Women in tech panels - should we Let It Go?

“Does your daughter like Frozen?”

I was at a women in tech type function and trying to be friendly to my round table neighbours.

“Your daughter, is she into Frozen, the movie?”

The women next to me stared blankly, not sure what to make of my alien question. We were talking about how to get young girls into coding and she had mentioned that her five year old loved her work iPad.

"Oh Frooozennn. Yes she loves Frozen. Sorry, I work in an all-male executive team and nobody ever asks me during work hours if my daughter likes Frozen. We only ever talk about rugby and racehorses. Yes she’s mad on Frozen, we have Frozen everything."

There was some criticism this week of the Salesforce Women in tech sessions at their annual conference. What was Oprah’s best friend Gayle King doing asking super amazing tech powerfox YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki about having five children? Why did she not ask her complicated business questions about the future of video in Bangladesh and how dare she bring Wojcicki’s husband into it? Are the proliferation of women in tech panels and programs just token pink-wash and do they have a purpose or should we just -let it go?

I must admit to being a reformed women's conference and panel hater. I thought it was tokenism and embarrassing for women to have to share all details of their life and be asked light weight questions about ‘having it all’. Two ideas changed this:

1. Realising that there are challenges that are unique to women and no amount of wishing it away is going to change anything. Women have babies, you know, biology. Women are usually the primary care givers, especially when children are young (also biology). Generally speaking I would say that women think and worry about their life stages and how they are going to integrate family and work (in fact, I know they do because I did some research on it at uni). 

I think it’s positive to talk about work and home integration and people like Wojcicki and her mentees, Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer all make it ok and provide examples for people to follow.  Women like talking about their children and families. Marissa Mayer recently published a Tumblr post celebrating her pregnancy with twins and proudly declaring that she would continue to be the CEO of Yahoo. I think these women should be championed for their ability to manage work and family and it’s interesting and an experience that’s unique to women. The fact that men don’t get asked these kinds of personal questions about how they manage work and family is a non-issue to me. 

2. I don’t know where this saying comes from and it’s kind of old-timey but, you have to bless the path in front of you

Women have a hard enough time as it is and fault finding women in tech panels and programs is not helpful. The last thing we want to do is create a minefield where women and men can’t ask certain questions, highlight different individuals or speak freely about their lives. The more women are seen, given a voice and allowed to tell their stories, the better. The glass ceiling won’t be broken by throwing stones from the outside. Making it OK for people to talk about their five year old daughter’s Frozen fix, pregnancy news and fifth child as part of a future of technology discussion will. 

Hoodies up it's time for marketing tag management 101

Lots of little hoodie wearers are going to be visiting your marketing teams talking about ‘tagging’ so it’s probably a good idea to give yourself a crash course first so you don’t get confused panda about the whole thing. 

It's just really seeing 'did the customer come this way?'
Measurement and attribution has always been a pain with both online and offline conversions so companies want you to ‘tag’ up your sites so we can all see what’s going on and what paths customers are taking and where referrals have come from and that sort of thing. 

Web page tagging is a lot like graffiti tagging. Companies use their third party tag’ to show that users have visited somewhere. So companies like Facebook and Google want you to put their tags on your pages so they can show that customers visited your pages on their customer journey. Metrics and research providers like Kissmetrics and Nielsen also use tagging technology to measure who is doing what on a page. A tag is a snippet of code that goes in the html in the page.

"We have nerds that do that, I’m just the marketing person. I think we have all that anyway"

Tagging for mobile

Yes and this where it starts to get interesting and you do need to know this for yourself. You might have heard this week about Facebook launching something called Atlas for ad serving. When you think Atlas think mobile and think mobile video —those auto play videos that are turning up on your Facebook iPhone app.Central to Atlas are Facebook custom audiences. You create a Facebook custom audience by putting a ‘tag’ Facebook Custom audience pixel, on all  your pages. The current FBX ad serving stuff is limited to desktop inventory only. Custom Audiences from Your Website allows targeting across browsers, overlaying of Facebook data, access to mobile inventory, and usage of all Facebook ad units, all of which are not available on FBX. It's the thing that gets read and messed about with in Atlas so they want you to put it on all your things. You can read more about it here

Ok but what about if you don’t really use Facebook, why is this important?

The end game is to connect company data with Facebook data with customer data. The uses are wider than Facebook and the model is one being explored by lots of advertising companies so the more you understand it the better. 

For example, if you go to the supermarket and use a loyalty card, the supermarket has point of sale scan data linked to your personal data on the loyalty card. Using Atlas, the shopper’s data can be imported from a big enterprise database like Oracle and analysed to create highly targeted audiences back into Facebook and, ultimately across online and offline ad networks. Cookies aren't that great on mobile and advertisers want to get to user-level rather than session level measurement so you can imagine with mobile phones, getting down to an individual with a lot more context like geo-location becomes possible. 

WOAH. Yes woah and that’s why you need to try and understand as much of this as possible. 

Step 1 I would suggest is make sure Google Tag Manager (there are other tag managers but this one is free and there is a lot of info around on it to learn from) is managed from client side for your brand and that you can access it. Don’t let the tag management sit with an agency or outside your company if at all possible because you need the agility to manage your own tags.  Google Tag manager means that you can change the tags on your sites without having to get developer resource. Tags such as Facebook Custom audience pixel and Google analytics tracking sit inside the tag manager. Get Google Tag Manager installed and then your team manages it. If you don’t know how then start to learn, it’s really important. 

That is the end of my blog post. 


If the technical stuff is scaring you and you like the investor strategy stuff then maybe start with this recent interview with early Facebook investor Peter Thiel who just happened to write a book with the partner person for Facebook talking about Atlas Shrugged weird magic-nomics which basically says that there was Microsoft and they missed mobile and Google are good at search stuff but Facebook is good at mobile stuff (shhh don’t mention android) and that there is a massive global ad industry and Facebook is all over it so you should invest. 

Then Marc Benioff tweeted that he’s all about Facebook and Atlas and Salesforce exacttarget are doing some partner stuff with the partner person who wrote the book with Peter Thiel and so it’s donkey kong o’clock but we love competition but monopoly is also good and hey, it’s all about the customers SMILEY FACE :))))

Confused pandas struggle with web analytics so please make it easier

Forrester released a report today about analytics and there’s a lot that I agree with and a lot that I don’t really agree with but there’s one thing that’s clear: the landscape has changed. What’s not clear is what the actual products do and I think tech vendors are going to have to do a lot of work to turn marketers, advertisers and publishers into real, hands-on users. There are many confused pandas in the wild. 

Remember when Adobe was the pretty/expensive one and IBM was the big ugly serious one and Google was the weird free one? Also wondering why Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud wasn’t mentioned as their analytics are probably sufficient for a lot of marketers who are currently using nothing at all -remember we’re working off a low base in a lot of marketing teams. No, I have no affiliation with Salesforce I just think the ExactTarget product is a good one. And Oracle. Where’s Oracle in the report? So defining enterprise web analytics in itself is still a bit of a head scratcher. I guess Forrester try and cover it with their “a significant base of enterprise-class clients” criterion but with the rate things are changing I don’t think historical client lists are going to count for much over the next three years. Or staff dedicated to web analytics products. Is that engineering or sales or support? 90-day free demo and a bit of Hadoop and look at that, you’ve changed data systems. 

It’s good that Adobe is in the number one position. Omniture Site Catalyst is the best analytics product on the market today and Adobe should be making a lot more of it. What? Well you see I have a real issue with your Marketing Cloud Adobe. It’s way too complicated. I think you probably already know this and I know you’ve had a few acquisitions and are trying to stitch is all together but good grief, nobody can remember the name of two cloud products let alone five.  Take Microsoft Office. I’ve been using it since the late 90’s and I can name Word and Excel… and then.. oh look I stopped caring. Make it easier for people Adobe and go hard on Omniture.  Start with the customers (i.e. advertisers, publishers and marketers) and work back based on what we can use it for, not all the standalone parts because nobody got time for that and your products are fantastic but it’s so hard to know what product does what. 

Ditto IBM. Lots of acquisitions and suites of brands and products that do various things that become a bit of a blur after the first 10 minutes of the demo. I’m sure it’s all fabulous but it’s hard to get your head around and way too hard for the new wave of customers such as brand marketers and journalists to find their way around. 

Hilariously, Google Analytics Premium gets the ‘simple and easy’ tag and the ‘democratise all the information’ tag which I think are probably the two most important things at the moment and they still didn’t get in the first pack of product leaders according to Forrester.  More weighting on these factors is needed because teams are growing so we need more people at various skill levels working on the data. Remember when you had one or two analyst nerds that ran reports and worked for the executive team the whole time and ignored your five ‘can you do a campaign summary pullleaaaasseeeee :) :):)?’ emails? That’s your current situation today? Yes. Simple and democratisation are important because you can outsource hyper analyst data nerdery for special projects but it’s great if more people can login and work with the data everyday. 

I don’t really know anything about Webtrends and SAP and SAS which in itself is a factor. If you want to sell to marketing people you need to get a bit better at marketing because we’re looking at different factors than maybe, a traditional CIO, CTO person. Engineers tut tut at me for liking Salesforce products because they maybe aren’t as well made as others (are they? I wouldn’t know) but they are good at sales and marketing and are getting better at wooing a marketing customer through education and training. Analytics and simple don’t really go together that well but whoever figures that part out will win all the analytics customers. 

Moving to a centralised demand model of marketing

Think about the structure and main responsibilities of your marketing team. If you were to jot down the main things your marketing executives do it will be something about managing agency partners, developing and executing strategic campaigns to drive sales activities, something about brand and a little bit on team management. 

Now look at this magnificent creature:

In a centralised demand model, scale is achieved by focusing on the process of best serving the customer using marketing technologies. 

The main role of the marketer is to create the environment, processes and performance models and activate them across the organisation. It is a very technology-centric and data-centric approach.

What's the most exciting thing I find about this model?

There is no differentiation between online and offline marketing

Campaigns and tactics are executed at the business unit level on different channels but the thinking and processes are aligned at the top-level so scale and consistency is achieved and can be measured. 

If the idea of moving your organisation to this type of model is terrifying and seems impossible then congratulations, you have just mentally arrived at the future of marketing and social media management for enterprise. As fun as it is to talk about connected watches and viral videos, putting the infrastructure and systems in place to manage new forms of customer data and designing teams around them is the hard part. 

If you don't know where to start can I suggest the first step is to put your attention into learning about enterprise systems, designs, tools and technologies. It will no longer be the role of the 'online analyst' or the 'interactive digital integrated whatever you want to call it'. This is marketing. 

Step back from creative and agency level production thinking for a little while. Give it to someone else to do. Get up out of the tactical, campaign-level work and shift your brain into organisational design mode instead of creative design mode. You're going to need to know this stuff. 

Think beyond your current organisation structure. Decide what works best, not what retrofits to your current structure because there will be changes- regardless of whether your current marketing regime can see it yet or not. The model above is for B2B so it would play out slightly different into consumer but you get the idea. 

Find a company that is moving to centralised marketing systems and befriend them. Go out for coffee with their people and find out what is and isn't working. You are about to be bombarded with sales pitches from technology vendors, research agencies and implementation partners so find like-minded people and compare notes. Unilever has just moved 7000 marketers in 190 countries to a centralised platform so befriend someone from Unilever and see what they think of it. Adobe, Salesforce, Oracle and IBM all have current marketing suite offers at various stages of maturity. Expect other vendors to appear in this space. 


Why are companies still so weird about trial and demo accounts?

Last post we talked about how companies invest money and people resource in events and social content to get their products in front of customers. The idea behind all of this is to increase the probability that a person is going to transact with the organisation in some way through sale or signup. 

I've been watching DreamForce 13 on the livestream and have come across lots of cool marketing software and productivity products I want to find out more about (both Salesforce and partner products). 

