Tag Archives: CRM

Monetising customer data

This is the last post in the monetisation series. We’ve explored ten ways to monetise large digital audiences, from simple advertising to selling products. This post discusses ways of making money from data.

Data monetisation is one of the newest of all the models we’ve discussed in the series. And it’s probably the most misunderstood. When Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion, it proved how valuable user data has become.

But customer data isn’t that new. The market for sales-leads data has been around for ages. The difference now is how that data is collected and ‘mined’. Data used to be scraped from public sources such as Companies House and Yellow Pages. Now companies are setup with the sole purpose of collecting information from users.

Continue reading Monetising customer data

SAP & Salesforce shopping trips this week

What a week it’s been for some Digital Media businesses with two significant purchases:

SAP & Hybris ($1-$1.5bn)

SAP has bought Hybris for around $1b-$1.5bn. SAP provide enterprise application software – from HR to Finance to stock and supply chain management to CRM to Business Intelligence. They have almost all have over a quarter of a million customers, mostly SMEs, although they are best known for their huge implementations. SAP had revenues of $3.6bn in Q1 2013, with profit after tax of $520m.

Hybris is one of the most widely used industrial-strength e-commerce platforms. Hybris generated around $110 million in revenue in 2012 and has about 400 customers worldwide including Levis, Samsung, P&G, GE, Nikon, Ericsson, Oakley and Nespresso.

Salesforce & ExactTarget ($2.5bn)

ExactTarget share price w/c 3rd June 2013
Wish you bought ExactTarget shares earlier this week?

Salesforce has bought Exact Target for around $2.5billion. Salesforce.com is one of the biggest enterprise SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings, specialising in the full sales and CRM lifecycle. Total Q1 2013 revenue was $893 million with a net loss of $67m.

Exact Target are one of the best outbound delivery systems out there. ExactTarget’s latest earnings guidance was $376-$379m for the year. In Q1 2013 they had revenues of $88.9m and a net loss of $11.6m. Disclaimer: Endava are an ExactTarget partner.

Are accountants being replaced by IT professionals?


Fifteen years ago the professionals who worked across an entire organisation were the accountants. My best man trained as an accountant, and I thought his university course was excellent – it taught all aspects of business, so that he would understand each function of an organisation from manufacturing to HR to marketing to IT to sales.

In the last five years, it’s now the IT professionals who work across the organisation. IT are invited into all aspects of the organisation. A new manufacturing plant needs to be kitted out with technology. The HR department want a new HR system. Sales need a new CRM system. A new marketing campaign will probably involve a website, and even if IT doesn’t produce the website, IT will still have a decision role in the choice of Content Management System or agency. IT will probably have a role in recommending specific social media.

IT have become very good at understanding the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of doing something within an organisation.

Producing a Facebook Page doesn’t cost anything. Someone in IT is going to ask who will look after it, who will answer the comments, who will keep the content fresh, what will the complaints process be. Suddenly the Facebook Page isn’t free, it requires a couple of people to spend a couple of hours a day on Facebook.

This is because IT has become more mature in project management and understanding that Total Cost of Ownership. Ten years ago, IT got burnt buying software and then realising training cost more. And more powerful servers were required. And maintenance cost a lot more. So IT departments realised that to do something required calculating the Total Cost of Ownership.

Universities need to catch up quickly – they need to train IT professionals about the rest of the organisation and to learn to speak their language. Accountants have historically been good at this communication, and IT have been awful. IT love buzzwords and jargon. The rest of the organisation dislikes it. IT love to deep dive into detail. The rest of the organisation is bored by it.

I’d like to thank Ilan for inspiring this post a few weeks ago, and for a gentleman at Internet World yesterday for reviving the thoughts.

Why Facebook Connect won’t be the universal ID platform


I’ve read a few blogs and even a full front page FT article recently that the power of Facebook is that it’s joining up the web as a single ID platform via Facebook Connect.

The theory is that you won’t need to register with hundreds of websites to leave comments, read articles, etc. – just login using Facebook Connect instead.

There are two reasons I don’t think this will work:

  1. The smart (and big) brands will continue to want to own their own data. Most brands want a direct relationship with their consumers (see prediction #10), and for decades have had to let their retailers/ resdellers have that relationship. I don’t see those same brands rolling over and letting the social networks and App stores having a relationship instead.
  2. I don’t necessarily want my professional colleagues to see my personal information (including photos) and updates, or asking me to be their friend via Facebook. We use Facebook Connect on some of our sites, and the first few people who become a ‘Fan’ of a new Facebook Page are then displayed in Facebook widgets on our sites. Those first few fans are inevitably the employees of the brand or our partner agencies.
    Another way of saying this, is that the distinction between personal and work becomes too blurred. And don’t get me started about me being able to administer my own Facebook groups of friends. 
    This might change in the long term. There is a shift for younger employees to use personal electronic devices (especially phones) to connect to work email. Less employees want two computers at home, so they’ll do all their personal tasks on their work laptop. The distinction between work and personal devices will keep blending in the medium to long term.

