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February 5, 2020

Hey Loretta, Remind Me That Google’s Got Troubles (Thinks Out Loud Episode 273)

February 5, 2020 | By | No Comments

Google's Got Troubles: Screenshot of Google "Loretta" AdLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


Hey Loretta, Remind Me That Google's Got Troubles (Thinks Out Loud Episode 273) – Headlines and Show Notes

Google brought down the house with it's "Loretta" ad at the big game this weekend. But that ad showed the benefits and downsides of the tech giant's power — and why Google’s got troubles ahead of it. This week's Thinks Out Loud takes a look at why Google's strength may be more brittle than you think — and what you can do to get more business regardless of the challenges Google may face in the future.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links – Hey Loretta, Remind Me That Google's Got Troubles (Thinks Out Loud Episode 273)

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

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

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 16m 32s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, 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.

Transcript — Hey Loretta, Remind Me That Google's Got Troubles (Thinks Out Loud Episode 273)

Well, hello again everyone. Welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter, this is episode 273 of the big show and thank you so much for tuning in, I very, very much appreciate it. I think we have a really, really cool show for you this week.

It was the big football game the other day, just this past week, you know, the superb owl. I don't know if I'm allowed to say the name, because of trademark reasons and I don't want to get sued. But you know the game I'm talking about. And as I've done for, oh my gosh, probably eight years, nine years, maybe a little bit longer I participated in what gets referred to as either #BrandBowl or the #AdBowl where various marketing folks, you know, live-tweet the game and talk about the ads and their opinions of them. These are all professional marketing folks, many with really, really impressive credentials who have a long, long experience in branding and the advertising and the like. And it's this really cool conversation about the quality of the ads and whether or not they're any good, right? Whether or not these ads are doing the job that they should be doing.

Google's Super Bowl Ad — and What it Tells Us About the Tech Giant

And by far, the most polarizing ad of this year's Super Bowl was one from Google. And it featured an elderly man having Google remember things for him. You know, he kept asking Google to remind him about things his late wife, Loretta, liked and it was a charming spot. I mean, from a pure marketing perspective, from a pure advertising perspective, from a pure storytelling perspective, it was a really, really good ad. And yet the reaction from the folks on Twitter ran the gamut from, "Oh my God, that was amazing," to "Oh my God. Google is monster."

And Joel Feder, and I hope I'm pronouncing his name correctly on Twitter, I will link to his Twitter account on the show notes and to his tweet really seemed to capture the moment when he said, "By the way, that Google ad was great. But it proved why Google is terrifying #PrivacyMatters." Now, Joel is the interactive content manager for Internet Brands Automotive. He's got about 8,700 followers and a blue checkmark by his name. I retweeted Joel's post with the comment, "He's not wrong." And the numbers were really extraordinary. My tweet was seen over 10,000 times with roughly 50 engagements, which is only a 0.5% engagement rate, but that's, you know, pretty decent for most typical tweets that I see on my account.

You know, by contrast, I get typically about 2,000 impressions a day. And while my annual AdBowl/BrandBowl live-tweeting of the Super Bowl skews the averages a fair bit, that single tweet accounted for roughly 12% of all of my views for the entire day of Sunday.

And to point out, I have roughly 6,100 followers and no blue checkmark by my name. So what's going on here? Why did this one tweet strike such a nerve? Why did this one ad strike such a nerve? And I think it's really critical to examine what's going on here.

What Brand Ads Should Do — Hey Loretta, Remind Me That Google's Got Troubles (Thinks Out Loud Episode 273)

Another really popular tweet of mine during the BrandBowl and a great discussion that we were having overall was about how and I'm paraphrasing what I'd said, but you know, I said the best ads tonight of which there have been far too few have connected to the benefit/brand very effectively. And I followed that up by saying, "the point isn't for the ad to get folks talking. It's to get them talking about the benefits you provide."

And that's really the key of what's going on here. I think Google's display of their abilities is amazing. It's also terrifying because of the volume of data they have about us every day in our lives. You know, they're amazing. Their tech is spectacular, but we've got to recognize the amount of data they have about us and our customers, and the like is pretty spooky sometimes.

You know, in the past I referred to Google as the company that scares your industry's 800 pound gorillas. And this ad shows why they have the incredible ability to know unbelievably personal details. I mean, again, this was a really moving commercial. This is an elderly man. He happens to be the grandfather of a Google employee, who's asking Google to show him pictures of his late wife and remind him of so many of the things he loved about her. So that's incredibly cool. It's also incredibly intimate details about a person's life.

Now, I've talked about you know, all year long last year, you know, I asked "in digital is Google your enemy" and "how worried are you about Google next year" and how "gatekeepers are gonna gate," including Google in that, and why "Google was the hotel marketing and distribution trend you care about most in 2019" and "why Google keeps winning and how you can win too," and also advising people to "stop outsourcing your sales and marketing to gatekeepers like Google." And I will link to all of those in the show notes, but it's staggering the volumes of data that they have.

Google's Brittle Strength — Hey Loretta, Remind Me That Google's Got Troubles (Thinks Out Loud Episode 273)

Now, the flip side is I'm beginning to question whether or not we've hit "peak Google." You know, one of the things I like to do on this podcast is I like to talk about here's a trend, or here's a topic you should be thinking about you know, here's why it matters and here's what you can do about it. And in those podcast episodes I just discussed, I have a number of techniques for things you can do to deal with them, including a really good one from a few years back that said, "how to compete with Amazon and Expedia and Google and dot, dot, dot." That's episode 221. And again, I will link to all these in the show notes.

But I also think you should have a little bit of patience because Google isn't foolproof. Now, the most obvious evidence is that Google put out their earnings report just a couple of days ago, just yesterday actually. And they got hammered. They had a really terrible end of the year, a really terrible quarter. A and a lot of it has to do with the fact that 84% of their revenue comes from ads with most of that, another 84% as it happens, coming from Google and YouTube alone.

Google Breaks Out YouTube Revenue

You know, they broke out YouTube revenues for the first time, and they (YouTube) did $15 billion in ad revenue last year, which is amazing. But it was a little bit of "look over here," away from the fact that they missed their overall earnings target for the quarter by $800 million. Now, this is a company that does, you know, billions and billions of dollars per quarter, you know, $25-$30 billion a quarter. So $800 million is not a huge percentage. But it's also $800 million, right? It's not a trivial number. So that's really a challenge for them. And the reason is, as my friend Mike Moran says, they're a one product company. They have ads and they have nothing else.

Now, to be fair, that's a good problem to have. It's like having a huge income tax bill, right? You can't have a big income tax bill if you don't have a lot of income. They, you know, only have one product, but that product is making them tens of billions of dollars per quarter, and you know, $100 billion a year.

Google's Competition

But the point is that Google is incredibly strong, but it's a brittle strength. They face unbelievable competition from Facebook and Alibaba and Tencent and increasingly Amazon in advertising. They face incredible competition from Apple and Samsung and maybe Huwei in mobile. They face incredible competition from Netflix and Amazon and Tencent in video. And so on. You know, they've really struggled to figure out how to grow their business in new and interesting ways, and that could be a sign of what's going to hurt them in the long run.

It's also why you want to diversify, like I've talked about in "how you compete…". Because it also underscores the fact that they increasingly have to find ways to grow, to monetize the traffic that they receive. And if they can't find ways to do it, they're just going to have to raise prices to advertisers. And I'd bet that includes most of us. You know, it certainly includes me and my clients. I bet it includes you too.

I don't think Google's going to go out of business in 2020 or 2021 or 2022 or anything else. You know, if for no other reason, even if they completely, completely do a horrible job for the next few years, they're sitting on over a hundred billion dollars in cash. Inertia is a really powerful thing when you've got that kind of money. And you're not going to go out of business or get knocked off your throne too quickly when you're sitting on a pile of cash that large. And all of that ignores any regulatory threat that they may face, whether it's in the EU or California or the United States. Probably in 2021 once we get the U.S. Presidential election behind us. So they have incredible competitive challenges and they probably have some pretty significant regulatory challenges ahead of them.

If you were to ask me would I rather be Google than not be Google, I would absolutely choose being Google every day of the week and twice on Sundays. They're not in a horrible position by any stretch.

But they also face more competitive threats than they ever had. They're struggling to grow more than they ever have. They have failed repeatedly to introduce new products that can diversify the way that they make money, and as a result, they're looking to hoover up more data and raise prices to advertisers so that they can continue to grow. So they're going to remain the beast that scares your industry's 800 pound gorillas for the foreseeable future.

But what you want to do is start to look at ways that you can be less dependent upon them so that you can start looking for other ways to drive traffic and revenue to your business. So if Google should raise their rates or raise their prices, it doesn't come back to bite you. And so that you're better positioned that if they should stumble or if regulators should come in and make them change the way they're doing things, you're not so dependent upon them that they sneeze and you catch a cold.

Hey Loretta, Remind Me That Google's Got Troubles (Thinks Out Loud Episode 273): Conclusion

So my big advice for the moment is kind of wait and see, but also look to find other ways to drive revenue and drive traffic for your business. Because as we saw with the Loretta ad, Google's very powerful and very scary. And to me there's nothing more scary than being dependent on one company who's that powerful in your world, especially if you depend upon them for a significant chunk of your business.

Show Closing — Hey Loretta, Remind Me That Google's Got Troubles (Thinks Out Loud Episode 273)

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week, but I want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all past episodes by going to TimPeter.com/podcast. Again, that's TimPeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 273. While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have Thinks Out Loud delivered to you every single week. You can also subscribe to Thinks Out Loud on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud or Thinks Out Loud, we should show up for any of those.

And while you're there, I'd really appreciate it if you could provide us a positive rating or review. It helps new listeners find us. It helps them understand what the show is all about and it makes a huge difference for the podcast overall.

You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Facebook by going to facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates. And you can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter. And of course you can email me by sending an email to podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that's podcast@timpeter.com.

I'd also like to thank our sponsor. Thinks Out Loud is brought to you by SoloSegment. SoloSegment focuses on AI-driven content discovery and site search analytics to unlock revenue for your business. You can learn more about how to improve your content, increase your customer satisfaction, and make your search smarter by going to solosegment.com. Again, that's solosegment.com.

With that. I want to say thanks so much again for tuning in. I really appreciate you listening. I know I say this every week, but I would not do this show without you, so it means so much to me to have you listen every single week. I hope you have a great rest of your week. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead and I look forward to speaking with you again on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please be well be safe and as ever take care everybody.