I follow their call to action and go to their site and click the 'free trial' button. 

I have to fill out a form (that has too many fields then what I deem necessary) but because I want to help them out, I earnestly complete. So then I get a message that "someone will contact you to assess you for the free trial". 


I've hit about three of these today and am currently in chats on email with nice salespeople who I'm trying to explain to that I have seen their company spokesperson on a livestream at an event talking about a feature that sounded useful and I would like to see it in the wild.

The fact that I'm coming straight through a purchase funnel off your industry targeted event should qualify me enough in round one . I've given you an email address and by putting me straight into a trial account, you win by getting another credential from me. From there, you can assist me should I need assisting. If you want more info from me, you have to earn it-the same as consumer retail. 

I'm just interested, I don't currently have a use case. There's something I saw that flipped a lightbulb and I want to have a wander around. I know enterprise sales people like the whole 'assisted trial' thing and I know you want to qualify leads but some of us actually can walk around and see for ourselves first. I just want to create a little file in my brain that says "oh I see it has capability for A,B,C" and then, when I hit real-world examples your product will form part of the consideration set in my brain.  

Why would you not just plug me into your community and transact to purchase that way?

We have learned so much from consumer tech in interaction design and usability but insist on using software sales techniques from 1980's Big Blue. 

It's a great time to be a marketer

In between watching the America's Cup races on YouTube, I've been flicking through some new IBM marketing survey results

I have a little theory that a lot of the time, when people say they want to see ROI on social marketing and media they are actually saying "I don't understand". 

It's created a lot of junk metrics like Klout score so that people can say 'the answer is 46!' and everyone feels in control and not overwhelmed by how vast marketplaces can be. 

Looking at the graphics on pages 16 and 17 of the IBM report (pictured) we can see that data explosion, social media and growth of channel and device choices are the top three concerns. Factors such as ROI and privacy concerns are much further down. I think these results provide a much more accurate snapshot of where marketing teams are at in real organizations and it's good that people are being OK with being overwhelmed because there is a lot of complexity. The best thing to do is admit what you don't know and stay teachable and curious. Good marketing theory still holds and if concepts don't make sense, ask questions and make an effort to figure things out, rather than getting bogged down in pretend metrics and privacy concerns. The 'how do we measure it?' question will be answered a lot more easily when you understand the customer result you are trying to achieve and also by admitting that you aren't going to get everything right the first time when exploring new channel and device choices. 

I'm also going to watch Scott Dorsey's keynote from Connections 2013  (Salesforce ExactTarget) today- they've got a pretty impressive lineup of speakers such as Condoleezza Rice, and Imagine Dragons playing at their party. Big fan of Imagine Dragons -good audience profiling there Salesforce. Listen to Imagine Dragons and read the IBM report and your brain will be smart and entertained all at the same time. It's a great time to be a marketer. 

Will IT and Marketing teams really merge?

Yesterday in Sydney, IBM had a thing called a Connected Customer Forum. It was at The American Club which is a very nice place indeed with views over the water and pictures on the wall of grand star-spangled people of old with funny haircuts and tapestries of eagles. 

tapestry of eagle as seen on wall

It was targeted at enterprise marketing and IT humans and it had some nice case studies and research and jazz versions of Paul Simon classics playing in the background. As a Paul Simon appreciator I found this very pleasing. Then, a person from Forrester stood up and said we should merge IT and marketing in this diagram made of green cough drops. 

diagram of green cough drops

I agree in theory but I don't think it will happen at the speed necessary.  

What I think (hope) will happen is that more user-friendly, reliable, cloud software will force asset-based tech roles to become more operational and that function-let's call them Operations- will keep the wheels spinning for the Marketing people to stay facing outward and talking to customers. 

The Marketing function will have business analysts who determine operational requirements and determine the best way to deliver what the customer needs. The Operations (IT) function makes sure it all goes. 

What's critical to this working is Marketing people taking the lead on new software acquisitions and not letting CRM and campaign management tool setups become four-year IT projects. 

