Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chain Reaction

Ford announced last week it was planning to close one of its main European factories by the end of 2014.  Consequently, the move will result in the loss of 4,500 direct jobs and an estimated 5,000 related subcontractor jobs.  Did Ford take into account the chain reaction that will follow?

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Ford Motor Company’s Genk plant located in the eastern part of Belgium produces the midsize Mondeo, the S-MAX minivan and the Galaxy car.  A comparison of their sales in September of 2012 versus 2011 reveals a 14.9 percent drop in sales.  European car sales according to Acea (the European carmaker’s association), dropped 10.8 percent during this same period, primarily attributed to the European debt crisis.  For the record, the announcement came one month after Ford’s management gave reassurances about continuing production at the Genk plant which represents about one-third of the automotive production in Belgium.

Let’s examine the chain reaction that will follow.  I will stick with my area of expertise, food-away-from home.  Think about the reduced sales of breakfast and/or lunch sales or better yet catering sales due to the reduced labor force at Genk.  Specifically for Delicatesse Catering, an established caterer located in Genk since 2001.  After the layoffs, they will most probably sell fewer sandwiches; less sandwiches means a reduction in supply chain sales for their bread, protein, cheese and packaging suppliers.  Less supply chain sales will result in layoffs – bakers, route drivers, etc.  I do not know if Delicatesse Catering has the vending contract for the Genk plant, but think about the chain reaction associated with lost vending sales.   Etc., etc., etc.
Are chain reactions a harbinger of our new global economy?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Big Data Jobs

Recently I read an interesting HBR post: Your C-Suite Needs a Chief Data Officer.  My spin?  Big Data jobs will be the new “black” in job creation.

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Outsourcing manufacturing jobs is a hot election topic.  Apple has been receiving some heat for their production of iPhone’s in China.  Specifically the number of assembly jobs for low skilled laborers at lower wages which we cannot match here in America.  Candidly, that is the new reality of our global economy.  Manufacturing jobs will continue to evaporate in America.

Enter Big Data, currently another hot topic.  The HBR blog I referenced earlier addresses how companies now are beginning to restructure their organizations to enhance their Big Data capabilities.  One department will be responsible for collecting, storing and extracting data; a new department will be responsible for creating data solutions.  The post suggested that this new area will be led by a Chief Data Officer who will be responsible for leading information driven decision making on behalf of all business units.  The CDO’s people will facilitate the process of turning the collection of data into actionable insight.

Marketing is my area of expertise, so now I would like to share my thoughts how laborers in China who produce x amount of iPhones in one shift will potentially create new, educated skilled jobs here in America.  To demonstrate my point I will use a hypothetical snack company called Zesty which is about to launch their new Latin Citrus Chili Chips targeting convenience stores.  Detailed below is a list of new educated skilled jobs associated with the launch of Zesty’s new chips.

·   There will be a need to analyze all of Zesty’s consumer snack data by market, specifically mobile, social and location data, better known as SoLoMo data.  Most probably several trained Regional sales/marketing analysts will be hired.

·       Once marketing reviews the data and gleans key learning, a smart marketing solution might be to place a banner ad on the leading music sharing site Pandora that people already have downloaded on their iPhones.  Marketing most probably will then work with an agency which in turn will need the services of one or two technical/creative people (internal or external) to develop the mobile banner ad complete with a “call to action.” 

·     Consumers pumping gas outside of C-stores will be alerted about Coca Cola specials thanks to their NFC (Near Field Communications) enabled iPhones.  When they enter stores to pay for their Coca Cola, store clerks, thanks to new POS systems complete with software solutions will suggest buying a snack based on soda and salty snacks data.  Therefore, skilled sales people will be needed to sell-in these new POS systems (according to Nielsen there are over 148 thousand C-stores).   Trained technicians will be needed to install and service the new systems.  Someone will be needed to train the trained technicians.  Trainers will be needed to train the C-store clerks.  Someone will have to train the clerk trainers.  Hopefully consumers will close the loop and purchase Zesty’s product due to their banner ad on Pandora.  Better yet, consumers will pay for their Coca Cola and Zesty purchase via their mobile wallet in their iPhones.  Mobile payments will create a flow of jobs.  Big Data job creation marches on.

So think about it, laborers in China assembling x iPhones per shift will potentially create numerous educated skilled Big Data jobs here in the States.  Manufacturing has morphed.  Big Data is the future, the new “black” in job creation!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Third Gretzky

Time to present SMARTKETING’s annual Gretzky award.  The first one went to NestlĂ© for their future Global R&D investments.  Last year, Russian technology guru Yuri Milner was the recipient.  This year the award goes to the Wang Jianlin.  Who?

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Mr. Wang is considered one of China’s most successful real estate tycoons.  His empire, estimated at $17 billion includes huge commercial property developments, hotels and resorts, a large theme park, a film/television production company and the largest cinema network in Asia.  Mr. Wang is just getting started. 

Back in late spring, his company, the Dalian Wanda Group agreed to acquire AMC, the second largest North American movie theater company.  The acquisition deal was valued at $600 million plus included the absorption of $2 billion in debt.  Pending U.S. regulatory approval, Mr. Wang’s company will become the world’s largest theater group.  Ironic that a Chinese company will have a strong influence in the U.S. film business given Hollywood has been eyeing China as a new film market thanks to sluggish domestic box office receipts.  China is the world’s second largest market with more than $2 billion in ticket sales. 

Mr. Wang firmly believes in setting aggressive goals and executing strategy.  The company experienced 30 percent growth this past year and projects their overall revenue by 2015 will be $30 billion. The Wanda Group’s long-term entertainment goal is to own 20 percent of the world theater market by 2020. 

Congratulations Mr. Wang, you are definitely skating to where the puck is going to be.  You might want to consider buying a NHL hockey team as a side venture in the process.

Friday, October 12, 2012

MTP (Multiple Touch Points)

Outbound marketers seek out their target audience.  Inbound marketers engage their community.  Hybrid marketers value both approaches and realize they have to pinpoint their brand’s MTP (Multiple Touch Points) – reaching their target audience while engaging with their community.

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Excuse me, but once again I am promoting the benefits of hybrid marketing.  Moving forward, companies that implement hybrid marketing will understand the importance of pinpointing their brand’s MTP (Multiple Touch Points).  One company that already is familiar with the importance of MTP is Heineken USA.  They clearly have established their digital footprint – over 8.4 million likes on Facebook, approximately 55.8 thousand followers on Twitter.  In addition, they utilize memorable traditional advertising.  Remember their classic Super Bowl ad where the female party host shows her girlfriends her huge walk-in closet.  Suddenly they all start shrieking only to be drowned out by the male party host showing his friends his new walk-in Heineken cooler.  I would be curious to know how many touch points they actually pinpointed with their TV campaign.

Heineken also continues to effectively utilize print advertising.  Case in point was their recent two page spread in Wired magazine.  The tech-savvy magazine’s readership primarily constitutes the same target audience Heineken is engaging via social media.  Just in case their consumers have not had time to engage online or watch television, due to Heineken’s clever touch point, consumers can now learn how to speak Heineken in multiple languages.  Yes, in addition to Heineken’s standard slogan: “Imported Which Is Rare For An Import,” their print ad provides a map of the world for beer consumers who do not have access to a translation app and provides handy phrases for ordering a Heineken on the road.  For those of you reading this post who plan to be in Rome in the near future: Vorrei una Heineken.

Are you pinpointing your brand’s MTP (Multiple Touch Points)?