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December 15, 2017

9 Amazing Posts Connecting AI And Marketing: E-commerce Link Digest

December 15, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Connecting AI and marketing: AI evaluating customers

Howdy, Big Thinkers! So, AI is kind of a big deal for marketers as we head into next year, right? How about we help you understand the role it will play in your marketing with this quick look at 9 amazing posts connecting AI and marketing? Enjoy:

  1. Starting things off, Brand Quarterly explains that AI is about to change what it means to be brand – here’s how to prepare.
  2. Changes are coming? But how bad will they be? A recent episode of Thinks Out Loud, our weekly e-commerce and digital strategy podcast asks, “Will AI Kill Your Brand?”
  3. While we’re on the topic of brands, another Thinks Out Loud episode looked at what digital means for the future of brands and is worth a listen too.
  4. Brand Quarterly has another great post called “Disruption Imminent: Artificial Intelligence In Business” that explores how AI will shape business more fully.
  5. Clearly, this topic is close to our hearts here at Thinks, and we’ve done couple of deeper dives in podcast episodes that asked, “Voice, VR, AR, and AI: Hype or Hope for Marketers?” and “What Digital Marketing Trends Matter?”
  6. The venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has an amazing video that explains what’s working and what’s not when it comes to AI that you have to see.
  7. On a highly-related note, the Wall Street Journal outlined the six laws of technology everyone should know.
  8. Yet another episode of Thinks Out Loud explained that when it comes to “AI For Marketers: AI Makes Big Data Little.” Be sure to check it out.
  9. Finally, I’d recommend you close out this look at 10 amazing posts connecting AI and marketing by reviewing “How Can You Succeed at Digital Marketing Next Year? 17 Great Posts Offer Answers” and “6 Proven Digital Marketing Trends (The Best of Thinks Out Loud.” You’ll be glad you did.

Have a fantastic weekend, Big Thinkers. Catch you back here next week!

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

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December 14, 2017

What Digital Means for the Future of Brands (Thinks Out Loud Episode 206)

December 14, 2017 | By | No Comments

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What Digital Means for the Future of Brands (Thinks Out Loud Episode 206) - Man using touchscreen to interact with brand

What Digital Means for the Future of Brands (Thinks Out Loud Episode 206) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 34s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

What Digital Means for the Future of Brands – Thinks Out Loud Episode 206 (December 14, 2017) Transcript

What Digital Means for the Future of Brands – Introduction

Well, hello again everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter, today is Thursday, December 14, 2017 and this is episode 206 of the big show. Thank you so much for tuning in. I really do appreciate you hanging with me during the last handful of weeks. The show's been a little bit more irregular, but I will be back next week, then will be off the week after that — I’ll be taking a break for Christmas — and then starting up again full-time in the New Year with weekly episodes coming to you, so I appreciate you hanging around. I appreciate you coming back and listening to the show; I’m just really happy that you're here.

What Digital Means for the Future of Brands – Overview

Now I think we’ve got a really interesting show this week. There's some really cool stuff to talk about. And I want to start by talking about a bunch of random companies that have something in common. You may not have realized it, maybe you did, but you know if you haven’t, just think this through for second. Think about companies like eBay or Etsy or Yelp or Uber or Airbnb. What they all share in common is that they’re all ratings platform. They allowed people to post ratings and reviews and the like that makes it clear whether you want to do business with the person on the other side of that market. And I think that's critically important to understand in terms of how you're going to market your brand and how you market your business as you go forward into 2018 and beyond because, fundamentally, what were seeing from people like eBay, Easy, Yelp, Uber, Airbnb, and others is that they're going to destroy brands, at least in the traditional sense. At their most basic they’re challenging what the purpose of the brand is, what brands do for customers. And that's really important understand.

Now you've probably heard David Ogilvy's famous quote, “a brand is a promise.” You may even have heard it here; it's one that I’ve referred to many times. It’s such a crucial insight about why brands exist. Brands served as a proxy for trust. If you go back to some idyllic, 1950’s holiday with the family driving along Route 66 wouldn’t know where to eat, sleep, or get gasoline once they ventured too far from home. They only knew the products and the services in their local area. But if you put a McDonald's or Ramada or a Phillips 66 along the highway, the family was quite literally good to go.

Today? Your brand is only as good as your last review.

Were those products or those services luxurious? No. But that wasn't the point. They were consistent. The brand provided a proxy for trust. You didn't need to care about the individual restaurant, or the individual hotel, or the individual gas station. You could trust the brand. Again in Ogilvy’s terms, “a brand is a promise.”

Today? Well your brand is only as good as your last review.

What Digital Means for the Future of Brands – The Importance of Reviews

A generation ago, would you have willingly gotten into a stranger's car when he pulled up in front of you at the airport, or slept in someone else's home who you had never met, or — and credit where due to eBay here — bought someone’s used junk over the Internet? How could you be sure you’d receive the goods or the seller wouldn’t just take off of with your money or, God forbid, with the car or the house, something really terrible wouldn't have happened to you? If you think about things like classified ads or even Craigslist, they really just served a local area and depended on face-to-face interactions to complete the transaction.

Yes, you could get a lot of details, but once it was time to buy, you typically met with somebody face-to-face. And to be fair, things like vacation rentals have existed for years, but they really only represented a sliver of the market.

But now there are companies like Airbnb, companies like Uber, companies like Yelp and they’re becoming the dominant players in their respective industries. And if you think about the larger players the AGFAM folks (or, if you prefer, the “Frightful Five,”) Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, a lot of their success depends on that same thing.

If you think about Amazon, first as a bookstore and now as this complete e-commerce platform with independent sellers, fundamentally it depends on its ratings and reviews. eBay may have laid the groundwork but Amazon undoubtedly owns that space today. If you think about the Apple App Store or Google Play store, they serve very much the same function for apps or, oh I don't know, podcasts and things along those lines. You know, if you're like most people, if you're looking for a new utility to improve your productivity or or you're looking for something to provide you entertainment and information, I suspect you venture to the appropriate app store, you conduct a quick search, and then you choose the highest-rated app, or the highest-rated podcast, or the highest-rated movie or TV show that meets your needs. And we’re seeing this start to completely upend the traditional brand landscape that we've known for years.

For instance, take a look at McDonald’s. Now they’ve been having some troubles lately, and it's certainly true that healthier eating habits have taken a toll on the restaurant giant. But there's also no question that Yelp also did a number on Mickey D’s. Why would you choose the same old burger and fries when you have other healthier, tastier options and support some local business as well? To McDonald's credit they’re working really hard to revitalize their offerings and to make them more attractive to diners. And they’re starting to see some positive results. But there's little doubt in my mind that the local review scene has absolutely caused them some issues.

We talked about some of this a few weeks back in the episode “Customer Experience is Queen, What Does That Mean?” because it really impacts how people perceive your products and services and brings others to the fore who might have been seen as a competitor before.

What Digital Means for the Future of Brands – Impacts to Business Models

It's also changing business models dramatically. Now I think most longtime listeners know I do a fair bit of work in the hospitality industry and there's a very stark example there. In the hospitality industry we’re seeing a lot of what are called soft brands, where hotel owners use the platform provided by major chains but not the brand itself.

So most of these hotels tend to be franchised and instead of opening a new Marriott Hotel a real estate investor would open an independent hotel, call it whatever they want — the New York City Excelsior, right? — but they receive some support from Marriott behind the scenes. Almost every major hotel hotel chain has launched one or more of these over the last few years. Hilton with its Curio Collection and The Tapestry Collection, and Marriott with the Autograph Collection, the Luxury Collection, and the Tribute Portfolio have five between the two of them. Why? Because hotel owners demanded the ability to create a distinct experience in their local markets while still having access to the rewards programs that are so prominent and so powerful within the hospitality and lodging industries.

The question is how long will it be before that's all Marriott, Hilton, and their competitors provide to hotel owners at all — or worse find that technology platforms like Expedia, Airbnb, and others have taken their place?

You know, years ago these two authors, Carl Shapiro and Hal Varian, a couple of economists, wrote this wonderful and extraordinary book called Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy and they explained that digital only provides two avenues for success:

  1. You can either become the dominant firm in an industry or,
  2. You can become a differentiated product

But anything else is gonna hurt you. Ben Thompson at Stratechery calls it aggregation theory, it really leads to the dominant firm. They're all saying similar things and all the data that we've seen in the two decades since Shapiro and Varian wrote the book seriously suggests they were right. Though if you think about it that probably shouldn't come as a surprise. Shapiro holds an economics chair at Berkeley and Varian is the chief economist for a small firm you might've heard of called Google. So maybe these two guys were onto something.