I think it's possible. Look at the giant leaps companies like Cisco and Fairfax Media are taking in bring your own device (BYOD) strategies to keep costs down and stay up-to-date with devices and cloud software. 

If the software keeps driving the change then hopefully the humans will be forced to reorganise and you can go to lots of lovely events with your friendly IT people and eat sausage rolls together. 

marketing and IT people eating sausage rolls together

Won't that be nice. 

Here is a photo I took on my phone

Here is a photo of Harper. I took it on my iPhone. It's not a great photo. I'm not a great photographer. But it serves the purpose of illustrating an idea about something I learned from him. 


(Repeat after me: perm-a-nence). 

Harper pointed out that the younger generations (say under 25's -stay with me) aren't freaked out about products like live photosharing app Snapchat, because they have different views about the permanence of rich media content like photos and videos. 

It's just a photo. It's not a big deal. It's easy to delete, you don't have to pay for photos to get developed and wait a week to pick them up and get disappointed because you left the lens cap on.

The same is true with online video. If you have grown up with Skype and smartphones and YouTube, then posting a vlog becomes more like spitting out an email than shooting Lord of The Rings. 

I have had endless challenges trying to get this across to brands and trying to move marketers from being lean-back project managers to being lean-in content creators.

I know that sounds bossy and I know you're busy and all that but seriously, shuffling briefs between agencies and account managers for live stuff just doesn't work.  

For most organisations trying to meet the content requirements of a social marketing approach, you won't have the budget or people resource or time to have two National Geographic photographers, Peter Jackson and a New York Times editor running around producing for you. 

Yes you can (and should) bring in agencies for planned campaign activity but there are a lot of opportunities to tell great stories about your brand that you can do today with the tools you have. 

It's not about a reduction in quality. It's a different kind of communication and your customers are smart enough to know the difference. They know the difference between a quick phone snap and a slick conference video. You should be producing both. Your content requirement has gone up. Think news and conversations. You need more agility. You need to get creative and be less scared of getting it wrong because that intern sitting next to you sure isn't. 

"Hey,  here's some whales we just saw out the office window, hope you can see on these phone shots- did anyone else see them?"

"We recorded this Google+ hangout with our team at Le Web. Tim has ketchup all down his t-shirt from lunch but we still love him lol."

"Check out Harper at SalesForce CeBIT in Sydney- woo green shoes we like :) view more on the hashtag #CeBITAus"

Just like that. 

Taking the social metaphor to enterprise: Notes from Oracle social keynote

  • More Saas applications than any other company top to bottom run your enterprise in the cloud (infrastructure, platform, application)
  • Strength of Oracle existing customer base (400+) and sales, CRM support
  • Opportunities for growth in Asia Pacific as market matures
  • Choice of deployment between public and private cloud (cf salesforce can't be moved to private cloud behind firewall, can't purchase licence)
  • "Important to give customers choice" Ellison
  • Example of high security, high regulated company UBS bank Switzerland
    -initial deployment in public cloud
    -move off public cloud into private behind firewall, economics and regulatory requirement can change over time 
  • Complete suites of applications for enterprise with data integration across applications built in Java using industry standard interfaces e.g. overstock.com (rightnow, fusion CRM, oracle sales and marketing cloud)
  • "A lot of social enterprise data is systems data-not just posted data" Ellison
  • Structured and unstructured data processing e.g. Twitter firehouse data. 
  • 2012 Olympics Lexus endorsement demo
    -real time advanced queries in memory, not just batch
    -complex analysis required of true big data sets

View online http://www.youtube.com/user/Oracle/oracleopenworldlive 



Four major announcements from Oracle today

1. Three tiers of client offer

-Software as a service (SaaS)

-Platform as a service (PaaS)

-Infrastructure as a service (IaaS)

2. Oracle private cloud

3. Oracle first multi-tenant database in world

4. Exadata X3 performing up to 20x faster, writing in flash


Livestream of Larry Ellison keynote http://www.youtube.com/oracle

Oracle Open World blog http://blogs.oracle.com/oracleopenworld/