Rethinking Marketing

Four links that will make you rethink

These are four “must read” articles that will make you rethink — rethink marketing, rethink business, rethink work and rethink life. I read a lot of great content online. I share a lot of it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, but today I’ll share four that I think are particularly amazing. They’re not necessarily articles that are related to marketing, business, work and life, but you can apply it to those areas.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did

  • [Rethink Marketing] The Lone Ranger represents everything that’s wrong with Hollywood blockbusters. The blockbuster is based on a make-or-break type formula. As Hollywood blockbusters get lazier, they depend more and more on marketing to make their numbers. It’s not sustainable. In fact, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas are predicting the “implosion” of this system. The over-dependence on scripts and marketing and less on creativity and uniqueness is — quite frankly — not limited to Hollywood. All in all and interesting read about the blockbuster process.
  • [Rethink Business] Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post. But so did Amazon / Target buys another dotcom, eyes on e-commerce prize. Two articles that illustrate just how fascinating business is right now. One the one hand, one of the pillars of the e-commerce world, Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon) just bought The Washington Post and on the other, Target continues to buy e-commerce platforms. The so-called “traditional” world and digital world are coming together. It’s no longer about one versus the other. We live in very exciting times.
  • [Rethink Work] Brave new work: Making the 9-5 somewhere you want to be. Work is broken. “We ended up in containers that are no longer relevant, we still think about work as a destination when we should think about it is as an activity.” One of the major issues stated here is technology — or rather misuse of technology. Why email a document back and forth, save various versions all over the place, when one collaborative document will do the trick? For the first time we live in a world where we’re more technologically advanced at home than we are at work. So the onus on business to make employees more engaged with work. Of course, technology isn’t the only source/solution to the problem…
  • [Rethink Life] High-end stores use facial recognition tools to spot VIPs. If there’s one things celebrities hate, is not being recognized. Or maybe they prefer the anonymity. Who knows? Anyway it doesn’t matter. They’ll increasingly have the first option — like it or not. A new piece of technology that retailers can install uses facial recognition to notify staff that a celebrity has just walked in. I’m guessing it’s so that they can serve them better than the regular customers. Regardless, this won’t be a feature reserved for celebrities for very long… Facebook made sure of that.

That’s it for this week, what are you reading right now?

(Photo credit: David Sifry)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Read more

Four links that will make you rethink

These are four “must read” articles that will make you rethink — rethink marketing, rethink business, rethink work and rethink life. I read a lot of great content online. I share a lot of it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, but today I’ll share four that I think are particularly amazing. They’re not necessarily articles that are related to marketing, business, work and life, but you can apply it to those areas.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did

  • [Rethink Marketing] Magic Beans (Three steps to a successful marketing promise). There are three elements to a successful marketing promise: the prospect has to be open to hearing the offer; the prospect has to want to believe your story; and your story has to be true. If your marketing is failing, there’s a problem with one of the items.
    • Why are your prospects not listening? Is it because you can’t reach them or the story isn’t resonating?
    • Why don’t they believe you? Is it because it sounds shady or too good to be true or you’re telling the wrong story to the wrong people?
    • Is your story even true? Do you deliver what you promised?

The real sales will come only when all three are in sync.

  • [Rethink Business] Elon Musk is the coolest rich guy on earth. Elon Musk made his money with PayPal (or more precisely when eBay bought them for $1.5 billion) and he’s now on a quest to change the world of transportation. His most famous project is Tesla Motors — high performance electric cars that are set to make a big splash in Canada and the US in the next few years. His other company SpaceX is the first private company to ship goods from earth to the International Space Station. And he’s hinting at another project — some sort of an ultra high speed transport that would bring people from LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes. Why is he an inspiration to rethink business? Not because he rethought online payments, put a dent in the century-old automobile industry or the space industry or because he might do the same with mass-transit, but because he dares to dream bigger. Actually, it’s not only that he dreams bigger; he executes the dream. I think more companies should take a page out of his book. Out with the stuffy, in with the scary.
  • [Rethink Work] The secret to your success? Make others successful. I’m a fan of Tim Brown and his company IDEO. I haven’t worked with them but I love what I’ve read and heard — IDEO has invented and reinvented products and services you use each day. So when Tim Brown talks about success, you listen. The advice? You’ll be successful when you help others be successful. It’s advice you’ve probably heard before. Every “great” needs a team. Everyone gets stuck, needs inspiration and support. Tim Brown is fearful when in an interview someone uses “I” instead of “we” a lot. It can indicate that the person will not help his colleagues and colleagues won’t help him. And that’s usually a recipe for disaster. The other side of the coin, which isn’t covered in the article is this — if you’re interviewing for a company, how can you find out if they foster a “lone ranger” type of mentality or they truly favour group work. It’s worth investigating. It’s a matter of success…for you.
  • [Rethink Life] Can an audiobook change your life? Another Seth Godin post this week. I read 10-12 books a year — nothing much by some standards, but 10-12 more than what most people read. The most common reason for not reading you will have guessed is time. Or lack thereof. Of course, the reality is you do have time. Most of us have stretches of time with — quote/end-quote — nothing to do. Kindle allows you to easily pick up a book and read for 5 minutes while waiting for the dentist. But audiobooks…they allow you to gain knowledge while on the road, walking, working out, gardening, etc. When I first got back into reading it was the audio version of Seth Godin’s Linchpin, Gary Vaynerchuk’s Crush It! and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story by Donald Miller that got me initiated again (all three links are affiliate links). Pick-up an audiobook, change your life.

That’s it for this week, what are you reading right now?

(Photo credit: David Sifry)

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
Read more

Four links that will make you rethink

These are four “must read” articles that will make you rethink — rethink marketing, rethink business, rethink work and rethink life. I read a lot of great content online. I share a lot of it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, but today I’ll share four that I think are particularly amazing. They’re not necessarily articles that are related to marketing, business, work and life, but you can apply it to those areas.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did

  • [Rethink Marketing] A different approach at Google Ventures. I’ve long believed that companies needed to take a different approach to growth. Although not available to all, investing in and developing start-ups is one way. Not only does it provide additional revenue, it gives the company a first look on what’s next. It also helps to demonstrate just how much the company is willing to be innovative. Google is a great example. How they structure Google Ventures is interesting. Marketing is slowly evolving from advertising, stunts, tweets and PR to something a little more holistic — based in value, innovation and service. Being able to develop something new that breaks the current system is the next marketing.
  • [Rethink Business] What’s wrong with job interviews, and how to fix them. Turns out job interviews as we know them are broken. They’re broken because of the interviewer’s biases and they’re often set-up to compare apples and oranges. The process leads us to hire the wrong person for the job. A thorough article about what’s wrong with the interview and how to fix it. Well worth the read.
  • [Rethink Work] Too much collaboration is hurting worker productivity. The work environment is changing. The cubicle farm is dead, the collaborative space is in. Collaboration is the new saviour…employees working together to solve problems in new and creative ways. From experience, it’s great… until it isn’t. Turns out too much open space is a problem — collaboration is great until you actually need to get stuff done. When people are constantly brainstorming and collaborating around you, it’s hard to focus on what needs to get done. The trick then is finding the right balance between serendipitous collaboration and solo-time. Find out how companies like Intel and Steelcase are dealing with the issue…
  • [Rethink Life] On teaching people a lesson. Remember the last time you wanted to teach someone a lesson? If only they could understand…they’re wrong, they’re not doing it right, they’re just plain stupid. The problem is the person who needs to be taught a lesson is usually the one who won’t and can’t be taught. By setting down that path, you’re actually setting yourself up for failure and frustration. More often than not, it’s better to politely remove yourself from the toxic situation and continue down the path you were meant to go and focus on the ones who want to learn and grow…

That’s it for this week, what are you reading right now?

(Photo credit: David Sifry)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Read more

Four links that will make you rethink

These are four “must read” articles that will make you rethink — rethink marketing, rethink business, rethink work and rethink life. I read a lot of great content online. I share a lot of it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, but today I’ll share four that I think are particularly amazing. They’re not necessarily articles that are related to marketing, business, work and life, but you can apply it to those areas.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did

  • [Rethink Marketing] The curse of frequency. In marketing “[i]f you promote something twice to one hundred people it will lead to more sales than if you promote it once to two hundred people.” Sad, but true. The real problem is when persistence becomes annoying. You know, Jeff Bezos from Amazon once said, “advertising is the price to pay for having an unremarkable product or service.” If that’s the case, frequency is life support. Sure, we need to sell, but marketing must learn to be better. It sounds easy to say…perhaps, but would you rather be unremarkable?
  • [Rethink Business] Business needs a plan B. Sir Richard Branson is putting together the B Team with a handful of partners. Their goal is to deliver a “Plan B” for business — a new way of doing business that prioritizes people, the planet as well as profits. Their three initial challenges to tackle will be “The Future of Leadership,” “The Future Bottom Line,” “The Future of Incentives.” Say what you will about Richard Branson, he does view business differently than most. It’s an interesting initiative. Too bad we need an initiative to make businesses realize they should people and planet at the same level as profit… That being said, it could just be the beginning of something new.
  • [Rethink Work] Is this the perfect way to hire? I’ve had an issue with job postings for a while. You see, they really don’t say much about a job or the company at all and they allow (encourage?) the candidate to “fake it.” This is a different take on it. It not only filters out lazy candidates and helps the company find the truly motivated applicants, it also forces the company out of its own laziness and complacency. If you’re asking candidates to answer and industry/company problem you, as a company, need to know them as well. It’s also an awareness exercise — how creative do you really want your staff to be? Worth the read and worth forwarding to HR/Senior management.
  • [Rethink Life] Detroit’s recovery plan dips into pensions to keep city afloat. Detroit’s not doing well these days. It lost a quarter of its population since the year 2000, it just missed out on a $39.7 million debt payment (and has about $1.5 billion in such payments to make) and might be headed towards the US’s largest municipal bankruptcy. They want to save some money by reducing existing pensions. It’s a sad story really, but I think it can be a lesson for us. What used to be called a stable job with great benefits is all but gone. Even government-type jobs aren’t safe. I’m always fearful when someone says they have a job with amazing benefits. It’s great if you can take advantage of it. It’s not so great when you’re dependent on it. Putting employees first does not mean forking over tons of cash in the form of benefits. Give us a little more credit — we’re more complicated than that… way more complicated.

That’s it for this week, what are you reading right now?

(Photo credit: David Sifry)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Read more

Four links that will make you rethink

These are four “must read” articles that will make you rethink — rethink marketing, rethink business, rethink work and rethink life. I read a lot of great content online. I share a lot of it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, but today I’ll share four that I think are particularly amazing. They’re not necessarily articles that are related to marketing, business, work and life, but you can apply it to those areas.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did

  • [Rethink Marketing] Google’s best perk: The library in building 42. The article suggests that the best perk Google offers is the not the free meals or the nap zones. It’s the library in building 42 with books ranging from linear algebra to sales negotiations. Why is that a perk? After all the Internet has all that information and more and any employee can look up whatever they like. This passage sums it all up for me is “[i]t is a great feeling when someone takes interest in your education.” Sure comfort and amenities are great, but the only thing that really fuels a company’s growth is it’s employees and their knowledge. Feeding their curiosity is probably the best investment a company can do. What does that have to do with marketing? Tell me, how much do you foster curiosity and knowledge in your marketing team? “Those investments provide compounding benefits to the company. First they engender tremendous feelings of goodwill. Second the education improves our performance and helps us better achieve our potential. Third they serve as fantastic recruiting differentiators.”
  • [Rethink Work] Creating career longevity isn’t about length of years. Just over a year ago, I had to hire someone for my marketing team. One of the concerns for the guy I picked was that he had changed jobs quite a bit. Was he dedicated? Was he able to commit? The world of work has completely changed in the 10 years I’ve been out of school (actually, the change started way before that). It used to be that you stayed at job until retirement and it’s funny how that just doesn’t make any sense anymore. The article mentions that the average job tenure in the US is now 4.6 years — and that doesn’t take into account the growing number of freelancers and entrepreneurs. I read somewhere that in a few years 40% of the working population will be just that: entrepreneurs and freelancers. Nilofer Merchant’s article outlines the 3 pillars of a great career: Don’t be a Luddite, Share and Avoid Ghettos. Here’s to the squiggly career!
  • [Rethink Life] German railways deploys surveillance drones. If you’ve been at all following the news, what information is available about you and what governments are doing with it is a hot topic. A German railway is planning on deploying flying drones to catch taggers and graffiti artists. It’s not a far stretch of the imagination to see how that could only be the tip of the iceberg. For some reason the following passage from 1984 comes to mind:

