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July 2, 2015

2015’s Top Digital Trend: Online Video Arrives: Thinks Out Loud Episode 127

July 2, 2015 | By | No Comments

2015's top trend: Digital video arrives

2015’s Top Digital Marketing Trend: Online Video Arrives – Headlines and Show Notes

As promised, here are the slides from the Mary Meeker 2015 Internet Trends Report:

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: 16m 06s

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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June 17, 2015

What Disruption Means: Thinks Out Loud Episode 126

June 17, 2015 | By | No Comments

What does disruption really mean for your business?

What Disruption Means – 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: 17m 32s

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 20, 2015

8 Must-Read Marketing and E-Commerce Posts: E-commerce Link Digest

February 20, 2015 | By | No Comments

Must-read mobile and e-commerce postsNot much setup this week, Big Thinkers. Just a quick list of 8 must-read marketing and e-commerce posts to get your through the weekend. Enjoy:

  1. eMarketer says that mobile is still for upper-funnel shopping activities. Eh… maybe. By now you know that we’ve reached one mobile and millennial milestone after another and that mobile will disrupt your industry, so you need to protect your business. Because, even if it mobile’s “only” top of funnel, that’s only going to be true for a little while longer.
  2. One thing moving mobile deeper into your customers’ purchase path is how effectively it helps your customers solve their problems. For instance, Gigaom reports on an Nokia Here for Android, out of beta and in Google Play. With the addition of indoor mapping, it’s highly likely your customers will ask their phone where to find what they need in your stores, bypassing your staff altogether.
  3. Similarly, eMarketer reports that marketers spent $4 billion on click-to-call advertising in 2014. That’s another example where customers will use whatever tool is at hand to solve their problems, as well as an opportunity for you to get in front of those needs.
  4. Speaking of mobile for browsing, shopping, and buying, the latest episode of Thinks Out Loud explores the mobile commerce myth. Definitely worth a few moments of your time.
  5. eMarketer also talks about the trend of marketers increasing investment to provide customer experience makeovers. It’s about time. As we examined during last week’s Thinks Out Loud episode, “Is Customer Experience the Future of E-Commerce?” getting customer service right is going to play a huge role in shaping your brand’s future.
  6. According to Forbes, Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer claims Tumblr is now the fastest-growing social network over Instagram. Whichever one is actually biggest, it surely suggests how much the web now revolves around images, not just text.
  7. While you’re considering which social network is indeed the biggest, you might want to review this post that considers another key debate: That of marketing vs. math. Insightful stuff about a sometimes-contentious—and entirely unnecessary—division.
  8. Finally, we kicked off this past week with a set of 20 terrific e-commerce insights for a long winter’s nap. Great round-up and worth checking out.

What? You want more? OK, I’ve got some more for you. For starters, you might want to check out last week’s link digest, “Freezing? 8 Fabulous Marketing and E-commerce Posts to Warm You Up.” Really solid stuff. You should also check out this round-up of 8 Great Mobile Marketing and E-commerce Reads for a Snowy Weekend, these 7+ Super E-commerce and Mobile Must-Reads to Enjoy Before the Big Game: E-commerce Link Digest, and the rest of our E-commerce Link Digest series.

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 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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January 29, 2015

What Apple, Google, and Facebook’s Earnings Can Teach Us About Mobile Marketing and E-commerce

January 29, 2015 | By | No Comments

AGFAM earnings show mobile is at the center of your customer's lives.While I don’t really cover any company’s financial performance, we’re in the heart of quarterly earnings season and those financial reports do offer a handy set of indicators of important trends in the world of marketing and e-commerce. Which is why I find the latest earnings statements so interesting. Consider the following:

  1. Apple just posted the biggest quarterly profit in history. Not its history. But any company’s history. Ever.
  2. Then, Facebook shared “insane” Q4 mobile numbers and ad sales.
  3. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s latest earnings didn’t “wow” anyone.

And later today, Google and Amazon will report their numbers, with analysts worrying whether either will produce the kinds of profits the market has come to expect.

What’s interesting is what links those company’s fates and fortunes. Now, I think all will do just fine in the longer term; but the short-term is being driven by a couple of key trends:

According to the reports, Apple made huge amounts of money selling its hotter-than-hot iPhones this past quarter. And Quartz says that Facebook’s data collection ability to attribute mobile ads represents the “magic ingredient” for the company’s revenue growth.

Meanwhile, Microsoft took a big hit thanks to declining sales of its desktop Windows product, while according to USA Today, Google’s up against this:

“Atlantic Equities predicts that growth in Google’s core search business will decelerate to 12 percent a year through 2016 from the high teens in the last few years. More consumer activity is taking place on smartphones, where search is less lucrative, and while Google is working hard to improve the mobile search experience and maintain its market share, investors are waiting to see results.”

These major shifts in the marketplace explain the rash of somewhat diverse, yet related, headlines you’re seeing right now from all the AGFAM players (Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft), such as Apple Pay accounting for nearly 80% of Panera Bread’s mobile transactions, Google letting customers in the UK send and request money right from Gmail, Google potentially buying Softcard to improve its Google Wallet product, Amazon shifting its mobile wallet strategy, Facebook offering “Facebook at Work” mobile app for enterprise customers, and Amazon introducing “WorkMail,” an enterprise platform for email.

These companies all realize that mobile is changing the way customers connect and communicate. And that tying those communications together with commerce is the next logical step in the way customers browse, shop, and buy the things they need.

