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Upcoming Speaking Engagements
- I'll be speaking at the Richmond chapter of the American Marketing Association on November 16.
- And at a private event for a client in Miami on November 29.
- Attending the CMO Data Summit December 5-7.
- Social Media Marketing World 2017 in San Diego, March 22-24, 2017
- How well versed are marketers in the realm of digital? According to Unilever's CMO Keith Week, there's a whole generation of marketers who are bluffing. Bottom line: it's time to get serious, embrace the digital world and bone up on trends, skills and actual usage. No excuses.
- With its acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T is saying that it may result in opportunities where companies can target individual households with TV ads that are specifically relevant to them based on income, ethnicity or other characteristics. The Holy Grail of advertising. On TV, no less.
- And AT&T has a new Internet TV service of 100 channels that will cost $35 a month. The goal is to reach 20 million households of cord cutters.
- The New York Times is picking up a new outlet: they've purchased Wirecutter, a consumer guide to electronics, for $30 million.
- News site Quartz ensures that it's a truly global brand. It set out to be a global, mobile-first publication for business readers from its inception. Quartz monetizes its 47 percent non-US audience proportionately, so 44 percent of its ad revenue was billed against non-U.S. inventory last year.
- Groupon acquired LivingSocial, previously valued at as much as $6 billion, for a "non-material amount." I wonder if they got a Groupon for it.
- Social media ads drive awareness and revenues for SMBs. SMBs were three times as likely to rely on social ads as any other format. And they don’t seem to differentiate much between the two goals, which is troubling.
- Chief communications officers (CCOs) are increasing their focus on digital communications and reputation management. More CCOs expect to hire digital and social media talent over the next 12-18 months than any other position.
- Amazon says that it will have 2,000 grocery stores within 10 years. The physical store strategy is expensive and will pit Amazon against far more experienced players, such as Walmart (client), which has more than 5,000 stores in the US. Amazon's margins have been negative or thin for years. This could be risky.
- Mobile will represent 75 percent of global Internet usage next year and will reach 79% by 2018, nearly doubling since 40% in 2012.
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TWITTER / PERISCOPE / VINE
- Twitter reported its Q3 earnings this week, posting results that surpassed analysts' expectations. Twitter reported earnings of 13 cents per share and revenue of $616 million, and the service grew to 317 million users, beating analysts' estimates of 9 cents per share, $606 million, and 315 million users. But it also announced it was laying off 350 people — 9 percent of its workforce,
- Amid this mixed news, Twitter revealed that it is killing its once-popular 6-second video app Vine. Two weeks ago it was Whither Twitter; now it's wither Vine.
- How did this happen? As Vine stars fled to Instagram and Snapchat, Twitter did little to nurture them or to continue to develop the app.
- In its 10 years of existence, the site has evolved from a curiosity to an indispensable part of the global communications landscape. And while it's a cultural success, it's a business failure, with no clear growth strategy, a confusing bundle of initiatives such as streaming NFL games and buying Periscope, and the seeming inability to address abuse and bullying on its site.
- In the coming weeks, Twitter will give users more tools to fight online abuse. The team has been working for the last few months to build "the most important safety features and updating our safety policies to give people more control over their Twitter experience."
- If that's the case, the rumor that Disney may be interested again might be reasonable.
- Maybe Larry Page will want to buy it. Just keep it away from socially-challenged Google.
- Four Silicon Valley executives make recommendations on how to fix Twitter. And only one of them hints at making the CEO job a full-time position — unlike our recommendation.
FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / WHATSAPP
- Facebook has seen a 400 percent increase in live video use since it launched and now the company wants to make live video easier and more immersive for all users with the inclusion of augmented reality filters.
- Facebook has placed a high-stakes — and, experts say, unwise — bet that an algorithm can play the lead role in stanching the flood of misinformation the powerful social network promotes to its users. That's right, we're still getting fake news with Facebook's Trending algorithm. Good curation needs humans.
- Instant Articles worked so well for news organizations that Facebook is exploring a version for video broadcast. As they continue to compete for eyeballs, expect broadcasters to warm to this concept.
