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May 23, 2016

VR, AI, and UX: 7 Posts Highlighting Top Trends for 2016

May 23, 2016 | By | No Comments

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VR, AI, and UX: 7 Posts Highlighting Top Trends for 2016

Hope you’re having a great start to your week, Big Thinkers. To make it even more successful, you might want to learn about VR, AI, and UX with these 7 posts highlighting top trends for 2016. Enjoy:

  1. Cnet talks with Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai about his AI vision, summing up what Pichai expects AI to do as, “Hi. How can I help?” Google’s taking a huge step towards the next version of the Internet — or at least what one future might look like — where voice and VR replace keyboards and screens. They’re clearly stepping deeper into virtual reality and messaging (a subject I’m still bullish about), which signals how seriously the search giant takes this shift. One reason you ought to believe them? Well, Google says 20% of mobile queries are now voice searches. And that number’s only going to grow.
  2. A report from Business Insider’s Matt Weinberger quotes Google’s Diane Greene as saying both Google and Amazon Web Services can win in this new cloud-based version of computing and the Internet, further underscoring exactly how big this all might become.
  3. As Greene notes, Amazon’s hardly out of the game. In fact, Joshua Jamerson writes over at the Wall Street Journal that Amazon’s expanding its restaurant delivery to New York and Dallas, getting deeper into the overall customer experience. [Editor’s note: Copy and paste the title of the WSJ piece into Google if you get blocked by — and don’t want to deal with — the Journal’s paywall.]
  4. In fact, if we look at what’s holding mobile commerce back, it seems ever more likely that customer experience plays a critical role. Melissa Gonzalez offers some thoughts over at PSFK on how brands can build human connections that’s well worth reading.
  5. One way you can absolutely help your customers is with a deeper investment into content marketing since we’re all publishers now. You might also want to make room for mobile video to help tell your brand’s story and answer your customers’ key questions. However, be aware that some data shows there’s little consumer interest in paying for ad-free digital content (see my tip for bypassing the Journal’s paywall as just one example). But, again, I think the issue is more one of quality and experience than willingness to pay. Customers usually don’t mind opening their wallet for things they value. The key is giving them something to value in the first place.
  6. Another struggle you’ll want to watch out for is the increasing challenge and cost of finding the right resources for your digital marketing initiatives. Recent research from eMarketer highlights that marketers still struggle balancing marketing technology tools and talent. We’ve got some experience in this area here, so feel free to drop me a line if you’d like some help.
  7. Finally, you might find these 11 data-driven marketing insights from last week a great asset to build on these trends and start your week off right.

If you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and 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”:

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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May 16, 2016

11 Data-Driven Marketing Insights to Start Your Week Off Right

May 16, 2016 | By | No Comments

Data-driven marketing insights: Marketers reviewing data

Happy Monday, Big Thinkers. Hope you had an amazing weekend. Before you get too deep into the week, I thought you might appreciate these 11 data-driven marketing insights to start your week off right. Enjoy:

  1. Elyse Dupre of Direct Marketing News says the battle for marketers’ mindshare intensifying and explains “how marketers can select providers that play to their strengths.” Really useful insights to start off your week.
  2. Over on AdExchanger, Matt Nitzberg argues ‘prove it or lose it’ budgeting is good for marketing. Money quote:
    “To win in a prove-it-or-lose-it environment, marketers need to focus on high-level metrics that make sense — and are persuasive — to the executive team, the board and their marketing partners. Marketers can then mandate that individual teams work to connect their own metrics to these key metrics so that everyone is running in the same direction.”

    Great stuff all around there.

  3. Ted Rubin writes on THE SOCIAL CMO Blog that social listening is finally getting some play. About time, right? I love this quote:
    “Brand loyalty declines due to lack of relevance… a direct result of not listening. Number one is always try to understand who your customer is and pay attention.”

    Very, very smart.

