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Tim Peter

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March 12, 2015

Putting Digital to Work: 4 Key Actions to Drive Digital Transformation (Presentation)

March 12, 2015 | By | No Comments

I had the pleasure of speaking to a great audience yesterday about how to lead digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

If you want to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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March 9, 2015

4 Keys to Executing On Digital

March 9, 2015 | By | No Comments

Executing on digital

One of the biggest myths about executing on digital marketing and e-commerce is that it’s all about digital. In practice, nothing could be further from the truth. So much of what makes digital work is really about your organization’s culture and leadership rather than anything to do with paid search prowess or social marketing mastery.

When you hear people around you talk about companies with “digital in their DNA,” what they mean is that the company doesn’t depend on any specific channel or tactic to achieve their goals. Instead, those companies value 4 things above all else:

  1. Customers. Companies that “get” digital get their customers. They realize that customers no longer go online, they are online, using whatever tools they have at hand to find, research, and buy the products and services that matter in their lives. And, they get that these customers will switch to whatever product or service best meets their needs whenever they want. In this environment, the only way to lead is to listen, to pay attention to your customers’ actual needs. And, of course, to focus all your energies on meeting those needs.
  2. Data. Listening to your customer depends on data. Not “Big Data;” your data. Data that helps you understand what your customers actually need. Data that guides you towards the right answer to solve customer challenges. And data that provides a barrier against competitors large and small. By definition, no one else can—or at least shouldn’t be able to—understand your customer’s interactions with your products and services as well as you can. Data represents the lifeblood of your organization’s success. Digital leaders understand that you ignore its value at your peril.
  3. Testing. Of course, data alone doesn’t tell you a complete story. Loads of opportunities exist to misinterpret what data means within your organization. Instead of relying on intuition or guesswork, digital leaders test their assumptions consistently and apply the lessons from those tests to improve the experience their customers enjoy. And that’s why digital leaders customers tend to actually enjoy those experiences.
  4. Accountability. Finally, digital leaders take accountability for delivering results and for creating environments in which their teams can produce those results. Accountability isn’t just about being willing to accept blame when things go wrong. It’s about making a commitment to your customer’s success and finding the intersection where customer success leads to business success. Google and Facebook, for example, famously didn’t know how they were going to make money during their early years. But their commitment to helping customers accomplish their goals eventually led them to seriously successful destinations all the same.

Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft (the AGFAM folks), all started small, but got big by delivering key benefits to their customers, using data to learn what worked for their customers, tested their assumptions in the marketplace, and held their leaders accountable for both the customer experience and their business results. Lots of new players are disrupting industries large and small by executing against this same playbook. It’s time you do the same.

If you’re looking to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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March 4, 2015

Putting Digital to Work – Thinks Out Loud Episode 113

March 4, 2015 | By | No Comments

Putting digital to work

Putting Digital to Work – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy the slides from my recent webinar, Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year,:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 07s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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February 26, 2015

How Customer Data Drives Satisfaction and Increased Revenues

February 26, 2015 | By | No Comments

Customer data leads to customer satisfaction and increased conversionOver the last few days, we’ve spent a bunch of time looking at who owns your customer, how great hotels use customer data to own their guests’ experience, and why you need to own the data to own the customer, too. Here’s even more good news: eMarketer research shows that collecting customer data can seriously help drive satisfaction and, ultimately, increased revenue for you. Money quote:

“October 2014 research by Forbes Insights, in association with Turn, identified something else retailers could do on their end to boost customer satisfaction: data collection. Among US retail marketing executives, 50% said data-driven marketing had helped them achieve a competitive advantage in customer satisfaction.”

Sadly, it ain’t all sunshine and rainbows:

“On the flipside, while half had seen success with data-driven marketing, this means that the other half of retailers still had to improve—or begin—their efforts… Few online retailers actually track customer satisfaction, though, based on Retention Science polling conducted in July 2014, indicating another area for improvement. Just 31.7% of US online retailers studied said they actively tracked customer satisfaction rate—the second-lowest response.”

What are they doing?