    “There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to.” — George Orwell in “1984”

    We’re creating a world that’s vastly more different than most could have imagined — for better and for worst. No lesson here, just food for thought.

What are you reading right now?

(Photo credit: David Sifry)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Read more

Four links that will make you rethink

These are four “must read” articles that will make you rethink — rethink marketing, rethink business, rethink work and rethink life. I read a lot of great content online. I share a lot of it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, but today I’ll share four that I think are particularly amazing. They’re not necessarily articles that are related to marketing, business, work and life, but you can apply it to those areas.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did

  • [Rethink Marketing] A futurist looks at the future of marketing. I think the title is self-explanatory — it’s all about rethinking marketing. The point that really sticks out to me is this: “The idea of having a separate marketing department is going to vanish.” I don’t agree with the reason he gives, but I do agree that marketing will become more ubiquitous throughout companies — working hand-in-hand with sales, customer service, R&D, etc. This both a challenge for marketers (what is it then to be a marketer?) and a great opportunity (integrating the brand’s USP at every layer of the company).
  • [Rethink Business] Marissa Mayer is bringing back the Internet portal. Here’s why. The early days of the Internet (Web 1.0) was all about portals — AOL, Yahoo!, Alta Vista and others. Google and Facebook killed that. Information became scattered throughout the World Wide Web. Or did they really kill it? Think about Google’s ecosystem. What about Facebook’s? Both companies are now way more than search and social networking…they’re about email, advertising, location, information sharing, etc. The Internet portal is alive and well. Why? Because of information…these new portals know more about you than ever before. And the more properties they add, the more they know. So what does that have to do with business? Things are not always what they look like on the outside. Your business, especially if you work at a larger company is an ecosystem. How can HR, Marketing, Sales, Customer Service, R&D combine to get better information about employees and customers to give better services to both?
  • [Rethink Work] Asking for a precise number during negotiations can give you the upper hand. I love this type of article. Using the fields of psychology, sociology, anthropology, biology, etc. to improve your day-to-day life. When’s your next job interview or salary negotiation? This research shows that giving an exact number is more powerful than a vague one. It conveys confidence and knowledge — the perception is that you are informed about the true value of the offer being negotiated. So asking for $55,455 is better than asking for $55,000. It shows you truly understand your value. I would make sure I can back it up…
  • [Rethink Life] Are Canada’s VCs missing the mark? Arlene Dickinson is one of the investors on Dragons’ Den (If you’re in the US, think of the show Shark Tank). She feels Canadian Venture Capitalists are missing the mark. They’re looking for the big fish. The next Facebook or Google. Her investments tend to be more traditional and offer consistent, but smaller payoffs. Think for a second what that means for you. If you agree with Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha (The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career — Affiliate link) that you should approach your career as if it were a start-up. How are you approaching your life? Are you looking for the big payoff — the crazy cool job with the monster salary or the huge client with the deep pockets? or are you aiming for smaller and maybe more consistent victories?

What are you reading right now?

(Photo credit: David Sifry)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Read more

Four links that will make you rethink

These are four “must read” articles that will make you rethink — rethink marketing, rethink business, rethink work and rethink life. I read a lot of great content online. I share a lot of it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, but today I’ll share four that I think are particularly amazing. They’re not necessarily articles that are related to marketing, business, work and life, but you can apply it to those areas.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did

  • [Rethink Marketing] What can you expect from me as an evangelist. The post was written by my friend Frédéric Harper. He’s leaving his Tech Evangelist job at Microsoft and is looking for another gig. What stood out for me is how the job of evangelist (or advocate or advisor if you prefer) is, in fact, a marketing job. Marketers need to understand that their role is that of an evangelist. It’s about hitting the pavement and meeting your customers and potential customers. Sure it’s also about translating that online, but if you’re spending your day putting together newsletters, fussing about SEO results or tweaking your strategy, you’re completely missing out. We live in a Thank You Economy; marketers need to understand they are brand evangelists. [Side note: Fred is an amazing guy, if you are looking for someone, please reach out to him, you’d be silly not to.]
  • [Rethink Business] Transparency aids the fight against corruption. The article will naturally be of interest to anyone living in Quebec right now. The premise is that technology (the web, social media, mobile phones, etc.) is making our world more transparent — for better or worst. One of the better side effects is it will lead to the reduction in corruption. We’re in a world where anyone can be an investigative reporter; a more transparent world where it’s easier to voice your opinions and insights to the world. Think about what that means for your business. Employees can rate you online and they can take pictures and videos of goings on. Slowly you have less and less pull. It’s not a watershed of course, but drop by drop, the very nature of your existence is completely changing. The world we’re living in can help topple governments, expose corruption and unfair practices like never before.
  • [Rethink Work] Taxes on some wealthy French top 100% of income. There’s nothing wrong with taxes per se. You’re paying for services in the same way you would pay for a taxi or a VA. There’s sometimes a question of accountability of course, but that’s slowly changing (see previous post). But this is a little over the top. Last year some wealthy French citizens were taxed 100% of their income. A year’s work gone to the government. Sure, it was a special occurrence, but there’s something that doesn’t feel right, no? It definitely makes you think about who you are working for. I think Governments are going to suffer the same fate that businesses have for the past 10 years…loss of control and dominance. This article demonstrates why it could be a welcomed change…
  • [Rethink Life] How engineers are building a new railroad under New York City. I’m not sure where to place this article. I think our biggest challenge in the years to come will be distribution. Moving people, goods and information around in an efficient way. Of course, this isn’t a new problem. But it’s taken on a new dimension. Technology is allowing us to do things that we never thought possible. For example, the Internet has completely disrupted and broken some distribution channels (music, publishing, newspapers) for the better. The consequence I think is two-fold. One, people are expecting “instant” and two, it’s allowing us to do more from “wherever.” So while I expect everything to be available right away, I’m expecting to be able to do what I need to do wherever. Makes sense? Some have said that the new world will lead to an increased urbanization. It’s the opposite, people will live wherever they please — “I don’t need to travel 2-3 hours a day to go to an office, I have everything I need in with my iPhone and laptop, but if I need something like groceries, I expect them to be easily available or if I do need to move around, I need it to be quick and easy.” We’re entering a world of increased fragmentation of population, which means a fragmentation of delivery. In other words, we need a mass customization of delivery. Moving people, information and goods from point A to point B in an efficient way, but your point A and B are completely different than mine. That’s why Amazon is working on same-day delivery and why companies like Uber, Waze and Airbnb are exploding. Fragmented distribution…the challenge of tomorrow.

What are you reading right now?

(Photo credit: David Sifry)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Read more

Four links that will make you rethink

Today again, I thought I would share with you four “must read” articles that will make you rethink — rethink marketing, rethink business, rethink work and rethink life. I read a lot of great content online. I share a lot of it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, but today I’ll share four that I think are particularly amazing. They’re not necessarily articles that are related to marketing, business, work and life, but you can apply it to those areas.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did

  • [Rethink Marketing] Official: Google Confirms “Conversational search” is live on Chrome. This might not sound like much or it might not sound like a marketing lesson, but it is. What Conversational search is, it allows you to search Google through voice command on your computer (you’ll need Google’s browser for that). The cool element is this: you can converse with it. Let’s say you ask it to search for “Barack Obama,” Google will deliver some results. If you want to refine your search all you need to say is “when was he first elected to office?” and Google will know you’re talking about President Obama and deliver those results. Whenever I see something like that I can’t help but think of marketing and how quickly our world is evolving. Sure this will probably impact some SEO stuff, but I’m talking on a much larger scale. On the one hand it’s hard to make sense of it all; on the other, we need to move with it. Scary and so very exciting. How are you keeping up with it all?
  • [Rethink Business] Carney’s parting advice: Capitalize on Canada’s natural advantages. One reason Canada did so well compared to the other G7 countries during the current economic crisis is Mark Carney, the soon-to-be ex-governor of the Bank of Canada. He accepted the job at the Bank of England — a country that’s still struggling from the downturn. The policies he implemented helped Canada weather the storm so to speak. I don’t know that he deserves all the credit, but part of it for sure. In his last public speech before leaving, he argued that Canada needs to develop its strengths, expand in developing regions and “continuously invest in our workforce. With technology and trade transforming the workplace, the need to improve skills across the spectrum of work has never been greater.” Whether you’re a Canadian company or not, there’s a lesson here. What does this mean for you? Are you expanding your client-base beyond the US and Europe? Are you investing in your skills and technology? That’s where the future lies… I think the advice works for everyone from small and large businesses to freelancers and entrepreneurs.
  • [Rethink Work] Retirement is not an option. It’s the beginning of the end. Pickens is somewhat of a financial tycoon. He turned 85 this week and isn’t planning to retire anytime soon. Although his behaviour might be extreme for some people, it’s his philosophy I admire. More and more of us have the incredible opportunity to do the work we love and when you achieve that, it doesn’t feel like work and you can go on forever. Are you still working for your weekends? Are you just waiting for retirement?
  • [Rethink Life] Ken Robinson: How to escape education’s death valley. Our world is changing and fast. Look around you. It’s hard to deny. Yet, education is still teaching our kids how to operate in an industrial age. Are we teaching our kids the skills they need to succeed? Our education focuses on conformity and averages and it prepares them to look for jobs that frankly might not exist by the time they are done with school. Sir Ken Robinson tackles this theme again in his third TED Talk. His Talks are some of the most watched and with reason. If you have 18 minutes, do yourself a favour and learn how we can escape education’s death valley.

What are you reading right now?

(Photo credit: David Sifry)

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
Read more

Four links that will make you rethink

Today again, I thought I would share with you four “must read” articles that will make you rethink — rethink marketing, rethink business, rethink work and rethink life. I read a lot of great content online. I share a lot of it on LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+, but today I’ll share four that I think are particularly amazing. They’re not necessarily articles that are related to marketing, business, work and life, but you can apply it to those areas.

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did

  • [Rethink Marketing] Lead up: Are you happy with your customers? How are your projects? What about the last campaign’s results? Why is that? Is the customer difficult? Maybe the project manager didn’t cut it? The campaign didn’t work as well because the email marketing tool didn’t do what you wanted it to do? It might be time to lead up. “In many ways, we get the bosses and clients we deserve. If they’re holding you back, change them.” I think marketers often spend way too much time complaining and not enough leading, changing and making.
  • [Rethink Business] Facebook is about to launch a huge play in “big data” analytics. I’ve been thinking a lot about Facebook recently. I’m not sure why exactly. I’ve actually been spending a lot less time there and more on LinkedIn and Twitter. But the company fascinates me. How could it not, 1 billion users sharing some personal information without always realizing it. During my University days one of my marketing professors said about McDonald’s — “basically what they’re telling their customers is this: ‘you’ll come in, wait in line for food, eat it in uncomfortable chairs and then clear your own table.’ If you told anyone this was your plan for a restaurant, they’d tell you you were crazy.” That’s exactly what Facebook has done. “We’ll give you a place where you can share and interact with your Friends and favourite brands 24 hours a day and in exchange we get all your information…more than you can imagine.” Right now, “[m]ost ordinary Facebook users don’t realize how ambitious these plans are. If you bought something with a credit or debit card in the last couple of years, you’re probably in Facebook’s data pool right now.” They’re betting that there’s a clear, important and valuable connection between impressions and purchases. I think business can learn something about setting down a path that, on paper, makes no sense.
  • [Rethink Work] Barron’s: Facebook is still overvalued: Let’s stick with Facebook for a bit. According to the financial newspaper Barron’s, Facebook stock is still overvalued despite recent gains. At the time the article was written, Facebook was trading at more than 75 times its earnings (compare that to Google which trades at 20 times), this despite warnings that some of its ad revenues might drop. And that’s exactly the problem “Facebook seems more focused on barraging subscribers with ads to meet Street profit expectations.” They compare that with Google’s initiatives — they’ve been “investing in a range of products, from YouTube, self-driving cars, interactive eye wear, maps and Android software.” I’m not sure if it’s a fair comparison considering Google is 14 years old, but it does pose an interesting question: is it better to be a one trick pony with a laser focused drive or kind of play in different sandboxes to apply and integrate learnings? Is it even an either/or type of situation?
  • [Rethink Life] Meditation produces opposite effect of “fight or flight”: I’ve been meditating semi regularly since my meditation challenge (part of my Hack Your Life Project). Yes it does reduce anxiety and stress. But did you know it can actually change your gene activity? “Specifically, genes associated with energy metabolism, mitochondrial function, insulin secretion, and telomere maintenance are turned on, while those involved in inflammation are turned off.” That’s pretty much the opposite of the “fight or flight” mechanism. In more scientific terms, “[p]eople who practice simple meditation aren’t ‘just relaxing,’ explained the study’s senior author, Dr. Herbert Benson. Instead, they’re experiencing ‘a specific genomic response that counteracts the harmful genomic effects of stress’.” I’m guessing that means meditation not only helps you deal with daily stress by helping you focus your attention, it physiologically helps you deal with it.

What are you reading right now?

(Photo credit: David Sifry)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Read more

Online and offline integration

I’ve been thinking about Facebook these past few days. It’s become clear what they’re gambling their future on the integration of online and offline behavior  That integration isn’t new — anything from Google Glass to the Up bracelet to the Internet of things and even your mobile phone are just that that. Facebook’s push though is a gamble.

The problem

Facebook’s problem, so to speak, has been to generate revenues in line with expectations. Granted the ads bring in quite a bit of cash, but it’s well below the potential of a billion users. But in all honesty, I don’t think Mark is losing any sleep over this.

What he might be losing sleep over is this. The site was originally built as that — a website. Facebook’s challenges started appearing with the arrival of the first iPhones and iPads. Facebook was always about connecting with Friends, acquaintances and to some extent brands that we liked when we weren’t with them. And the social networking site still has a stronghold on that I think. But what does Facebook mean when you and I are up-and-about; when we’re at work or shopping or having dinner. I don’t need Facebook to interact with Starbucks’ Page if I’m standing in line waiting for my latte.

The gamble

So Facebook decided to gamble. It partnered with data vendors Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom and BlueKai. In a nutshell, those companies provide advertisers with customer segments like “soda drinkers” or “cat lovers” based on offline purchases. In other words, if you go to a pet store and purchase cat food on a regular basis with your credit card or swipe your Airmiles card each time — you’re tagged as a “cat lover.”

Facebook’s partnership is presumably to allow advertisers to target “cat lovers” while on Facebook, even if you don’t “Like” any cat-related Pages or Groups. For example, let’s say there’s a customer segment called “electronics lovers.” Best Buy could place ads in those users feed and ultimately match that back with offline purchases. They could even send specific discounts to that group as they enter a Best Buy store.

We know social interactions favour purchases, the gamble is in knowing if these ads will move the needle enough.

Another layer

Rumours that Facebook is trying to attempt to purchase Waze — the social GPS application — is further indication that the site wants to merge data from online behavior with that of offline behaviour. If this were to happen, it would presumably mean that Facebook would know if I pass not too far from a Best Buy each day on my way to work and yet again hit me up with an ad.

It’s nothing new

As I mentioned, this fusion of offline and online is nothing new. Other sites like LinkedIn have been bridging the online/offline gap since the beginning. If I’m in HR, I can see how many candidates I’ve recruited through LinkedIn. Ultimately Facebook is trying to contextualize it’s ads beyond the behavior on it’s site or network — think Minority Report.

(Photo credit: Conor Odle)

Enhanced by Zemanta
Read more