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Tim Peter

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February 11, 2020

We Live in the Future (Thinks Out Loud Episode 274)

February 11, 2020 | By | No Comments

We live in the future: Team collaborating over augmented reality screensLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


We Live in the Future (Thinks Out Loud Episode 274) – Headlines and Show Notes

When you look around, do you feel like you’re living in a futuristic utopia? Or does it feel more like a dystopian future to you? In either case, it’s clear that we already live in the future. Whether you see a world filled with global access to instantaneous information, improved medical treatments, and declining poverty, or one filled with information overload, disparate access to healthcare, and growing income/wealth inequality, the fact remains that the future is here, now.

This week's Thinks Out Loud looks at the “state of the future” that we’re living in, positive and negative, and offers some thoughts on how you can make it more positive for you — and for the world around you.

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

Relevant Links – We Live in the Future (Thinks Out Loud Episode 274)

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: 20m 20s (I didn’t plan this one. But, c’mon. The episode “We Live in the Future,” released in 2020, is 20:20. That’s awesome!)

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 – We Live in the Future (Thinks Out Loud Episode 274)

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 274 of the big show, and thank you so much for tuning in. I really think we've got a cool show for you today. This is something that I'm passionate about, just unbelievably passionate about, and that is this idea, you know, anyone who follows me on Twitter has probably seen me say recently that we live in the future. We are in a remarkable time.

The Good News: We Live in the Future (Thinks Out Loud Episode 274)

You know, obviously I talk a lot about mobile and how it shapes the future. Believe me, I'm going to go way wider than mobile here. But just to point out a couple of recent statistics, you know, there's new data from Pew Research that shows that mobile phone ownership has reached 94% in advanced economies and 83% in emerging economies. Smartphone ownership is 76% and 45% among advanced and emerging economies respectively. So almost half the world has a smartphone. And internet use among people in advanced and emerging economies has reached 90% and 60% respectively.

Now, as you might imagine, those numbers are even more dramatic among millennials, or as I like to call them, adults under 40. So that's amazing, right?

Well, there's even more amazing stuff, none of which has anything to do with business in the just spot-on view. But if you broaden your lens a little bit, you're going to say, Oh, that's got some amazing implications.

You know, for one thing, we have a longer life expectancy according to the World Health Organization. This is a quote, "global average life expectancy increased five and a half years between 2000 and 2016, the fastest increased since the 1960s. Those gains reverse declines during the 1990s when life expectancy fell in Africa because of the AIDS epidemic and in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union."

Think about it. It's not that people don't die of AIDS any longer. It's not that people don't die because of economically depressed conditions, and I'll speak a little bit more on that in a moment. But overall, people are living longer. They're healthier. Cancer rates are down. The American Cancer Society said "the death rate from cancer in the U S has declined steadily over the past 25 years. As of 2016 with a cancer death rate for men and women combined had fallen 27% from its peak in 1991. This decline translates to about one and a half percent per year, and more than 2.6 million deaths avoided between 1991 and 2016." Again, that's amazing. So people are, you know, living longer. People are healthier, they're more connected.

And that all leads to the fact that we have a growing middle class according to the Brookings Institution. "As of [September, 2018] just over 50% of the world's population or some 3.8 billion people live in households with enough discretionary expenditure to be considered middle-class or rich." That's amazing. And it's a reality that would have been tough to predict not that long ago. But that's the world we live in.

You know, it's, think about Star Trek and the fact that they talk about, you know, "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Yes, I'm a nerd. I've been watching "Star Trek: Picard." I love it. It's amazing. You should check it out.

But this idea that, you know, in the future we will have fewer concerns because some of our more basic needs — you know, if we think Maslow's hierarchy — are being taken care of. We no longer worry as much about lodging and food and shelter and basic health. And I want to be really clear, obviously, there's a lot more than can be done.

I promise you I'm going to come to that, but we live in amazing times. You know, just as a, for instance, think about the things that exist now that would have sounded like science fiction even 10 to 15 years ago, but no longer do. We have space tourism launching this year. Virgin Galactic and Jeff Bezos's Blue Origin will begin flights this year. According to the BBC, "Swiss bank UBS released a report," this was in 2019, "that estimated space tourism could become a $3 billion industry in the next 10 years." There was an interesting article in late December on Politico that published an article about concerns about the lack of regulation in space tourism. And this isn't a science fiction piece. This is like a legitimate serious conversation they're having. You know?

Also not science fiction, quantum computing made huge breakthroughs in 2019, with Google claiming they had achieved quantum superiority. Now, there's probably a little bit of PR in that. But that's extraordinary. We have things like quantum teleportation. We have things like gene editing with CRISPR. We have telepresence and augmented reality, and oh, I don't know, podcasts and all kinds of crazy stuff that people take for granted day in and day out.

If we don't live in the future — I don't know when we will — right now. To be fair, I want to point out two things here. One, I'm sure if you're an adult under 40 right now, and especially if you're an adult under 30 right now, you're probably saying, well, c'mon, this is just normal, and that's kind of the point. If you're older than 40, if you're older than 35 a lot of this stuff was the future, not that long ago. And today it's normal. It's reality. And that's something we need to just, accept, we just need to take in and, you know, own, right? We need to embrace it.

The Bad News: We Live in the Future (Thinks Out Loud Episode 274)

Now the other side of this is, of course, the future isn't all good news. We've seen a rise of hate groups and criminal activity on the internet. That's terrible, right? I'm, I'm paraphrasing Benedict Evans, who's a partner in the venture capital firm a16z, who recently gave a talk and said, you know, when everyone is connected to the internet, everyone includes the bad people.

So you absolutely get bad actors and you know, whether they're doing it for fun, whether they're doing it for profit, or whether they're doing it for fun, like trolls and things like that. In his fantastic book "LikeWar," which is stylized as #likewar, the writer Peter W. Singer quoted Robert Bateman who said, "Once every village had an idiot. It took the internet to bring them all together." Which is not, I mean, it's a funny line, but it's also tragic.

I have mentioned many times before that "digital is like gravity" and quoting Paul DeLillo, the a French philosopher, you know, "when you build the ship, you also build the shipwreck. When you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck." And digital is like gravity. It's got these problems.

I had a podcast episode not too long ago where I asked did we break the internet or did the internet break us? And I think those are questions we have to pay a lot of attention to. You know, I'm going to give you my point of view on this in just a moment.

But I want to take a step back to this great book from, Oh gosh, 10 years ago or more, a guy by the name of Joel Garreau, who wrote a book called "Radical Evolution." And he talked about the fact that there are multiple scenarios for the future. He called them the Heaven scenario, the Hell scenario, and the Prevail scenario. Right? I've also heard them referred to as "the Pollyanna scenario," right, where everything's going to be amazing. The "Gray Goo scenario" where everything's going to go to crap, and "the Muddle Through scenario," you know, where we just kind of take one step forward and 1.99 steps back.

And I'm going to be honest, I think that's the scenario that's most likely, the muddle through. You know, the future is not utopia, though there are elements of utopia in it. You know, when we talk about things like cancer rates going down and longer life expectancy and more people being middle class and having access to a modern economy, that's phenomenal, right? And that's before you get to the science fiction stuff, like space tourism and access to information and all that kind of stuff, right? That's utopian. That's heaven. That's Pollyanna, right? It's also not all dystopia.

You know that we don't live in a utopia. We don't live in a dystopia. We just kind of live in a "Topia" where things kind of muddle through and we have muddled the through for millennia, and I expect we're likely to continue to do so.

There's going to be amazing breakthroughs that make the world a better place. And we're going to have bad actors and criminals and all those other kinds of things of people who want to exploit the system to their own advantage. You know, when we look at people, when we look at some of the divisive rhetoric on the internet, some of the people who are, you know, saying terrible things or doing terrible things, you know, ask yourself who benefits from this. Are they are these legitimately good actors? Are these people who are trying to thrive on the chaos? So I think we have to recognize that, you know, it's not utopia. It's not dystopia, it's just a "Topia." And we will muddle through.

What You Can Do About It: We Live in the Future (Thinks Out Loud Episode 274)

Now, if you think about it, I think there's a few things you can do to, to, you know, do well at because we live in the future.

And the first is kind of embrace the chaos. And I don't mean, you know, I don't mean necessarily create more chaos or add to the chaos. I mean, it's likely we're gonna muddle through. It's not all going to be wonderful, but it's probably not all going to be crap. You know, take it for granted that this is the world in which we live and try to make changes for the better in the areas that you can for the people around you.

Another thing you can do is learn to live in the future. Keep learning, keep reading. I'm going to paraphrase yet another quote, and I would attribute this if I could find the source, but there was a politician who said, once upon a time, you may as well embrace the future. You're going to live in it anyway.

That's the reality. That's the world in which we live, and so you're better off saying, okay, if that's true, if we live in the future, how do I live in it successfully?

Another thing you can do is plan. You know, I realized that dropping quotes all over the place here, but one of my favorite comes from a Yiddish expression that says, "Man plans, God laughs," by which it means that the circumstances that happen every day will likely force you to change whatever plans you make, sometimes dramatically. You know, Mike Tyson probably had the best version of this when he said, "everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth." But that doesn't mean you shouldn't plan. It means that you should have a plan that's adaptable as circumstances change.

If you know change is going to occur, why not plan for that change and say, okay, what do I do if this occurs? What will I do if this occurs, what will I do if that occurs? What do I do? You know, what do I do to achieve the outcomes that I'm looking for? How do I make sure I put myself in a position to be successful as circumstances change and for lots of different definitions of success, not just in business, but in your personal life, in your interpersonal relationships, in your you know, health and wellness.

And that leads to my last point that I want to talk about, which is, let's be fair, the future hasn't always been bright for everybody. So look for opportunities to bring along those who are currently left behind. You know, I think it's really clear that the technologists and tech evangelists often only look at the bright side. They don't always look at the impacts — whether they're environmental or financial or cultural or just basic human — of those who don't get to participate as early adopters. And the reasons that they don't pay attention to this aren't evil. They're just blinded by the bright side. And let's be fair, they have some reason to be.

Think about all the news about longer life expectancies, more people in the middle class, greater access to information, et cetera. Full disclosure, this may be my blind spot. But just because it will probably get better for everyone eventually doesn't mean it's all good for everyone now. In fact, quite the opposite. And you don't have to look to the far side of the world to find examples of that.

Think about people in your local communities who struggle with access to education or information or you know, things like water that isn't mostly made of lead, right? I mean, you don't have to go that far to find places where people are being left behind. And the thing you can do is ask, okay, what can I do about that? How can I help?

I once met a hotel operator in Mexico who had built a series of schools for local kids to improve their access to education, to improve their education and their economic prospects. And yes, one of the reasons he did it was because he wanted to improve the quality of the workforce in his area. And yes, one of the reasons he wanted to do it was to give himself access to a local market. But he was educating far more kids than he could ever hope to employ and far more kids than he could ever hope would stay in his hotel. And he knew that, and in his view, that was a good thing.

I think it's amazing that you have the ability to use these tools to do well for people. And even if you don't believe that helping others matters altruistically — and I do by the way — but just like this hotel operator, think about how you can benefit if you have richer customers, more educated employees, and all the other benefits that come with that.

We Live in the Future (Thinks Out Loud Episode 274) Conclusion

So we live in amazing times. We live in an era of unbridled opportunity. We have people who are living longer. They're making more money. They have access to more information that should bring the world closer together, that should bring you closer to your customers, but also just closer to people generally. And if that isn't a bright vision of the future, I don't know what is.

So don't just wait for the future to happen to you. Embrace it. Recognize that you live in the future and that because of that, you can do some truly extraordinary things. Personally, I can't wait to see what you do with it.

Show Closing — We Live in the Future (Thinks Out Loud Episode 274)

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are at a 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 274.

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, Google Podcasts, Stitcher Radio, Overcast, whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just 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 also appreciate it if you could provide us a positive rating or review. It helps listeners find us and it helps them understand what the show is all about. It makes a big 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.

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 to you for tuning in. I really appreciate you listening. I know I say this week after week after week, but I really would not do the show without you. It means so much to me to have you listen every single week. I hope you have a great rest of your week, wherever you may be. I hope you have a fantastic weekend ahead and I look forward to speaking with you again on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please be safe, be well, 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

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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

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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

August 28, 2019

Mobile, Millennials, and…Moms? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 256)

August 28, 2019 | By | No Comments

Looking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


Millennial mom holding infant and mobile phone

Mobile, Millennials, and…Moms? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 256) – Headlines and Show Notes

I've talked before about the "end of Millennials" and how we need to think about the world's largest demographic cohort not as "Millennials," but as "adults under 40." Well, research from Pew highlights exactly how why that's even more important than you may have realized…and got me thinking about what mobile, millennial moms mean for marketers today.

The latest episode of Thinks Out Loud takes a look at mobile, millennials and moms to uncover how those will shape your marketing over the next year or two — and why you want to be thinking about your business for years to come.

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

Relevant Links:

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 Neumann TLM 102 Cardoid Condenser microphone and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.

Running time: 16m 05s

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.