When a company the size of Google makes a massive change in their structure and the way that they do business, it’s big news. Today, Google announced the formation of Alphabet, a holding company that will stable the portfolio of companies formerly known as “Google” – giving the organisation potentially a new lease on life and a new direction – or series of directions.
Constellation Research’s R ‘Ray’ Wang provides a laser sharp analysis of what the announcement means in the following video.
Given that so many organisations grow to a size which prohibits innovation, this restructuring offers an amazing live case study of an attempt to avoid the “Kodak moment”. The new, low carb version of Google – which generates the vast majority of revenues – will look vastly different and more tightly focused on digital and internet properties:
This structure effectively hives off the “business as usual”, high velocity, transactional revenue streams into a separate unit which will continue to be called “Google”. The new CEO, Sundar Pichai will be able to keep that digital focus while continuing the optimisation and incremental improvements that keep Google at the centre of our online lives.
The high potential, future-oriented remaining businesses will become separate businesses under Alphabet. Taking a portfolio investment approach to innovation, Alphabet’s stable features near and far term innovation ventures that are:
- Inside us: Life sciences – biotech research through new company, Calico
- Around us: Consumer home technology – internet of things hardware for the smart home through Nest
- Connecting us: High speed internet service through Fiber
- Moving us: X-lab – the incubator charged with developing self-driving cars and drone technology
And Google Ventures will continue its investments in early and growth stage ventures.
While the business implications for this restructure are significant – the most interesting impact is likely to be felt at the level of culture. Creating a culture of innovation – and maintaining it over the long term is extremely difficult. This is a bold move that brings Google back into the garage from where it came from. It sets a new model for tech sector innovation and has the potential to re-invigorate Google’s innovation agenda.
Who will be the fast follower – or copycat – to Google’s lead? Time will tell.
No matter whether there is a change in CMO or marketing director or whether it’s time for a review, agency management can be an emotional challenge. Over years of collaboration, organisations build collaborative ways of working together – processes, systems and tools become intertwined. People become friends. Colleagues. Even partners. So what really happens when a client fires an agency? Darren Woolley has an answer that may surprise you.
As Founder and CEO of TrinityP3, Woolley has a particular view on how and why the client-agency comes undone. “The sum of the parts equal an underlying whole … which is they no longer feel the love and commitment”. The challenge, however, is that this is an emotional response to a situation, but the business focus remains on the work being performed. As a result, the agency may respond to the client’s feedback technically or creatively while not addressing the client’s feelings of dissatisfaction. This is a recipe for disaster.
In his chapter for the SoDA Report on Digital Marketing, Woolley goes into more detail, suggesting that there are four critical junctures for the relationship:
- When a new marketing leader is appointed – it’s review time, so the focus on rapid relationship building is essential
- Before the honeymoon ends – don’t wait until the goodwill is gone, start proactive account management from day 1
- Quiet periods – the challenge is to remain visible, provide value but don’t appear to be wasting time and money
- Performance pressure – when the work is underperforming, tensions are bound to arise.
Navigating the professional and emotional tightrope is always challenging. But going that extra mile really never hurt any relationship.
The SoDA Report’s Digital Marketing Outlook is a great snapshot of the industry. Covering topics from the modern marketer to technology, with a couple of handy case studies thrown in, it’s a fantastic resource to inspire your 2015 planning.
Are your employees doing the right thing? Are your teams empowered to make the right decision for your customers? At the Constellation Research Connected Enterprise conference, moderator, Esteban Kolsky, Board of Advisor, Constellation Research, grilled a panel of customer experience innovators on just how “digital” was transforming the customer experience.
The panel included:
- Dan Steinman, Chief Customer Officer, Gainsight
- George Wright, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Thunderhead
- Howard Tarnoff, Senior Vice President, Ceridian
- Dave Pennington, Principal, Business Strategy, Microsoft.
It’s a great, short video with a few surprises. Some of my favourite quotes:
- There’s no such thing as a sales process – there’s only a buying experience
- It’s time for marketing to shut up
- What’s the next disruptive thing? It’s engagement
- The days of the check-in call are over
- It’s not all about the data
- Engagement doesn’t mean offer management
The Surprising Truth
But the most interesting thing to me was the focus on culture. We see it over and over again – and it is the most difficult challenge for organisations. While you can buy technology, you can’t buy the hearts, minds and engaged focus of your employees.
And while they may have all the customer data ever needed, without the right focus, support and attitude, you still won’t get the sale.
Need to harmonise your approach? Or bring technology and people together? We can help.