Marketing Chaos or Opportunity?

The author with Lee Hornick

Times are changing, especially when it comes to consumer purchasing behaviors, brand building, price sensitivity, retailing and the art of influencing consumers through “good old fashion” push advertising. All of this is happening while your best most productive and profitable consumers are clearly on the move.

According to a recent Millennial Media 2013 report, mobile access makes up 51 percent (37 percent smartphones, 14 percent tablets) of time consumers spend on retail websites or using retail related consumer beneficial apps. These consumers cloud-hunt for best pricing, savvy comparatives, editorial and social reviews as well as free shipping.

Compared to the year 2010, aggressive mobile cloud engagements have grown an astounding 285 percent. Imagine CEOs, CFOs and CMOs reviewing this critical data. Just what actions, changes, marketing direction and investments will they trigger in direct response to consumer purchasing behaviors? How do they best prepare for successful market penetration in 2014, 2015 and beyond?

The best rallying words to describe immediate restructuring chores have to be “radical, relentless, focused.”

Unlike physical stores, the Internet instantly pushes and pulls consumers from every corner of the earth. No physical boundary, no language barriers, no shortage of speed, customer service or sales determination. Instant gratification for consumers, instant measurement and profitability for merchants.

The high cost of gasoline has been replaced by the low cost of cloud access. Editorial influencers confuse with consumer reviews, blogs and postings. Okay, you already know this. But did you also know by the year 2018 over one third of global online sales will be cashiered through Asia? That today, on average, only 25 percent of Asia’s population purchases online while Europe and the USA combined currently represent 70 percent of e-commerce sales?

This means mammoth growth opportunities for USA based companies. This also means new global cloud-retail competitors will swoop into our marketplace, vacuuming up demand, share, revenues and profit.

Why is this important? Because these facts show that CMOs must be focused on the balance of e-power and e-sales for future consumer online purchasing trends. Of course the USA will continue to lead in e-commerce even in 2018. However, Asia and India’s influence,vast assimilation into our markets will suggest a change in market conditions, a reorganization of distribution as well as a shift in physical retail power and potential growth.

Investments today will deliver sustainable and competitively advantaged returns for tomorrow on a global scale. And as manufacturing costs in Asia rise, our human capital, tax burdens and cost of capital may be disadvantaged by pricing, supply and costs outside-of-country.

Already, a majority of major product brands have robust and fruitful web sites designed and expecting to gain consumer purchases on their own. Imagine if you will if these same brands decided to compete with USA channels directly from Asia based locations… imagine the cost advantage, the disruption: imagine their ability to launch globally, instantly.

Chaos or opportunity? The numbers suggest mammoth opportunity for those companies that quell marketing chaos and restructure for cloud growth. According to Forrester Research Inc’s recent research projections, American cloud shoppers will spend $327 billion in 2016, up 45 percent from $226 billion this year and 62 percent from $202 billion in 2011.

Forrester believes e-cloud-retail will account for 9 percent of total consumer sales, up from 7 percent in both 2012 and 2011 representing a compound annual growth rate of 10.1 percent. Forrester also reported 192 million American consumers will shop online in 2016, an increase of 15 percent from 167 million at the end of 2012. Additionally, 192 million U.S. consumers will shop online in 2016, up 15 percent from 167 million in 2012. But the bigger factor in driving e-commerce growth is that each shopper will spend more on average. U.S. consumers in 2016 will each spend an average of $1,738 online, up 44 percent from $1,207 in 2012.

To order to take advantage of future opportunities in a dynamically changing global retail and cloud marketplace, Gen One Ventures suggests four key and critical marketing areas for immediate restructuring, company investments in technology assets and human capital:

1. CMOs must immediately engage deeply with their IT peers to build a highly secure and ambient SCRM (Social Customer Relationship Management) foundation designed to gather, collect, store and mine consumer data through every step of cycle engagement. Quantitative-qualitative and predictable consumer shopping and traffic behaviors flow at unimaginable speeds with colossal scalability. Harnessing formidable unions with your CMO and CTO’s asset and investment infrastructures is the pioneering map for global cloud opportunity. Big data is certainly overwhelming for the sharpest CMO.

2. Capitalism has found a way to build formidable and lasting relationships between consumers, brands and products through social networking. Opportunity is now well defined as omnichannel presence and consumer relationships built on relevance, preference and on-time delivery from the consumers’ perspective, not the brands potential life perspective. Advanced CMOs hunt and tend beyond segments and demographics providing near-perfect-data push and pull triggers in product offerings, services, content and reviews. Right moment, right location, right on time through advanced digital and social command of company assets.