Tim Peter

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January 29, 2020

What Great Marketers Know: The 5 Tech Trends that Will Shape the 2020’s (Thinks Out Loud Episode 272)

January 29, 2020 | By | No Comments

What Great Marketers Know: The 5 Tech Trends that Will Shape the 2020's: People using mobile in a cafeLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


The 5 Tech Trends that Will Shape the 2020's (Thinks Out Loud Episode 272) – Headlines and Show Notes

This week's Thinks Out Loud continues our look at the top trends you need to know to improve your marketing this year. And this one's super-fun, examining the 5 tech trends that will shape not only this year, but the 2020's as a whole.

What are these trends? I'm glad you asked. Drawn from key insights by folks like Steven Sinofsky, Kara Swisher, The Verge, and others, we're learning from some of the best. Not only that, but Thinks Out Loud has some recommendations on how to make these trends work for your business.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links – The 5 Tech Trends that Will Shape the 2020's (Thinks Out Loud Episode 272)

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

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

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 19m 35s

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

Tim Peter

By

January 15, 2020

Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271)

January 15, 2020 | By | No Comments

2020 Trends Voice Takes Off: Office workers using smart speakerLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271) – Headlines and Show Notes

We're kicking off 2020 by highlighting a key trend you need to know about. What is that trend? The growth of voice in your customer's journey. Voice has been growing in importance for a few years. But it looks like this year is the year it really takes flight. And, of course, that means you need to think about how you can use voice to improve your marketing and customer experience.

Customers use voice search. They listen to podcasts. They expect relevant experiences, immediately. These all connect to make voice a key component of your marketing strategy and tactics. And Thinks Out Loud has some recommendations on how to make voice work for your business.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links – Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271)

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

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

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 18m 00s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, 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.

Transcript — Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271)

Show Opening — Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271)

Well, hello again everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. This is episode 271 of the big show, and I think we have a really cool show for you. I want to follow up with what I've been talking about for the last handful of weeks with, you know, the decade in review that I closed out last year with and with your digital marketing new year's resolutions that I opened last week with, to talk a little bit about the trends you want to pay attention to here in 2020 and beyond.

I don't think, I always think it's funny when you're talking about trends for 2020 or trends for 2019 or trends for 2021 whatever the year happens to be. Because if it's a meaningful trend, it's probably not a one year event. It's probably something, it's almost always something that has benefit to you, not just for this year, but for the next year or two or three. You know, once you get out more than a couple of years, two, three years, it may get tough to say it will consistently be true, but if it's worth doing, it's something that probably should have some legs underneath it, something that will carry you forward for some time to come.

The Trend: Voice Takes Off

And one of the trends that I think you need to pay attention to now, if you haven't been already, is the growth of voice. I really think we are in an era when voice is taking off in a big, big way, and I'll explain why in just a moment. But for some background, I've talked about voice as a powerful trend before and whether voice and VR and AR and AI represent hype or hope for marketers as well as others over the last few years. And I will link to all of that in the show notes.

But I want to say that some of those may have been a little early. You know, 2017/2016 voice probably was, you know, interesting, but not necessarily critically important to your business. As we move forward though, in this year and the next year, all the data strongly suggests that that simply is no longer the case.

Digital Sleeps, Creeps, and Leaps

Like a lot of things in digital, I really think we're seeing an example of where the trend "sleeps, creeps and then leaps." You know, it's something where you don't see it much until one day you look around and it's everywhere. And I think we're starting to hit the point where voice is going into that "leaps" mode. It's sort of slept for a little bit. It's been creeping slowly. And boom. Now here we are, where it's suddenly gotten very big.

Data Showing How Big Voice Is Getting and the Growth of Voice

I wrote a piece for Hotel Executive this month that talks about, you know, how "voice is mobile's next big trick." And we're seeing data from the Global Web Index that says 27% of the global online population is using voice search on mobile. That same report says, quote, "with between 40 to 60% of consumers planning to purchase a new mobile within the next 12 months, the majority of their new phones will have integrated voice assistance." Research from Path Interactive says that 70% of respondents report using voice search at least a few times a week, and 27% of respondents are using voice search one to three times per day.

So that's a lot, right? We know that Google has been saying for some time that about 20% of all mobile searches are voice powered. Now, I want to be fair. Google has been saying that number for a couple of years. And they haven't updated the number, which means one of two things, well, at least one of two things is true.

One is that that number has grown a ton and they want to keep it closer to the vest because they don't want Amazon and Apple with Alexa and Siri to get into play there. Or the other possibility is that it hasn't grown as much as they would like. And so they're, they don't want to like, you know, oversell it.

I'm not sure which of those is true, but given what we're seeing from data around Apple and data that we're seeing from Amazon, I suspect that the more like the former, that they don't want Apple and Amazon to catch on, than the latter. For instance, according to Fortune and some other folks, Apple's AirPods business is somewhere between a $6 billion and $8 billion business, and it's growing fast according to Fortune.

That revenue alone would make AirPods, just AirPods, number 384 on the Fortune 500. Which, okay, only the 384th biggest business on the Fortune 500. But that's still one of the 500 biggest businesses in the world, so that's pretty good, right? That's crazy, you know?

According to a bunch of different data, there were 100 million Alexa-powered devices sold in 2018. And according to Quora Creative, the Echo Dot was the best selling product on Amazon during the 2018 holiday season. Not the best selling voice product, the bestselling product overall. And that discounts all of the other Echo devices that are out there, or all the other Alexa-powered devices that are out there.

So clearly voice is growing in terms of its ubiquity and in terms of the frequency with which customers use it. I mean, that's a really, really big deal and it's becoming a bigger and bigger deal, something that you need to pay attention to, we need to pay attention to as digital marketers, as digital strategists, if we're going to connect with our customers where they want us to.

One last data point I would call out is that according to Path Interactive, they found that the majority of respondents, 78%, believe that within the next five to 10 years, at least half their searches will be done through voice search devices.

Now the reason I saved this one for last is because it goes back to a quote I've referred to many times, which is that we always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. So when people are saying they expect about half of their voice searches will be done through voice search devices in the next five to 10 years. That's a likely an underestimate.

It doesn't mean that we're going to get there in two. It just means that one of two things will be true. Either we will get to half voice search as being there faster than five years, or we will get a lot more than half of searches done within that period, or both.

Your Response: Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271)

So given that, given these potential realities, what should you do about it? How should you change what you're doing or how should you think differently about this?

How to Show Up in Voice Search

And the first is to understand that audio is a key component of your customer's experience. So you want to be sure that when people are looking for you voice, that you actually can respond to them.

And the way you do that is to make sure that you do well in Answer Boxes and Featured Snippets in things like Google Search, because that's what powers voice responses for Google and for Siri on Apple devices, that's how they get the answers to the questions that they want.

Research Answer Box and Featured Snippet Keywords

And how do you do that? Well, you have to target keywords that Answer Boxes show up for. It doesn't make a lot of sense to try to be an Answer Box for those queries that Answer Boxes don't appear. You want to take a look at what kinds of keywords align with your business objectives that also have Answer Boxes attached to them and start creating content that actually answers those questions. Which is the second thing that you have to do. When we talk about Answer Boxes and Featured Snippets, you need to think about the questions that your customers ask.

You know, either brainstorm them, brainstorming them with your sales and customer service folks, doing keyword research, looking at your Google Search Console data and looking at your site search data to understand the questions that people are asking and the intent that they have when they don't ask a question, but just putting the specific keywords.

Answer the Questions that Customers Ask

You want to target those questions as the keywords within your content. You know, you want to think about things like what are directions to your locations or finding times that your businesses are open, your business is open, or how-to's around products, services, or solutions. You know, what are people asking when they have questions about your product? What are people asking when they have questions about your service? What are the how-to's they're asking when in the old marketing vernacular, "nobody wants a drill, they want a hole"? What kinds of questions are they asking about that that your product or service might be a good answer for?

Provide Clear, Concise and Correct Answers

Now, assuming your product or service is a good answer to those questions, the next thing you want to do is to make sure that you've got a clear, concise and correct answer to that question, which means you may not be talking about your product or service. You have to answer the question. The best answer is what Google's really looking for. So you want to focus on making the answer as correct and as perfect as possible. The answer absolutely can be, and likely should be, part of a longer piece. You know, "Content is King" and all that. But the core of the answer really has to appear in the first hundred words or so, maybe 150. You want to get to the answer fast because on voice, that's what your customer wants to do. Get to the answer fast.

Format Your Answers in Structured Data

You can make that work even better by formatting responses as either a numbered list or a bulleted list. Again, that's a very clear case of "here's a direction to the place," "here's what time you're open," "here's how you do the thing" that somebody asked how to do. And if you have tabular data, you know, tables or graphical data graphs used, use structured data markup for those. Make sure that you've got the data marked up in a way that Google can clearly understand this is tabular data, this is graphical data, and here's how I can present it best to answer the question somebody asks.

Consider Voice Apps Like Alexa Skills and Google Actions

Another thing you're going to want to do is think about Alexa Skills or Google Actions and whether they're appropriate for your business or your brand. You know, when you talk about Skills or Actions, they're basically just apps for voice. I don't necessarily think you need to create those in every case. But you do need to say, are there appropriate Skills? Are there appropriate Actions? Is there an appropriate customer experience, benefit, to offering a distinct voice experience for our customer and make them more successful and more effective at what they do?

Consider Podcasting

And then of course, the last thing you can look at, and I fully admit this is a little self-serving given what I do, but also think about an audio experience for your customer with your content, like podcasting. One of the reasons I podcast is because I want people to be able to experience my content when they're on their, on the go on mobile devices and the like without having to read or look at their screen. It may not be appropriate for every business, but I've talked a bunch before about why podcasting may or may not make sense for your business, and it's probably worth taking a look at. For you to say, "Hey, is this something where we can help our customers using voice and using mobile when they're on the go to help them be more effective." So it's one more thing to think about.

TL;DR — Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271)

So it appears clear that voice is really taking off. Voice is really speaking up as we get into 2020 and the growth is there. The time really is now to start thinking about it for your customers. Think about how you can be the right answer in voice for your customers to make sure that they can get the information they need while on the go.

And when they're asking the question out loud, you should look at the Skills and Actions, you know, Amazon and Google's voice apps, to determine whether they're appropriate for your brand and for the customer experience that your customers expect.

And finally you might want to take a look at podcasting to say, "is that an appropriate content experience and an appropriate customer experience for our customers to help them get the information they need and be successful as they go about their day?"

Ultimately, voice is here and it's time to really listen to what our customers are saying and engage in a conversation in a very real way with them to help them accomplish their goals. So the last question I have for you is, "are you listening to what they have to say?"

Trends for 2020: Voice Takes Off (Thinks Out Loud Episode 271) — Show Closing

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week, but I'd like to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all our past episodes by going to TimPeter.com/podcast. Again. That's TimPeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 271.

While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have thinks out loud delivered to you every single week. You can also subscribe to Thinks Out Loud on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud or Thinks Out Loud. We should show up for any of those.

While you're there. I'd really appreciate it if you could provide us a positive rating or review. It helps new listeners to find us. It helps them understand what kind of show this is and it makes a huge difference for the business overall. It really means a lot to me personally, and I genuinely would appreciate it.

I also want to remind you that you can find things out loud on Facebook. By going to facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @TCPeter.

And of course you can email me by sending an email to podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that's podcast@timpeter.com.

As ever, I'd like to thank our sponsor SoloSegment. SoloSegment focuses on AI-driven content discovery and site search analytics to unlock revenue for your business. You can learn more about how to improve your content, increase your customer satisfaction, and make your search smarter by going to solosegment.com. Again, solosegment.com.

With that, I want to say thanks so much for tuning in. I always appreciate you listening. I really wouldn't do this without your support, so it means so much to me. I hope you have a great rest of the week. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead and I look forward to speaking with you again on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please be well be safe and as ever take care everybody.

Tim Peter

By

December 18, 2019

The Decade in Review (Thinks Out Loud Episode 269)

December 18, 2019 | By | No Comments

Decade in review: Group of customers using mobile devicesLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


The Decade in Review (Thinks Out Loud Episode 269) — Headlines and Show Notes

Welcome to my (I think) last podcast episode of the 2010's and (I think) last blog post of the 2010s. Almost 2,600 posts. Almost 270 podcast episodes. What have I learned over the last decade? What’s changed for me? And for you? How will those changes shape where we go in the 2020’s?

This isn’t a trip down memory lane. It’s a glimpse into a future path, one that will influence your business for years to come.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you.

Relevant Links — The Decade in Review (Thinks Out Loud Episode 269)

Mobile and the Changing Customer Experience

AI

Google and the rest of the Frightful Five

Thinking Strategically

Learning

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

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

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 43s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, 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.

Transcript — The Decade in Review

Well, hello again everyone and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter. This is episode 269 of the big show and as ever, thank you so much for tuning in. I think we've got a really cool show for you. This one's going to be a little different than what I normally do.

This is in all likelihood, the last podcast episode of the year, which means that it's the last podcast episode of the 2010s. It's also probably the last blog post of the 2010s. And obviously that's got me reflecting on the end of the decade and you know, what all we've done here at the blog and what we've done on Thinks Out Loud as a podcast over the last, you know, 10 years or so and, you know, since we started altogether. So, you know, I think it's a really interesting thing to look back and say, how has this decade shaped where I am, where you are, and how is that affecting where I go from here, where you go from here.

There's been a lot of change for me over the last decade. I suspect there has been for you too. In 2009 and 2010, depending on where we want to time this from, I was working for The Leading Hotels Of The World. I ran digital globally for the company, technically for a subsidiary of the company. I was the managing director of that subsidiary, and we ran digital globally for the company as well as about a hundred of its member hotels, plus some other stuff — an online travel agency and some other things. I actually wouldn't start Tim Peter & Associates. It's under these auspices that I do the podcast and the like until April, 2011. And most of the content on the site prior to that really focused on lessons I'd learned working for larger companies that small business owners can apply to their businesses.

This podcast wouldn't start until a year after that, September 2012, so just over eight years ago. But in that time, we've produced roughly 32 episodes a year, so about three a month pretty much every month for the last eight years-plus. And it's remarkable to look back and think about what changed during that time. And much as I talk about in the lessons you can learn from Jeff Bezos, what hasn't changed? And the answer is a lot.

One of these days, I'm going to go through some of the old podcasts and some of the old blog posts, and I will hold myself accountable by saying, "You know what? Here's some predictions that really didn't go well, but that I was confident we're going to be a big deal or something everyone should pay attention to that turned out to be, you know, not so much."

But for today, I want to talk about what went right. So what's, what's interesting to me is that next month the iPhone turns 13 years old. And in fact, the project that led to the iPhone actually started in 2005, making the phone — in concept anyway — almost 15 years old. 2005 coincidentally is when I started this blog.

Mobile and the Changing Customer Experience

And what's really fascinating to me is that I've been talking about the mobile web — and I have to say, it sounds adorable to talk about it that way to mean now — but I was talking about the mobile web a lot in 2009. And one of the things I think I got really right was this idea of how mobile would change the customer experience. There are a host of, you know, either blog posts or podcast episodes — I will link to these in the show notes; I'm not going to recount them all now — but a host of of items that really talked about how mobile would change the way your customers interacted.

And some things that I think are really interesting in that list are, you know, there was a blog post that talked about, "Do you think the mobile web is bogus? Think again" and "Is this the year of mobile?" which was published in 2010 — January, 2010 — and I made the argument at the time that really 2009 probably was the year of mobile, almost certainly because of the iPhone, but it led to thinking about how that changed customer experience. There was a post that I wrote, oh geez, somewhere in 2015 that said, it's not mobile first, it's customer first. We have to think about how our customer evolves and expects things to work. And that of course, led a couple of years later to a post, to our podcast episode I reference all the time about how "customer experience is queen and what does that mean." And then around the same time, a blog post that talked about why personalization starts with a person. And just how we have to think about our customer overall and how their behavior shape what we do. There's a whole bunch of posts that really get to thinking about those strategies. You know, one called the forgotten social network and how customers use email and why that's still important to us.

