Friday, December 9, 2016

Look out Snapchat!!

- Lookout SnapChat
- Peripheral Vision
- Attention grabbing
- Amazon grocer
- AI and Machine Learning
- Trend spotting

One liners
- Where to buy
- Another Black Friday another record
- Top toy!

Special Bonus: Dan Ariely: Marrying Disruptive Technologies and Behavioral Insights

Lookout Snapchat

Facebook is testing a camera-first interface design in Ireland. Sound familiar? On his last quarterly earnings call, Zuck said Facebook now sees the camera as the future of how people share and communicate. Snapchat CEO Iram Kahn recently told investors that they're not a Social company, they're a camera company. Not much suspense about who's gonna win this battle. Facebook is the most agile company in the world. They've already adopted a number of The Snap's good ideas in the form of Slingshot, Bolt, One-hour messages and Stories and soon they'll have it all without ever needing to buy it. Nonetheless, my son says he won't use facebook even if it does all the same stuff. He'd rather use Snapchat.

Peripheral Vision

L2 held their consumer behavior clinic 3 Fridays ago and there were some really fascinating speakers as always. I didn't get to attend because I had to be in Andover for a meeting, but videos of all the talks are available and I partook of two of them.

The first, really fascinating was from Behavioral Psychologist, Susan Weinschenk who talked about how your brain does most of your seeing for you and the interesting ramifications of this. For instance, peripheral vision is more blurry because it isn't meant to capture detail. It's meant to capture context and motion. So, in Web design, for instance, putting good content at the periphery, will get it noticed.
Brain keys in on things in a different color, with a different shape or orientation. This is how to capture attention.
  • Visions happens in the brain
  • You see what you pay attention to
  • Peripheral vision calls the shots
  • We orient to faces

How to get attention

In the second speaker video I watched, Adam Alter, a professor at NYU Stern, talked about how to capture people's attention.
  • Give people ways to interact with your content. Can a picture move when they mouse over it? If you find ways to provide feedback when people interact with it, they will do it more.
  • Set subtle goals. Suggest something for visitors to strive for. A call to action is a good example. The professor actually used Sonicare for kids as an example of this. The little character on the connected device used to dance as long as kids brushed, so they would brush indefinitely. But now the app has been changed so that after the kid has brushed for the correct amount of time, the little creatures gets tired and falls asleep.
  • Get social. The social version of any product is more successful. Hipstamatic and Retrocam were precursors to instagram. Let you take pictures with different filters and effects. But Instagram did that PLUS made it a social network. Instantly capturing the market.
  • Add cliffhangers. We've all heard how marketing should be based on stories. That's certainly true. but the ending doesn't have to be apparent. Save a little something to make them come back for more.
  • And finally, Turn everything into a game. activate people's competitive nature

Amazon Grocery

We've discussed the difficulty of pure play retail many times on this call. These are retailers who are ONLY Brick and Mortar of -- which there are almost none anymore. Virtually every traditional brick and mortar retailer now has an online presence with varying degrees of success -- or ONLY Online. LIke Amazon. Well we've seen the online giant begin some tentitive forays into building stores and this week, The Financial Times reports that Amazon is soon to open two grocery stores in Seattle.

Both stores will be similar to drive-throughs, with customers able to collect groceries they have ordered online.

The move is Amazon's latest push into groceries, a market where the logistics specialist sees room for considerable growth. And growth is in the plan. Amazon is looking at opening 2000 Grocery stores across the US. Starting with 20 in the next couple of years, where they'll experiment with a click and collect model as well as more traditional grocery stores, perhaps only open to Prime Fresh subscribers.

Amazon AI

Continuing with the Amazon stream of conciousness, at the company's Re:Invent conference last week in Las Vegas, the retail and Web services giant announced the launch of its Amazon AI platform. This new service leverages the machine learning capability that they've developed and used in-house for a number of years now. According to Web Sercices CEO Andy Jassy, they have thousands of people dedicated to AI in their business.

They made a big deal of announcing an advanced image recognition service called Rekognition (with a K), along with Amazon Polly, a text to speech service that produces life-like speech in 47 mail and femaile voices and 24 languages, and LEX, which is the tech behind Amazon's new Alexa service. It allows developers to build conversations applications that can feature multi-step conversations. This will be useful for Chatbots and other types of Web and mobile applications taht supposrt engaging, Lifelike interactions.

But though it wasn't the center of attention at the developer conference, Amazon's own new Machine learning site describes something I think is even more exciting. Machine learning, a technique first developed by IBM to train it's Watson AI, is a way of feeding a machine massive amounts of unstructured data and letting it create it's own understanding of the patterns and meaning within it. Then the machine can use these modles to analyse new data and generate predictions for an application. Usually, Machine learning requires data scientists to create powerful algorithms. But Amazon's offering provides visualization tools and wizards that guide you through the process of creating machine learning models without having to learn complex technology. Then you can generate predictions about your business.

And the tremendous amount of data that Amazon processes about virtually everything every day can provide insight into almost everything. For instance, the information was just released that 3 of the top 10 top-selling items for the month before the election were Trump hats and T-Shirts. Which I'm

Trend spotting

I was surprised that no one took me up on my offer on our last call to get a Free early copy of Rohit Bhargava's latest book Non-Obvious 2017, How Think Different, Curate Ideas and Predict the Future. Well I had the chance to read my preview copy and I can highly recommend it. It just launched THIS WEEK on @Amazon for just $0.99. That's the next best thing to free. So go get your copy. It'll be well worth it.

Wouldn't it be great for our company if we could get better at predicting and capitalizing on trends? Let's all work on it.

A couple One Liners...

A survey from PPRO found that, this Christmas, 61% of consumers will be buying gifts online at home while watching TV, while 13% will shop from their smartphones while lying in bed. 17% also admit they will be buying their Christmas gifts online while at work.

Adobe figures shows that online sales records in the US hit $3.34bn on Black Friday, a 17.7% increase on sales last year.

Lego Creator Sets were the top toy, and iPads the top electronics sold.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The 5th Horseman?

- Netflix is the 5th Horseman
- Rise of the Chatbots
- Bad news tweets
- Snapchat envy
- Samsung's on Fire
- Agile Marketing
- Trend spotting

One liners
- Google Pixel Launch
- Unilever launch in house content division
- Philips 41st most Valuable Brand, 37th desired workplace
- Videos feature in a quarter of search results
- Sponsor a podcast
- Mobile Ad Spending

Netflix is the 5th Horseman

Regular Digital Community Call members are well versed in our discussions of the 4 Horsemen, that is the big for Digital Stacks named, Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon. Our friend Scott Galloway at L2 coined the phrase and has done visionary work on understanding these company's success attributing it to a combination of elements such as a great CEO, they have access to capital that allows them to experiment and innovate in unique and uncharted ways, they've become the virtual operating system for their categories, they're seen as good corporate citizens, they're geographically close to a major engineering university, they control their own vertical distribution, along with several lesser factors. Scott is putting his money on Netflix as the next $300Bn company.

Netflix added 3.2 Mn international customers in Q3, blowing the doors off analyst predications of 2 million. The increased quarterly revenues by 31% to $2.3Bn and causing the stock price to jump 20% to $119. It was at 126 last night. The company now has over 83Mn subscribers and just did a licensing deal with streeaming servcies in China. Of course, As Scott says, he gets this stuff wrong all the time.


If you're a regular reader, chances are you've seen quite a bit about how messaging is the latest disruptive platform in digital. It's also seeing the most growth in media spending. Facebook introduced message bots on Messenger and Whatsapp in April and brands are jumping on board with dollars. In Asia, companies have been connecting with customers on WeChat and Line for years.

Google once had the leadership position in chat with gChat on it's massive android presence, but it squandered that lead to Facebook and is now trying to recover with Allo, a third party smart messaging app that uses AI to make suggestions during conversations. That sounds annoying and misguided to me. But Google has also just started testing text response capability in ads on it's mobile ad network. If you haven't seen it already, some ads on your mobile phone will have a little messaging icon next to them. If you click the text bubble icon, it opens your default messaging app with a pre-populated, but editable text message to the advertiser's bot which can then provide service, help you shop or otherwise move you down the purchase funnel. This is one of a number of new media opportunities we should be exploring related to messaging. I see it being just as viable for B2B as it is for Consumer.

Bad news tweets

At the beginning of October, Twitter leaked acquisition rumors that it was in takeover talks with Alphabet, Comcast, Disney and Fox, the share price ticked up, then dropped about 20% a week later as the would be suitors each passed. Now it's being sued over share price which is at $17 today, down from it's high of $52 in 2015. The suit alleges that Jack Dorsey and other officers of the company changed their key growth metric from monthly average users and timeline views to Daily Average Users to mask a stagnation in user growth and engagement while these execs quietly sold off hundreds of millions of dollars of their own shares.

Snapchat envy

Snapchat must be doing something right. Facebook just rolled out changes to both Whatsapp and Messenger to add Snapchat-type filter and stories features. On Whatsapp, the new editing tools let you write or draw on photos and add captions in different fonts and colors, Messenger is rolling out its new Stories feature, called Messenger day in countries where Snapchat isn't popular yet. Messenger day lets people share illustrated, filter-enhanced photos and videos that disappear in 24 hours, just like the Snap. Even Twitter is getting into the act, with Twitter Moments, which is a way of aggregating Tweets you'd sent and received around a specific event or location, rearranging them into a story and saving it with a unique url to share. THAT could make an interesting advertising execution, no? Anyone want to look into it? Meanwhile, Snapchat has made some changes to their own platform to promote user content over sponsor content as it demotes the paid discover channels content below user stories.

Samsung's on Fire

Anyone who's been doing any travelling recently has been shaking their head over the constant announcements that Samsung Galaxy Note 7's are not welcome on planes because of the risk of their batteries catching on fire. You're not even allowed to have them in checked baggage. So the first thing I wonder everytime the Note owners are asked to come up to the podium for 'assistance' is what will happen to their phones? Do they mail them back to their house? Second questions is Why would someone still have one of those and the third question is Yikes, how much damage is this doing to Samsung?? Well, the figures came out this month and Samsung has announced that they're lowering their third quarter guidance by 5.4 Billion dollars. That's gotta hurt, huh? But that's just this quarter. the 5Billion in erased profits and 9.5 Billion in lost sales, plus the drop in the stock price since it announced the recall will cost it over 26 Billion overall.

Agile Marketing

The term agile marketing has become 4x more popular as a Google search since 2010 and there are more blogs and books written about it every day. In fact, it was one of the featured topics at the Richmond Executive Forums event that I just attended.

Since it's a relatively new concept, it can mean different things to different people, but the definition in Wikipedia says. it's an organizational effectiveness strategy that drives growth through focusing team efforts on those that deliver value to the end-customer.

It is an emerging practice in marketing which applies key principles of agile software developement to increase speed, quality, flexibility and effectiveness of a marketing department.

Agile marketers follow a process of plan, iterate, fail and succeed to keep them in line with the demands of the market, the business and the customer.

In agile environments, Cross-functional teams are empowered to make changes to campaigns, designs, even products, based on a prioritized list called a Backlog. They prioritize their work considering what changes will bring the most value to the business and the customer within a designated short span of time called a Sprint. Usually a Sprint is a two week period within which the team sizes the tasks they will be able to commit to accomplishing from the prioritized list. Each person takes responsibility for part of what needs to be done and they all work together, supporting each other to complete the work, the team delivers and presents their work, then does a quick retrospective to optimize their process for the next sprint. The next day, they start the process from the beginning with planning, prioritization, sizing and the work begins again.

Agile promotes innovation and creativity, it allows testing and fast failing to get to successful executions. It is flexible enough to respond to changes in the market situation or stakeholder needs without scope creep or having to replan an entire project. Because the only detailed plan is what will be included in the next sprint.

Trend spotting

And now, some news about the future:

One other presentation at the Richmond forums that stood out to me was a talk on How to think different, curate ideas and predict the future. It was a quick course in how to spot emerging trends. Non-Obvious trends. Which the author and presentor, Rohit Bhargava, defined as a 'Curated Observation of the Accelerating Present.'

A Non-Obvious Trend is halfway between an Obvious Fact and Wishful thinking. He gave us 5 habits to develop to help us see what other people miss. And I'll share them with you.

Habit 1: Be observant. Be aware of processes in action. A new waiter magically knows who gets what dessert by where each spoon was placed by the waiter who took the order.
Habit 2: Be Curious Empathize with Magazines Read magazines for people unlike you.
Habit 3: Be Fickle. Take notes with Sharpies, preferably on post its so you force yourself to be concise. Capture ideas without needing to fully understand them in the same moment
Habit 4: Be Thoughtful: Wait a moment, allow ideas to combine. Take the time to reflect on a point of view and share it in a considered way.
Habit 5: Be Elegant. This is my favorite. It means developing your ability to describe a concept in a beautiful and simple way for easy understanding.

Wouldn't it be great for our company if we could get better at predicting and capitalizing on trends? Let's all work on it.

The link above is to his presentation on SlideShare. His book, which he reissues every year, predicting new trends and scoring how he did on the ones before is called Non-Obvious.

A couple One Liners...

Google launched its Pixel phone Hardware and Software both totally developed, integrated and controlled by Google. A true answer to Apple.

Both Goldman Sacks and Unilever have created in-house content organizations

Interbrand ranked Philips as the 41st most valuable brand, which joins our ranking this year by Linkedin as the 37th most desired company to work for.

Videos feature in a quarter of search results

Has anyone thought of Sponsoring a Podcast as part of a content marketing strategy? Very targetable

Mobile ad spending overtook spending for desktop for the first time this month according to a report by PriceWaterhouse and the Internet Advertising bureau...

Halloween costume searches have an interesting new component this year. Hitwize reports the searches including the word Beard or Beards are up almost 20%

Friday, September 30, 2016

GE's Social Prowess

- GE on social
- Watch what Philips is up to in Health Tracking!
- Mobile users do what they do, not what they say
- Living in the Adjacent Possible
- Selling on Instagram
- Whatsapp What’s privacy?
- Amazon Subscription
- Ideas from GSI Search Summit

Bonus: Mark Hurst's Creative Good Podcast:

GE Social

I don't know if anyone's noticed, but GE is doing some really interesting things on their Social channels, often effectively encouraging follwers to generate content for them.

Their Insta account features beautiful, artful photos of science and engineering, shot by award winning photographers. These are often from unexpected viewpoints which make them really compelling and draw the viewer in to read about what the picture is. GE also sponsors #Instawalk, a program where thought leaders, influencers and superfans are invited into their facilities for a tour and encouraged to take photos and instagram them with this hashtag.

Their UN-Impossible Missions video series on You Tube showcases their expertise in experimental surroundings by attempting to disprove popular expressions like 'A Snowball's Chance in Hell'. Another YouTube campaign, #SpringBreakIt leveraged videos of advanced materials testing to spectacularly destroy items like a tennis ball, Travel mug, sneaker, shell, watch and more by crushing, blasting or dropping. It holds the same fascination as the #WillItBlend videos that Jonah Berger talked about at our DigiSummit. Their Pinterest account includes snarky boards like 'Hey Girl' where famous scientists like tesla, edison and Lewis try out pickup lines like 'Hey Girl, what's your sine, cause I feel like we're on the same wavelength or Hey Girl, did we just share electrons? Because I'm feeling a covalent bond between us. Shows off the big company's sense of humor.

On Vine, #6secondsciencefair showcased GE's quick bursts of educational inspiration and again invited viewers to add the hashtag to their own efforts. Vine's shooting star seems to have burned out a bit, but I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling that it still has a lot of untapped potential in our short attention span world.

Finally, their GE Reports section of their site hosts Debates, analysis and information using imagry and infographics. This is basically a news publishing site with some third party and guest content thrown in, it never mentions the word 'Innovation' but it demonstrates how active the company is in linking it's work to wider trends. GE publishes frequently and offers a subscription. This is where we're trying to get with our content marketing efforts on the Government and Healthy Society sites, so it's nice to see this validation of our strategy. Philips could also try some similar tactics on our Social Channels.


The Well-respected DigitalTrends Technology site reviewed the newly launched Philips Health Watch last week and gave it a favorable nod. For those of you who may not know, the Philips Health Watch joins the wrist blood pressure Monitor, the connected scale and body temperature monitor as part of the Philps Connected Health Device Suite. And these will be joined by the connected toothbrush next year, all connected through the Philips HealthSuite Digital Platform. The watch has a metal body, a silicon strap and a heartrate monitor on the back, and the main interaction is via the wide metal bezel surrounding the screen. It tracks movement, sleep, calorie burn and heartrate and automatically recognizes when you start exercising, but's not a smartwatch, so there are no phone notifications. It's priced just a little less than Android watches, though it doesn't have nearly the functionality. But the big advantage is the HealthSuite Platform ecosystem.

Most health monitoring tools from other companies give us health measurements because we wnat to be healthier but they don't often give much feedback or coaching. But if you wear the watch and use the connected devices, it's all aggregated, visually in the healthsuite app. And next year it'll get even better because the app will use the data to run coaching programs developed by Doctors and Psychologists to help you reach your goals.

The Suite is not designed for athletes or casual fitess buffs, but for people -- most often mature people -- who have a chronic condition, want to lose weight or have been told by a doctor to change their lifestyle. The multi-data-point picure is an essential part of managing this. The app will see how much you move and progress and, through pre-generated intelligent responses, it will increase your goals incrementally.

It's an interesting product targeted to a rapidly growing niche audience, and it's looking good so far. To be really disruptive, we could provide an API and open the source code to developers to improve the efficiency and experience of the app and bring other data gathering tools into the mix.

The Paradoxes of mobile

Mobile is where everything is moving so it's important that we keep up with how people are using it. Some interesting Stats about mobile browsing, shopping and buying came to light this week from EConsultancy.

Over 90% of mobile users say they would prefer to browse for products on a Desktop/laptop or tablet rather than on their phone, but 65% of these same people regularly browse on their phones even though they're prefer to do it on their Desktops! Same with buying. why? convenience and availability trumps enjoyment. So that means that we need to be constantly working to make the mobile experience as enjoyable and easy as the desktop experience. Sellers who do that successfully are in for a windfall!

The same study found that people browse for products at least twice a week, usually on mobile and that they're 4x as likely to visit a store online as they are offline. And even though they do most of their browsing and shopping on Mobile, they still do the vast majority of buying on Desktops. So that means that most purchase journeys involve multiple devices and that we need to enable that as well.

Finally, all those mobile and desktop shoppers also shop in brick and mortar stores. And when they do, they're still using digital. Do they use in-store kiosks? Store-provided iPads or Digital assistance from iPad-wielding sales associates? Actually 60% of shoppers say their preference is to use Their own devices to look up or compare prices, to get product into, to check availability to find an item in the store and even to check out! But, surprise, only 20% of these same shoppers actually use their mobile when they're in a store. WHY?? Mainly because it's not possible to do most these things with your own mobile phone in most stores. One more thing omni-channel merchants need to enable and one more huge opportunity to differentiate and win in the marketplace!!

Living in the Adjacent Possible

I was reading an article about transformation the other day and came across the fascinating and very cool concept of the 'Adjacent Possible'. According to Steven Johnson, writing in the Wall Street Journal, This is a kind of shadow future, hovering at the edges of the present state of things. A map of all the ways the present can re-invent itself. It's the set of opportunities at the boundries of our reach. Boundaries which receed as we explore them, expanding the possibilities even further. For instance, North America was once an adjacent possiblity to Europe, and once discovered, it opened so many more possibilities, settlement, the West, government by the people, industries that never existed before, mass production, the new technologies that were needed to make these transformations happen.

We are in the midst of an exciting digital transformation here at Philips. Let's be aware of the adjacent possibilities before us and embrace them. To do this, we need 3 types of people. Pioneers, Settlers and Town Planners.

Pioneers are designers and engineers who chart new territory. They're comfortable with uncertainty and not afraid to fail, which they do often, but they look at failure as a learning opportunity. They are the inventors, early adopters and disrupters, always playing on the edge of the Adjacent Possible.

Settlers are the people who see and seize the opportunities once new possibilities are uncovered. They're entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs who excel at nurturing new products and practices and getting them to scale.

But maintaining scale is hard work and requires the specialized skills of Town Planners. The people who design operations, conduct research, QA, plan, provide structure, governance and leadership.

Clearly, all these roles are equally valuable but they occur more or less frequently depending on the maturity of the company or organization. Which are you? Which would you like to be? And how does each of these roles contribute to our digital transformation? We'll talk more about this over the coming months.

Instagram: The Store

Artistry enhances experience and therefore also enhances marketing. This seems like it should be self-evident, but maybe it's not. I talked about it on last month's call and our friend Maureen Mullens talked about it at the DigiSummit: The Advertising Industrial Complex is teetering because there's too much of it or maybe because too much of it is so bad. Meanwhile, Instagram established itself first as a social art form, and now, more recently as an incredibly successful marketing and even selling platform. Marketers are using Like2Buy, InstaShop or just directing viewers to an instagram page on their site that aggregates the items showcased on instagram for customers to purchase. But one fashion retailer, REVOLVE, has hacked the system by labeling posts on both Instagram and Snapchat with 'stylecodes. These are unique product identifiers like SKUs that can be searched on the retailer's Web site or Googled to get to a commerce page. However we do it, though, we should find a way to direct instagram users to mobile product pages becasue 2/3 of Instagramers have used their phone to make a purchase and 70% are willing to shop on mobile.

Whatsapp changes it's mind about privacy

Whatsapp became a popular Worldwide platform early on largely because of its strong stance on Privacy and individual liberty which grew out of it's founder, Jan Koum's youth in the Societ Union. The fact that it only requires a phone number to create an account, not a birthday or home address, and that it encrypts its users messages so only the sender and receiver can read them, has set it apart from Facebook. So some privacy advocates were concerned when Facebook paid 19 Bn to purchase the service in 2014, because they worried that their data might be misused at some point.

2 years later, those concerns have been validated. Though WhatsApp remains an automomous service and Mr Koum has repeatedly stated his commitment to the privacy of his Billion users, They've recently changed that privacy policy in order to help monitize their business. The company announced a couple of weeks ago that they'd begin to share user phone numbers and analytics data with Facebook as part of an initiative to unify information across the Facebook suite of businesses. Among the changes: WhatsApp plans to allow businesses to connect directly with customers in the same way as they do with Facebook Messenger and Facebook will be able to use a person's phone number ro improve other Facebook services like friend suggestions and better tailored advertising. These wouldn't be surprising if not for Koum's vocal opposition to having advertising on the service. Just a reminder that companies can change their mind about pretty much anything in their user agreement -- even their privacy policy -- as long as they inform the user. But this is a disappointment to people who signed up for WhatsApp rather than Facebook for just this reason. So we might see the FTC jump into the mix on this soon.

Amazon subscription

A New York Times article last month uncovered a situation that many Amazon subscribers may not be aware of. Everyone knows Amazon members can get a discount on products when they subscribe to have them delivered on a regular basis. And I'd bet most of these folks expect that, when they subscribe to a product, they expect to lock in the price. After all, that's the way it works with newspapers, magazines, netflix and beer of the month club. But that's not the case at Amazon. Amazon 'subscriptions' simply set up a timer to create individual orders and Amazon's terms and conditions state, somewhere in the middle of all that text, that the Subscribe and Save discount which is typically 5% or more, is applied to the price of the item at the time each order is placed. Keep in mind that Amazon also has a dynamic pricing model which increases prices for more in-demand items. So it stands to reason that for products that many people subscribe to, prices could go up. And they often do so significantly,

Artificial Intelligence reviews content

I was at the GSI search conference last week and heard David Tsau, the Digital Leader from CDW talk about some really interesting and innovative programs they were piloting to improve the user experience on their product pages. I asked him if I could share some of his strategies with you on this call and he said he'd be happy to have our thoughts and feedback on what they were doing. He made a really interesting point starting out. He said their goal used to be to increase traffic on their pages, but now the goal is to improve the user experience with the expected result being higher traffic and better engagement. So here are a couple of interesting things they're doing...

First of all, CDW is an IT equipment distributor. They sell everything from Network Servers and Routers to Desktops and Laptops to cables and accessories. And they also have a services business that helps customers set up and maintain their infrastructure. But most of their traffic goes to their product detail pages and he noticed that their PDPs were almost exactly the same as their competitors pages, on NewEgg and Zones. So they needed to differentiate their pages from their competitors.

At the same time, his content people were getting frustrated because They create a lot of content, from articles in magazines that they publish to blog posts to Case Studies and more. This content is distributed across a number of internal repositories and external platforms like Tumbler and LinkedIn. But their content wasn't getting good traffic. They were coming to his team to 'SEO this for us'.

Now David knew, as we all do, that's not the way SEO works. It shouldn't be an afterthought, content should be created based on keyword and social insight. If you know what people are searching for, and you make content to answer their need. Then you'll never have a traffic problem. In addition, much of the content was very difficult to optimize for search because it was on a platform like Tumbler which resists search optimization becasue it's hard for Google to index.

Does any of this sound familiar? Do we have these same challenges?

David's team came up with an idea to solve both of these challenges. Rather than trying to SEO the editorial pages after the fact, they decided to link to the articles, blogs, reviews and case studies from their relevant high-traffic PDPs. This would improve the user experience by providing the customer with deeper decision support information, it would drive higher utilization of the content, and, at the same time, it create a point of differentiation from their compeititors.

But the challenge was how to identify which content would work for each product. He only has 5 people on his Digital team and for the first tests, they assigned a few products to each of the people on his team and they each curated 4 articles for each product. They found that traffic to their related content increased dramatically, and conversion improved as well becasue it was easier for customers to make an informed decision. They didn't increase traffic because the Google algorithm doesn't work that way, it assigns authority for inbound links, not outbound links. But by differentiating themselves and improving the user experience, the increased the yield from the traffic they were already getting.

But the content curation process was extremely labor intensive. How could they scale? They ended up using the Watson Alchemy Artificial Intelligence API to analyze over 65K relatively recent articles to determine which articles were most relevant for which products. And now they're just adding those articles to the pages. They're also working on automating the process of adding relevant articles to Web pages.

Now, obviously, this is something we should look at doing with our content and PDPs. But the larger point is to strive for this kind of problem solving. It doesn't take a big team. It just takes a good idea and some open minds.

Friday, June 24, 2016

West Coast Inspiration II

- Jeremiah Owyang
- Facebook
- Amazon

- Change to Google SERP
- Microsoft buys LinkedIn
- Blake Cahill on Content Strategy
- LinkedIn's top 40 Employers

Special Bonus: A rare tour of Tech’s mind boggling HQs

On our last call, I told you guys about the first day of the California trip with the Personal Health Market and BG leaders. That first day, we had visited Google, Apple, AirBnB, Target and TechShop and had a consulting session with Charlene Li of Altimeter group. If you missed that and you'd like to catch up, you can go to our Digital Community Sharepoint at The deck is there and the transcript of my comments is in the speaker notes.

So today, I'm going to tell you about the rest of the trip which included Jeremiah Owyang, Facebook and Amazon. And I promised to share Google's second presentation about the Empowered customer. I'll also hit a couple of important pieces of News.

Google Empowered Consumer

Google's Empowered Consumer presentation was fascinating. We don't just 'go online' anymore we live online now. They talked about how life isn't lived in hours, days or weeks, it's really lived in moments. Micromoments that are associated with an immediate need: I need a new one moments, How do I fix this moments, Where do I find this moments, let's celebrate moments, where do I start moments, And as people everywhere try to make the most of each moment, brands need to understand the context and intent of these immediate needs and do their best to be there when they happen. The center of gravity is moving to the palm of consumers hands. And in these moments, consumers are far more loyal to their need than they are to any brand.

They had a new take on the funnel: The moments that matter are when a customer wants to know, go, do or buy. Most consumers are looking up more information than every before, even about what they see on TV Commercials. Searches that include the words 'near me' have doubled in the last year and more than 80% of people use their smartphone to search for places in the real world, like local businesses. Over 90% of people use their smartphones to find out how to do a task and more than 100Mn hours of YouTube How-To videos have been watched just so far this year. 80% of people use their phones to help decide on a purchase while they're in a store and mobile conversion rates are up almost 30% since last year.

1 in 20 searches are HealthCare related and since last year, most of them are on mobile devices. 156Mn people are online right now searching for a health solution!


We started our second day with Jeremiah Owyang from Alitimeter Consulting, talking to us about the collaborative economy. This is a relatively new business model that lets people use common technologies, like cell phones, to get what they need from other people. This new model has spawned a new class of workers, empowered people, Freelancers, and private companies to make this happen. Of course the most well known of these are Uber and AirBnB, but there are thousands of these. Jeremiah suggested we look for ways to shift products to services. For instance, BMW introduced their driveNow program to let people book a car and parking spot by the minute in a couple of cities. They look at the trends and see that there won't be enough sales volume in the future, so rather than selling 1000 cars to individuals, they're trying to sell 1 car 1000 times. Apple now has a subscription model for $40/mo where you always have their latest phone and if you lose or break your phone, you get another.

Facebook connection

From there, we headed to Facebook where their mission is to make the world more open and connected. Facebooks is proud of its Hacker Culture, putting people and innovation at their core, to achieve their goals. Their key tenets are... Be Open, Move fast, Be bold, Build social value, Focus on impact, Ship Love. And they have ambitious goals! Connecting the world is something they take seriously. Of the 7 Bn people on Earth, 2 billion don't know about the internet, a billion can't get it and another billion can't afford it. So they find themselves in the aerospace business. They've partnered with sattelite companies and governments to provide sattelite internet and they've built a plane with the wingspan of a 737 but that only weighs as much as a volkswagen. It can stay in the air at 90 thousand feet for 3 month at a time, beaming internet connectivity to a large area. They've also created Facebook Safety Check, a system that prompts people who are in an area where there was a natural disaster or terrorist attack to check in so their friends and family know they're safe.
Facebook wants users to think of them as something that's useful, fun, enhances their relationships, enriches them and protexts their privacy. Facebook cares about users more than advertisers and even more than money. They continuously work to improve the experience for the user and the money just follows.
They also manage people differently. People have no set hours, they can work whenever they want. They're evaluated by their peers. Everything on the campus is free, from coffee nooks stocked with every kind of drink and snack to full themed restaurants and bars to transportation via car, bus, train or bike. They have a barber shop and a dentist office and the central open space was designed by Disney Imagineers.

Their ambitious 10 year plan includes connectivity, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality and bot-based customer interaction from sales to service via messenger apps.


The next morning we were up early for the flight to Seattle and Amazon. We learned that Amazon is no longer just the world's largest marketplace, it's now the first stop online in most shopping journeys. More people start a search for a product at Amazon than at the top search engines or at all specific retailers combined. But it's also becoming the world's foremost logistics company. Having outstripped the capacity of UPS, FedEx and the Postal Service, they're now offering to pay customers to warehouse goods in their basements and attics and even make local deliveries. In many cities, they can now deliver within 1 hour of purchase.
India is a notoriously difficult place to ship anything to or from, but Amazon is now doing it. Customers in China can shop at Amazon in any country and have their Western purchases delivered to them within a week.

It was a great trip. But I only have a couple minutes left and I want to tell you about some Digital News.

Change to Google SERP

In the last week, more and more users have reported seeing the green labels instead of Yellow on paid search results in Google.. On Wednesday, Google confirmed with Search Engine Land that the switch is officially no longer a test and the green labels are rolling out to all users. Google says they're doing it to make the experience better, but it looks to me like it blends into the link and isn't as prominent as the yellow. They say that's not the case. but if it looks like a dog...

- Microsoft buys LinkedIn

Unless you've been on vacation or under a rock, you've probably heard by now that Microsoft bought LinkedIn for 26 Bn last week. Why? For the contacts. They want to incorporate them into Office 365.

- Blake Cahill on Content Strategy

Don't know if you caught it, but our own Blake Cahill often contributes to the eConsultancy blog and he had a really good one 2 weeks ago about Content Strategy and 8 reasons why it should be central to every marketer. It's a good read and very much in line with my thinking about how content and the user experience are key to marketing success.

- LinkedIn's top 40 Employers

And to end on a high point, Philips was ranked by LinkedIn as the 37th of the top 40 places people want to work in the whole world. So yay for us. We work at a great company.

Friday, May 27, 2016

West Coast Inspiration

- Charlene Li
- Google
- TechShop
- AirBnB

Special Bonus: Have your personality analyzed by Watson

Two weeks ago, the global digital team embarked on an entirely new kind of executive digital education. They sponsored a trip for all the worldwide Market leads from the Personal Health organization to San Francisco and Seattle. The purpose of the trip was to introduce all these Philips leaders to the most successful companies in the world. Companies we've often referred to on this blog as the 4 Horsemen. It was an immersive experience into how these companies leverage digital technology to change the way relationships are built with customers, to change how business strategy is built and goals are set as well as the way people are managed. It immersed them into Digital, New Business Models and Disruption. I was privileged to join the group for this experience and I'd like to share some of the insights and learnings with you now.

We started our first day with a talk and then a discussion with Charlene Li, one of the founders of Altimeter Consulting. Charlene's topic was Disruption. Disrupters shift power in relationships which leads to growth. She talked about nurturing disrupters in our company and building a disruptive organization. She showed how traditional businesses are being disrupted by digital upstarts. We've talked about many of these examples on this call.

Netflix has completely disrupted not only the video rental business, where it started, but also the TV and Film businesses. But it's well aware that it is swimming with sharks who are all out to disrupt their business, so their reaction is to disrupt their own business. First with streaming, then by producing their own award winning content and now through key partnerships. They know that to stay successful, they'll need to continue to disrupt. I'm sure our community members can name a number of other businesses who've had the same effect on other industries. This is a theme we heard over and over again. Disrupt to thrive, then disrupt to survive. To do this, leadership needs to push people out of their comfort zone and at the same time empower them by
Focusing on the Vision, Foster internal conflict with diversity, create entrepreneurs, provide structure and measurement and amplify with Digital. She said Create a culture of customer obsession. Another recurring theme.

Next stop was Google. They spent quite a bit of time talking about their company and culture.
A poster on the wall describes work rules for building a great culture: Give pepole slightly more trust, freedom and authority than you are comfortable giving them. If you're not nervous, you haven't ''given them enought.ATheir core values start with hiring great people and creating an environment where they can flourish and grow. They value diversity in people and ideas, and treat people with respect but challenge each other's ideas openly. They use data to make decisions. They expect a lot of people but working there is fun. It's challenging and energetic work environment where people enjoy each other and celebrate each others' accomplishments
They're all about technology, which they apply creatively to solve important problems.
They aspire to improve and change the world. Aim High. Think Big, Take Risks
Have a healthy disregard for the impossible
They strive to earn customerand user loyalty and respect every day.
User Experience comes before the money
And, of course.... Do the right thing. Don't be evil.

We ended that day with a visit to TechShop. This is a collaborative maker spaces that includes a metal machine shop, a wood shop, textile and fabric tools, a computer aided design studio, numerous 3D printers and anything else a person would need to build anything they can imagine. Not only are the tools there, TechShop offers classes in using all the tools and also features a community of makers who will help each other by teaching, mentoring or even contracting to build something that someone else needs. The creator of the mobile payments processing company Square built his first prototype here and many other businesses have been launched from this space. The San Francisco location we visited was the first TechShop, but now they're all over the country and in many parts of the world. The collaborative has a long list of requests from companies looking to jumpstart co-creation and municipalities looking to add this resource to their communities, all asking to sponsor a TechShop in their backyard.

The next day, we were off to AirBnB at their new offices in an old paper factory which they've completely transformed with a familiar open plan, conference rooms decorated like the apartments they rent and a huge open building foyer with a living ivy wall.

They presented to us about the Sharing Economy. A relatively new business model based on 3 principles: Access vs Ownership, Idle resources are made available, Matching Needs with Haves.
They mentioned that most people have a cordless drill/driver and most of these tools are used for a total of an hour and 45 minutes over the course of their lives. Seems like it would be better to rent one when you need one than buy one that you'll hardly ever use.

AirBnB was started by a couple of guys who decided to go online and offer to rent air mattresses on the floor of their apartment during a developer conference in San Francisco...And by the 3 people who took them up on that offer. The rest is history. They now make more than 2 Mn properties available in 191 countries, 34K cities and the company is valued at over $24Bn. Remember, this is a company that doesn't own a property outside of their headquarters. They bring together people who have a need for space with people who have unused space. Other companies have sprung up to help musicians who have instruments, audio equipment and practice space meet musicians who need these things. Or travelers who need a bike with local bike owners who aren't using theirs. And even to connect people who'd like to sport a high end purse with people who are willing to rent theirs. Why buy something when you can use someone else's whenever you need to? It's a big business. There are currently over 9K sharing companies, 24 of which are valued at over $1Bn and the sharing economy brought in over 26Bn in revenue in 2015. But that's nothing. By 2025, 53% of the us workforce will rely on primary or secondary income from the sharing economy which will generate over 335Bn in revenue.
Astonishing when you think that this kind of business didn't really exist before 2007.

Next month, I'll talk about what Jeremiah Owyang had to say about the collaborative economy and also share insights from our visits to Facebook and Amazon.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Google Changes the SERP

- Google changes the SERP
- Google Accelerated Mobile Pages
- Influencer influencing
- Digital and bad pizza
- Snap Vision
- B2B online

Special Bonus: Scott Galloway talks about the 4 horsemen

Google changes the SERP
The biggest news of this month actually happened last month but I wanted to see it in action a little bit before reporting on it so I could give you some good insight.

You may have noticed a pretty major change to Google's Search Engine Results Pages 9which search people call SERPs) Since February 18th. Paid search ads have disappeared from the right column They're just gone. And there are now up to 4 paid search ads at the top of the page above the organic results (There won't be 4 on every search, only on 'highly commercial queries' which are the most valuable search queries, including car insurance, mortgage rates, home equity line of credit. This is about 36% of searches) Finally, there will still be 3 more paid keyword ads at the bottom of the page. For a total of 7 ads.

Wow, huh?

I'm going to spend some time on this because 1. Any major changes to Google are important because they have the potential to change the face of digital marketing which will effect our business and 2. Because It also gives me an opportunity to spend some time on user experience and content quality, which as you know, are two subjects that are very close to my heart.

There's been a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth about this because with 7 ads on the page instead of 12, lot's of experts predict that cost per click will inevitably increase, maybe drastically because of lower supply of space and the higher Clickthrough rates of the ads. But that hasn't seemed to happen yet. Why?

Well, according to Wordstream data, only 14 and a half % of all clicks go to ads on the side or bottom-of-the-page. And the change only applies to Desktop, which is less than half of all searches. So only about 7% of queries are effected. And really less than that since Paid Keyword results at the bottom of the page will still be there.

Google says the change improves the User Experience and makes the experience more consistent from Desktop to Mobile, where the majority of searches now happen. Their data showed less visitors were clicking on the side rail so it's been eliminated. The 4 ads above the organic results at the top will have access to all the ad extensions, like Ratings, types, sub pages, addresses, phone numbers. And each extension makes the ads bigger. So those top 4 ads should be richer and therefore get more clicks. The other effect of these larger ads will be to push the organic results down the page even further. In most cases, and especially on mobile, searchers will have to scroll to see ANY organic results at all.

In addition, the new layout makes the ads look much more like organic results, so even though they're carry that little yellow 'Ad' label, 45% of consumers still don't realize they're clicking on and ad when they click the top links.

The right column now hosts knowledge graph content. This is when Google provides its own deeper information about a query beyond the links. For instance, if you search the name of a movie, the knowledge graph in the right column will show you the movie poster, the year it was made, who directed and starred in it, and links to movie reviews. Or if you search for a restaurant, the graph will show you a map, pictures of the restaurant, the address and phone number, type of food, zagat review, etc.

The only other thing that the right column will be used for is Product Listing Ads. Yes, ads, which are delivered as a carousel of vendor choices with pictures and pricing on searches for specific products. These used to appear in the center, but now have moved to the right where they'll stand out more.

So there will be more competition for the fewer paid search spots on the SERP. One way to win in this more competitive environment will be to pay more, but another way will be to have higher quality content in your ads. If CPC goes up. some companies will be squeezed out of the paid search market for the highest value keywords. That will mean more concentration on SEO, which for me will be a good thing. SEO is also about quality, relevant, customer-oriented content. And we need to get more consistently good at this because more than half of our Web traffic, both from Desktop and Mobile, comes from organic searches. So failure is not an option for us.

The big lesson, as always, is: know what your customers are looking for and provide valuable content to answer that need. Whether in paid or organic, that's what's going to get you to the top of the SERP.

How do we know what our customers are looking for? Come talk to us about it. The North America Digital Team is working with many of our brands to do Deep Keyword research which we call Customer Intent Modeling or CIM as well as Social Listening. These tell us what our customers are thinking about and talking about. what their challenges and needs are, what ideas they have and the words they use to describe them and search for solutions. That tells us what content we need to create. It also tells us where customers are finding their solutions, where these conversations are taking place and who is leading them.

There's lots more to say about this and I'll be expanding on this thread over the months ahead.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

Has anyone heard of the AMP project? This was started last October as an open source project by Google and Twitter to make Web pages load much faster to improve the Mobile user experience. It's just starting to be rolled out now, mostly by news organizations. It's kind of an open source equivalent to Facebook Instant News pages. AMP is a stripped down form of HTML. No Forms, limited very structured CSS, only a few standardized Javascript components, etc And it's designed to be light and cacheable. In fact, when Google indexes these pages, it will cache them for quicker delivery and it's expected that others will create cashing archives as well. The practice is intended for Moble pages as the name suggests, but it also works on desktop pages and I think we should start considering using AMP as we work on redesigns of our site. It's an easy way to do responsive design and it brings an elegant simplicity to pages on the desktop as well as quicker load times, which, combined with good content can also mean higher authority and search ranking.

Influencing Influencers

Some of you may have seen a note from Blake Cahill asking us to be vigilant about paying for influencers or native content. Lord and Taylor just received a costly and precedent-setting smack for what the FTC decided was misleading content around their 'Design Lab' campaign which featured both paid influencers and native published advertising content that looked like independent editorial. The company tried to make the case that it was using #designlab to indicated that this was part of a campaign. But the FTC wasn't buying and slapped them with a hefty fine. The lesson is that whether you're talking about an influencer or a publication that you're paying to represent you. The FTC rules state that
They have to give a truthful opinion,
They have to clearly disclose their affiliation/compensation
The brand has an obligation to monitor the 3rd party's activities to make sure they're complying
And if they're not, the brand has to make them correct or take down the non-compliant content.
In addition, for native advertising, Advertising messages not identifiable as advertising (based on the net impression to a reasonable consumer) are deceptive.

Digital and Bad pizza

In a disturbing development, pizza has become a harbinger of digital disruption in a bad way. The first ecommerce transaction happened in 1994 with an order for a pepperoni pizza from Pizza Hut. And now, according to L2, local pizzarias have lost 21% of their market share in the last 5 years to the well known purveyor of bad pizza, Dominos. Online ordering has grown 300% faster than dine-in. And DOminoes is the winner. I'm sad that if this trend continues a generation of kids will never know the wonder of watching a master toss a spinning pizza into the air and catch it on his fists to stretch it out the last few inches. As a New Yorker, I'm an avowed Pizza snob, like Jon Stewart, I don't recognize Chicago Pizza as actual pizza and I'm suspicious of anything that has pineapples on it, has a stuffed crust, or is made outside the safe borders of the NY Metropolitan area. But Dominos and Pizza Hut are the worst, like a virus which has crept into our world while we were sleeping. Their only resemblance to pizza is their overall shape. New York local pizza places need to step up their digital game

SnapChat's Vision

I mentioned on our last call that Snapchat recently caught up to Facebook in Video views. Which is a really impressive feat given that they did it in less than 2 years. One reason is that they've streamlined the process of capturing video in their mobile app. You tap the button to take a pic and just hold it to capture video. Nice, right? As a result, it's now the go-to app for capturing socialvideo which is moving it towards being the go to social media app period. So what else can they do to make their app easier to use? How about not having to take your phone out of your pocket?

SnapChat has never produced a physical product, except branded merchandise, but they launched SnapChat Research division in February of last year and they've been recruiting hardware experts, including about a dozen wearable tech vets, for a secret project. A hint? SnapChat bought Vergence labs at the end of 2014. Until they were acquired, Vergence manufactured and sold Epiphany Eyewear, a cooler-looking Google Glass clone that recorded video of what the Wearer sees, and 5 of their top people are still with Snapchat. They also have an eye-tracking expert, a glasses designer. So there are indications that we might see hands-free instant social video from snapchat soon.


In the B2B space, we often hear that B2B ecommerce doesn't work either because of the long sales cycles or the high ticket items. So I was interested to see a new report from Accenture that finds 59% of B2B organizations see a third of customers transactions happening online. 86% allow customers to make purchases on their site. Only 14% offer no online purchasing options. And 92% say email marketing is the most prevalent B2B tactic. But we already knew that, right?

Friday, February 26, 2016

Super Bowl!

- Super Bowl
- Private messaging comes of age
- B2B online
- Niche Technology

Special Bonus: Walk off the Earth cover of Adele’s Hello

Super Bowl

- Since the last time we got together, the Super Bowl came and went and with it another display of profligate advertising spend. A :30 spot on the superbowl now commands $5Mn to reach the game's 112Mn viewers That was a 11% increase in cost over last year for the 3rd largest TV audience of all time. Of course, as with all TV ads, many of the audience aren't interested in the brand's that are advertising. But on the other hand, according to a study by the National Retail Federation and Statista, 1 in 4 viewers are there mainly just to watch the ads.

But in a digital world, that begs the question: 'wouldn't the money be better spent on digital platforms that not only offer precise targeting but trackable engagement as well?' That same $5Mn would buy 250Mn Facebook video views, 10 days of YouTube Mastheads, 750Mn paid search impressions or 15Mn paid search clicks. In fact,

Gatorade did a weeklong snapchat campaign sponsoring a filter that animated the traditional pouring the Gatorade cooler over the subject of the snap. That weeklong campaign cost them 350K per day or half the price of a Superbowl ad and completely engaging and trackable.

Companies should especially be evaluating this in light of the decrease in effectiveness of Social Media extensions of the super bowl ad content this year over last year. Trickle down views of extended content were just about non-existent. In fact, the 4 extra snickers ads, 5 additional TurboTax ads, and 14 additional Shock Top videos that were available online only accrued a total of about 85K views. And interestingly, social uplift from SuperBowl ads was almost 3x higher BEFORE halftime than after. OK, enough about the Super Bowl and congratulations to whichever team won. Just kidding, I know it was Denver.

Private Messaging

We've spent quite a bit of time discussing messaging in it various forms on this call. I think I even mentioned that it seems like advertisers are starting to try to use native messaging to reach out to their customers. Most of that is spam now, but advertisers are getting smart about making text a notification option for many routine business transactions. For instance many sellers now offer the options of delivery updates by text and once you've said yes to that, you may be in for other updates, like promotions and such. I let Delta give me flight status updates by text and now I also get notices when there's a discounted fare on a route that I've flown and when I pass frequent flier milestones. We've also talked about the prevalance and popularity of private messaging apps like WhatsApp, Viber, Line, and WeChat. These have become vibrant communities of their own, some of which offer rich communication options like video and livestreaming.

Up until now, most of them have had a hard time monetizing these apps, but that's about to change. Facebook is about to bring targeted texts to it Facebook messenger app. And that means that it'll be coming to their WhatsApp service as well. It'll be pretty restricted at first and again, dependent on the consumer initiating a chat with a business. businesses will be able to send ads as messages to people who previously initiated a chat thread with that company. To prepare, the document recommends that businesses get consumers to start message threads with them now so they'll be able to send them ads when the feature launches. So fair warning.

And hey, how many Facebook fans do we have? Let's see if we can get them to engage in a text conversation with us. According to TechCrunch, Facebook has also launched a short url that instantly opens a chat window with that company, this is, reportedly, already operational, but I couldn't find a way to make it work.

Where Facebook goes, others will follow so look for this as the dawn of a new advertising medium. And with the young user-bases these apps have -- many hundreds of millions worldwide -- it's going to be a big important and powerful one, So let's get onboard and take advantage of the opportunity.


In the B2B space, we often hear that B2B ecommerce doesn't work either because of the long sales cycles or the high ticket items. So I was interested to see a new report from Accenture that finds 59% of B2B organizations see a third of customers transactions happening online. 86% allow customers to make purchases on their site. Only 14% offer no online purchasing options. And 92% say email marketing is the most prevalent B2B tactic. But we already knew that, right?

Niche Technology Technology Head Fakes

- Earlier this month, Scott Galloway released a bit of a rant about what he called Technology Head Fakes, calling 'LOSER' on anyone who's bought into technologies which will never rise beyond a niche market. At first look these are surprising because they've all recently been touted as the next big thing. The technologies are Mass customization, Internet of Things, beacons, 3D printing, and virtual reality. Scott is a bit of an agent provocateur and he's also the first person to say he gets this stuff wrong all the time. So let's dig into these a little bit. I'll tell you what I think, and you guys should feel free to jump in and agree or disagree.

Let's start with Virtual Reality. The hype around this has been deafening of late, with Samsung even opening a purpose built Virtual Reality studio in lower manhattan last month. Nonetheless, I agree with Scott on this, at least in it's current incarnation, because it requires a crazy looking headset and the 3D aspect of it literally gives many people a headache. I'm one of those people. So those seems like pretty significantbarriers to widespread adoption.

Internet of Things, we hope isn't limited to a niche becasue it's a significant part of our healthcare and lighting businesses. While there has been some overhype - connected blender? -- I think there's a lot of potential for wide adoption for many IoT applications.

Mass Customization. I strongly agree that this was a concept doomed to failure. A great example of this is Nike allowing people to pay a premium price to design their own sneakers. Now, remember, I'm not saying no one is going to do this. But I do think it will remain a niche because most people buy products from top brands becasue they like the edgy designs that the brands come up with. Very few people can out-design Nike.

Beacons - In case anyone doesn't know, Beacons are bluetooth devices that are being placed in stores around the country -- actually around the world. In a store, beacons use Bluetooth to detect nearby smartphones and try to bridge the physical and digital experiences, sending media such as ads, coupons or supplementary product information. I agree that nobody has figured out a way to make beacons really benefit their bottom line yet, certainly not in a directly trackable way. But I have seen some uses that positively impact the Customer Experience and that can only be a good thing. And remember, nobody made money with a Web site for many years after the Web started to happen. Beacon technology is still developing. So I think there's a good chance that we'll see them play an important role in the omni-channel environment.

3D printing - again, there are customers who will benefit from this tech. College engineering departments, manufacturers, etc. It IS exciting technology, but I've never been able to see how it's going to go mass market. Just print anything you need right in your own house. You'd have to keep a huge inventory of materials around to be ready to print whatever you needed on demand, The cost of the various materials is just too high. And it seems that there would be too much wasted material and energy. I think we're all waiting for a star trek type replicator anyway. Now THAT I'll be ready to adopt.


Couple random interesting stats...

Google made 74.5 Bn in 2015, and the new holding company, Alphabet reported earnings of 21.3 Billion just for the last quarter.

61% of retailers have a transactional moble app and half of retailers say 21-50% of their Web sales come from an app.

I've mentioned this before, but it bears repeating: 74% of all Web traffic will be video by 2017. This needs to be part of all our marketing strategies. And to be efficient, we need to look at how we can produce more video in-house. I'm not talking about fully produced ads on YouTube, but short, engaging videos on Vine, FB, Insta, etc. I'm very interested in your ideas about how to produce and use video in our marketing. Can you guys post some of your video-related successes in the comments?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Mobile Genius

- Mobile = Genius
- Brick and mortar non-stores!
- Snapchat takes on Facebook
- 2016 eCommerce eMail benchmarks
- Video holds eyeballs
- Niche Tech

Special Bonus: Internet Statstics Compendium (Caution: Addictive)

Mobile = Genius

More than 50% of Web searches now happen on a mobile device. That's why L2 Research has awarded Genius status to any brand that meets three criteria: They have a mobile first strategy, ranks number 1 on Google Mobile search for their brand term and uses the mobile technology for more than just an optimized site, for instance, they use location data to benefit either their visitor or their company. Clearly, WE'RE not there yet, but Home depot was a big winner in this space, which will be no surprise to anyone who has used their app. It lets you search for items and availability in a particular store, helps you find stuff when you're in the store itself and even let's you search for an item by taking a picture of it!! That's pretty cool cutting edge stuff but with slope of the current customer expectation curve, I predict these features will be table stakes for any brick and mortar retailer in the very near future. Maybe even this year.

Brick and mortar non-stores

Speaking of physical stores, here's an interesting trend that bears watching: we've talked over and over again about the death of pure play retail and how even giant etailers like Amazon will eventually need brick and mortar presence to fully succeed. Stores have been undervalued for years through the e-commerce era but as it turns out, they add tremendous value as local warehouses as well as distribution or pick-up points. They're also showrooms where customers can see and touch products before they buy them. Well, now a number of ecommerce companies are trying a different take on brick and mortar. They're building stores that aren't stores. For instance, the men's grooming brand Harry's has expanded from online only into a chain called Cornershop, a retro barbershop offering haircuts, shaves, beard trims and Harry's shaving products. Customers can book appointments online and use the 'cut archive' app to record their favorite haircuts and beards for future visits. The positioning of a neighborhood shop where customers can build long lasting relationships complements their messagoe of old-fashioned quality. Is there a lesson here for Philips? definitely. Though we probably missed the barbershop opportunity. What about pop up snack bars that sell food made with our Kitchen Appliances? Or sleep bars that offer people with respritory disorders the chance to try our SRC products while they grab a nap in a comfy bed in the middle of the day?

Another creative application of a real-world presence comes from the previously online only Trunk Club, This is a Style site where you input information about yourself and a personal stylist puts together a 'trunk' of clothes tailored to your needs. The unique trunks are shipped to each customer who only pay for what they decide to keep and returns the rest. The company just opened several 'Clubhouses' in a number of cities where customers can meet with a stylist in person, see, touch and try on the merch and even have a complementary beverage before they meet with their stylist. It's a whole new take on clothes shopping.

While we're on the subject. American Eagle, an established brick and mortar has gone well beyond just adding a Web presence. Since 2010 they've invested heavily in becoming a true omnichannel business. They persevered even as their stock price took a hit in 2013. They hired a Chief Digital Officer, Opened a Tech Center in Silicon Valley, introduced ship from store, built a state of the art fulfillment center and perhaps most important, rolling up ecommerce and retailer reporting so everyone was working from the same information. Their long game was rewarded last year as their stock price climbed 11% in just 6 months. Kudos to them for having a clear strategy, hanging in and doing it right.

Snap vs Facebook

A couple of calls ago, we mentioned that Snapchat was starting to position itself as a marketing platform as they made sponsored 'Lenses' available to Brands. These are branded filters or frames that users can put around their pictures garner up to 16Mn impressions. At 750K for special days, the pricing for a sponsored Lens rivals the cost of a super bowl ad. Snapchat also allows Brand accounts. But now the popular channel is reportedly building a sophisticated ad targeting platform to compete with Facebook. This may explain why they turned down an acquisition offer of 3 Billion from Facebook two years ago. Smart, because their current funding round just valued them at 16Bn. While Snapchats 100Mn users pale in comparison to Facebook's 1.2 Bn, the demographics of Snapchats 18-24 dominated user base, and it's younger group of users with a potential for exponential growth are clearly compelling to brands. A study shows that marketers who are active on Snapchat and post daily, maintain an average of 9 posts/day. Much higher than averages of 1.8 on FB, 2.3 on Insta and 3.3 on Twitter. Then again, Snapchat could fade away in a couple of years and never be though of again. FB's not going anywhere.

ECommerce email Benchmarks

I touch on this every couple of months, but it bears repeating because marketers tend to think of email marketing as old or passe. The fact is email marketing is the gift that keeps on giving. I think I mentioned last month that a quarter of all black friday weekend traffic was driven by email. But how many emails did it take to drive that traffic? How do you define email success? Great question and one that a recent study by Remarketry is helping to answer as they provide some email benchmarks for 2016.
If you send out a regular email newsletter, you can expect an open rate of 23.4%. 17% of those will click on something in your newsletter and 1% of THOSE will likely convert. If you beat that, you're doing something very right.
But once people have bought something from you, the story changes pretty dramatically. Order follow up emails get a 46% open rate. CLick rate is 16% and 5% of those people will convert, though probably not to another sale right away. People ARE willing to give feedback though, they'll RATE SOMETHING or sign up for a loyalty program once they bought something so let's capitalize on that. Could be a way to increase our ratings and reviews
When someone hasn't seen anything from you for a while, they're more likely to pay attention, this includes inactive customers. 38% of them will open an email from a brand that they haven't done business with in a while, 19% will click and 2.5% will convert
Maybe the best opportunity is email follow ups to cart abandons. 46.6% of people who've abandoned a shopping cart will open an email about it. 28% of them will click and fully 5% will convert to a sale. So let's make sure we're following up on cart abandons. Otherwize, we're leaving a lot of money on the table.

Fun video stats

I want us to do more video in 2016. Lot's more. And I don't mean fully produced 2 or 10 minute videos that only live on YouTube. I mean Vines and Snapchats and Instagrams and even animated gifs and jpgs. They're just more involving and people look at them longer than static images And as long as they're looking at them, they're thinking about our brand. Here are a couple interesting stats...
Snapchat now delivers 7Bn video views per day. That's up 1Bn views year over year. And only a Bn short of Facebook but with only .1% of the users. Wow!
Periscope has delivered 100Mn live broadcasts in the last 10 months and it just became autoplay on twitter which could geometrically impact it's growth.
People watched 12Bn hours of Netflix in the last quarter of 2015. That was a 70% increase Year over Year, in case you were wondering why the bars are all empty.

Niche Technology

Earlier this month, Scott Galloway released a bit of a rant about what he called Technology Head Fakes, calling 'LOSER' on anyone who's bought into technologies which will never rise beyond a niche market. At first look these are surprising because they've all recently been touted as the next big thing. The technologies are Mass customization, Internet of Things, beacons, 3D printing, and virtual reality. Scott is a bit of an agent provocateur and he's also the first person to say he gets this stuff wrong all the time. So let's dig into these a little bit. I'll tell you what I think, and you guys should feel free to jump in and agree or disagree.
Let's start with Virtual Reality. The hype around this has been deafening of late, with Samsung even opening a purpose built Virtual Reality studio in lower manhattan last month. Nonetheless, I agree with Scott on this, at least in it's current incarnation, because it requires a crazy looking headset and the 3D aspect of it literally gives many people a headache. I'm one of those people. So those seems like pretty significant barriers to widespread adoption.
Internet of Things, we hope isn't limited to a niche becasue it's a significant part of our healthcare and lighting businesses. While there has been some overhype - connected blender? -- I think there's a lot of potential for wide adoption for many IoT applications.
Mass Customization. I strongly agree that this was a concept doomed to failure. A great example of this is Nike allowing people to pay a premium price to design their own sneakers. Now, remember, I'm not saying no one is going to do this. But I do think it will remain a niche because most people buy products from top brands becasue they like the edgy designs that the brands come up with. Very few people can out-design Nike.
Beacons - In case anyone doesn't know, Beacons are bluetooth devices that are being placed in stores around the country -- actually around the world. In a store, beacons use Bluetooth to detect nearby smartphones and try to bridge the physical and digital experiences, sending media such as ads, coupons or supplementary product information. I agree that nobody has figured out a way to make beacons really benefit their bottom line yet, certainly not in a directly trackable way. But I have seen some uses that positively impact the Customer Experience and that can only be a good thing. And remember, nobody made money with a Web site for many years after the Web started to happen. Beacon technology is still developing. So I think there's a good chance that we'll see them play an important role in the omni-channel environment.
3D printing - again, there are customers who will benefit from this tech. College engineering departments, manufacturers, etc. It IS exciting technology, but I've never been able to see how it's going to go mass market. Just print anything you need right in your own house. You'd have to keep a huge inventory of materials around to be ready to print whatever you needed on demand, The cost of the various materials is just too high. And it seems that there would be too much wasted material and energy. I think we're all waiting for a star trek type replicator anyway. Now THAT I'll be ready to adopt.