3. Cross-channel, cross country and cross global technologies and infrastructures are a must have for CMOs guiding and protracting company growth. Adjusting and articulating real-time offers based on consumer wants, needs, preferences and desired locations (geo-demographics, mobile versus in-store, etc) must be embraced, tested, measured and scaled cross department integrated daily (sales, service, marketing, product management, channels, etc.)

4. A CMO’s social media disciplines (SCRM), infrastructure, initiatives and measurements should be easily shared, reviewed, measured and fueled for company cloud and in-store growth initiatives. Social technology investments are critical to build a tectonic growth orientated marketing platform muscled by mature social management, social monitoring, social pulling and social commerce with near instant high speed consumer ROI centric measurements. Consumers can no longer be “pushed around” by traditional styles of advertising. Social infrastructures today and tomorrow must be created and tuned to pull consumers into their brand stage and product offerings.

In order to advantage a newly seeded global cloud, a vast global commerce and community opportunity, it is time for the CEO, CTO and CMO to unite to deliver a highly radical, relentless and focused sales and marketing charter designed to over scale global opportunity today and certainly for many years to come. Chaos or opportunity, the right choice is very marketing clear

Peter Weedfald is President of Gen One Ventures and Author of Green Reign Leadership

Peter Weedfald is President of Gen One Ventures, a sales, marketing and brand-product consulting company. He has served as SVP, Chief Marketing Officer of Circuit City, SVP of Sales and Marketing in North America for Samsung, and SVP of global marketing and EEVP, GM & Chief Marketing Officer for ViewSonic.
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  • rheiblim

    Nicely put Peter, the global opportunities are staggering indeed. Embrace change or be rolled over by it

  • Todd Feldmer

    Really well said and a smart build of market data and observations. Agree, we need radical buy in from the very top to allow us to turn our marketing infrastructure into cloud based initiatives. Your 4 points cover it all! Thank you!

  • David Klein

    I agree with all you state Peter. We need to gather up all relevant departments with our CEO to review the data within and your 4 roadmap points. Really makes me wonder just what physical retail stores will look like and be in 5 to 10 years.

  • Bethany Smith

    I leave my comment after reading your excellent, spot on article Peter, taking us up about 30,000 feet on the core alliances and opportunities we have as chief marketers, as companies in the throws of mammoth change. I also must echo Salvatore’s comment below. Mobile, whether it be on a smart phone on a tablet or a wrist watch is they key energizer of opportunity ahead. Understanding and being able to deliver on the assets of mobile is another story, the story you wrote so smartly Peter. We need to address in great detail with C level executives to help and motivate them to understand investment costs and what they will get for those newly labeled marketing tools. Much work ahead. Thank you Peter and Salvatore for stirring it all up sensibly and smartly.

  • Jason W. Bri99s


    Chaos or Opportunity?

    You hit the key research & marketing question that must be asked and I think it’s this "evaluation" we all must keep handy every single moment. You can not let down your guard. One day, the seeds you planted are growing great opportunity… then consumers change, competitors change and if you thought it was set it and forget it… You could be in chaos within an e-commerce nanosecond. But here’s the great insight, "be the hunter, not the hunted." As with many of insights, the lesson learned is that if you are just reacting to issues, you are already most likely late and "chaos" has walked in. "Opportunity knocks" when you you invited it to the party.

    Love the wake-up calls you deliver so eloquently.


  • Mike Phillips

    It is good to foresee the future and plan hard and fast as you suggest. We are undertaking marketing change so rapidly that we have to hold training sessions with marketing and other departments to explain massive changes to go-to-market selling. As you surely know, advertising effectiveness is waning so rapidly while one-to-one marketing is evolving so quickly. I am sharing your article with our sales, marketing and executive teams.