  4. Portia Crowe at Business Insider has an excellent story outlining how retail and e-commerce are converging that’s well worth your time.
  5. Meanwhile, Kristin Schepici of The Future of Customer Engagement and Commerce asks, is mobile conversion the Holy Grail of retail? I strongly suspect so. In fact, as we posted last week, these amazing numbers show why mobile commerce is about to explode. And these 8 amazing e-commerce and mobile masterpieces just serve to underscore the trend.
  6. One key driver that will increase mobile conversion is the emergence of mobile payments — in fact, we’ve argued why mobile payments will rule — which makes these 6 awesome insights about mobile payments, e-commerce and even more a must-read for you this week.
  7. Speaking of conversion, Marketing Charts has data that shows A/B testing continues to get the nod for conversion rate optimization, as well as it should. If you’re not too familiar with the topic, check out our full coverage of A/B testing here.
  8. Continuing with our “data-driven marketing insights” theme, Benjamin Spiegel has a great piece on ClickZ featuring eight predictions about the future of big data in marketing that’s definitely worth a look.
  9. Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows with data-driven marketing. eMarketer uncovers data about what digital department store services consumers find creepy that you really ought to pay attention to.
  10. MarketingProfs’ Will McInnes explains how you can win with social intelligence with these vital tips for CMOs in 2016 and beyond. This quote sums it best:
    “…with social media platforms probing the world’s largest focus group every second of every day, the modern CMO would be foolish to think he/she can maintain success without tuning into the social world—the desires expressed there, trends, popular stories, and what the collective social Web says and feels about their brands.”

  11. And, finally, don’t miss these 10 killer mobile and e-commerce resources: the top posts of April, 2016 from here on Thinks. Just more great content and insights to put data-driven marketing to work for your brand and business.

If you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and 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”:

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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May 11, 2016

What the Future of Marketing Might Look Like (Thinks Out Loud Episode 162)

May 11, 2016 | By | No Comments

What the future of marketing might look like

What the Future of Marketing Might Look Like (Thinks Out Loud Episode 162) – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

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 15s

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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May 9, 2016

These Amazing Numbers Show Why Mobile Commerce is About to Explode

May 9, 2016 | By | No Comments

Amazing numbers about mobile commerce: Young woman shopping on mobile phone in storeSome amazing numbers out today you really ought to know about. According to eMarketer:

“As a result of this rapid growth, m-commerce will account for just under one-third of retail e-commerce sales and 2.6% of total retail this year.”

That’s huge. eMarketer continues:

“The experiences of e-commerce executives who spoke with eMarketer reflected this trend. ‘The trajectory that we’ve seen over the last year was fundamentally different than in other years,’ said Prama Bhatt, vice president of digital and ecommerce at beauty products chain Ulta Beauty.

Bob Sherwin, senior director of acquisition at ecommerce furniture company Wayfair, reported a similar pattern. ‘Over the past year we’ve seen consumers’ willingness to purchase on mobile increase a lot, to the point where the share of transactions taking place on the smartphone has doubled since late 2014.’

At the same time, I’m not surprised. In fact, the team here laid out the factors driving e-commerce growth in 2015 (and beyond, really) a while ago. And, for the most part, seems to have called this one.

First, due to the massive growth of smartphones in the marketplace, customers are now able to by whenever and wherever they want. And as they’ve become increasingly accustomed to having that flexibility, they’ve put it to use.

Second, the emergence of Millennials as the largest generation in the United States has accelerated this shift. These folks take mobile for granted. It’s not a new technology or a new channel. It’s just there. And they expect it to work.

This wasn’t a prediction; it was an it was an inevitability.

We’re far from done here. We’re going to see Millennials continue to enter the marketplace in even larger numbers over the next couple of years. And their elders will adapt over time too. But the trend is undoubtedly clear. Millennials and mobile go hand-in-hand, and it’s now your challenge to assist customers in accomplishing their goals on mobile and online and in-store, every day.

The companies that do a good job of this can expect to succeed as we move forward. And the ones that don’t… well, I’m afraid their numbers may not be so amazing.

If you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and 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”:

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

May 5, 2016

Why Content Marketing Matters (Thinks Out Loud Episode 161)

May 5, 2016 | By | No Comments

Why content marketing matters: Business teams using devices to shop for solutions while working

Why Content Marketing Matters (Thinks Out Loud Episode 161) – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

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 23s

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

By

May 3, 2016

6 Special Hospitality Perspectives: The Top Travel Marketing Posts of April, 2016

May 3, 2016 | By | No Comments

6 Special Hospitality Perspectives: The Top Travel Marketing Posts of April, 2016 - Woman traveling and using mobile phone

Hey Big Thinkers! It’s time once again to round-up the top travel marketing posts from the past month for you. And there are some great ones to take a look at. Hope you don’t mind if we skip any fancy setup and instead simply offer you these 6 special hospitality perspectives: the top travel marketing posts of April, 2016. Enjoy:

  1. First up, you’ll want to review these “Four Key Elements of Modern Hospitality Marketing” the team pulled together for you.
  2. The ongoing Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series gave us all this collection of “6 Spectacular Resources for Hotel Marketers from the Past Week” that you’ll really want to see.
  3. Another hugely popular post from the past month was this video featuring “Key Insights into Hospitality Digital Marketing” and pulled from the always entertaining This Week in Hospitality Digital Marketing blabcast. Our own Tim Peter is a regular guest of the show, which covers all manner of hospitality digital marketing strategies and tactics each week.
  4. Another couple of Hospitality Marketing Link Digest makes this month’s list. One is a round-up of “7 Spectacular Hospitality Distribution and Digital Marketing Posts” to help you address your hotel distribution and digital marketing questions, while the second uncovers “6 Travel Marketing Insights You Need to See.” Great stuff all around.
  5. An extremely popular post among your fellow Big Thinkers reminds you that “Personalization Starts With a Person.” Given that hotel marketing increasingly depends on personalization (see the slides below for more insights on that score), you’ll really want to check this one out.
  6. And, finally, we’ll close out this month’s list with a look back at “Five More Amazing Travel Marketing Posts: the Top Posts of March, 2016.”

Hope you’ve enjoyed these 6 special hospitality perspectives: the top travel marketing posts of April, 2016. And hope you’ll check back each week for more travel marketing, distribution, and e-commerce insights to help you grow your hotel’s brand and business.

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, 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 might also want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent seminar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

And here are the slides from the “Maximizing Data to Put Personalization to Work for Your Property” presentation listed above for your review too:

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:

Tim Peter

By

May 2, 2016

10 Killer Mobile and E-commerce Resources: The Top Posts of April, 2016

May 2, 2016 | By | No Comments

10 Killer Mobile and E-commerce Resources: The Top Posts of April, 2016, Woman shopping on mobile phone

Well, Big Thinkers, we’ve reached May already, which means it’s time to recap your favorite posts from the past month. So without any further ado, check out these 10 killer mobile and e-commerce resources: the top posts of April, 2016. Enjoy:

  1. Leading off, we’ve got a pair of entries from the ongoing E-commerce Link Digest series, the first a look at “6 Mobile Commerce and Strategy Insights” and the second a recap of “6 Awesome Insights About Mobile Payments, E-commerce and Even More.” Really good stuff, as you can tell from how popular they were among your fellow Big Thinkers this past month.
  2. Speaking of mobile payments, another incredibly popular post from the past month touched on that same theme. It comes from Thinks Out Loud, our weekly e-commerce and digital strategy podcast, and explained “Why I’m Bullish on Mobile Payments and Messaging.” Apparently your fellow listeners are pretty bullish on the topic too, given how popular the post remained all month long.
  3. Next up, we’ve got a presentation that provides “A Simple Approach to Digital Strategy” for you. While it’s a relatively streamlined approach to a complicated topic, many folks enjoyed sharing it with their friends and colleagues.
  4. Another entry in the E-commerce Link Digest series cruises into the number four slot, this one a collection of “8 Excellent Social and Mobile E-Commerce Essays” for you to savor.
  5. A hugely popular podcast episode from April, “It’s Facebook’s World and We’re All Living In It,” is up next. The episode takes a look at some of the announcements from Facebook’s recent F8 conference and just what they’ll mean for your brand and business going forward.
  6. Even though it enters the round-up at #6, this list of ‘5 Key Questions for Creating a “Test and Learn” Culture’ remains a personal favorite from the past month. Be sure to check it out and see why.
  7. We’ve got one last podcast episode for you this month, Big Thinkers. This one breaks down “The Lesson Every Marketer Must Learn from Batman v. Superman” to understand why customers buy — or don’t, as the case may be — the message you’re selling.
  8. The next post in this month’s countdown reminds you that in “Content Marketing: We’re All Publishers Now” as well as what that means for your business.
  9. As we head towards the bottom of the list, how about we round it out the way we started, with a pair of E-commerce Link Digests? The first collects “6 Special E-Commerce Insights for Spring,” while its companion pieces highlights “9 Necessary Insights Into Mobile Commerce from the Past Week.” Good information all around.
  10. Finally, don’t miss these “10 Amazing Digital Marketing Messages: The Top Posts of March, 2016” before you move on. Lots of great ideas there for you too.

And there you have it Big Thinkers. 10 killer mobile and e-commerce resources: the top posts of April, 2016 to keep you tuned into what your friends and fellow readers here at Thinks found most useful all month long.

And if you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and 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”:

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

April 18, 2016

5 Key Questions for Creating a “Test and Learn” Culture

April 18, 2016 | By | No Comments

Creating a "test and learn" culture: Team working to test ideas

One of the core attributes of an effective digital team is a focus on creating a “test and learn” culture. And what digital marketing experts mean when talking about a “test and learn” culture is one where you put an emphasis on testing your assumptions about your marketing activities, learning from those tests, then doubling down on the areas that work; in other words, “fish where the fishin’s good.”

To do this successfully, of course, you need data. And it can seem complicated to understand what data is most critical to your business.

But there are really only five questions you need to answer to ensure you’re well positioned to effectively test your digital marketing activities, learn from those tests, and determine where to focus your efforts:

  1. What are your conversions? What are the actions you want your customers to take? Do you want them to buy on your website or mobile app? Or are you in a lead-generation business and want them to provide contact information? Each is equally valid and provides a key building block for creating a test and learn culture.
  2. How much are those conversions worth to your business? Exactly what it sounds like. If you’ve got an e-commerce site, how much is a typical transaction worth to you? If you’re using lead generation tactics, what’s a lead worth? (If you don’t know the answer to that, think about what a customer is worth, then multiply by the rate you convert leads to paying customers. If you don’t know the answer to that, start by dividing your new customers added by the number of leads generated each month.)
  3. Which pages get the most traffic? Again, this is pretty much what exactly what it sounds like. Which pages on your site attract the most traffic? Where in your app do customers start? Where do they connect with you on your social presence? Whether your analytics suite calls them landing pages/screens, entry pages, or what-have-you, you’re interested in finding out where prospects start their journey on your website or app.
  4. How often do customers reach your conversion page from each of your top entry points? You’ll use this data to assign an economic value to each entry page and to determine the potential value each test can deliver.
  5. What other pages send customers deeper into your purchase funnel? Most analytics tools can tell you how often any given page leads to a specific conversion action. You’ll use this data to learn which pages contribute to conversions even if they’re not top entry pages.

Armed with the answers to these five questions, you’re immediately positioned to improve your digital marketing activities.

For instance, let’s imagine you run a mid-sized enterprise software company and that one of your top entry pages leads to a conversion – in this case, submission of a lead form – 10% of the time. If we assume that each lead you convert is worth $10,000 annually to your company, each visitor to your site (or app, whatever) starting on that entry page has a potential value of $1,000 ($10,000 * 10% = $1,000). If the page gets a lot of traffic, you may want to work towards improving that 10% “micro-conversion” rate. By contrast, if the page gets very little traffic, that should lead you towards testing how to get more traffic to the page to begin with. The following graphic illustrates how to approach this for your business:

test-and-learn-matrix

I realize this may almost sound too good to be true. And in part, this is a simplified version of a more in-depth approach. It usually also takes some work to collect and refine the data necessary to answer each of these 5 questions for each of your top entry pages as well as the top pages leading to conversions. However the most successful marketers tend to follow the Pareto principle — that is putting most of your efforts into the areas that will get you 80% of your return. It’s not about following a complicated process; it’s about focusing on the areas with the greatest return.

Creating a test and learn culture starts and ends with data. But in the middle it depends on using that data to ask the right questions about your customer needs and generate the greatest return on your efforts. Of course, if you think I’m wrong, there’s an easy way to find out: Test my theory. And learn for yourself.

And if you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and 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, if you’re looking for still more insights and information to guide your marketing this year, check out some of the best of Thinks here:

Note: A version of this post originally appeared on Biznology where I write a monthly column as “What ‘test and learn’ looks like in practice”.
Tim Peter

By

April 17, 2016

7 Spectacular Hospitality Distribution and Digital Marketing Posts: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

April 17, 2016 | By | No Comments

7 Spectacular Hospitality Distribution and Digital Marketing Posts: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest: Travelers lounging at hotel pool

I don’t know about you, but it feels like spring is finally here, which is always a good day for us here at Thinks Central. Hope it’s a good day for you too. Once you’ve had a chance to get out and breathe some of that fresh, spring air — and before you head back to your office on Monday — why not take a few minutes and check out these 7 spectacular hospitality distribution and digital marketing posts from the past week, this week’s entry into the Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series? Enjoy:

  1. Meisha Bochicchio has a good post over on Fuel’s blog about travel trends for 2016, with particular emphasis on disruption in the OTA space. Good stuff. You might also want to check out this presentation about “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” that our own Tim Peter presented to a number of HSMAI chapters over the last few months.
  2. Myla Tutt from Sojern talked with experts about the future of hotel marketing, its challenges and some best practices for staying competitive that’s well worth a look.
  3. Looking for more ways you can remain competitive? Wondering what works to keep OTA’s at bay? Then maybe it’s time to ask yourself, “is social a waste of time for hotel marketers?” Or just read the post for yourself to find out why the answer is “no.”
  4. Switching gears ever so slightly, don’t ignore this news that Facebook Messenger now lets you check-in to KLM flights. While it’s specific to the airline industry, it offers serious implications for the hospitality space too. In fact, Skift has a new report on how hotels are utilizing messaging as an operational strategy that’s absolutely worth reviewing — and that underscores why I’m bullish on mobile payments and messaging.
  5. While we’re talking about Facebook, by the way, you’ll also want to give a listen to this recent episode of Thinks Out Loud — our weekly e-commerce and digital strategy podcast — that explained why “It’s Facebook’s World and We’re All Living In It.” Really good insights there.
  6. Glenn Gruber has a great piece over on Tnooz that talks about why enterprise mobility adoption is travel’s unsung opportunity. Not much there that’s a real surprise to long-time readers of Thinks, mind you, but it offers an excellent perspective all the same.
  7. And, finally, Rory Long at The Drum has a great look at how Google is interpreting content in 2016, which also serves as a great reminder that, for travel marketers, content is still king. Good stuff, all around.

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, 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 might also want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: 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:

Tim Peter

By

April 13, 2016

It’s Facebook’s World and We’re All Living In It (Thinks Out Loud Episode 160)

April 13, 2016 | By | No Comments

It's Facebook's World and We're All Living In It (Thinks Out Loud): Woman using social media on mobile phone

It’s Facebook’s World and We’re All Living In It (Thinks Out Loud Episode 160) – Headlines and Show Notes