It’s a simple fact that mobile drives purchases now. And mobile sits at the core of your customers’ everyday lives. These big players are competing to be the one place—the one set of devices and tools—your customers interact with all day, every day. Mobile, social, search, email, messaging, work, payments, etc., all connected and providing deeper and deeper insights about customer behavior. No wonder it feels like we’ve gone back to the future here.

It’s also a simple fact that these powerhouse companies wouldn’t be falling all over themselves to compete across these few areas if they didn’t indicate that mobile changes everything.

Mobile, data, and the AGFAM players. It’s gonna be fun to watch for the next couple of years; someone please pass the popcorn.

And, while you’re at it, make sure you’ve got the right mobile strategy so that you succeed no matter what happens to these big hitters or their quarterly financials.

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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January 23, 2015

7+ Marvelous Mobile E-commerce Posts: E-commerce Link Digest

January 23, 2015 | By | No Comments

Mobile e-commerce linksWhat a week, Big Thinkers, for great writing and analysis of the mobile marketing and e-commerce space; just tons of great stuff out there on the Interwebs across a wide range of topics. Why not take a few minutes to review these 7+ marvelous mobile e-commerce posts? You’ll be glad you did. Enjoy!

  1. Starting us off, we’ve got Luxury Daily’s coverage of an excellent Forrester report that says mobile is “tail wagging the dog” of business transformation. Two words: Damn straight.
  2. Continuing that theme, Get Elastic has a great infographic that explains how retailers can meet omnichannel expectations.
  3. On the topic of omnichannel, Retail Online Integration lists 4 things every retailer should know about attribution management. Luxury Daily builds on that, noting how e-commerce provides a testing ground for bricks-and-mortar expansion (something I talked about a bit while looking at the big secret about e-commerce). Good stuff all around.
  4. While we’re talking about e-commerce overall, you might want to give a listen to this week’s episode of Thinks Out Loud—our weekly e-commerce and digital marketing podcast—“The State of E-commerce 2015.” Definitely worth a moment of your time.
  5. There’s a ton this week about mobile payments for you to check out. First, Mobile Commerce Daily asks if the Softcard deal will be enough to save Google Wallet (and you can read my follow-up look at what’s up with Google’s latest mobile wallet move here). You might also enjoy this look at what Amazon’s mobile wallet failure can teach you.
  6. Shifting gears to mobile search, Search Engine Land reports that search is number one content discovery tool for mobile users, which also explains why Google is sending mobile usability warnings to huge number of webmasters. And Mobile Commerce Daily details this BIA/Kelsey report that explains search’s evolution towards push and app-based, particularly as evidenced by Google Now.
  7. And, finally, here are some great tips about mobile email, including MarketingProfs’ look at what consumers dislike about mobile email and this post that asks “Are You Still Making This Major Email Marketing Mistake?” Try ’em. You’ll like ’em.

Like this list? Then make sure to check out this round-up of 7 Magical Mobile Marketing and E-commerce Picks, these 8 E-commerce and Mobile Marketing Must-Reads, and the rest of our E-commerce Link Digest series. Plus don’t miss the top posts of 2014 right here.

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

By

January 22, 2015

What Amazon’s Mobile Wallet Failure Can Teach You

January 22, 2015 | By | No Comments

Lessons from Amazon's mobile payment Long-time readers know that I think mobile wallets represent a transformative experience driving e-commerce in 2015 and beyond. Just this week, I took a deep look at exactly why mobile wallets matter and why Google might be buying its way to greater relevance in the space.

So, why then, is Amazon apparently getting out of the game? After all, as the largest e-commerce player, you’d expect them to lead the way, not back away. Is Amazon’s mobile wallet failure a sign that there’s more smoke here than fire?

Well… I don’t think it’s that simple. As Mobile Commerce Daily notes:

“Amazon’s wallet strategy raised questions about its viability from the beginning, as many retailers consider the e-commerce giant a competitor and therefore would be unlikely to want to participate.”

I have no doubt this is true. I also think it downplays an equally important point:

“Amazon’s Wallet enabled users to upload card information, display a QR code to debit a gift card or earn rewards and check balances with supported merchants… ‘It is now clear that NFC is the way it will go’ [according to Tim Sloane, vice president of payments innovations at Mercator Advisory Group].”

Yes, getting merchants on-board matters. A lot. But so does attracting consumers. eMarketer highlights a recent study that shows “…shopping is easier with Apple Pay.” As I’ve said before, mobile and e-commerce go hand-in-hand, literally. Your customers typically have their phone out all the time. Usability ranks as one of the reasons I see Apple Pay (and worthy competitors) as game-changes for mobile commerce. As the study suggests:

“…respondents also reported that Apple Pay was more convenient—with their iPhones in hand most of the time anyway, why not just wave them instead of rummaging for a physical wallet?”

I’d be very surprised if Amazon’s getting out of mobile payments for good. I suspect it’s far more likely they’ll shift strategies and take another run at the mobile wallet space in the future.

It’s becoming clear that mobile drives purchases. And mobile wallets will play a key role in improving those numbers further. While it’s too soon to say that Amazon is out of the game, both they and Apple have helped demonstrate that customer experience matters. As you’re looking at your mobile strategy—whether that involves apps, mobile web, mobile payments, loyalty, or some combination thereof—make sure that you’ve accounted for your customer’s experience too. It’s one thing to learn from your mistakes. But it’s even better to learn from others.

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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January 21, 2015

The State of E-commerce 2015 – Thinks Out Loud Episode 107

January 21, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

Mobile payments and the state of e-commerce 2015

The State of E-commerce 2015 – 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 50s

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: