Managing Tech Startups

March 14, 2011 § 7 Comments

Panoramic view from my seat in class.

I am live from my first elective class “Managing Tech Startups” conducted by Enrique Dans. This is his first elective on the subject, so it will be fun to take part of this experiment.

As in my first class with Enrique, we are assigned to blog about all the topics discussed in class. So expect very interest post in the next weeks. Enrique will be bringing keynote speakers from the entrepeneurial community and I will do my best to liveblog from class and see how it goes.

Enrique expects us to interact with the entrepreneurial community in Spain or around the globe. So, if you have a question for Enrique or the class, please free to send me it per eMail or via this blog.

Update 14:27 – next class Julio Alonso from Weblogs WSL will be joining our class! Topic: how to manage a bootstrap company.

Update 15.03.2011 – Video discovered by Guilherme

Social Media in Enterprises, it works!

March 1, 2011 § 2 Comments

Roberto Carreras, Enrique Dans, Ana Nieto Churruca, Lasse Rouhiainen, Daniel Canomanuel, Tristán Elostegui

Spanish online celebrities: Roberto Carreras, Enrique Dans, Ana Nieto Churruca, Lasse Rouhiainen, Daniel Canomanuel, Tristán Elosegui

Today I attended a Social Media round table-session with spanish online business celebrities like Enrique Dans, Tristán Elosegui, Roberto Carreras, Daniel Canomanuel,  Lasse Rouhiain, and Daniel Canomanuel at IE Business School. The panel was moderated by Ana Nieto Churruca as an introduction to the presentation of her new book La Web en las Empresas 2.0 (Web in the Enterprises 2.0) produced together with Lasse Rouhiain.

Thanks to new technology, internet has penetrated already a major part of the population (for example: via smartphones) and this trend just keeps on growing. For now, it should be clear to most small, medium and larger enterprises, that Social Media is far beyond Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In or whatever what the end customer sees and uses to look, discover, review, share and/or purchase goods and services online. Companies need to be where their customers are, but the big question is how? and under which strategy? lead by who? As I commented on my Marketing 2.0 post, marketing fundamentals are still there and have become more important than ever! It is the channel, strategy and skills-set of marketers what have truly changed. Changed drastically! As Enrique Dans said regarding traditional Media Agencies “…I am watching how Media Agencies are just been faced with the new reality and making the same mistakes that the Telecom Industry and others did when their business model was disrupted…”

Social Media is more than just what end-consumer sees

The event was conducted in spanish, hence, I would like to share the most relevant insights about this event for non-spanish speakers and for those that could not attend the event. As the Social Media panel organizer of the 2nd edition of the IE Digital Forum next March 15th @ IE Business School, I am passionate about these topics and about how Marketing 2.0 has emerged that fast. It was only about 4 years ago, when I first directly interact with Marketing back at Siemens. Today for example, I was proud to see how Siemens has launched a creative campaign in Facebook called “/answers“. This is a great example on how multinationals are using Social Media channels wisely and professionally. For me, Siemens is providing a clear message that even the biggest b2b corporations can create innovative ways to connect with their communities.

In order of appearance:

Enrique Dans – Prof. at IE Business School – Blog:, Twitter: @edans (126k followers). To the question “Is he a celebrity?“, he clearly answered that even though he has tremendous 126k followers online he is by no means a celebrity. “No one in the streets stops me to ask for an autograph“. Enrique did became famous online after hard work and years of experience on the field. He has been blogging almost everyday the past 8 years! He quoted Woody Allen when saying that “success after 10 years of work comes overnight”, and that of course “luck” is part of the process as well. About the question regarding what is key element for enterprises in order to be successful with Social Media, he mentioned just one word: Empathy. It comes all about relationships and how companies interact with their customers. Companies should ask what can they offer to their community. Each community is different and each company has to figure it out by themselves. Uni-directional marketing belongs to the past! Its time for some real marketing.

Finally, during the Q&A session, Enrique brought a very interesting point regarding the ROI of social media. “It is tricky and please don’t make the fool mistake to try to ROI-ize Social Media campaigns to its full extend.” “Not everything that you do with technology is related to ROI”. “Try to find metrics that make sense and that will somehow convert to ROI in the long-term. So far it is still not clear exactly how it converts and nobody knows how to do it”.

Tristán Elosegui – Online Marketing Manager at Secuoyas – Blog:, Twitter: @tristanelosegui (6,8k followers). To the question “What are the common mistakes companies do with social networks”, Tristán gave a clear answer: 1. They use Social Media as they would use traditional media, 2. They lack of Marketing objectives and focus only on short-term sales. (Sales do come, but after there is trust! To enable trust, relationships have to be established first!). 3. They don’t allocate the resources required (People, money, time…STRATEGY!)

Roberto Carreras – Social media strategy strategist, Plan B – Blog:, Twitter: @RobertoCarreras (8.6k followers). Robert talked about the success of his Plan B project, which is a “Social music discography” concept where music is created by the people for the people. “Tech was always there, but before you needed to know how to program PHP and HTML to create content online. Now due that it is extremely easy to create content (any kind!), creating has hit mainstream”. In his blog, he mentions how Social Media is not only a new channel but also a new way of working!

Lasse Rouhiainen – Marketing 2.0 expert, Video Marketer – Blog:, Twitter: @lasseweb20 (11,2k followers). As a video expert, Lasse explained the importance of video marketing. “Videos are hardly replicable”. “Video marketing is a most in the marketing plan”. He mentioned 2 different types of videos: 1. The standard videos about products/services and 2. video from the people of the company like employees or the CEO. His experience showed that real employees have more impact on consumers. Finally, he said that it is important that small and medium enterprises (SME) should start to use more videos as a tool. SME are faster, flexible and can produce videos with fewer resources that could have greater impact.

Daniel Canomanuel – eCommerce Director of Telepizza – Blog:, Twitter: @Canomanuel (2k followers). Daniel, the only one representing a consumer good company talked first about the importance of Social Networks. In Spain, there are more than 13 million Facebook users alone! (35% from a 40 million population!) He also stated that customers are switching more and more to the online channel (thanks to technology!). Because he believes that companies have to be where their customers are, Telepizza is now present in all online channels: Web, Mobile Web, App (iPhone, Android, Blackberry) and even they have just launched a Facebook Store to buy pizza without leaving Facebook, and with 50% discount! They are also in Twitter, Tuenti (the spanish Facebook) and are experimenting with foursquare as well. Each channel with its own strategy. To one of the question of the audience on how did he implemented his strategy? Daniel mentioned that he first started with some experiments with support of 3rd parties. After seeing the potential of social networks, they decided to internalize the process. Because the web is broad and Telepizza’s strategy is to be present in all channels, they currently use a mix of internal and external resources.

Finally, Daniel brough an interesting topic when mentioning the new entrants like Groupon and how Google’s monopoly has ended. Telepizza has currently 75k fans en Facebook and overall around more than 150k loyal customers (followers) in all Social Networks. His advices: “Make the community more dynamic, cause fans don’t come alone”. “Social media strategy has to be clear”. “Be ready to listen good but also bad reviews”. “Measure, measure, measure performance”.

Disclaimer: it was quite of a challenge to listen in spanish and transcribe to english simultaneously. Please let me know if I have interpret or express any  translated quote from some of the speakers incorrectly.

Marketing 2.0 (long read!)

February 6, 2011 § 2 Comments


My first contact with Marketing was almost 4 years ago when I joined the Corporate Supply Chain Management at Siemens and was responsible for the global procurement strategy for marketing spend. My first mistake towards the word “marketing” was my association with “advertising”, which I consider not a challenging-enough task and was the reason why I rather studied engineering in the first place. Very soon I discover how wrong I was. I missed completely the fundamentals of marketing like understanding the market, creating a customer value proposition and developing a marketing strategy and plan. Advertising was just a minor part of the implementation part, in better words of marketing guru Seth Godin, “Marketing has to come before the product, not after”.

4 years later and some MBA classes afterwards, I think to know what Marketing really is. Or do I? Well, I better do, cause I am now co-founder of foodieSquare (an online marketplace that connect food lovers or “foodies” with unique and authentic european artisan producers) where I am leading the marketing silo. For this reason I desperately had to become a marketing expert in weeks and very soon I was able to identify that there was this old traditional Marketing or Marketing 1.0 (which I just couldn’t identify my self with) and there was the future of marketing, the new marketing or as I call it Marketing 2.0.

You should know more about me to understand why I I was asked to co-found foodieSquare to become the head of “new marketing”! My passion in life is technology and I do feel to understand it like no other by experiencing the impact of technology in my personal life. I just like to feel the way the new technology impacts me first, hence I try as much technologies as I can. This enables me to understand the effects of technology on consumer behavior and the consequences of new technologies on business and society in general. I am very grateful to had Enrique Dans as professor of Information Systems at IE Business School. I realize that I am not crazy to have this passion about technology and understood why I was the few of my class to see that things had changed. In my view, there is nothing greater than to see such big technological changes occur in such a short time and it fascinates me to think about all the new business opportunities around it! But there is a catch: You have to be willing to change yourself in order to lead change. Now, I can see more clearly how technology has become the main driver for marketing and how things have changed for marketers.

I liked to call this new marketing “Marketing 2.0” and there are some few people in the web that also use this concept even though it is not institutionalized yet. This is why it is important to describe it a little bit better. Lets start with what is not. Marketing 2.0 is not digital or online marketing (Please avoid the mistake I did when I thought marketing was advertising!). Yes, it’s true, the new marketing was triggered mainly by the creation of the internet and all the new technologies that had evolved since then (i.e. Social media). Things have changed, marketing is different now and technology has allowed us to pick and choose what messages we want to get and when we want to get them. No wonder why Internet is outpacing TV for time spend and this is because now more and more people are connected to the internet, and most recently, to social networks like Facebook. “We are going to see this huge shift where a lot of industries and products are just going to be remade to be social” (Mark Zuckerberg during an interview with 60 minutes, see minute 10:40”). And this is already happening. An HBR article from this december issue states that social technologies are helping—if not forcing—brands to form new kinds of relationships with customers. Other study says that Facebook is been used by 81% of Y-Gen users daily and there are studies that say that 63% use social media to engage with brands and more than 50% say that Facebook, blogs and brand videos affect their opinions about products.

So, if you are a traditional marketer, you are in a big trouble cause you are not going to reach your customers as you used to do. For me, the new marketing is about understanding how consumer behavior is shifting and hence, how the marketing approach has to change. We now know that marketing is not advertising, so Marketing 2.0 is not about creating online campaigns, digital banners or viral videos (Something being viral is not, in itself, viral marketing) either. Marketing 2.0 is more about adapting new ways of interacting with consumers that will result on a shift in the marketing process, culture, strategy and plan! It is now all about engaging communities by collecting more and better data and using it efficiently to add value to the community. Hence, the fundamentals of Marketing are still there (Creating Value, Capturing Value and Sustaining Value) but the way we now segment and target the market and how we do positioning has changed drastically. You cannot longer market to the anonymous masses, because they’re not anonymous and they’re not masses!

Not been part of the “Marketing 1.0” world has been a clear advantage for me, cause I am not biased. Patrick Spenner mentions for example that the problem of traditional brand-management models aren’t up to the current task is because they are designed for an outdated organization structure and depend on people with the wrong skill sets.  If I had to describe Marketing 1.0 in a short sentence I would summarize it as the one way communication channel build by companies, not communities.

Challenges of Marketing 2.0

After some few weeks working for foodieSquare I have quickly realized all the challenges I am and will be facing as head of “new marketing” and will affect my marketing plan. But also established small and big companies are facing these! After some some research, here is what I think are the biggest challenges to face in this “new marketing” era:

Creating good content: you have to have something worth to talk about to your community that brings value. It doesn’t help to advertise your company in forums or send promotional emails. Probably they will be ended in the spam email folder or you will be removed from forums. Because only relevant and useful content will be shared by user of your community, focus in content is the prio 1 in the Marketing 2.0 world.

Bringing value to the community: Creating content that is valuable for the community is crucial and hard to do. You just don’t create a community but rather you participate in one. Hence, the first thing to do is to understand your community. You also have to understand the actual communication landscape in order to select the right tools to interact with your community. This can be for example: blogs, twitts, emails, advertising (online, offline), Facebook App, Interactive Ads, Semantic web, Tablet and Mobile Applications, etc.

Understanding customer behaviors: With so many changes going so fast, how customer behaviors change is the first thing you want to watch. In order to understand these changes, it is important that you, as an individual, are also willing to change. Kevin Colleran, Global Account Lead at Facebook and also considered Facebook’s employee #2 after Mark Zuckerberg, suggested during a digital natives debate to try to live a day in your customers’ new media mix:   “For example, if your target customer spends five hours a day on Facebook; sends 120 text messages and half a dozen tweets a day from a smartphone and posts photos, videos, and blogs around the clock; “checks in” regularly using Foursquare at favorite retail locations to become “mayor”; relies on a plethora of mobile apps like Google Maps to get from one place to another, RedLaser to check prices on SKUs at Kroger or Best Buy, and Fashism to crowd-source advice from others while shopping; goes online at RueLaLa and GILT for flash sales just when the boutiques open; and subscribes to Groupon or LivingSocial for alerts on local deals, there’s a good chance you might want to know what it’s like to live a life like that.” “There’s an equally good chance that knowing what it’s like to live your customers’ media might change the way you use marketing and media to reach, influence, and interact with your customers. It might even change what you do radically.”

Shifting the Consumer Decision Journey (CDJ). David Edelman in his last HBR article comes to the point by defining the new consumer decision journey: consider, evaluate, buy, enjoy, advocate and bond. He mentions how for marketers, the old way of doing business is unsustainable and that why they need to realign their marketing strategy and budget with where consumers are actually spending their time.


Aligning the internal organization: It is a common mistake to think that technology has only revolutionized how companies and consumers interact and fail to recognize the internal organization implications for companies. As described by Patrick Spenner, in “Why you need a New-Media Ringmaster” traditional organization have several department in contact with the customer like customer support, corporate affairs, marketing, etc. In the current hyper connected world the chances of missing what customers really wants is high under such organization structures. Roland Smart, a Marketing 2.0 consultant, says it even clearer. “Marketing 2.0 is about opening your company to the community but also about opening windows between your organizational silos so they can talk to each other and share resources”. The latest article from the McKinsey Quarterly regarding Web 2.0 and networked enterprises also confirms, based on empirical analysis, the importance of pushing toward fully networked enterprises. They suggest companies to integrate Web 2.0 technologies into employees day-to-day activities, to break down the barriers of organizational change and finally and most important use technology to connect customers, business partners and employees! Clear winners are fully networked (internal & external) enterprises. The empirical evidence suggest a strong correlation between this companies and a greater market share.

Develop (or hire) the 2.0 skills: Reorganizing wont help much if the wrong people are designed the wrong marketing strategies and plans. Marketing 2.0 require people not only with digital savvyness but also those who can following skills mentioned by Patrick Spenser: integrative thinking, lean collaboration skills and high speed! Furthermore, it is crucial to develop a total new function within companies brought up to the media by Scott Brinker, marketing technologist blogger and President and CTO of ION Interactive. The new role is called the Chief Marketing Technologist (see slides from Scott here), a marketer who is also a technologist and act as a hybrid between Marketing, IT and reports directly to the Chief Marketing Officer. His/her mission is to “help the CMO translate strategy into technology (and vice versa), Choreograph data and technology across the marketing organization and fuse technology into the DNA of marketing practices, people and culture. Brinkers says, “Marketing most champion its own technology”.

So, for startups like the one I am founding it is clear that the role of marketing can only be found with the new marketing principles. At foodieSquare, acting as a Chief Marketing Officer and Technologist, my tasks will be to understand the implication of current and future technologies in the community and interact with them in the most efficient way in order to deliver a consistent message that is credible that will enable to build trust and loyalty with an emotional engaged community. For establishes enterprises the things to do are clear: reorganize, develop 2.0 skills, hire a CMT and make marketing own the technology, enable interaction within employees in order to better interact with customers. It is crucial also to focus on content and on delivering value to the community, gather as much data as possible and identify the right tools to use with you customers. Finally, get all this information and experience learned and put them in you marketing strategy and plan!


Scott Brinker predict that in the next 5 years we will see an explosion of marketing technology. I guess he is right when he says that Marketing must control its technological destiny! At foodieSquare, I will make sure we will!

“it’s the metrics, stupid!”

June 18, 2010 § Leave a comment

Tesco, the UK retailer found in 1886, introduced in 1995 the “electronic” Clubcard that enable them to conquer the Britain market. In my view, what this little piece of technology really accomplished was a radical change of how companies perform marketing strategies. From “price wars” to “customer behaviours analysis”, which was provided in a simple and beautiful way: metrics!

This new mindset triggered without doubt, the “individualisation” of customer segmentation, the revolution we live on, where now big retailers like Amazon are redefining how we shop consumer goods.

But probably back in 1995, not everyone was aware that things were about to change. Critics (cause there are ALWAYS skeptics!) like David Sainsbury,  Sainsbury’s CEO (Tesco’s main competitor), argued against it, thinking this was only about a cash back loyalty program and a way to reduce further prices.

As Erik Qualman, writer of Socialeconomics rewrote the original phrase from James Carville “it’s the economy, stupid!”, that was a major driver behind why Bill Clinton became the 42nd president of the USA, to “it’s the people-drive economy, stupid!”. Well, if I could go back in time and have a 5 second elevator pitch conversation with Mr. Sainsbury, I would just have said this 4 simple words: “It’s the metrics, stupid!”

How “metrics” change the rules of the game:

metrics = information = precise understanding customer behaviour = better marketing strategies = satisfied customer

The concerns: security, misuse of information, data manipulation, etc…But, we all know that there is no 100% security anyway. Should I care if I share my shopping habits? Probably not.

Blog to you soon…

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