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%