  • Salvatore Tofano

    Good Morning Peter,

    Thank you for your article on the changing times of marketing as chaos or opportunity. While your four key marketing recommendations for investing and re-engineering companies assets in technology and human capital were spot on, I think the disruption and opportunity of mobile as the centerpiece of retail was only briefly touched and retailers must immediately embrace and invest in smart-phone technology across the marketing funnel to keep up with pace of consumer advancements. We are truly living in a chaotic and disruptive media, marketing and technology epicenter. The fact that the US is at 56% penetration of smart-phone ownership and ranks 15th among all nations presents a unique value and opportunity for brands and retailers. We are at genesis of the shopper-brand-retail-ecommerce revolution with consumers at the nucleus. The smart-phone has become the universal platform and device solution to consumer needs 24/7. The average American spends almost an hour per day with their smart-phone and its myriad of uses and functions. Let me rephrase that smart-phone owners lean forward and interact compared to other devices – TV, radio, magazines which are neither smart nor lean forward but still remain vital as part of the marketing and media funnel and as platforms for consumer entertainment and content. Over 1.2 billion people access the internet through their smart-phones while 91% have easy access to their devices. The smart phone has evolved as the all-purpose solution to life: communicator, photographer, digital video/audio player, business-center, networker, GPS, data scientist, digital library, banker, people finder, social director, shopping list, disc jockey, and search engine of all things related to retail, e-commerce and brand.
    Consumers now possess a handy pocket tool that operates in real time where they analyze and compare pricing, receive coupons, have access to targeted apps that are relevant to their shopping needs, research product quality, engage with other customers, read and contribute to product and service reviews, distinguish product attributes and features, showroom and make purchases across all brands and retail sectors inside brick and mortar locations and on line through ecommerce web and on line channels. According to Deloitte Digital, 60 % of mobile shoppers use their smart-phones while in a store, and another 50% while on route to a store. When I ran sales and marketing for a digital retail technology we measured the metrics of the consumer journey throughout the course of the day from morning coffee to gym to work, school, play, lunch, shopping, socializing, dinner and all commerce activities. The mobile phone was integral part of the journey now figures as a key tool in consumer decision making. It’s no wonder that all the other media and screen platforms are integrating with mobile. While the cliché that content is king is still relevant on some levels. Content may be king, but data and the availability of data 24/7 is queen, technology is prince, scale is princess and the consumer is all powerful with a smart phone in hand.
    As smart phone usage and penetration continues to escalate herein lies the ability of retailers to embrace this technology with further investment in technologies, training, smart marketing and human capital that put the consumer at the center and think of their brands as a service. Retailers in all segments from electronics to CPG need to invest in smart phone marketing technologies across their sales and marketing funnels. According to recent research 61% of consumers have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience. And to your point the further adoption by retailers of emerging mobile technologies needs to be customer-centric , unlike good old fashioned push advertising and one way communication which negatively could alienate and intrude on consumers.
    Consumers use smart phones to save money, save time, receive preferences and offers that are relevant, scan products, search deals and locations, make recommendations, compare pricing and seek value and quality. Retailers need smart phone technology to reach and communicate with savvy customers, enhance loyalty, drive traffic and sales, create a customer centric experience and determine effective KPIs. Brands need smart phones to reach and communicate contextually relevant and appropriate messaging, attract new buyers and renewal customers, and deliver effective ROI. As more and more retailers and direct brands create their own apps, expand e wallet technologies, create geo-fencing and location based services that enhance customer experiences, the mobile commerce marketplace which stands at an meager $1 Billion will continue to escalate as long as the customer is front and center. Customer is king.

  • Mike Jones

    Big data + SCRM + mobile/cloud initiatives + relevant investments = long term opportunity. Well said and exampled Peter!

  • Peter Weedfald


    Excellent points within the mobile side of this chaos/opportunity equation. You are so right, the power of mobile access for both consumers and retailers is both amazing and portends the future of buying and selling through the cloud. Your points are spot on and should be reconciled and adhered to by all companies Sal… Thank you so much for your smart sharing and mobile reveal…

  • Peter Weedfald

    Thank you Mike… I very much appreciate your economy of language in formula. Seems we should all begin with a first slide stating your simple yet mammoth impact in formula. I know you know this matter best… miss our time together. I still remember your heartfelt eyes as we worked together to help the children… Thank you always Mike…

  • Peter Weedfald

    Bethany… I know you made Sal’s and my day with your positive and very smart thoughts. And yes, seems I am becoming the Master of the Obvious and perhaps you are very right Bethany, our biggest challenge and opportunity is to docent executive management on the ken and power of SCRM and all the big and small tools that deliver competitive advantage… amazing how many companies are lacking… starting to believe it is because of those on the top not knowing what we in the middle know, understand and cherish towards building profitable and sustainable growth…