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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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September 15, 2016

The Future of Digital Arrived Last Week (Thinks Out Loud Episode 177)

September 15, 2016 | By | No Comments

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The Future of Digital Arrived Last Week (Thinks Out Loud Episode 177): Woman wearing wireless headphones

The Future of Digital Arrived Last Week (Thinks Out Loud Episode 177) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about 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:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

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: 12m 19s

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

Tim Peter

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June 1, 2016

What Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Can Teach You About Digital Marketing (Thinks Out Loud Episode 165)

June 1, 2016 | By | No Comments

What Amazon's Jeff Bezos Can Teach You About Digital Marketing: Woman using AI

What Amazon’s Jeff Bezos Can Teach You About Digital Marketing (Thinks Out Loud Episode 165) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about 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:

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

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 6s

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

Tim Peter

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March 20, 2016

7 Spectacular Hotel Marketing Posts This Week: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

March 20, 2016 | By | No Comments

7 Spectacular Hotel Marketing Posts This Week: Hospitality Marketing Link DigestHey, Big Thinkers. Hope you’re having a great weekend. How about we skip the setup and get right into these 7 spectacular hotel marketing posts this week. Enjoy:

  1. Tnooz talked with Sabre, which notes Millennials may be the largest hotel spenders as soon as 2017. Sounds about right to me.
  2. The headline of the the week comes from Skift: “Google Says It Definitely Won’t Become an Online Travel Agency, Unless It Does”. Classic. And absolutely true.
  3. Search Engine Land took a look at Google Flights’ new search features that let users filter searches by travel interests. It seems likely that Google will continue to dive deeper into the travel research and booking landscape as we move forward. Stay tuned.
  4. Speaking of companies diving deeper…. we took a look at Expedia’s Accelerator Program and called it a wolf in wolf’s clothing. Be sure to check out the whole post to see why.
  5. The team here at Thinks rounded-up these 6 important hotel marketing posts from the past week as part of the ongoing Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series.
  6. Flip.to offers some great advice on how to engage your hotel’s secret sales force. On a highly related note, you won’t want to miss this presentation all about using data to put personalization to work for your property.
  7. And, finally, don’t miss these 7 sensational marketing and distribution insights: the top posts of February, 2016.

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

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January 26, 2016

How Google, Uber, and Foursquare Plan to Revolutionize Travel (Travel Tuesday)

January 26, 2016 | By | No Comments

How Google, Uber, and Foursquare Plan to Revolutionize Travel (Travel Tuesday)I’ve said for a long time how, when it comes to e-commerce generally and mobile commerce specifically, we’re still living in the cave painting days. You might think that sounds crazy, but it’s true. A group of stories from the past couple days only serves to highlight that point—and to provide travel marketers for a better sense of where we’re heading.

First up, Koddi explains Google’s new Trip Planning capabilities, noting

“Within a few clicks, the user can get destination details on flights, hotels, restaurants, points of interest, weather, and general travel info like popular times to visit. This information has always been available in Google’s ecosystem, but now it exists in an easy to consume format.”

Now this is all “top of funnel” activity, targeting guests early in their travel shopping experience. But it also connects a ton of activities that travelers typically spread across a number of sites and sessions. Time will tell whether your guests accept Google as their go-to source when planning their entire journey, but it’s an early indicator that maybe we’ve used the term “online travel agent” too aggressively, without providing the concierge-style, end-to-end service that travelers actually need when planning their itineraries.

Also looking to accommodate travelers during the planning stage, Foursquare has built a social trip planning tool, says The Next Web:

“…type where your next trip will take place—whether it’s Sonoma, California or Shanghai, China—and Foursquare spits out an easy to manage URL to share with friends and family through every practical communication method. Foursquare promises to tabulate responses into a map to point you towards specific places suggested by friends. The resulting map is then saved to your phone.”

Note how seamlessly this new functionality incorporates mobile and social into the travel shopping experience. Foursquare clearly recognizes how integral a role social and mobile play for travelers—and have made them a key component of the overall travel planning process, not an afterthought.

Not to be outdone, Uber’s getting into the mix with its new “Trip Experiences” offering. Business Insider explains:

“The idea behind Trip Experiences is to make the apps on your phone smarter, or more “magical,” during an Uber ride. That could mean Spotify knows how much time you have in the car and queues up the perfect playlist. Or maybe your favorite news app knows to show you a 10-minute briefing of the day’s headlines.”

Obviously, Uber’s playing to its strengths here, worrying more about the rider’s experience than anything else. But—and this is key—they’re only just beginning to explore where this will go. As the Business Insider article continues:

“Uber’s Saad thinks apps having knowledge of your trips could unlock entirely new use cases, like a hotel app being able to check you into your room as you arrive in an Uber car. Trip Experiences may start off as something simple, like a time-tailored news briefing, but eventually they could make all the apps you use smarter.”

Um… yeah. That would be something, huh? Again, remember we’re still in the cave painting days.

Clearly, we’ll have to see whether travelers will shift towards making Uber, Google, or, for heaven’s sake, Foursquare(!) a core part of their travel planning and stay. But they’ve certainly embraced Booking.com, TripAdvisor, Expedia, and Travelocity over the last decade-plus—and all of those players started with far less mindshare.

The key takeaway from all of this is to note who’s working to improve the overall travel experience—and who isn’t. Hotels and airlines have a role to play here. And generally, could be doing a much better job. While you might welcome new entrants—and probably should—to increase competition with the major travel intermediaries and, ultimately, lower your costs, be conscious of whether you’re merely substituting one gatekeeper between you and your guest for another.

Ultimately, we’re all looking for the right way to provide the best experience all through the traveler’s journey—and to profit from providing that experience. As Marcelo Sapone writes over on PSFK:

“Up until this point, technology’s central design principle was to take humans out of the picture. Yet of course, this is fundamentally at odds with the concept of hospitality, which is wholly concerned with where it can harness the power of human touch… In many ways we simply haven’t gotten around to creating hospitality tech yet. Right now, our apps are focused on services as a transaction and the ways to make them more efficient. However, real service is defined as a relationship, not a one-way transaction.”

There’s no doubt that with these new offerings, Google, Uber, and Foursquare plan to revolutionize travel. So do Expedia, TripAdvisor, and Priceline. And plenty more are waiting in the wings, planning their attack. Plenty of opportunities exist to help guests all through the travel experience. The question is whether you’re ready to get out of the cave.

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

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January 22, 2016

8 Exceptional Essays to Improve Your Digital Innovation: E-Commerce Link Digest

January 22, 2016 | By | No Comments

8 exceptional essays to improve your digital innovationIt’s going to be a frosty, freezing, breezy weekend here on the East Coast, folks. Hope you’re safe, warm, and dry wherever you might be. Me? I plan to curl up in front of a fire, crack open a bottle of Malbec, and hunker down with this list of 8 exceptional essays to improve your digital innovation in 2016. Enjoy:

  1. Chief Marketer collects a must-read list of the 4 things marketers must do better in 2016.
  2. Not to be outdone, the fine folks at Direct Marketing News ask “what should marketers do differently in 2016?” Both are excellent reads, well-worth your time.
  3. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon will release a portable version of its Echo Speaker in coming weeks (copy the headline and paste into a Google search if the Journal’s paywall blocks you from the whole article). Really interesting stuff that demonstrates how members of the AGFAM group (Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft) continue to work on driving seamless experiences in 2016, one of the key trends for the year ahead.
  4. Speaking of seamless experiences, Quartz says that for the first time, you can take an Uber to the Super Bowl. This illustrates something PSFK just wrote about Uber and developing complementary partnerships that enhance your brand. Smart stuff all around.
  5. Shifting gears just a bit, Search Engine Land highlights a study that reveals quality backlinks & comprehensive content are still biggest factors in driving Google rankings. Not a huge shock. Just goes to show how important and effective content marketing remains to driving traffic and business.
  6. Speaking of content marketing, many of your fellow Big Thinkers liked and linked to this list of 9 tremendous posts about 2016’s top digital trends, part of our ongoing E-commerce Link Digest series.
  7. On the mobile front, ClickZ offers a terrific look at how to assess the feasibility of your mobile project.
  8. And, finally, if there’s one thing that connects all the links this week it’s the strong focus on execution. Which is why I believe that execution as the new innovation remains among the top trends for 2016.

If you’re interested in learning more about making the social, mobile web work for your customers, be sure to check out these “9 Tremendous Posts About 2016’s Top Digital Trends: E-commerce Link Digest”, this collection of “8 Digital Strategy Posts to Start Your Week Right,” this set of “10 Must-Read Posts About Mobile Commerce and Content Marketing” a fun collection of posts featuring “Google, Mobile, E-commerce. What More Could You Want?” and all the rest of the entries from our E-commerce Link Digest series.

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”:

Tim Peter

By

November 29, 2015

6 Spectacular Marketing and Distribution Insights: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

November 29, 2015 | By | No Comments

6 spectacular marketing and distribution insightsHey, Big Thinkers, hope you’ve had a fantastic holiday weekend. Not much setup this time around, but I bet you’ll like these 6 spectacular marketing and distribution insights from the past week. Enjoy:

  1. Tnooz uncovers why TripAdvisor excels at product. Key takeaway? Test, test, test. Want to know how to do that? Well, for starters, check out our coverage of A/B testing.
  2. We took a look at why Priceline believes in the death of search engine optimization (SEO)—and why I don’t. As it happens, according to Search Engine Land, Google just released the full version of their search quality rating guidelines. So it seems Google isn’t giving up on search either.
  3. Of course, that doesn’t mean Google has put its eggs solely in the search basket. As Travolution notes, Google showed off its new destination experience at Phocuswright 2015 but denied its OTA intentions. Yeah, right. If Google isn’t becoming an OTA, we need to have a serious discussion about what an OTA is anymore. Google definitely has its sights set on owning a piece of the hotel distribution pie—specifically, the dollars hotels now spend with OTA’s. Happily, there’s a fairly straightforward playbook you can use to prevent intermediaries from driving up your costs—no matter who they are.
  4. On a highly-related note, we examined the hidden factor OTA’s use to get between you and your guests and, more importantly, how you can use the same trend to your advantage.
  5. PSFK talked with Airbnb’s Head of Product about the future of travel experiences while Mobile Commerce Daily reported on Airbnb’s digital platform upgrades that place a bigger focus on hosts. Each of these stories highlights the need for driving brand intimacy in hospitality.
  6. And, finally, you won’t want to miss these mind-blowing mobile stats for hotel marketers from Google we rounded up the other day. Really useful information as you’re finalizing your budgets and plans for next year.

If you’re interested in more insights and information about travel marketing and distribution, you’ll definitely want to check out these “4+ Fantastic Travel Marketing Posts: the Top Posts Of October, 2015” and be sure to check out this list of “4 Tremendous Travel Marketing Trends From the Past Week,” a great set of “7 Key Insights: The Top Travel Marketing Posts of August, 2015” and a terrific round-up of “7 Brilliant Insights into Mobile Travel E-commerce” from our hospitality marketing link digests (part of the ongoing E-commerce Link Digest series).

And 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 business, including:

Tim Peter

By

November 25, 2015

Giving Thanks for Digital – Thinks Out Loud Episode 142

November 25, 2015 | By | No Comments

Giving Thanks for Digital

Giving Thanks for Digital – 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 47s

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

July 16, 2015

Three Quick Business-Building Tips That Don’t Involve Google

July 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

Three tips to grow your business that don't involve GoogleWhat do email, social, and channel partner apps all have in common? They’re among the best ways you can grow your traffic—and your business— without Google, as I point out in my latest Biznology post. Here’s a quick excerpt:

“I debated whether to include channel partners in this list at all. For one thing, you use search, social, and email specifically to avoid using channel partners. And, let’s be fair, not all “partners” always actively work in your best interest.

That said, many channel partners have had great success in driving app adoption amongst customers, and may prove a valuable way to drive revenues and sales for your business. Just be sure that the ones you’re choosing work as a true partner and not in competition with your own direct efforts.

The best way to distribute your products or services via a channel partners’ app is an exceedingly complicated topic, well beyond the scope of this simple post. However, there are a few questions you should consider to help select appropriate partners to work with. Ask yourself:

  1. Can this partner reach a customer I can’t?
  2. Can they do that at a reasonable cost?
  3. Do they provide access to the end-consumer’s data? (So you can continue to build your list and decrease your dependence on partners overall)”

I think you’ll really enjoy the whole post, including entries on email and social—as well as a special bonus tip, too—so be sure to check it out on Biznology today.

And if you want 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:

Tim Peter

By

May 28, 2015

Google’s Android Pay (Maybe) Addresses its Mobile Wallet Problem

May 28, 2015 | By | No Comments

Android Pay: Google's answer to its mobile wallet problem?

It’s finally happened. In the least surprising announcement from Google’s I/O keynote earlier today, Big G introduced Android Pay, a new mobile wallet platform that, according to The Verge, “…will take the place of Google Wallet on your phone.”

And, in possibly the lamest prediction I’ve ever made, I’d pointed out how obvious and necessary this move is earlier this year:

“Of course, as I’ve said many times, [mobile payments aren’t] just about Apple. Google, if they’re serious about mobile as a platform, have to get into the mobile payments game in a big way (I mean more than just their current, somewhat hobbled Google Wallet offering).”

And now they have.

Google’s introduction of their “mobile buy button” a few weeks ago shows that the search giant is starting to get serious about improving the mobile payments game, a critically important component for improving conversion rate and purchasing activity on mobile devices. However, it will take some convincing to show customers will adopt the service. Here’s the Verge describing how the new wallet works:

“Android Pay will power in-app and tap-to-pay purchases on mobile devices. Google Wallet will stick around, but it will power Play Store purchases outside Android, say on the web, and facilitate peer-to-peer payments you can make through the app and on services like Gmail. Confused? Let the new branding wash over you, and stop worrying so much.”

Ugh. The Verge sums up Google’s past (unfortunate) efforts here perfectly:

“The history of Google’s work on mobile payments has always embodied this frustrating mix of promising ambition and confusingly fraught execution.”

I’m unconvinced, but let’s hope they get it right this time.

Ultimately, I don’t care whose mobile wallet wins. Mostly.[1] You shouldn’t either. But you definitely want to see customers start using mobile wallets and using their phones to make purchases.

There’s a long way to go here, but it ought to be fascinating to watch. If you’re interested in past coverage of mobile wallets, and their importance to mobile commerce overall, make sure you check out these posts:

Do you want 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 — Why Care Whose Digital Wallet Wins? You could argue that Google already holds too much data about customers, and, as the primary seller of advertising on the Web, represents the biggest threat to your business. As noted previously, “When someone else completely controls the road to your customers, it shouldn’t surprise you when they decide to install tollbooths.” That said, lots of customers aren’t buying on mobile today because it’s just too hard. Anything that improves the experience — at least for now — has more upsides than downsides. Plus, I’m not sure that Apple, Amazon, PayPal or any other credible competitor is any less risky. So, yes, let’s be sure we keep an eye on the potential toll collectors. But let’s get customers buying too. [Return to main post body]

Tim Peter

By

May 18, 2015

Google’s Mobile Buy Button: Should You Buy In?

May 18, 2015 | By | One Comment

Google's mobile buy button: Is it a good idea for your business?Well, this is something: Google’s adding a “Buy button” to its search results. According to The Wall Street Journal” [paywall]:

“The search giant will start showing the buttons when people search for products on mobile devices, according to people familiar with the launch.”

Note where Google’s offering that button: On mobile searches, not on desktop. Why? Because desktop e-commerce more or less works… and mobile really doesn’t. As the Journal points out, “…it can be a bigger hassle to navigate a retailer’s page, and enter credit-card and shipping information, on small smartphone screens with error-prone keyboards.” These challenges really underscore why mobile payments represent such a huge game-changer for mobile commerce — and why Google’s efforts here represent such a huge deal. For example, the article says,

“…Google will let shoppers input payment credentials such as credit-card numbers one time, and the company will store those and automatically load them for future purchases on its shopping pages. Google won’t send those payment details to the retailers, one of the people said.”

Now, apparently, Google will accept a “wide range” of payment options, “…including digital payment methods from other providers.” I’m curious to see how long that lasts.

Of course, the fact that Google needs to monetize its mobile traffic more effectively undoubtedly also plays a role. And, to be fair, Google is sticking with a cost-per-click (CPC) model, not a cost-per-action (CPA). As Search Engine Land notes,

“[i]n a departure from Amazon and Ebay, participating Google Shopping advertisers will not have to forego a percentage of the transaction. Instead Google will continue to charge per ad click…”

Essentially, this will work similarly to Google’s Hotel Price Ads offering that travel marketers have dealt with for the last few years. Most hotel marketers would tell you that they’ve found the program generally successful, though worry about Google’s market power (they’re also dealing with slightly different market conditions, usually using both their own website and myriad other distribution channels such as Priceline, Expedia, etc. as opposed to manufacturers using only third-party distribution channels or retailers who may compete directly against Amazon or eBay, but not use those platforms to drive sales).

Regardless, this highlights a few key trends:

  1. User experience matters. Google clearly sees opportunity here to improve user experience and conversion rates (which, let’s face it, tend to move hand-in-hand) on mobile and improve overall mobile revenues for both their partners and themselves.
  2. Mobile’s a really big deal. Google isn’t offering this on desktop at all despite the fact that desktop was where they started with Hotel Price Ads, strongly suggesting that mobile’s really where all the action is right now.
  3. Reaching customers will continue to get more complicated. Jeff Bezos once said, “Your margin is my opportunity.” Google recognizes there’s margin here to play with and is going after it. There’s no way this is the last move in the game. Instead, Google’s potentially introducing another toll booth on the road to purchase — and time will tell when they start collecting.

Do I think you should do this? It depends. But it’s probably worth testing once they make it more widely available. Just keep paying attention to your actual cost of sale and don’t be afraid to shop for better options. Just, once you find them, I hope they give you a “Buy” button, 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: