Strategic Use Of Sponsorships Earns Nike The Marketer’s Golden Boot

Turns out Nike was not an official World Cup sponsor — could have fooled us. Nike dominated viewer attention just as the US women dominated the field. According to social listening platform Talkwalker, Nike owned >48% of sponsor social mentions during the tournament. The cleverness of Nike’s strategy was not in such earned media but in translating that attention into current and future business results. Marketers are notoriously poor at measuring the value of sponsorships. According to an ANA and MASB study, only 37% of marketers with large sponsorships standardize measurement to know their return. Our recent research on the value of earned media plays this out. Marketers can’t agree on what earned media like sponsorships is or how to measure it. They use dubious math and vanity metrics instead of brand and revenue impact. Unpack Nike’s sponsorship score: The Nike brand is about winning, not soccer, so it was more important to own the winning team than to own FIFA. By sponsoring 14 of 34 teams in the Women’s World Cup, Nike ended up with three of the final four. Nike then used the big win to launch a victory spot heavy on share-sparking creative unabashedly aimed straight at Nike’s growth segment: women. Immediate revenue impact? The US women’s jersey became Nike.com’s top seller ever, for both men and women. Nike’s win used sponsorships strategically as part of a larger omnichannel campaign for brand growth and sales. In contrast, Adidas was a FIFA sponsor — which makes sense, given its soccer legacy — but in the end, did you even notice?

Big Data, Shooting Star

Unlike cloud and mobile, which appear to be long-running trends, in 2019 we have seen big data literally drop off the radar. For example, the search term fell from the top 20 on Forrester.com in 2017 to No. 34 in 2018 and then didn’t make our top search term list in 2019. Similarly, almost every category of big data technology declined an average of 8% between 2017 and 2019, in terms of executives saying the technology was part of their plans for the next 12 months. Finally, in recent news, Cloudera stock went from tech darling to startup disaster in a few months. Furthermore, MapR has run out of money and failed to find an investor, putting it on the verge of closing its doors. So what happened? First, we think big data technologies are here to stay, but the forces we alluded to in our 2016 blog post, “The Cloudy Future Of Hadoop,” have played out at lightning-speed. The speed at which new technologies such as cloud platforms, Kubernetes, and AI chips have taken on some of the big data work has stunned startup CEOs who thought they had more time to burn cash and get to big profit. Instead, big data has gone from being a halcyon growth market in 2017 to all but forgotten 18 months later, leaving many reeling similar to Cloudera and MapR. We think this means the technology will disappear further into the cloud, AI, and data center automation stack. Instead of buying big data technology, you will get big data tech through distribution partners, service providers, and cloud vendors. So long, big data — it was a fun ride and a revolutionary idea that lived and died at digital speed.

Grow Your Staff’s Skills, Like Jeff Bezos Is Doing To Drive Your Digital Transformation

Amazon last week announced an investment of $700 million to drive one of the world’s largest employee retraining programs, available to one-third of its US workforce (100,000 workers) to help them move, by 2025, into more advanced jobs and drive customer experience gains. This training investment, which will be voluntary and mostly free to employees, will empower them for future technical and nontechnical roles. The programs will span customer engagement practices, becoming a software engineer, embracing machine learning (rather than seeing a digital job replacement), and building practical Amazon Web Services cloud knowledge. While customers are less likely to come face to face with an Amazon worker, Bezos is looking to improve the experience of shopping online with a staff that is more technically savvy — something Forrester sees as mandatory for the future of work. This initiative is also prioritized to address criticisms Amazon had received from labor groups and politicians about its substandard work conditions. CIOs should push their CEO and HR to drive similar programs, which will raise their view of IT as the digital transformation engine.

Navigate Global Volatility As An Adaptive Enterprise

One limiting thought dominates my ongoing conversations with IT and business leaders about being an adaptive enterprise — expressed by Professor Gary Hamel of the London and Harvard business schools as ” . . . the capacity to reconfigure [the firm’s] underlying business concept . . . “ The limiting factor: their preoccupation that only consumer-facing firms need to pursue adaptiveness. To reset that misconception, consider the massive changes to globalization, which, since the global downturn of 2008, has been at best stalled and in many cases contracting. According to The Economist, long-term cross-border investment by all firms, known as foreign direct investment, was 3.5% of world GDP in 2007 but fell to 1.3% in 2018, and cross-border trade declined from 61% of world GDP in 2008 to 59% today. What to do? Prepare for change — morph into an adaptive enterprise — in B2B, B2C, and B2B2C. Develop insights into future customers, markets, and ecosystems; build out flexible technology platforms, heavily leveraging flexible third-party relationships; and create future-fit employees, where everyone expects change, addressing it with organizational change management as a core competency.