But it comes back to something we've talked about in past episodes like “Customer Experience is Queen,” that you must differentiate yourself — especially if you're not in a position to be the dominant firm. And when we think about the folks who are the dominant firms, what they're doing is providing that platform that says these are the trusted reviews, these are the people you can trust, to say yes you can buy through us to get the product or the service that you're looking for. And that's why people like Amazon and Apple and Etsy and Yelp and Airbnb and Uber and Expedia and all the rest have positioned themselves so well. Because customers know they can trust the reviews there and then they can buy through those channels.

What Digital Means for the Future of Brands – What You Can Do

For you to succeed you have to be the kind of place that people want to write reviews about. You have to differentiate yourself. You have to say why is it someone would choose you in the first place and why would they would choose to tell their friends and family and fans and followers on social. Because if you don't do that, you’ll fall into that gray area in the middle and let me tell you that gray area in the middle is not a good place to be.

So when we think about the future of brands, when we think about the future of your brand, it really can come down to are you remarkable? Are you a brand worth telling others about? If you are, you’re going to be fine regardless of who the dominant firms are because customers will see that in the ratings and reviews that they see. They may buy the first time through a third-party, but you can convert them to a direct customer on a subsequent purchase. But if you're not they're going to choose you in the first place and that's going to put you in a very very ugly position. So I can't say for hundred percent sure that these these platforms, these trust proxies will kill all brands. But if you don't provide your customers with an experience that is truly remarkable and truly differentiated, it's a real safe bet that they will kill yours.

What Digital Means for the Future of Brands – Conclusion

Now looking at the clock on the wall we are out of time for this week. I will remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all episodes by going to TimPeter.com/podcast again that's TimPeter.com/podcast. Just look for Episode 206. And while you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have this delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also subscribe in iTunes or the Google Play Music Store or Stitcher Radio or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud, or plain old Thinks Out Loud, we should show up for any of those. And especially given the topic we've been talking about today, if you could provide a positive rating on iTunes or the Google Play Store while you're there I would really really appreciate it. You can also contact me by going to Facebook.com/Tim PeterAssociates, on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter, or via email by emailing podcast@TimPeter.com, again that's podcast@TimPeter.com. With that I want to say thanks again for tuning in, I very, very much appreciate it. I hope you have a fantastic weekend, a great week ahead, and I look forward to catching up with you here on Thinks Out Loud again next week. Until then, take care everybody.

Tim Peter

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November 3, 2017

9 Powerful E-Commerce and Digital Transformation Posts for You: E-commerce Link Digest

November 3, 2017 | By | No Comments

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9 powerful e-commerce and digital transformation posts for you

Howdy, Big Thinkers! Don’t know about you, but this past week has been awesome around here. Hope your week has been even better. To close out the week on a strong note, this edition of the E-commerce Link Digest Series collects 9 powerful e-commerce and digital transformation posts for you. Enjoy:

  1. I’ve been saying for some time that “it’s all e-commerce.” Now The Economist (!) has picked up the thread stating, “E-commerce takes off—the new bazaar.” Cool. And welcome to the party, Economist.
  2. While we’re on the topic of e-commerce, CMO.com says we’ve had “20 years of e-commerce, yet we’re still stuck in the past,” at least when it comes to what we measure. They might be right.
  3. You know who’s not stuck in the past when it comes to e-commerce? AGFAM member Amazon, that’s who. And as Retail Dive reports, “Amazon has turned to Apple for its AR shopping app.” This is a trend well-worth watching as we head into 2018.
  4. Speaking of trends well-worth watching, you might want to check out “Voice, VR, AR, and AI: Hype or Hope for Marketers?” and “What Digital Marketing Trends Matter?” both from our ongoing e-commerce and digital strategy podcast, Thinks Out Loud.
  5. Switching gears a bit, Brand Quarterly explains “what brands need to understand about consumer perception.” Good stuff.
  6. And CMO.com returns to this week’s link digest with their look at “what CTOs wish all leaders knew about digital transformation.”
  7. And while we’re on the topic of digital transformation, you might want to review “Digital Transformation: A Brief Introduction,” this podcast episode that explains “Why Digital Transformation Matters for Your Business” and this collection of “7 Great Digital Transformation, AI, and Strategy Posts You Won’t Want to Miss”
  8. This collection of “10 Terrific Digital Strategy and AI Trends” from last week’s E-commerce Link Digest is probably worth your time, too.
  9. And, finally, let’s round-out our look at 9 powerful e-commerce and digital transformation posts for you by asking — and answering — the question “How Can You Succeed at Digital Marketing Next Year? 17 Great Posts Offer Answers.”

Have a fantastic weekend, Big Thinkers. Catch you back here next week!

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

By

November 1, 2017

Digital is Like Gravity (Thinks Out Loud Episode 205)

November 1, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Digital is Like Gravity (Thinks Out Loud Episode 205)

Digital is Like Gravity (Thinks Out Loud Episode 205) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 35s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Tim Peter

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October 27, 2017

10 Terrific Digital Strategy and AI Trends: E-commerce Link Digest

October 27, 2017 | By | No Comments

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10 Terrific Digital Strategy and AI Trends: E-commerce Link Digest

Hey, Big Thinkers! Big week here. Hope you had an amazing week, too. Speaking of amazing, this week’s edition of the E-commerce Link Digest Series recaps 10 terrific digital strategy and AI trends for you. Enjoy:

  1. Brand Quarterly outlined “What Brands Need To Understand About Consumer Perception.” Good stuff. Not to be missed.
  2. Mumbrella had a fantastic conversation with Singapore EDB’s Dane Lim about “The Future Role of the CMO” that’s worth your time.
  3. Staying in the Pacific, CMO Australia highlighted “8 Brands Using Voice Activation to Boost Brand Engagement” for you.
  4. Social Media Today rounded-up an amazing list of “9 Digital Marketing Trends Coming In 2018” that you’ll want to check out.
  5. While we’re on the topic of digital marketing trends, a recent episode of our own Thinks Out Loud e-commerce and digital strategy podcast asked — and answered — “What Digital Marketing Trends Matter Next Year?”
  6. Another great post also asked “How Can You Succeed at Digital Marketing Next Year? 17 Great Posts Offer Answers.”
  7. On the AI and machine learning front, SAP boldly claimed that “Whatever the Question, AI Is the Answer.” While that’s a provocative claim, it’s likely to be more true than not in the next couple of years.
  8. Another SAP post illustrates why AI is such a big deal, showing how “Machine Learning in Financial Services is Changing the Rules of the Game.” Great read.
  9. Sticking with AI for one more moment, don’t miss these “5 Fast and Fantastic Content, AI, and Digital Strategy Insights” from E-commerce Link Digest Series.
  10. Finally, how about we round out our list of 10 terrific digital strategy and AI trends with these “6 Proven Digital Marketing Trends” for this week.

Have a fantastic weekend, Big Thinkers. Catch you back here next week!

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

By

October 13, 2017

5 Fast and Fantastic Content, AI, and Digital Strategy Insights: E-commerce Link Digest

October 13, 2017 | By | No Comments

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5 Fast and Fantastic Content, AI, and Digital Strategy Insights: E-commerce Link Digest

Howdy, Big Thinkers! Hope you’ve had an amazing week. Our team has been all over the place this past week, with visits ranging from Oslo, Norway to Kansas City, Kansas. And this week’s edition of the E-commerce Link Digest Series travels far and wide, too, while condensing it all into an amazing list of 5 fast and fantastic content, AI, and digital strategy insights for you. Enjoy:

  1. CMO.com collected a fantastic set of “15 Mind-Blowing Stats About Artificial Intelligence” that you won’t want to miss.
  2. While we’re on the topic of AI, InformationWeek talked about “Artificial Intelligence Today: Time to Act.”
  3. And continuing with that theme, a recent episode of Thinks Out Loud — our ongoing e-commerce and digital strategy podcast — asked, “Will AI Kill Your Brand?” Be sure to give a listen to see how it will affect your business.
  4. We also asked “How You Succeed at Digital Marketing Next Year? 17 Great Posts Offer Answers.” Don’t miss ’em.
  5. And let’s finish off this list of 5 fast and fantastic content, AI, and digital strategy insights with another recent Thinks Out Loud episode that provided “6 Proven Digital Marketing Trends (The Best of Thinks Out Loud).”

Have a fantastic weekend, Big Thinkers. Catch you back here next week!

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

By

September 28, 2017

Will AI Kill Your Brand? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 204)

September 28, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Will AI Kill Your Brand? Graphic representing AI

Will AI Kill Your Brand? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 204) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 12m 23s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], the Google Play Store, via our dedicated podcast RSS feed )(or sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player at the top of this page.