“…respondents were more focused on sales-related data, such as conversion rate (88.5%) and average order value (71.2%). While increased consumer shopping and spending is great, making sure shoppers are happy is also important—otherwise retailers risk losing them and their business.”

Now that’s not a bad thing, in and of itself. Hell, recent studies show far too many marketing leaders don’t use analytics near enough—or at all. There’s way too much “gut instinct” out there and not enough “cold, hard facts.” So, that’s good, I guess.

But, if you’re only measuring data about conversion and AOV, without understanding more about why your customers choose you, you run a very high risk of them not choosing you.

Ultimately, you can never truly “own” your customers. The decision to buy—or not—rests solely in their hands, their heads, and their hearts. All you can do is help them decide you’re the best choice. And any data that helps you interpret what “the best choice” means for them is a very, very good thing. Collecting customer data drives satisfaction among your customers—and can help drive revenues for you.

If you want to learn even more about how changing customer behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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February 25, 2015

Want to Own the Customer? Own the Data – Thinks Out Loud Episode 112

February 25, 2015 | By | No Comments

Own the data to own the customer

Want to Own the Customer? Own the Data – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy the slides from my recent webinar, Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year,:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 29s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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February 23, 2015

Who Owns Your Customer?

February 23, 2015 | By | No Comments

Who owns your customer?Who owns your customer? You’d think, by definition, you do. It sure seems like a reasonable assumption, right? After all, you’ve established a dialogue with people interested in your products and services. You’ve gotten them to return to your site, provide you some information, and gotten them to pay for your offering with their money or–in the case of ad-supported businesses–attention. If you’re really effective, you’ve enticed the to return and use your services again and again.

For years, companies just like yours have worked hard to develop lasting relationships with customers to keep the profits flowing. For many companies, driving repeat business represents pretty much the entire rationale for the marketing and sales tactics so prevalent across industries large and small. Loyalty programs, frequent shopper cards, remarketing, retargeting, coupons, and on and on and on all exist to fill the top of the funnel with new customers and direct prior customers to buy once again. These businesses have created and nurtured their brands, products, and services to create a sustainable competitive advantage, limiting opportunities for new entrants to gain a foothold in the market. And when all else failed, established industry players often lobbied for legislative or regulatory barriers designed to keep new players off the field.

Despite these efforts, most businesses–hell, entire industries–find themselves under siege, facing competitive threats unimagined just a few years ago. To hear many CEO’s tell it, the biggest risk to their business isn’t some industry giant; it’s the proverbial “two kids in a garage.” Technology hasn’t just lowered the barriers to entry in many fields; it’s obliterated them. Gideon’s trumpet might have toppled the walls of Jericho, but that’s nothing compared to a couple of hungry entrepreneurs armed with a good idea, cheap Internet, and a solid helping of intelligence, ambition, hubris, and hard work.

These hypothetical entrepreneurs are teaching plenty of businesses a very hard truth: No one owns the customer. Customers are fickle. They really don’t care about you or your brand. Not because they’re unthinking, unfeeling, disloyal ingrates. Far from it. They care tremendously about their lives, their families, their children. Your brand, however, maybe not so much. It may provide value and a positive feeling to your customers, but only so long as it helps them meet the needs in their lives, for their families and children.

Think about the world in which your customer lives: She’s asked to do more with less at work, probably has to care for young children and aging parents alike, somehow keep up her head above water amidst emails, appointments, and media messages flooding her world every day, and, somehow, would like to find a moment to herself for just a few minutes each day. Realistically, your product represents a means to an end. If someone can provide a better, faster, cheaper means, then they’re going to win her business the next time. The meteoric rise of companies like Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, Zillow, and, going back a little further, Amazon, Google, and Facebook, demonstrates that competition can come from out of nowhere yet capture meaningful market share.

Yes, a good brand, a quality product, or a consistent level of service makes it easier for you to win repeat business from customers. And, even better, it’s tough for competitors new or old to break customers’ existing habits. But you still have to win that business again and again, each time your customers make a purchase decision. Otherwise, the only people who will own your customers are your competition.

