jobs for the same old compensation (or less).

If you’re in the career advertising or executive recruiting game, you’ll have a perfect storm of opportunity on the horizon as disgruntled workers will be jumping ship in droves as the slow recovery continues and companies will be scrambling like crazy to replace them with the long-term unemployed and underemployed. And guess who else has a great window of opportunity right now? That’s right. Those of you in the CRM, ERP, and knowledge management sector. Why? Because when long-term talented employees leave, they take an awful lot of institutional knowledge with them. It doesn’t matter how tight your confidentiality agreements are (see our Sept. 7 piece "Shot Hurd Round the Tech World").

2010 has clearly reflected a rebound for executive search in the media and marketing business, according to Ed Koller, managing partner of New York-based search firm, Howard Sloan Koller Group who shares his firm's client newsletter with us regularly. While the folks at HSK told us their data was anecdotal more than scientific, they found their clients “continue to report positive movement within their businesses, and candidates are truly excited about the energy and buzz they feel in the market and the possibilities they see ahead.” More than ever, digital roles seem focused on building innovative products, said HSK.

Here are some highlights of HSK’s latest report from the media and marketing recruiting trenches:

Companies continue to reorganize with great frequency to seek efficiencies.
• Much of the hiring is for entirely new roles -- positions which didn't exist previously, and often haven't even been thought of or planned for.
• Hybrid roles -- combinations of multiple disciplines -- are cropping up everywhere.
• Broad-based marketers are in greater demand than ever before.
• Many companies are showing increased emphasis on mobile, social media and apps, requiring a mix of specialized skills.
• Bonuses, perks and raises are still hibernating, and are likely to stay this way for the foreseeable future.
• Many candidates are (shockingly) receiving multiple offers simultaneously. "Buyers" must act quickly.
• Internal promotions and newly created roles are being used by companies as a means for retaining talent.

Our take? With digital apps improving almost daily and highly versatile “corporate decathletes” getting more responsibility instead of the politically correct org-chart-climbers, this slow painful recovery we’re supposedly in may go down as the golden age of Web 2.0 ideas, execution and positive paradigm shifts for B2B marketers.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Shot Hurd Round the Tech World

Let’s get back to selling and making things, not rules. Online video consumption surging. Adults texting too.

While the ranks of America’s long-term jobless climbs, at least one terminated white collar worker found a new home in a hurry – on Labor Day no less.

Late yesterday, Oracle announced that former HP CEO, Mark Hurd has joined the company as co-president. Despite engineering a remarkable turnaround of the company in the wake of its ill-fated Carly Fiorona experiment, Hurd was forced to resign last month after the HP board flagged him for fudging expense reports related to an extramarital affair he was having with an independent company marketing consultant/ex-adult-film actress. Nice.

While we don’t condone Hurd’s alleged actions at the helm of HP, it’s refreshing to see leading global brands recognizing leadership talent as a way to drive companies forward, not their cowardly boards or HR and legal policymakers. We think this trend will continue (albeit more quietly) throughout the ranks of corporate America.

And so naturally HP sued, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

If we’re going to get out economy out of first gear, entrepreneurs and small businesses can’t do it alone. We need the Fortune 1000 to step up too and that means bringing back people on the revenue side who actually make things (engineers, developers, content creators) and sell things (sales, marketing, business development) and start trimming back on cost-center departments that make nothing but rules (HR, legal, accounting). As perhaps a sign of the times, investors and discussion forum posters seemed overwhelmingly supportive of Oracle and anti-HP, Hurd's alleged confidentiality breach notwithstanding.

“Mark did a brilliant job at HP and I expect he’ll do even better at Oracle as there is no executive in the I.T. world with more relevant experience,” said Oracle CEO, Larry Ellison in a statement. While many in the tech world say both leaders can be difficult to work with, it’s hard to argue with their overall results. Ellison, a friend and long time business partner of HP’s, call Hurd’s dismissal in an e-mail to The New York Times “the worst personnel decision since the idiots on the Apple board fired Steve Jobs many years ago.”

While Hurd’s hiring can’t be credited for a better than expected job(less) report on Friday --stocks rose as nonfarm payrolls shed 54,000 jobs last month, roughly half the 110,000 drop economists had expected and matching the level of revised losses recorded the previous month. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite indices climbed over three percent for the week. Friday's employment numbers followed recent reports on manufacturing and housing that also came in above expectations, extending a notable reversal from a long string of disappointing data that had driven the Dow's biggest August drop since 2001.

Online video consumption surging

The amount of time American audiences spent watching video for the major live video publishers has grown nearly seven fold over the past year to more than 1.4 billion minutes, according to comScore. By comparison, the amount of time that American audiences spent watching YouTube and Hulu increased 68 percent and 75 percent, respectively, over the same time period. Along with, other top live video publishers include USTREAM, Livestream, LiveVideo, and Stickam

According to Comscore, Live online video sites have been successful in building audience and keeping that audience tuned in. The average live streamed video view is seven percent longer than the average online video view. As expected, live video sites are 72 percent more likely to deliver the elusive demographic -- males age 18-34 -- than the average online video site, says Comscore.

Experts say live streaming video’s success is due in no small part to sites' willingness to build out their technology infrastructure to provide a better user experience. For instance, recently announced mobile applications for Android and iOS, the former allowing users to live stream from their mobile device. The growth of broadband (both through regular and cellular networks) has made features that were unthinkable two years ago a reality today.

Adults texting too. Are you LOL? OMG!

Adults aren't as text-crazed as their teen and tween offspring, but the proportion of U.S. adults who send and receive text messages has grown from to 72 percent from 65% a year ago, according to a new Pew Research Center study on mobile use. But adults still have a long way to go to match the under-20 crowd who typically exchange 50 text messages a day compared to 10 for adults. The study found that heavy adult texters tend to be heavy users of voice calling, while light texters -- those who exchange one to 10 messages a day -- don't make up for less texting with more calling.

Voice service remains the primary cell phone function for most adults, who exchange five calls a day. Looking at how use varies by gender, the Pew report found that women make slightly fewer calls per day. More than a quarter (26%) otf men send and receive 6 to 10 calls a day, while 20 percent of women exchange that many calls.
A recent Nielsen study found that women on average spend 22 percent more time talking on cell phones (856.3 minutes a month compared to men's 666.7). In terms of behavior, women are slightly more likely to place frequent calls to just say hello and chat and report on where they are or find out where someone else is. Men are more likely to make calls about coordinating where to meet others, and to exchange calls about work. Both men and women were likely to have long conversations to discuss important personal matters on the cell phone.

If you’re still wondering whether mobile should be part of your 2011 marketing mix, we suggest you check out these and other reports from reliable independent sources. Now get back to work and reach out and touch your customers.