Tim Peter

By

September 26, 2017

Why Airbnb Keeps Winning at Hospitality

September 26, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Why Airbnb Keeps Winning at Hospitality

Where does Airbnb get off? Seriously. Late last year, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky used Twitter to engage in a lengthy dialogue with customers about where Airbnb might be heading as a company. Why should you care? Well, because that conversation started with a simple question from Chesky: "If @Airbnb could launch anything in 2017, what would it be?"

Wait a minute… Airbnb asks for feedback, listens to guests, and shapes its service around what its guests actually want? How dare they. After all, as hospitality operators and marketers, didn't that used to be our job?

This all came back to light recently when Hilton Hotels’ CMO Geraldine Caplin called Airbnb a “lodging company,” as compared with Hilton’s larger focus on hospitality. I’ve already made clear my position that Airbnb definitely meets the definition of a hospitality company, but I don’t want to dismiss Caplin’s statement out of hand. Hilton ought to be able to beat Airbnb in terms of delivering great hospitality. Any hotel company should. In fact, I’ve argued repeatedly that it’s critical for hotels to succeed in that effort.

I’m about to do it again.

Now, given this blog’s focus, it's fair to ask what any of this has to do with digital. Sure, it's Airbnb and yes, Chesky used Twitter to enable the conversation, but that's not why the exchange should be important to you. After all, it's no secret that digital has permanently changed the way your guests interact with brands and businesses.

What is important are the results of that change — and how you must respond.

What Chesky and his team recognize is that customer experience is the new marketing. Everything depends on the quality of the interactions your guests experience at every step of their journey. Why? Simple. Your guests carry a printing press in their pocket. Oh, and a full-HD video camera and a production studio and a broadcast network too. And they use these tools to share every element of their experience with their friends and family and fans and followers across social networks.

A 100-room hotel running at 60% occupancy with 1.4 guests per room hosts roughly 31,000 guests per year. And with an average of 200 connections on Facebook alone, those guests have the potential to reach an audience of over 6.1 million people. Even if these numbers wildly overstate your guests' social media activity and only 10% of those guests actually bother to say something about their stay — never mind what it says about their experience at your hotel if only 10% of your customers feel it's worth talking about — that's still over half a million opportunities for potential guests to hear about you each year. Imagine the stories they might hear.

This is equally true for "traditional" ratings and reviews seen on TripAdvisor and OTA's. I won't spend much time on this topic; you live with this reality every day. But it's worth noting that a recent TrustYou study found, "…guests are 3.9 times more likely to book the hotel with the highest average review score when price is equal" and, even better, that "76% of travelers said they were willing to pay more for a hotel with higher review scores." My real-world experience with properties all around the globe suggests this is true in practice as well as in theory.

Increasingly, marketing is less about telling your brand's story and is instead about ensuring your guests have a great story to tell on your behalf. A study from Flip.to and Fuel Travel found word of mouth was the 2nd most influential factor in your guest's decision-making process. What do you suppose your guests say about you?

None of this happens without digital. Before the internet, your guests maybe could tell a few friends about their travels — or bore them to tears with slides from their trip. But now they're constantly connected with an engaged audience who want to listen. Facebook and Instagram and Snapchat and Twitter work hard to ensure only the folks who want to see the messages your guests share actually do. And, yes, you have to make certain the rest of your digital platform reinforces those messages once your guests' friends and family are ready to hear more. That's crucial. But it all starts with how they're finding out about you in the first place.

Customer experience is the new marketing. Airbnb gets it, which is why their CEO spent his Christmas holiday talking — and, more importantly, listening — to customers. The question now is: How do you plan to spend your next holiday? Or, for that matter, every other day this year?

If you’re looking for even more hospitality marketing goodness, you might also want to take a moment to review the slides from Tim’s recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your hotel, including:

Note: A version of this post originally appeared on Hotel News Now, where Tim Peter writes a quarterly column for the magazine’s Digital Tech Impact Report.
Tim Peter

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September 22, 2017

8 Excellent Content Marketing and Customer Experience Insights: E-commerce Link Digest

September 22, 2017 | By | No Comments

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8 excellent content marketing and customer experience insights

Holla, Big Thinkers! Had a good, have you? I sure have. This week’s edition of the E-commerce Link Digest Series mixes things up a bit, with an amazing list of 8 excellent content marketing and customer experience insights for you. Be sure to check out the ones most appropriate to your situation. As always, enjoy:

  1. Leading things off, Brand Quarterly highlights “The Digital Divide Between Leaders And Followers In Global Content.”
  2. Now content holds a space near and dear to our hearts here at Thinks, which is why we’ve covered “Trends for 2017: What Your Content Marketing Strategy Looks Like” and suggested that “Content Marketing is a Powerful Hammer But Not Everything’s a Nail” in past episodes of Thinks Out Loud, our e-commerce and digital strategy podcast.
  3. Of course, you want to complement your company’s content throughout other steps in the customer journey, too. And as another Brand Quarterly piece notes, “Marketing Budgets Continue Pivoting To Technology And Customer Experience” to support those steps.
  4. Now, in the past, I’ve invited you to “Meet the King, the Queen, and the Crown Jewels: Content, Customer Experience, and Data.” But why not drill down further to understand “Why Content is King and Customer Experience is Queen.”
  5. Marketing Week explains “Why the Future of Customer Experience Depends on Online Data.”
  6. But the King and Queen are nothing without their Crown Jewels, data. And data’s where things start to get a bit sketchy these days, especially with the latest news about the Equifax data breach and Facebook’s issues with unsavory advertisers. That’s why it’s not a bad idea to brush up on “Facebook’s Data Problem” and give some thought as to why “Maybe Facebook’s Data Problem Is Your Data Problem.”
  7. CMO.com highlights the critical role data plays too, noting that “Digital Body Language Speaks Louder Than Words.”
  8. That’s a lot to take in for one week, so why not round-out your list of 8 excellent content marketing and customer experience insights with “A Dozen Don’t-Miss Digital Strategy Posts,” this set of “7 Sensational Insights into the Future of Digital Marketing,” or these “6 Proven Digital Marketing Trends (The Best of Thinks Out Loud)?” You’ll be glad you did.

Have a fabulous weekend, Big Thinkers. Catch you back here next week!

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

By

September 20, 2017

Maybe Facebook’s Data Problem Is Your Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 203)

September 20, 2017 | By | No Comments

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Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 203)

Maybe Facebook’s Data Problem Is Your Data Problem (Thinks Out Loud Episode 203) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 12m 11s

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Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem: Introduction

Well hello again everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter, today is Wednesday, September 20, 2017 and this is episode 203 of the big show. Thank you again for tuning in, I really do appreciate it and I think we’ve got a terrific show for you this week.

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem: Situation Analysis

So, a couple week’s ago, I made a reasoned, rational argument for why Facebook’s data problem is their problem, not yours. I set up my thesis, I built some supporting arguments, and I think, I nailed it. Brilliantly. Well done me, right?

Well, wait for it.

Because later that same day, the day I posted that episode, news broke that alleges Facebook sold ads to Russians looking to influence the US presidential election.

Um… whoops.

That same day, ProPublica proved that you could target Facebook ads specifically to anti-Semites using some horrific language on the site.

Um… Bigger whoops.

And, then, to add insult to injury, two days later, the Equifax news hit.

Which is just like “whoops” times infinity.

Now, I’ve mentioned a few times that data represents the crown jewels for your business. Right? Content is king, customer experience is queen, and data is the crown jewels. And if you’re somebody like Facebook or Equifax (or for that matter, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Apple), that’s putting it mildly. These folks live for data. These are massive companies, with massive influence in our lives, who choose the news we read, the ads we see, our ability to get credit and buy things and a whole host of other behaviors we engage in and rely upon every single day. That’s not just the crown jewels. That’s the whole bloody treasury, palace, and kingdom.

And while I’m leery of excessive regulation, a number of influential thinkers all across the political spectrum have begun to ask, rightly, whether these folks have too much power in our lives — and more importantly, whether they’ve demonstrated the ability to wield that power wisely.

The biggest threat facing Facebook and Google and Equifax and all the rest right now isn’t from their traditional competitors. And it’s not from a stereotypical couple of brilliant kids in a garage. Their problem, their biggest threat, is much bigger than that.

Because the real threat that Facebook and Google face is from consumers turning on them, losing faith in their ability to keep our data safe, and driving regulators to, well, regulate. Equifax underscores these dangers. Big. Time. And if customers begin to see the tech giants in a similar light, watch out.