- Facebook allows advertisers to exclude groups by race, ethnicity and other factors. But is this really a concern? It allows targeted ads based on all sorts of data. It's how advertisers choose to use that data that should be the cause for concern.
- Instagram has partnered with mental health professionals and advocates to design a response to posts that could be about suicide, self-harm, or eating disorders. It's encouraging to see Instagram addressing issues among its users, in contrast to where Twitter has been.
MICROSOFT / LINKEDIN
- Microsoft held a major event in which it revealed the Surface Studio, aimed squarely at designers — and at Apple. Is Microsoft becoming more innovative than Apple? They certainly have more motivation to do so, as contenders often do, while the leader becomes complacent.
- This week, Microsoft will launch Microsoft Teams, a supposed Slack killer. Anything is better than Yammer. If it integrates with inboxes, it could do the trick.
- Snap (parent company of Snapchat) is seeking to raise as much as $4 billion in an IPO early next year. It may value Snapchat at $25 billion to $35 billion.
- Snapchat clearly establishes itself as teens' favorite social network. No surprise there. But the fact that Twitter and Facebook are tied? Wow.
- Giphy passed the 100 million user mark. That means Giphy has 2/3 as many users as Snapchat — and is on par with Vine.
Collaborative/ Autonomous Economy
- Last week the CEO of Lasalle Hotel Properties said that the new law in New York restricting Airbnb could be “a big boost in the arm for the business, certainly in terms of the pricing,” but its CFO was quick to say "it's not about price or competition." Airbnb picked up on that and hit back, asking “What are your current policies as they relate to compression pricing, commonly referred to as price-gouging?” and cornering the CEO with “If you agree with your Chief Financial Officer and now believe that the New York law is ‘not about price or competition,’ will you unequivocally pledge to ban any and all price-gouging at your hotels?”
- Uber has a plan to finally deliver what humanity has consistently requested: the flying car. We can't get people to stay in the lane on the ground. What makes us think flying cars aren't going to be a mess?
- Creating autonomous vehicles is complicated, both within and without. Here is a comprehensive list of considerations and potential impacts.
- After acquiring Uber in China, Didi Chuxing's first order of business is to block foreigners from using it. That was fun while it lasted.
- Uber opens their Driver API. One example of it in use: Sears uses the /trips endpoint to stay top-of-mind, rewarding drivers-partners with Shop Your Way loyalty points for their completed trips.
- In defense of the ride-hailing leader: Uber has revolutionized transit more in seven years than the government has in 70. Then again, one might argue that it's not the government's responsibility to revolutionize anything.
- Tech giants Apple Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, once intent on disrupting, if not destroying, Detroit, have concluded for now that they don’t want to build cars. Given the complexity and the unattractive margins, it's probably a good idea. But Detroit welcomes the collaboration.
- Elon Musk has figured out how Tesla can deal with Uber. He and his team have had to come up with the Tesla Network, a way to diversify Tesla into a partial-ownership business model to avoid being steamrolled. Most people can only afford about 1/10th of a Tesla anyway.
- Uber has quietly launched Uber Freight for long-haul trucking. The plan builds on Uber's acquisition of Otto, a self-driving trucking company that Uber bought in July for $65 million. The company's first delivery? About 1800 cases of Budweiser.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE / BOTS / BLOCKCHAIN
- There's great fear that robots will replace our jobs. But by 2025, robotics could help increase global productivity by 40-50%, leading to an economic impact between $1.7 and $2.2 trillion per year.
- Can bots do advertising? Adgorithms attempts to take programmatic advertising to another level. Instead of just relying on automation for individual media buys, brands can turn all of their campaigns over to Albert.
- IBM hosted World of Watson last week and a number of news items were conveyed:
- The Weather Channel has launched a Watson-powered "cognitive weather bot" for Facebook Messenger. The bot gives users a new way to access and share personalized weather content including current conditions, severe weather alerts and five-day forecasts.
- Partnerships including with GM's OnStar will put Watson in touch with hundreds of millions of people next year.