One alternative is for LinkedIn to become a professional ID and Facebook to be the personal ID. I post professional updates to my LinkedIn profile, and personal ones in Facebook because I have two sets of ‘contacts’ on both platforms, with a small overlap between the two.

Another alternative is for the ID to be Skype. The beauty of Skype at the moment is that it’s portable (across all my devices and computers), secure (users can only login once, and it’s voice encryption is superb) and because it doesn’t store any personal information (especially stag party photos) it’s ideal.

Data security: unsexy now yet soon vital


To most people the phrase ‘Data security’ is boring and irrelevant to them.

Expect over the next few years to see this being pushed higher up the marketing agendas of web sites that users register their details with.

You can already buy login details to 50,000 iTunes accounts to buy music, videos or book on these users’ accounts:


For merely 200 yuan ($30) a pop, an Internet user in China can purchase up to $200 worth of digital products at Apple Inc’s vast music, movie and applications vault.

Far from being a benevolent offer by the fruit-favoring giant, this offer is the result of the theft of iTunes user account details stollen by hackers who then auctioned them online.

The Global Times discovered Wednesday that about 50,000 illegal accounts are being sold at taobao.com, China’s largest online store, at prices ranging from 1 yuan to 200 yuan.

Source: http://china.globaltimes.cn/society/2011-01/609351.html


I predict that within the next 2 years similar lists will be available for the major social networking sites as well. These credentials don’t enable users to do a great deal at the moment, however as soon as a currency is available within the networks, these account details will become highly valuable.

The social networks need to start planning security measures quickly. Security teams need to review processes and procedures quickly.

As users, if the website ‘loses’ login data, there’s nothing that can be done. If users set long, complicated passwords it won’t work. Regularly changing a password will only help if you change your password quicker than a list has been resold.

As a developer it’s one thing being agile in a garage environment, it’s another thing when you are responsible for millions of user accounts. 

Photo courtesy of keummi

Review of my 2010 predictions


Back in January I made 10 predictions for Digital Media for 2010. Being open and transparent, how did these predictions fair over the year?

  1. Reinvestment in Digital Media.
    2010 was a great year for agencies. We have implemented a number of very large websites, both brand new brands and existing ones. In terms of reinvestment, clients are now looking into cloud computing and full disaster recovery.
    Prediction rating: 10/10
  2. Lack of new products due to R&D being slashed in 2009.
    Looking back at new applications and products – what was released that made a big impact? The iPad (at the beginning of the year before being launched it was referred to as the iSlate). I predicted that the end of the year would see some launches, and Kinect was released in November. Before you start commenting that 2010 was the year of 3D TV, they were in fact launched in 2009.
    Prediction rating: 10/10 

  3. A number of live events on YouTube.
    Well, in September they launched live streaming. However I doubt most people really noticed. I’ll knock some points off because I said “live is where the value is”.
    Prediction rating: 8/10

  4. More Flex applications, less Silverlight.
    Hmmm – more site are using Flex (BBC iPlayer download for example). HTML 5 changed the landscape significantly, and due to the ongoing spat between Apple and Adobe, agencies are nervous about any single vendor, and will move to the latest version of HTML instead.
    Prediction rating: 3/10 

  5. SecondLife to further decline.

    Second-what? The LindenX has just flattened out for the last couple of years – which means no more money is coming into the platform.
    Prediction rating: 9/10

  6. The UK to start accepting blogging at the same status as the US.
    Absolutely. UK news programmes now interview blogging experts for their views and opinions. Blogs are quoted in the press (errr, but so is Twitter, so maybe it’s just reporters’ laziness).
    Prediction rating: 10/10

  7. Offline browsers make a comeback.
    Perhaps 12 months ahead of it’s time, this prediction didn’t materialise. Before you think there is a gap in the market, we have been approached by a number of vendors in this space.
    Prediction rating: 2/10

  8. The FIFA World Cup sees huge use of video over mobile & broadband.
    It’s easy to forget the World Cup this year. If you were streaming it though, your view of the summer was probably very different to England supporters. Internet traffic reached a record peak (of almost 1Tb/sec) due to video over mobile and broadband. 
    Prediction rating: 10/10

  9. Expect ebooks to take off.
    Ebooks have exceeded all expectations for booksellers, so I was correct there. However magazines, sports programmes and other paper publications have been slow to move to ebooks, mainly because Amazon and other ebook retailers want such a high slice of the revenue. So if you’re a football club that sells a programme for £3 or £4, you really don’t want a new middleman taking 20-30% of your revenue to sell the book electronically.
    Prediction rating: 5/10

  10. 2010… the year of Web CRM
    There is still a major opportunity for a cloud based platform with efficient pricing. I do not understand why there isn’t a white label SSO platform out there. Let me know if you can recommend one.
    Prediction rating: 0/10

Pretty good going overall. Any more accurate and I’d be an octopus.