According to TechCrunch, Facebook had to give testimony to special investigator Robert Mueller. The Atlantic Magazine published a series of articles detailing how and why Facebook should be regulated. Pierre Omidyar, who founded eBay and is nobody’s idea of a luddite, has been ranting on Twitter for the last several weeks about why Facebook should be regulated.

And it’s not just Facebook. Google faces increasing scrutiny in Europe for alleged anticompetitive practices. The New York Times in an article this past April asked, “Is It Time to Break Up Google?” Fortune Magazine suggested in July that Google and Facebook may need antitrust regulation.

And don’t get me started on Equifax. In this specific case, I agree they deserve almost anything that’s coming to them. But I don’t take pleasure in any of this. Nor should you.

Yes, there are editorials online, in newspapers, and in magazines. Yes, there will be hearings in Congress. And, yes, there will be consequences, at least in terms of additional regulation. The industry has done a terrible job taking care of the crown jewels. Others are getting set to step in to say how it should be done.

But that’s why you can’t take pleasure in this. Because at that point Facebook’s data problem might be your problem. Because those regulations might fall squarely on your shoulders too. Talk to anyone who’s beginning to deal with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe (better known as GDPR) and they’ll tell you what I’m talking about. It’s an onerous, complex process. And that’s before any of this happened.

This is a big, honkin’ deal, one you’ll likely have to deal with too.

Now, let’s be fair, this is larger than a marketing problem. But that doesn’t mean marketing shouldn’t care about it. We collect an extraordinary amount of data about our customers. And I have and will argue in the future that we should. But only if we’re:

  1. Clear in our intentions for data use and retention.
  2. Upfront with our customers about how we’re going to use that data.
  3. Prepared to let them opt-out if they don’t want us to use that data that way, and
  4. Ready to protect that data from the thieves and hackers, amateur and professional, who are looking to get their hands on that same data, whether for profit or for the lulz.

If you can’t say, “Yes, I’m ready” to each of those four items, it’s probably worth asking yourself whether you ought to be collecting that data in the first place. In the immortal words of Ian Malcolm in the movie Jurassic Park, “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn't stop to think if they should.” Don’t be that guy.

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem: Antitrust

Now, before you say, “This couldn’t really happen, though,” remember that it already has. There was no antitrust regulation in the US until the late 19th century. But once Senator Sherman declared "If we will not endure a king as a political power we should not endure a king over the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life,” we ended up with the Sherman Act of 1890.

And just as Sherman thought it was a bad ides to have a king over “the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life,” some other enterprising politician could easily declare, “If our personal and private data about our lives and intentions truly represents the crown jewels, how can we entrust those jewels to any party unwilling to defend those jewels as if the very kingdom depends upon them?”

OK, so I’m not the orator John Sherman was. But you get the point.

Maybe Facebook's Data Problem Is Your Data Problem Summary

Equifax has shown just how dangerous it is to leave the crown jewels in the wrong hands. Facebook and Google have shown exactly how much the data they possess affects our day-to-day lives. And regulators have shown their willingness to act, at least when the public demands it.

You need to get ahead of the situation. You need to work with your IT team and your vendors to ensure that, just like I said before, you’re:

  1. Clear in your intentions for data use and retention. Why are you gathering that data? For what purpose?
  2. You need to be upfront with your customers about how we’re going to use that data. How’s it going to be stored? What’s it going to be used for? And ensure that they’re safe and secure
  3. Prepared to let your customers opt-out if they choose, and
  4. That you’re ready to protect that data from the folks who want to get their hands on those crown jewels for their own purposes.

Because, it’s a pretty safe bet that before too long, Facebook’s data problem — and Google’s data problem and Equifax’s data problem — are gonna turn out to be your data problem too.

Conclusion

Now looking at the clock on the wall we are out of time for this week. I do want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all episodes by going to Tim Peter.com/podcast. Again that's Tim Peter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 203. And while you're there you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find so you get us delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also subscribe in iTunes or the Google Play Music store or Stitcher Radio or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud, or plain old Thinks Out Loud, we should show up for any of those. And if you'd be willing to provide a rating on iTunes, the Google Play Store, or Stitcher Radio while you're there, I would really appreciate it. You can also contact me by going to Facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates, on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter, or via email by emailing podcast@TimPeter.com again that's podcast@TimPeter.com. With that I want to say thanks again for tuning in, I really do appreciate it. I hope you have a fantastic weekend, a great week ahead, and I will look forward to talking with you back here on Thinks Out Loud again next week. Until then take care everybody.