That was originally published way back in 2010 but was most recently updated in October of this year. I got a new update in there, so we can talk about it in a more relevant way of where we are right now, but stays true. But there's all these fun things about, you know, does your business depend on your customer's stupidity from 2010 where people are talking about how they're going to keep information away from their customers — you know how they're going to depend upon an information disparity, which today just seems ridiculous than anyone thought that way. But it still does matter.

And of course, that led to probably one of the most popular posts I've ever written about the race you can't win and why it is you can't depend on an information disparity favoring you when it comes to pricing. Because again, people carry the internet in their pocket. They know everything they need to know about your product or service because it's so critical to them. So this isn't something that is new or something that I just started talking about last week. You know, we've been talking about this for quite a while.

Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft

Of course, the companies that really get it right. In terms of doing this would be Google and the rest of the frightful five, or as I named them back in 2013 “AGFAM” — Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft — and the fact that they really get it and are using data to understand our customers and understand how to provide them a better experience.

See how these things all tie together. And this clearly is something that's been on my mind for a long time. Ah, that episode of the podcast was episode 30 so that was 2013 that was, gosh, six years ago, but still is relevant today. And what I thought was really interesting as I went back through some of the archives was there is a blog post from 2011 called "Why the mobile web scares Google to death" and how it was really important to them to make sure that they got people to continue to search instead of using apps.

Oh, there's another very popular post as part of the Travel Tuesday series I've run for a long time about "the big myth about hotel metasearch" and how metasearch isn't a product. It's really just a feature that's part of search and that's something we've seen play out in the last few weeks with Expedia and all the problems they are having, which I will again link to in the show notes.

That's what I've been talking about the last two weeks here on the podcast. So it's interesting to me that these ideas of mobile and how that shapes customers' behaviors and how Google and the other members of the frightful five respond to that and how that has to change our strategic thinking.

AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Of course, that leads to, we need to collect sufficient data such that we can personalize for our customers and so that we can create Better experiences for them, and so that we can power some AI and some machine learning that enables better experiences. So, you know, how do we use these tools in a way to compete?

Learning

And that leads to the last topic and one that I'm probably most proud of. If you look over the course of the history of the blog and the history of the last decade, you know, one topic I've come back to again and again and again is this idea that we need to keep learning. Probably my most favorite post about this goes back to 2012 and it was called "The most important skill" and is all about how we have to keep learning. I did a podcast episode a hundred episodes ago in 2016 about how to keep up with technology as a marketer: the quick and dirty guide. What Amazon's Jeff Bezos can teach you about digital marketing and how we need to, as my friend Mike Moran likes to say, "do it wrong quickly" so that we can learn and continue to improve and continue to create better and better experiences for our customers.

And I think that's a great place to wrap it up.

Of the things that I think I've done well over the last bunch of years, over the last decade, and that I absolutely think I have to keep doing and would encourage you to keep doing as you go into the 2020s is keep learning because that's the way you'll be able to compete as customer experience continues to change.

Conclusion

You know, maybe something comes along that will take the place of mobile, whether it's wearables, whether it's, you know things like the air pod, whether it is things like the watch or glasses or something else. I don't know that we know, but we know that the customer experience will continue to change.

We know that Google and the rest of those frightful five are going to continue to try to adapt quickly. We know that we have to think strategically about how to address our customer's needs, and that always comes back to customer experience. AI undoubtedly is going to play a significant role.

Now we'll see in 2030 if that prediction holds true, but I'm going to say AI is going to play a pretty significant role throughout the 2020s in how we do that.

And the companies that learn fastest and learn best are the ones that are going to be really great shape when we're looking back 10 years from now to today.

So that's what I want to leave you with, whether the predictions I made a decade ago turn out to be right a year from now or two years from now, or five years from now. The one that I feel really confident about is if we just keep learning, you're just going to keep winning.

Now we are coming into a couple of short weeks here at the end of the year. Next week is Christmas. The week after that is New Year's. I don't know if I'm going to get another episode in before the year is out. So if this is the last time I speak with you before the holidays, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, a terrific Hanukkah, a terrific Christmas, a wonderful new year.

Closing

As I like to say, looking at the clock on the wall. We are out of time together for this time, but I do want to thank you so much for tuning in. I really do appreciate it. I want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all the past episodes, all 269 of them by going to TimPeter.com/podcast. Again, that's TimPeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 269.

While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have Thinks Out Loud delivered to you every single week. You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcast or Stitcher Radio or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks , Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud, or Thinks Out Loud. We should show up for any of those. While you're there, as ever, I'd really appreciate it if you could provide us a positive rating or review. It helps new listeners to find the show and figure out what they're in for before they start listening. So it makes a huge difference for us and it really means a ton to me.

You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Facebook by going to facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter. And of course you can email me using that forgotten social network by sending an email to podcast@TimPeter.com. Again, that's podcast@TimPeter.com.

One big difference over the last 10 years since we started the podcast was we have a sponsor and I'd like to thank SoloSegment. SoloSegment focuses on AI-driven content discovery and site search analytics to unlock revenue for your business. You can learn more about how to improve your content, increase your customer satisfaction and make your search smarter by going to SoloSegment.com.

With that — I know I said it already — but I really do want to say thanks so much for tuning in. I very much appreciate it. I would not have done this show for the last eight years. I wouldn't have done the blog for the last 15 without you taking the time to read and respond and listen. It means so much to me.

I hope you have a great rest of the week. I hope you have a tremendous holiday season. I hope you have a happy, healthy, and wonderful New Year and I will look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until we talk again, please, as ever, be safe, be well and take care everybody.

Tim Peter

By

December 11, 2019

The Lessons You Should Learn from Expedia’s Recent Troubles (Thinks Out Loud Episode 268)

December 11, 2019 | By | No Comments

What do Expedia's recent troubles mean for your business? Screenshot of Expedia.com home pageLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


The Lessons You Should Learn from Expedia’s Recent Troubles (Thinks Out Loud Episode 268) — Headlines and Show Notes

Literally days after our episode calling out the dangers of Google forcing your company to become a "hidden intermediary" — and using Expedia’s recent troubles as one example of where things are going terribly wrong — Expedia fired CEO Mark Okerstrom and CFO Alan Pickerell. The reason? Well, apart from a "disagreement over strategy," the real issue is that the company simply doesn't have a plan for dealing with Google's rising dominance. And, as stated, that's something you want to keep from happening to your brand.

How can you do that? How can you avoid Google taking over your share of the market? How can you compete with the search giant to win customers and profits? Tim Peter & Associates' president Tim Peter has a few ideas for you on the latest episode of Thinks Out Loud.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links — The Lessons You Should Learn from Expedia's Recent Troubles (Thinks Out Loud Episode 268)

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

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

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 52s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes, 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.

Transcript — The Lessons You Should Learn from Expedia's Recent Troubles (Thinks Out Loud Episode 268)

Well, hello again, everyone. Welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter. This is episode 268 of the big show, and thank you so much for tuning in. I really appreciate it. We have a crazy show today. I did an episode last week that talked about the biggest risk to your business is becoming a hidden intermediary, and I really used what's going on with Expedia lately to illustrate the problem of becoming hidden intermediary — how Google, how Amazon, how Facebook, how Apple, you know how the big tech giants are really threatening companies that don't provide a direct value-add to their customers. And you know, one of the things that drove this was that Expedia reported really, really crappy earnings in Q3.

And I talked a little about the fact that, you know, they needed to sort this out and they probably would, well, no sooner did I publish the episode. Then the very next day Expedia fired Mark Okerstrom, the CEO, and Alan Pickerell, who was the CFO. Like out. Gone. Hit the bricks.

Phocuswire who covered the story brilliantly. I'm going to link to a lot of focus wire stuff here because they're really great at this. They do a wonderful job, but I will say, I thought the framing of their headline was kind of funny because it's “Expedia group CEO Mark Okerstrom out amid board disagreement over strategy.” I think the biggest disagreement that the board had was that, you know, Okerstrom and Pickerell thought they were the right people to lead that strategy. And the board, you know, disagreed.

So I'm, not that I was in the room, but I'm pretty sure the biggest disagreement was, you know, "are these, in fact, the people who can fix this?" Now I want to point out, I tweeted on December 3rd, another story about this that was also from Phocuswire because at the Phocuswright Conference, Mark Okerstrom talked about the challenges that we're having with search, and I tweeted — and this is important to those of you who are listening, who are not in the travel industry — I said, “don't let Expedia fool you. This isn't just about travel. Google is coming for a lot of folks.”

I also tweeted on December 3rd, you know, a link to an article from the Motley Fool that said, “why Expedia blamed Google for its earnings debacle.” And I said, because "Google is a huge problem for Expedia. That's why, and they may be coming for your business next."

This is a thing I've talked about a ton when it comes to travel. Google is the dominant player in organic paid search, organic search, paid search, and a thing called metasearch, which if you're outside of travel, don't worry about it. Well actually, let me rephrase that. If you're outside of travel, you don't need to know precisely what metasearch is, but you should worry about it because it is a canary in a coal mine. And I'm going to come back to that canary in a coal mine in just a second. This is a thing that I've been talking about since at least 2014 when I referred to the big myth about hotel metasearch. Which you know, the nice thing about predicting things years in advance is you only need to be right once. 😉

But there was another Phocuswire article from November 14th where they talked about Skyscanner becoming a search company, pivoting from their original model of being a metasearch engine and instead becoming a marketplace with bookings. Functionally, they're getting out of the business of aggregating search results, right? They're no longer going to be a search engine primarily, and instead they're going to sell travel directly, which by the way, is exactly the problem that, you know, Expedia and Booking.com and the like and TripAdvisor, who I all talked about last week, seemed to be having.

Now remember the canary in the coal mine that I talked about a moment ago? Well, Social Capital CEO Chamath Palihapitiya was speaking at the Phocuswright Conference a couple of weeks ago, by the way, that is run by the same people who run Phocuswire, and I'm going to quote pretty extensively here from a a CNBC review of this. So I'm quoting from the CNBC article. It says, quote

Speaking at The Phocuswright Conference this week, Palihapitiya said that while he “loves” Google and its stock as an investor, he warned that time is running out for companies who have become reliant on it. “The longer it takes for Google to find a second act, the more you’re f—-d,” he said about those companies, adding that investor patience will wane. “If you are in the business of being a parasite on top of Google, your medium-term and long-term prospects are terrible; you’re an impaired company, you don’t know it,” he added. The only way to win, he argued, is to offer unique value; many companies have done the opposite, becoming more like their competitors and relying on Google to drive volume. That’s a recipe for disaster. “This is accurate,” tweeted fellow venture capitalist Bill Gurley, of Benchmark, Thursday evening.

Palihapitiya pointed to the travel industry, calling Google’s travel efforts a “canary in a coal mine” and citing both Expedia and TripAdvisor. “At the core of it is the decision that they will capture the overwhelming majority of profit in the travel sector,” he said about Google.

He's not the only one saying it either. Ben Thompson on Stratechery a couple of weeks back now, on November 12th, actually right after Expedia's earnings call, referred to "the Google Squeeze" and the challenges that Expedia and people like TripAdvisor and Booking.com will have in competing as you go forward.

This is a huge deal, and it's not about travel. This is what Google's doing in a number of markets. Look at what's happening with online retail. Look at what's happening with Google Shopping. Look at what's happening with Google News. They aggregate demand to use Ben Thompson's phrase, and because they have the demand, they control the marketplace for whatever that product or service is.

And this is a huge issue for all kinds of companies. Mark Oak Ostrom got fired because of this, by the way, to point out how rare this is. He was named CEO of the company two years ago. Less than two years ago. Find me another example of a CEO of a public company that by the way, is doing basically okay, right there.

Their revenues were up 9% year on year. Their costs were up dramatically more, but find me a CEO who gets booted after two years. And the reason he got booted was because the board didn't believe that he had a good plan for dealing with the fact that Google's going to come along and you know, eat their lunch or drink their milkshake, or you was whatever your favorite, you know, analogy is basically the board said, mr , mr Pickerell, we understand what you say you're going to do and we think it's not going to work.

Now. Last week on the show, I laid out a three point framework for how you can succeed and make sure what just happened to Okerstrom and Pickerell doesn't happen to you. I said, you must differentiate. You must become a destination and you must diversify. You must get your traffic and your revenue from more than just one source.

A lot. Don't get all your business from Google. In fact, I had a podcast, a podcast a weeks ago where I said, stop outsourcing your sales and marketing to gatekeepers like Google at a minimum. Don't outsource a hundred percent of it to those folks, but there's one more point that I want to add to that framework, and I hinted at it last week, but I want to get a little more in detail about it this week, which is, I said, you have to differentiate, you have to become a destination.

You have to diversify. And you have to deliver. There was a fascinating article that on marketing charts that said, uh, uh, here's what B2B content marketers are prioritizing in 2020 and near the very top, they had increased conversions and near the very bottom they had no the customer better, and I thought that was insanity.

Because I think the first of those follows from the last of those. You don't increase your conversion without knowing your customer better. One leads to the other, and we see this all the time when I've talked about customer experiences queen, this is what I'm talking about. Steffan Berelowitz had another great example, a guy from a company called Travel Tripper that said, consumers want Amazon to be a travel booking site.

Why?

Because they really like the experience that they have on Amazon. I talked about this actually two weeks ago with Amazon Go, instant gratification, and the boring future of business customers expect. That the experience will become invisible. It will become so seamless that they don't even notice it.

And that's kind of what Amazon has done with Amazon. Go and now travel. Customers say, why can't they do that for my travel too? That's a huge threat to an Expedia or booking.com and frankly to a Google. And the reason it works is because they're using data to understand the customer and using that understanding to create a deeper, deeper, richer experience.

Uh, there was another fantastic article that was out, uh, Oh, about a week ago from CMS wire about how brands still haven't tapped AI's full promise. Why do I talk about AI? I'm going to talk about customer experience. Because that's how you know your customer better. That's how you use the data to inform your decisions.

It's not that AI is going to tell you, here's exactly how you make the customer experience better. It's going to tell you, here are the pain points and here's what we understand about sentiment analysis. When people talk about our brand and our business, and here's where we see patterns emerge.

That co that you know. Uh, reflect challenges people have when they interact with a product or a service. And so you need to do that to understand what's going on and understand your customer better so that you can deliver a greater customer experience. And so that you can differentiate your product or service from those of your competition, especially the competitors who are the big guys like Google and Amazon and Facebook.

And that's how you can become a destination. And it's how you can diversify the marketing and sales channels from which you get your business. Because at a minimum, your destination, your own web presence becomes one of the places people want to go.

So you must differentiate. You must become a destination. You must diversify. And you must deliver. Because if you don't — like Mark Okerstrom and Allen Pickerell — your board or your company CEO or your customers are going to show you a fifth "D" — and that is the door.

Now looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week, but I want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all our past episodes by going to TimPeter.com/Podcast again, that's TimPeter.com/Podcast just look for episode 268.

While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes to have things out loud delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts or Stitcher Radio or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for Tim Peter Thinks, Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud or Thinks Out Loud. We should show up for any of those. And while you're there, I'd very much appreciate it if you could provide a positive rating or review. It gives other listeners a great insight into what the show is about and helps them understand whether it's something they'd like to listen to too. It makes us easier for new listeners to find us and when it would mean so much to me

You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Facebook by going to facebook.com/TimPeterAssociates. You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter. And of course you can email me, just send an email to podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that's podcast@timpeter.com.

As ever, I'd like to thank our sponsor. Thinks Out Loud, is brought to you by SoloSegment. SoloSegment focuses on AI-driven content discovery and site search analytics to unlock revenue for your business. You can learn more about how to improve your content, increase your customer satisfaction, and make your search smarter by going to solosegment.com

With that, I want to say thanks so much for tuning in. I really appreciate it. It means so much to me. I hope you have a great rest of the week, a wonderful weekend ahead, and I look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please be well be safe and as ever take care everybody.