Thought for the Day in Earnest

Thought for the dayThought for the day

“To live is not to learn but to apply” said Ernest Legouvé, a French dramatist, and co-author of Adrienne Lecouvreur. A motto I could have made my own and actually did. May Ernest be with you.

Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) Is The New CRM (Youstice)

VRM player Youstice 's Zbynek LoeblThe concept of vendor relationship management isn’t quite new. It’s been around for at least four years as far as I can remember from my earlier work on the subject at the end of 2010. At the outset, I must admit the concept was a little bit lost on me even though I could well imagine that something was brewing in the background. Okay! There CRM systems were somewhat one-way and the vendor – consumer relationship pattern was a little on the top-down side; so what!? One day, a Czech gentleman based in Slovakia gave me a ring and came to my Paris office in order to introduce the concept to me. And it all started to make sense. His angle was a lot more down to earth than what I’d heard on the subject before. Seen through the filter of online dispute resolution (ODR) management, I could well figure out that VRM naturally fits in the overall pattern of this inversion of the traditional relationship with customers, after the past six years of experiments and industrialisation of CRM and customer support on various social platforms (of which I have been an active player in the field). Here is my account of my brief encounter with Zbynēk Loebl, the founder of Youstice (aka “your justice”).

VRM is the new CRM

I think that the introduction of innovations like Youstice may well be a sign that things are moving forward in the right direction… And not only for the end customer I mean, but also for retailers who are concerned that their current level of support isn’t up to scratch and wish to do something about it before their reputation has to suffer from the current state of procrastination and before it’s too late. Here’s a video recording of my brief encounter with the founder of Youstice, Zbynēk Loebl.

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As shown in the above gallery made of screenshots taken from the demo site (which is mimicking an online shop equipped with the youstice plugin), the 3-step process is simple and straightforward (I have taken 12 screen dumps which cover the whole process), even though there may well be a few required adjustments in terms of process, brevity and wording. Anyway, one can easily picture what the solution is bringing in terms of renewal of the vendor-customer relationship.


Here’s the transcript of my interview with Youstice’s founder, Zbynēk Loebl.


What is Youstice?

Youstice is a service for retailers for customer dispute resolution. It is a new service that is globally available, simply because the Internet is no longer English-speaking or American for that matter; it is worldwide. With Youstice we have designed a communications system which enables customers and retailers to communicate very easily and to resolve their issues. And if they cannot their resolve their issues on the spot, customers can then escalate them through third party. These independent third party bodies can act as ombudsmen and help them settle the case on their behalf.

So typically a customer would go to a retailer’s website, would click on a particular button and that would lead to a plug-in which is sitting on the retailer’s website. And then, what happens?

When the customer clicks on that button, he then enters the Youstice environment. This customer will get a very simple form to fill-in, he can do that that by clicking on a couple of pictograms which relate to the issues which happened on the retailer’s website, and then he will then select the kind of resolution that he desires: product refund, price reduction etc. This is then transmitted, and then the retailer gets immediately a notification about that case and he can react. He is also presented with a very easy entry form, which he can fill in easily by clicking on a few pictograms as well and act on the issue. And then the negotiation takes place.

Case resolutions are a two-way process: first, a set of predefined responses which can be filled in by the retailers when they set up the system, and another process whereby cases can be escalated with an ODR. Can you describe what an ODR is all about?

ODR stands for Online Dispute Resolution. These are dispute resolution bodies which are either established institutions like arbitration courts attached to Chambers of commerce which just extended their services to encompass the online environment. Alternatively, they are innovative experts in online dispute resolution who have seized this opportunity fill in a gap in the market.

So your system is a vendor relationship management which can be used by consumers to settle their disputes isn’t it?

Indeed. Most people know CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems. CRM is mainly for retailers as it’s about sorting out data about customers: names, purchases etc. We have designed a system for consumers. This is different. We offer a supplement to standard CRM systems. In favour of consumers who can actually take the matter into their own hands

about Youstice: you have some very important advisors and well-known figureheads in your capital can you describe that?

We have Esther Dyson from the States for instance; she used to be the head of ICANN. And we’ve only just started. We started at the end of June 2014. We are glad to be here in Paris, because Paris is such an exciting market. I like Paris particularly, because it grabs everything new and we hope to be here again soon for further announcements.

6th Webit Congress 2014: a viral marketing campaign worthy of note

Webit CongressThe 6th Webit congress will take place in Istanbul on Oct 1-2, 2014. The congress launched an initiative which I found very interesting from a viral marketing point of view and I wished to tip my hat to them as well as make a bit of publicity for my application. After all, one should never leave such matters to others. The Webit congress organisers have indeed asked potential speakers to apply online and let their networks vote for them. Those with most votes will be invited to speak at the congress. Very shrewd indeed as most of these applicants are influencers who tend to share their applications with their numerous contact lists on the various social media platforms they are working with. There are a few bugs on the mobile version of the application and the service seems to be going in a loop I was told. The various desktop browser versions are more reliable. I found the idea so good that I couldn’t resist the urge to invite my readers to vote for me, if they so wish. Let them be thanked in anticipation for their kind help.

6th Webit Congress in Istanbul – October 1-2, 2014

My presentation title : 10 key success factors for successful digital content strategies

GWC event: Digital Marketing & Innovation Conference

Event stream: Content Strategy and Marketing (Brand Social Strategies Stream and Storytelling)


Descriptif anglais de ma présentation : What has changed in the past 18 years in the area of digital content strategies? Is content marketing becoming mainstream? If so, are enterprises handling it properly and what are the critical success factors for good implementations of digital content strategies in the field? Yann Gourvennec has devised online content marketing strategies since the mid 1990s. He will use his field experience and the work he is now carrying for his clients to shed light on that question and to provide straightforward, easy to implement tips and tricks for businesses wanting to succeed online even when their budgets are very tight.

Personal bio: Yann Gourvennec has a long-standing experience in marketing, information systems and Web marketing. He created in 1996 and since then, he has practiced Web strategy, e-business and Web communications in the field. He has been a member of from 2008 till 2013 and he co-founded Media Aces, the French Association for enterprises and social media. He is a lecturer, a keynote speaker, an author and blogger. His upcoming book Mastering Digital Marketing Like A Boss will be published soon. In early 2014, he went from intrapreneur to entrepreneur when he founded his digital marketing agency Visionary Marketing, in partnership with Effiliation.

via Support Yann to become speaker of the 6th Global Webit Congress 2014 | @WebitCongress #webiit

Global Social Media Event (Live at 4:00 pm CET) #SMDay

On June 24, visionary marketing will take part in a social media day hangout with Mashable and my community manager (US). The subject will be that of the global Web. There is a great deal to say about the social Web being global. Think about it: in Twitter, you are not allowed, 8 years after it’s inception, to have a multilingual account in which you can publish content in different languages and share that content based on location or language preferences! Whereas Facebook has made strides in that direction, many sociali media platforms (even blogs to an extent) are lagging behind. 

Global Social Media or Globalised Social Media

That is the question …

Global Social Media

The fact of the matter is that Europe is a very strange animal. With at least 15 official languages in the European Union, managing Social over here is a bit of a nightmare unless you are safe behind your borders and never address a foreign market or assume cultural discrepancies in Europe are a prewar memory. I’m not saying that this is good or bad, mind you, this is just a fact. Mind you, looking at platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn, you’d really think these guys believe the whole speaks English. In the case of LinkedIn, the CTO who built the platform was a Frenchman from Marseilles living in San Francisco. I still wonder, to this day, why it took him 3 to 4 years to localise the tool, and even so … it’s still impossible for bilingual profiles to be created… And Twitter won’t have it either: it’s either French, German or English, but bi or trilingual users can well go see somewhere else.

The result is clear: All German-speaking users use Xing, most French professional, until recently, used Viadeo, and Russia is using Vkontakte. I think a lot could be done to alter this self-centred view of social media and improve on the process.

Tune in to this live broadcast of the event on Youtube at 4:00 pm CET

June 30 marks the fifth annual Social Media Day, and in preparation for that, Mashable and Hootsuite are leading a global discussion about the digital revolution and growth of social media. Joining the Hangout on Air are users of global social networks including WeChat, Sina Weibo, VK, XING, and Viadeo. Share your questions in the comments or tweet using #SMDay.

The speakers were Crystal from Singapore, Vitaly from Russia, Markus from Germany, Israel from Brasil and Yann Gourvennec from France

Reinventing Marketing at Adobe Summit 2014

My first presentation at Adobe summit 2014 in London today was the morning keynote and it’s so packed with information that I still wonder, while I’m writing these lines, how I can summarise so much information. Here is my account of this morning’s keynote in which Adobe delivered gazillion innovations impacting both the field of marketing and digital. 

Adobe: reinventing marketing

Marketing, let’s be clear, needs a hard reset. We work in silos, pedalling heads down trying to get to grips with new tools as they emerge, and each tool that comes in is being added one after the other in an increasingly hard to digest multichannel sandwich. It’s time to reinvent marketing. And believe it or not, Adobe, the Brand famous for bringing software like Photoshop and Dreamweaver, might well be a major player in this entire marketing rethink. I know it sounds zanyish but it’s happening; if the Adobe Marketing Cloud BU has already reached the $ 1Bn mark, something big must be happening.

Brad Rencher in this morning’s keynote, announced just that; but unlike most corporate marketing presentations, Rencher and his teams showed us, in real time, on the screen, how they deliver on their promises. “We hear about changing consumer behaviour all the time but what we are seeing now is that these changes are having an impact on organisations” Brad Rencher said by way of introduction. “We’ve seen this coming for decades as marketeers and now, we have the opportunity for marketers is to reinvent ourselves and create new things. This is something much broader than just marketing”, Brad said, “it’s about reinventing the enterprise”.

reinventing marketing
Adobe’s Rencher, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Digital Marketing Business Unit at Adobe Systems ready for a hard reset of marketing
Adobe’s CEO Shantanu Narayen stepped in and delivered his vision. “Technology isn’t enough. Enterprises will have to break the silos and listen to customer expectations”. This is in fact what Adobe did for themselves. By moving all their business into the cloud : the creative cloud.  Their whole business model has changed. They were able to embrace this humongous change even though their existing business model made up 70% of their revenue. Tell us about people entitled to talk about digital transformation to others. “This means  reinventing everything and break through the clutter of the buzzwords and deliver outstanding customer experience” Narayen said.
How will we unlearn marketing
Reinventing oneself is the challenge but “unlearning is a huge hurdle” Brad Rencher said. Like driving in London when you learnt in the States for instance. So how we in the industry unlearn marketing?
“Imagine there are no bosses, no hierarchy, no processes … What would marketing look like if we started with blank sheet. Then we’d focus on doing just one things, that is serve our customers” he said. Like jumping on new channels as they emerge and adding channels on top of channels means that we are working the wrong way. We need to be backwards compatible but this is a huge problem because we’d have to ditch everything we do at the moment.
Adobe marketing cloud is aimed at doing that
Marketing cloud handles the whole process from cradle to grave: analytics, campaign, experience management, media optimiser, social and target. By feeding existing analytics data into the media optimiser adobe is able to make clients save 50% on their SEM for instance. The platform is huge and supports zillions of transactions every year and Adobe comets on pursuing their effort of innovation to support marketeers with their challenges due to fragmentation. In the new version of the marketing cloud platform there a re new tools aimed at solving such issues.
Brad took two examples: profiles and content. The profile management service will enable users to use profiles through all existing channels to run their marketing campaigns without having to manage different profiles. As to content, adobe has worked on a system to help users move faster by creating an assets library to speed up the sharing of content assets across platforms and users. Marketing mix planning gives hints as to where marketeers should spend their dollars. And once the recommendation has been issued, marketeers can also use the platform to execute that campaign.
And of course the platform is linked to the company’s CRM, and ERP and all necessary back end systems.
Marketing reimagined

This is “marketing reimagined” Brad said and he and his teams went on demonstrating how they deliver this directly from the screen. The demo which impressed me most was that of the mobile app development system which gives you hints as to the amount of savings which can be derived from that. Here is how it works :

  • Understand our client as a whole person : never lose sight of customer. Not the media plan view or the CRM viiew of the customer but all bungee.ed together, the real view of the customer. This is what analysts call emergence. This is not just a data store, it’s about taking that data and turning it into useful information. Master marketing profile takes information for of all sources about your customer and sharing it with other employees, it’s some sort of superior webs analytics inclusive of information from social media. Profiles can be grouped into what Adobe calls Audiences. All profiles are shared in an anonymous manner and Adobe insisted on maintaining the highest standard of data privacy but the profile core service is also able to merge. Social media and buying media from an indentified existing client for instance; this enables Adobe to bridge the gap between behaviour (through analytics), assets managements (like items of a marketing campaign which can be generated directly from within the marketing cloud platform) and even the campaign management therefore delivering on the promise of a non fragmented marketing environment sketched out by Brad Rencher earlier.

reinventing marketing
A holistic view of Marketing … at last, all unified through Software. Some found it funny that we had to have Software to do that, but in fact, ERPs did this to HR & Finance and many other areas 15 years ago… I’m not surprised
  • Burst of creativity : we’ve had our moments with “cute display ads” Brad said but one has to move beyond this Brad said. We have the data now we must deliver the right experience with the help of the data that we have. Adobe experience manager is about that. Assets can all be inter connected and deliver for desktop and the mobile web. Brad has focused on mobiles in his presentation. Consumers want apps but creating deploying and evolving these apps has never been more challenging. But are we thinking broadly enough? We need to make apps easier to develop. Adobe has development is making it possible to create and maintain mobile apps with drag and drop applications and that included e-commerce applications too. A lot of what we see in the mobile application space is similar to how websites were built 20 years ago. One of the biggest challenge is, despite what people think, bringing the app to a phone. “We want to to make this an accelerated experience” the Adobe rep said on stage. It’s done on IOS only and IOS 7 only though, but the landscape is very fragmented and poses a real issue to marketers. It also enables marketeers to test the look and feel of the new app without talking to IT nor contacting the many agencies involved in the development.
Time will tell us how marketing has been reinvented. Software can certainly trigger behavioural changes, but it will also require a fair bit of change from the people point of view, a challenge which Adobe is ready to tackle as well, knowing that they are very active in various in-job training programmes to help marketeers evolve. They sure have a long way to go.
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 Shantanu Narayen … reinventing marketing