I’ll post an article on 2011 predictions next week.

Photo courtesy of Shine 2010 – 2010 World Cup good news.

Ten Digital Media Predictions for 2010

Here are my predictions for the coming year. In 12 months time, let’s review what actually happened!

1. Reinvestment in Digital Media.

Based on a lack of investment in 2009, I think a lot of companies will see a website revamp, or a new product version appearing in 2010. This will be especially true of companies who chose to ‘cut corners’ in 2009, for example deciding to build their own proprietary CMS. This coming year, they’ll choose to re-engineer the same site using an off-the-shelf, or even open source CMS.

2. Lack of new products due to R&D being slashed in 2009.

I’m not sure we’ll see so many new Spotifys (Spotifies?) appearing in 2010, because of a lack of investment/R&D budget last year. Maybe we’ll see new stuff appear at the end of the year though. The exceptions will be anything from Apple, with the imminent launch of their iSlate.

3. A number of live events on YouTube.

Yup, live is where the value is. And Google know this. So expect some new live events appearing on the platform in 2010.

4. More Flex applications, less Silverlight.

Flex will succeed because the creative agencies like Adobe and not Microsoft. This might change in the longer term, but for 2010, expect to see some sites migrate into very funky (I can’t use the adjective flash here!) Flex applications.

5. SecondLife to further decline.

Yup, not many people are writing about SecondLife these days. My own personal view is that in the long term, the web will be accessible through a graphical interface probably not far off SecondLife, but for the next 5-10 years, the standard browser is very much here to stay. The LindeX (the market to sell real world cash for made up cash – quite remarkable really) is in a steady decline, and the data has been moved from publicly available to a free signup. Here’s the graph as of today. Next yearm expect the graph to be totally unavailable, or in steep decline. A shame, but some technologies are just too ahead of their time.

6. The UK to start accepting blogging at the same status as the US.

In the US, bloggers have almost the same status as journalists. That’s a bit of a sweeping statement, and my apologies to journalists who have had a turbulent couple of years, and an even bleaker future for a trade that’s totally unfairly undervalued. Anyway, in the US, bloggers are often quoted by journalists and news organisations, whereas in the UK they are dismissed by the news organisations. Of course there are some exceptions such as The Guardian, but in the main, most people think that bloggers are nerds/IT geeks. This is a view which Twitter & the term ‘microblogging’ has helped to change slowly, but by 2011, I expect to see some famous UK bloggers be quoted by the press.

7. Offline browsers make a comeback.

My view of the Internet is that the same applications are constantly being re-invented. Facebook is like a modern version of Compuserve (a nice clean, walled environment); Skype is ICQ on steroids; Spotify is Real Networks (OK, just sort of!); Twitpic is like a billion free image sharing sites; today I even stumbled across a ‘directory’ of Twitter users – and directories kind of died off a few years ago! I remember installing offlines browsers on my Palm V in the mid 1990s, which effectively downloaded snapshots of a website on to my Palm, for me to read on the way home. I had a similar application on a few early mobile phones. Expect similar applications on iPhones, Kindles and iSlates to start appearing, so that users of the Tube and other areas can read articles on the move, outside of an RSS reader.

8. The FIFA World Cup sees huge use of video over mobile & broadband.

Put it another way, if it doesn’t, expect to see broadcasters and mobile operators to pull out of mobile video for the foreseeable future. Expect some amazing stats for broadband use from Sky, ESPN & FIFA. In 2005 we were discussing a 10 deal for bandwidth that went into Petabytes, and everyone thought we were mad. Expect to see that word banded around a lot during the World Cup.

9. Expect ebooks to take off.

This has the potential for a huge market. I estimate football club programmes, concert programmes, manuals, etc. all to be available in ebook formats, either free or very low cost by the end of the year. It will be a mini-reinvention of MP3s…

10. 2010… the year of Web CRM

I have no idea why it’s taken so long for a vendor to come up with a Web based CRM system. Facebook Connect, Windows Live signin & Google Orkut are the main contenders, but does a major website really want to release their list of customers to be shared with Facebook, Microsoft or Google? No. There are CRM vendors who charge a ‘per user’ model – which is useless for a free sign up model. A number of the newsletter systems are extending into this area – with Traction probably being the most attractive. But if you want a standalone web authentication and single customer view with Single Sign On (SSO), who are the sub $50k vendors? Exactly. So expect to see new players start appearing here.