- Christopher Penn has a three-part series on what he learned at WoW: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.
- Let's just hope all of this AI doesn't make us too complacent:
Amazon Alexa is down so we can't turn our lights off. That's a new one.— Dennis Crowley (@dens) October 29, 2016
- What is blockchain? Simply put, it's "any distributed electronic ledger that uses software algorithms to record transactions with reliability and anonymity." And it has the power to change all kinds of businesses.
- For example, blockchain is empowering the future of the insurance industry.
- Applied to cryptocurrency, it could prove to be a powerful defensive weapon in their arsenal to increase data encryption and database security.
Virtual Reality / Audio
- HP, Dell, Lenovo, Acer and Asus are all shipping VR headsets for your PC starting at $299.
- Product developers are more bullish on augmented reality. In a recent survey, more than half said they were more optimistic about the future of AR than VR. Makes sense, given the less alienating nature of the technology. See Facebook's direction, as noted above.
- Think you need a podcast? Think again. Unless it's something that truly stands out, you might be better off saving your resources. Of course, that means there'll be more time to listen to mine.
- Program of the Week. This week, in the spirit of Halloween, our recommendation is Welcome to Night Vale. It's a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff's Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Do you have a program to recommend? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts
- And don't forget to subscribe to ours via email or oniTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, Spreaker or SoundCloud.
Content / Customer Experience / Influencer Marketing
- It’s no longer enough to target your chosen customers. To stay ahead, you need to create distinctive value and experiences for them. Here are 10 principles of customer strategy.
- Marketers spin; storytellers twist. Spin is a technique that traditional marketers use to transform negative situations into positive ones. It’s one of the weaker communications devices because it’s motivated by selfishness–seeking to benefit the teller more than the listener. Twists, on the other hand, are motivated by generosity. They’re little gifts that storytellers give to their audiences to make stories more enjoyable and memorable.
- Simplify your approach to content marketing, and above all, document your strategy.
- Using data to craft stories is easier than you might think. Here are five ways to get started.
- Going inside the meeting that killed Vine, we discover that Twitter failed to negotiate with some of its biggest power users while it still had the chance. A lesson in the importance of nurturing your audience.
Privacy / Security / Legal
- Digital ambulance chasing — er, targeted advertising by legal firms — is a thing on Facebook, where firms are seeking clients laid off from Twitter.
- A London court ruled Friday that Uber drivers should be classified as employees, rather than independent contractors. This could have a large impact on England's 30,00 drivers and on drivers in the 450 cities and 70 countries in which Uber operates.
Measurement / Metrics / Data
- The most significant culture shift today for marketing teams is adopting an analytical marketing approach. Changing culture is notoriously difficult, but you can do so by using data to change the status quo, use stories to convey insights, or use different metrics.
- Culture is a stronger determinant of success with data than anything else. Including data. Understanding the nine steps along the ladder of digital attribution. Or, as Avinash puts it, "You can't give a toddler a Harley Davidson."
- All too often, it's tempting to use data to prop up our successes; but data can also help you to determine what needs fixing that can have the most impact.
- Digital analytics, demystified: puzzle vs. mystery.
- Privacy-related traffic from mobile apps could open the door for data loss and security breaches. Be sure your mobile apps and the data you collect from them are secure.
Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- The 2016 Brand Loyalty report is here and traditional brands are losing ground. While digital brands represent the lion’s share of this year’s list, they also command 80% of the top 20 loyalty leaders spots.
- Could the future of branding be debranding? Instead of brands, real people and real tones of voice will become the interface between consumers and products. One can dream.
- Contrary to popular belief, you don't have the attention span of a goldfish. Doubly true if you've made it this far in the newsletter.
- The art of listening is a learned skill. What great listeners actually do.
- Last week, Christopher Marlowe was given credit as one of Shakespeare's co-writers. To demonstrate the impact of the Bard on our modern language, here are words and phrases coined by Shakespeare.
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October 31, 2016 artificial intelligence, autonomous, blockchain, marketing, media, newsletter, Twitter 0