And if you want to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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February 19, 2015

Marketing vs. Math

February 19, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

Marketing vs. math

Too often, the data-driven marketing practices at the core of digital marketing get represented as a battle between “marketing” and “math.” “Traditional” marketers may sometimes perceive you as more akin to IT than marketing, assuming you’re attempting to substitute computers and calculations in place of creativity. But anyone who claims that “traditional” marketers don’t care about measurement and testing simply doesn’t know what traditional marketing is.

In fact, the most successful marketers in history created best practices—the traditions—that continue to this day. Traditions like understanding the power of word of mouth in creating a brand story, and the need to monitor, measure, and modify your marketing to reach exactly the right customer with exactly the right message.

The great Walter Landor (creator of the logo script for Coca-Cola), once said, “A brand is a promise,” a lesson that takes on heightened resonance in an age where failure to deliver on your promise usually leads to both scathing reviews in social media and significant damage to your brand overall. The legendary Mary Wells Lawrence—one of the creators of the “I ♥ NY” campaign that’s run for nearly 40 years, along with classic work for Alka-Seltzer, Midas, Ford, and P&G—recommended the need to learn about “…every kind of person… and endlessly stretch what you know,” using observation and data to drive that learning. And Claude Hopkins literally wrote the book on data-driven marketing, in a work titled, appropriately enough, “Scientific Advertising.” Hopkins pioneered the use of A/B tests for his headlines and copy, using coupon codes to track their effectiveness. Pretty creative, no?

These techniques should no longer represent a new concept for savvy marketers. To prevent the secrets behind his process from damaging his clients’ business, Hopkins waited to publish his masterpiece until after he retired—in 1923!

The point? Data-driven marketing is about as traditional as you can get.

What’s really different today is not the use of data. It’s the speed at which you’re expected to adapt to changing customer needs and the diversity of channels in which your customers connect to your brand. Landor, Lawrence, and Hopkins only needed to worry about print, outdoor, and (to varying degrees) broadcast. When Lawrence retired 25 years ago, the biggest media shift of the time was the rise of Fox Broadcasting as a fourth major television network. And even then Fox still only broadcast three nights per week.

Meanwhile, your customers today have slightly more available media options. They carry the entire Internet—and every possible print and broadcast channel, along with email, social, messaging, and more—in their pocket, connecting wherever and whenever they like, and using whatever device is at hand that allows them to accomplish their goals.

A big part of my work for clients and RBSEE revolves around how to create personalized digital experiences for targeted customer segments, how to integrate social into the overall marketing and customer outreach process, and how to use analytics most effectively to improve business results. A few examples of how those tie data and marketing together look like this:

  • Integrating social into your overall customer outreach depends on understanding lots about who you’re talking with, the channels that matter to them, and how they interact with their friends and family, fans and followers.
  • Creating highly relevant and deeply personalized digital experiences depends on understanding your customers’ specific interests in a variety of contexts, and providing relevant messages that support their objectives at any given time.
  • And both of these rely on having the right processes and tools to provide you the meaningful, actionable data necessary to really connect with your customers. Data represents the lifeblood driving each of these forward—and crucial to driving results.

Trusting your gut in a media environment this fragmented and dynamic is beyond silly—it’s career suicide. The largest, most innovative brands and businesses in the world have long since incorporated data-driven marketing into their best practices, reaching diverse sets of customers with well-crafted brand stories, brilliantly managed campaigns, and tightly targeted messaging.

Most importantly, these businesses ignore the debate around “marketing vs. math” and focus instead on following the finest tradition amongst marketing leaders: driving results. You should too.

If you want to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Note: A version of this post originally appeared on the Rutgers Business School Executive Education blog, where Tim Peter teaches and writes regularly.
Tim Peter

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February 18, 2015

The Mobile Commerce Myth – Thinks Out Loud Episode 111

February 18, 2015 | By | No Comments

Should you believe the mobile commerce myth?

The Mobile Commerce Myth – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy the slides from my recent webinar, Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year,:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 13m 28s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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February 12, 2015

The Simple Truth About Net Neutrality for Your Brand and Business

February 12, 2015 | By | No Comments

The simple truth about net neutrality for your brand and business.

I don’t know about you, but I grew up in an era when we were taught to avoid talking about religion, sex, and politics in business contexts—never mind that these seem to be three of the biggest ways to drive clicks to content on the web. And I still believe, as much as possible, that it’s best to steer clear of these topics.

So, why am I wading into the fight around net neutrality? And, more importantly, why am I encouraging you to do the same?

Simple. A failure by government—whether the FCC or Congress—to establish clear rules for what cable companies and Internet service providers (ISP’s) may and may not do with your business’s web traffic remains critical to keeping a level playing field online for businesses large and small.

The simple truth of net neutrality is that, unfortunately, a couple of large ISP’s have actively worked to limit consumers’ access to specific content and services, hurting both consumers and the businesses working to meet market demand. Plain and simple, that’s bad for those businesses, bad for consumers, and, ultimately, bad for you.

Let’s be clear. In no way do I welcome excessive government regulation when it comes to the Internet. In my professional life, an excess of regulation has caused as many problems as it’s solved. And, as anyone who has read this blog in the past knows, we here at Tim Peter & Associates work extremely hard to help our clients increase sales, revenues, and profits. I can’t imagine a scenario where we’d be viewed as anti-capitalist. In a perfect world, I’d love to see the market decide this one. But, it’s not a perfect world; for reasons I’ll get to in a bit, a market-driven solution simply isn’t an option right now.

I’ve made some of these arguments before, but it’s worth noting that—despite some expected and understandable disagreement on specific implementations of the rules—this whole net neutrality debate is not a partisan issue. It is about the ability of businesses large and small to compete effectively in the global marketplace. Right now, the FCC’s proposal is the only legitimate way to ensure continued open competition and access to consumers for every business. Congress can certainly act to come up with a better solution, but who are we kidding? At least at present, that doesn’t seem too likely.

If you want some simple background on the history of all this and what’s under consideration, The Oatmeal has a sarcastic, but kind of funny and very informative overview of the issue as does Economix Comix. Both are worth your time.

That said, let’s talk about why you want the FCC to take action and maintain a fair, open Internet for your customers and your business.

The (Real-World) Nightmare Scenario

Imagine that, like most businesses in your competitive set, you’ve built a website to market your products and services. Then imagine that, one day, you start hearing customer complaints about your website being really slow, especially compared with your largest competitor. You invest in improved servers or a faster Internet connection or both to improve your customers’ experience, only to find that it has no effect. Which would be a real problem, since it’s well established that faster websites rank better in search engines and enjoy higher conversion rates than slower sites. While all this is going on, you’re losing traffic, sales, and loyalty to your largest competitor—and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Finally, after weeks of frustration and plummeting sales, you find out that one of the largest ISP’s in the country—a major cable company serving a large chunk of the country—is actively slowing down traffic from your site to its customers, but has let your competitor buy improved access to the folks on its network. They’ll improve your speed, but only after you pay a substantial fee.

That would suck, wouldn’t it?

I know, you’re thinking, “Yeah, but that would/could never happen in the real world.” Unfortunately, it already has:

That’s a huge problem. Imagine if your retail store, hotel, or restaurant had to pay the same market rates as Amazon, Booking.com, or OpenTable just to continue appearing in search engines, achieve target conversion rates, and reach customers generally. If that’s not a nightmare scenario, I don’t know what is.

What About Letting the Free Market Decide?

As I’ve already said, I’m in favor of free market solutions. I think they’re undoubtedly the right answer in many cases. Unfortunately, when it comes to broadband access for consumers, the simple truth is that no free market exists.

As this incredible graphic originally posted on Ars Technica points out, about 5 out of 6 consumers in the United States only have a single option to choose from if they want to subscribe to the current state of the art in broadband service:

Broadband availability by speed across the United States

Another 39 million Americans only have one broadband Internet provider to choose from—period—regardless of the speed of access they want to buy. Compounding the problem, some ISP’s have even gone so far as to lobby state lawmakers to block communities from providing alternative Internet access in underserved markets.

Clearly, you can’t rely on the free market for a solution if there’s no free market. Your customers can’t choose to move from, for example, Comcast to Verizon or Cox because, in most markets, only one of those providers exists. If all the big ISP’s had to compete with one another by providing the best service to their customers, this kind of thing simply wouldn’t be a problem. And, again, you care because those individual providers, if allowed to operate as they’d like, have demonstrated they’re ready, willing, and able to act as gate-keepers, potentially preventing you from reaching your customers and driving up your costs.

Won’t “Regulation” Hurt Innovation and Competition?

I’m no fan of excessive regulation. In many cases, the market can solve any number of problems. Won’t net neutrality regulation hurt innovation and competition? Not even a little. Actually, the FCC proposal is designed to keep the big ISP’s playing by the same rules they’ve lived with for the last 20 years.

The simple truth is that these really aren’t new rules. The large ISP’s have lived with rules designed to maintain an open, fair Internet ever since the Internet first emerged. What’s changed is that several of the large ISP’s sued the FCC over the last few years, stating that existing FCC regulations—the ones that ISP’s, cable companies, and wireless companies had lived with for the first 20 years of Internet innovation—shouldn’t really apply now that they want to start limiting customer access to content and services. The court agreed that the current rules didn’t apply, though went out of their way to explain that the law permitted regulation only under a different format (what’s called “Title II”).

The new rules that the FCC is planning to vote on come on the heels of that loss and reflect the change the court recommended. Ironically, the very thing the ISP’s now are desperately fighting to prevent only exists because they didn’t want to play by the earlier rules. Be careful what you wish for, indeed.

Even better, though, is that the new rules really don’t hurt the ISP’s either. In a letter to FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, Sprint’s chief technologist, Stephen Bye wrote:

“When first launched, the mobile market was a licensed duopoly. This system was a failure, resulting in slow deployment, high prices and little innovation… It is absolutely true that this explosion of growth [in the mobile marketplace] occurred under a light touch regulatory regime. Some net neutrality debaters appear to have forgotten, however, that this light touch regulatory regime emanated from Title II common carriage regulation”

Verizon’s CFO Francis Shammo essentially confirmed this view when he told investors recently:

“…we’re going to continue to invest in our networks and our platforms, both in Wireless and Wireline FiOS and where we need to. So nothing will influence that. I mean if you think about it, look, I mean we were born out of a highly regulated company, so we know how this operates.”

In other words, all the growth and innovation and competition that’s existed in the mobile phone space for the last decade-plus occurred under precisely the same rules that the FCC wants to apply to ISP’s for broadband access.

And, the only reason the FCC wants to implement those rules is because those ISP’s want to make it tougher for you to put your content, products, and services in front of customers.

Shouldn’t an ISP Be Allowed to Set Its Own Prices?

One of the more complicated bits about this whole debate revolves around pricing. ISP’s should definitely be able to set their own prices. But the simple truth is that this current discussion doesn’t change that at all. Unless you’re curious about the really icky bit here—and, as marketers and strategists, I can sympathize if you’re not—feel free to skip to the next section.

Still here? OK. Here’s what’s going on: Today, you pay a hosting company to host your site or have your own datacenter where your site lives. One of the costs associated with running a hosting company or datacenter is gaining access to the Internet, typically through what’s called a backbone provider. Those backbone providers set their prices basically by usage and the FCC’s proposal doesn’t really change that (some regulations already exist here and aren’t affected by the current debate).

Similarly, your customers pay their local ISP (a cable company or telecom provider), for their Internet access. Again, those companies often charge varying prices depending on how much data those consumers use. Again, that won’t change under Title II[1].

Instead, what’s really happening revolves around the connection between the company on one side of the backbone (someone like, for example, you) and the ISP delivering traffic to consumers (a telecom provider or cable company). The ISP’s want to charge companies an additional amount—much like Comcast did with Netflix—to carry traffic through to its customers. In effect, they want to get paid twice: Once by the consumer and then again by the company providing information, products, and services to that consumer. That’s the big problem, because, as it currently stands following the various lawsuits I mentioned earlier, nothing prevents those ISP’s from limiting the quality and speed of sites that don’t pay the ISP for access. That’s precisely what Comcast did with Netflix. And without the right protections, the same could happen to you.

The biggest players on the Internet—Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Walmart, Expedia, and others—might be able to afford those fees. Could you?, MOre to the point, you’re already paying your freight for the bandwidth you use. Why should you, or anyone else, have to pay twice?

The Bottom Line

Again, despite what a handful of politicians are claiming, this isn’t a partisan issue, nor should it be. We’ve got a handful of ISP’s lobbying actively to change the rules of the game and the terms of the debate so they can restrict and/or profit directly from the sites your customers want to visit, quite possibly including yours. It’s only logical that intermediaries who own the roads will eventually charge you tolls to use them.

The public overwhelmingly supports net neutrality. The FCC received a record 3.7 million-plus comments on its last proposal—the overwhelming majority in favor of maintaining net neutrality. Several polls have found that greater than 80% of consumers support net neutrality, regardless of political party (given who’s leading the protests against net neutrality in Congress it’s ironic that a slightly greater share of Republicans in the survey supported net neutrality than Democrats).

Ultimately, this is an argument about maintaining an open and fair Internet—a level playing field for businesses large and small. It will never be easy to compete against the biggest players in retail, hospitality, e-commerce, technology, or any other industry. But the simple truth about net neutrality is that is without it, you won’t be able to compete at all. Don’t let a small number of ISP’s change the game.

What can you do to prevent that? Well, Tumblr offers a great tool to help you contact your local representatives and make your voice heard on keeping the Internet as open and fair as it’s always been. I still plan to avoid talking about sex and religion ’round these parts. But I strongly encourage you to take a stand and tell them to support the FCC’s action.


If you want to learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Note: Title II usage fees. This one gets a little more complicated because subsection 202 of Title II would prevent ISP’s from making “…any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services” [emphasis mine]. In theory, the FCC could regulate prices if they determined those prices were “unreasonable.” While the ISP’s have a legitimate reason to worry about this in theory, in practice, the FCC’s enforcement actions on “unreasonable” pricing under Title II have been, well, both pretty reasonable and largely uncontested in the mobile space. If the big telco’s haven’t griped overly much about it in the one area, I really can’t see where this would be an issue on the Internet access side.

Tim Peter

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February 9, 2015

We’ve Reached Another Mobile and Millennial Milestone

February 9, 2015 | By | No Comments

Mobile and millennial milestoneInteresting data from Marketing Charts about another mobile and millennial milestone that shows “Smartphone-owning Millennials (19-33) are more likely to expect brands to have a mobile-friendly website or app (55%) than they are to expect brands to have a social media presence (39%).”

This shouldn’t be news.

This isn’t to diss social. But, your website must represent the hub of your online marketing activities. This remains true even in a world where mobile changes everything (and changes nothing at all):

“Specifically, it all comes down to how your customers use mobile. It’s pretty clear that mobile changes customer behavior pretty radically. Yet, at the same time, mobile doesn’t change customer behavior at all.

Your customers’ new behavior is fairly straightforward. Mobile provides customers access to all the information they need to make an informed purchase, wherever, whenever, and however they want. That’s very new. What’s also new is the speed with which they’ve adopted these behaviors. Responsive design and in-app advertising can help ensure you appear whenever customers go looking for a solution, wherever they happen to be.”

As I’ve mentioned before, “Mobile isn’t a separate channel; it connects all channels.”

Millennials live their lives with their mobile close at-hand —and, increasingly, so does everyone else. You ignore that reality at your own peril.

So, sure, use Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and Google+ and Tumblr and whatever else comes down the pike, where they help your brand and your business. Just make sure you’re also ready to drive the folks you find there back to your own site, regardless of the device they use. Or risk losing those folks to those competitors that do.

If you want to learn even more about how customers changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including: