数字世界万变不离其宗的那些事儿 / In the Digital World, Some Things Don’t Change

数字世界万变不离其宗的那些事儿

最近我在一次午餐会上听到一场非常棒、内容非常丰富的演讲,演讲的嘉宾是中欧国际工商学院(China Europe International Business School)的副院长兼教务长约翰•奎尔奇教授,演讲的题目是“数字营销在中国”(Digital Marketing in China)。

这次午餐会由香港美国商会传播与营销委员会(the Communications and Marketing Committee of The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong)主办。身为英国人的奎尔奇教授曾获得过大英帝国司令勋章,是享誉国际的商校教育及管理大师,也是公务员、公司董事和顾问。虽然他目前担任的是中欧国际工商学院的教务长,但这并不妨碍他继续与哈佛商学院保持长久的关系。他曾是那里的资深副院长兼Lincoln Filene工商管理教授,执教世界著名的哈佛高级管理课程,向企业高管传授营销知识。

从奎尔奇教授的声望和纪录上我知道,聆听他的演讲将是一次难得的学习机会,而他的确也没有让我失望。

现在我对参加演讲午餐会非常挑剔,出席的次数要比以前少得多。其中一个原因就是现在很多演讲人都认为面对一屋子付费客人天花乱坠地兜售自己的公司没有什么不妥,但其实这是在浪费大家的时间,既不礼貌也欠考虑。

还有就是很多酒店为这种活动提供的食品质量低劣无比。我倒不指望能吃到散养鸡或者什么珍馐美食,但如果能从肉纹上判断盛到盘子里的鸡的话,它们好像大多是在橡胶园里喂大的。交了小60美元的参会费,就吃到一盘塑料鸡,听了一番推销词,外加一段幻灯片,这简直是侮辱听众的智商,我还不如去看牙医呢。

然而这次午餐会却截然不同。奎尔奇教授是世界级的专家和杰出的演说家。位于香港太古广场楼上的万豪酒店(the J.W. Marriott)又奉上了优质的服务,并为近百位来宾精心烹制了鱼肉。

奎尔奇教授通过演讲告诉我们一个重要信息:尽管数字营销在很多方面都有别于传统营销,既需要新的方式,又开辟出新的机遇,但有些核心原则依然保持不变。

有时我们会忘了这一点:核心商业原则就是核心原则,不管是在数字世界还是模拟世界。

例如,奎尔奇强调洞察客户心理仍是创新的主要动力。客户是现金流的终极驱动力,也是内部增长的驱动力。

在这里,奎尔奇引用了宝洁公司(Proctor & Gamble)前老板雷富礼的金句:“客户就是上帝。”

了解客户潜在的、正在形成的需求——包括情感上和功能上的需求至关重要。假如我们依赖一般的市场调查,只能生成陈旧的数据,而不能领导新兴的潮流。才华横溢的创新者甚至在客户形成自我意识之前就能预测出他们新的需求趋势,这需要洞察力和前瞻力的完美结合。

奎尔奇谈到的另一个核心原则就是品牌价值的三个支柱,即情感(心理)、经济、功能。它们将客户和品牌紧紧粘合在一起,这一点即便进入数字营销时代依然颠扑不破。

如果当天现场有充分答疑的时间,我真想请奎尔奇教授评价一下在当今中国风生水起的电子商务市场上,几大玩家在表述和执行品牌价值的三大支柱方面到底做得怎么样。我个人感觉他们还都处在早期阶段,特别是在情感和经济方面。至少在目前的发展阶段,领先品牌之间差异化的程度仍参差不齐。

奎尔奇教授在演讲中还引用了另外两句非常恰当、非常值得引用的句子:

“策略就是能围绕它随机应对的方向感。”

——彼德•德鲁克

“先有规矩,后有创意。”

——耐克公司Tom Clark

这两句话都值得好好记住,因为没有策略的随机应对很容易失败,而欠缺规矩的创意也不太可能长久。

像奎尔奇这样具备创新能力的全球学术领袖,又在多家世界级公司和组织内担任过无偿或非执行董事,现在能落户中国,本身就是这个时代非常有意思的一个标志。

(顺便说一下,如果哪位读者是奎尔奇教授的学生,8月8号将是他60岁金兔大寿,别忘了祝他生日快乐。我是从维基百科上查到的。维基上还注明不要把奎尔奇教授和同名的海盗混为一谈。现在网上就可以查到这种信息,好也罢、坏也罢,从这些就能看出数字技术给这个世界带来的改变。)

In the Digital World, Some Things Don’t Change

I recently heard an excellent and informative luncheon speech by Professor John A. Quelch, Vice President and Dean of China Europe International Business School (CEIBS), on the topic of “Digital Marketing in China.”

The host organization was the Communications and Marketing Committee of The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong. Professor Quelch, CBE, is British-born; and an internationally recognized business school academic and administrator as well as a public servant, corporate director and consultant. Although now Dean at CEIBS, he retains his long-time affiliation with Harvard Business School, where he was previously Senior Associate Dean and the Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration, and taught marketing to senior executives in Harvard’s world-renowned Advanced Management Program.

I knew from Professor Quelch’s reputation and record that his speech would be a valuable learning opportunity, and I wasn’t disappointed.

I have become pretty choosy about which luncheon speeches I attend, with the result that I join far fewer of these than I used to. For one thing, many speakers nowadays seem to think it’s OK to stand up in front a room full of paying guests and give a glorified sales pitch about their company. That’s a waste of everyone’s time, and it’s rude and inconsiderate.

Plus, many hotel ballrooms catering to such events serve awful quality food. I don’t expect free-range chicken or gourmet food, but it seems like the chickens which often end up on your plate must have been raised on a rubber plantation, if the texture of the meat is anything to judge by. For something like US$60 per person, you get to eat a plate of plastic chicken, listen to a sales pitch, and watch another PPT. That is an insult to people’s intelligence. I’d rather go to the dentist.

This, however, was entirely different. Professor Quelch is a world-class expert and an excellent presenter. And the J.W. Marriott in Hong Kong’s Pacific Place obliged with good service and nicely cooked fish for the 100 or so people present.

One key take-away from Professor Quelch’s talk was that although many aspects of the digital marketing landscape are vastly different from the traditional one, requiring new approaches and opening up a whole new range of opportunities, some of the underlying core principles are the same.

I think we sometimes forget this: core business principles are core principles, whether in the digital or analog worlds.

For example, Quelch emphasized that insight into the customer is still a key driver of innovation. The customer is ultimately the driver of cash flow, and as such, of organic growth.

Quelch quoted the former boss of Proctor & Gamble at this point: “The consumer is boss.” — A.G. Lafley

Understanding latent and emerging customer needs — emotional as well as functional — is critical. If we rely on standard market survey techniques, we will yield old data rather than cutting edge, emerging trends. Brilliant innovators are able to anticipate important new trends in consumer needs before the consumer is even conscious of them, which requires a rare combination of insight and foresight.

Another core principle Quelch talked about are the three pillars of brand value, which are emotional (psychological), economic, and functional. These are the critical ingredients of the glue which bonds customers to your brand. This is another aspect of the digital marketing landscape which is unchanged from the old days.

If there had been more time in the Q & A session, I would have liked to ask Professor Quelch’s assessment of how well he thinks these three pillars of brand value have been articulated and implemented by some of the key players in China’s dynamic digital marketplace. My own sense is that it’s relatively early days yet, especially with regard to the emotional and economic parts. At least it seems like the degree of differentiation among leading brands within their peer group is fairly uneven at this stage in development.

Two other very apt and quotable quotes which Quelch shared as part of his presentation:

“A strategy is a sense of direction around which to improvise.”

–Peter Drucker

“You have to be disciplined in order to be creative.”

–Tom Clark, NIKE

Both are worth bearing in mind because improvisation in the absence of strategy is likely to fail, and creativity in the absence of discipline is not likely to be sustainable.

That an innovative global academic leader of Quelch’s caliber, who has served with distinction in a variety of pro bono and non-executive directorship roles at many world class companies and organizations, is now based in China, is also a very interesting sign of the times.

(By the way, for any of Professor Quelch’s students who may be reading this, he has an important Golden Rabbit birthday coming up on August 8; so don’t forget to wish him a Happy Birthday. I learned this from his entry in Wikipedia. The same entry also begins with a footnote to the effect that Professor John Quelch, the distinguished academic, is not to be confused with John Quelch, the pirate. Having this sort of information online is clearly one example of what has changed in the digital world, for better or worse.)

约翰•奎尔奇教授 / Professor John A. Quelch


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数字世界万变不离其宗的那些事儿 / In the Digital World, Some Things Don’t Change》上有 7 条评论

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