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March 19, 2019

Did We Break the Internet? Or Did the Internet Break Us? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 242)

March 19, 2019 | By | No Comments

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Did We Break the Internet? Or Did the Internet Break Us? Woman reads online news on social network

Did We Break the Internet? Or Did the Internet Break Us? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 242) – Headlines and Show Notes

Online plays a big role in the ways we interact with one another. And, unfortunately, the ways we interact with one another is not always positive. What caused this? Did we break the internet? Or did the internet break us? The latest episode of Thinks Out Loud offers some thoughts. Here are the show notes:

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about 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 Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 13m 46s

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

Did We Break the Internet? Or Did the Internet Break Us? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 242) Transcript

Well, hi, everyone. Welcome back to Thinks Out Loud. My name is Tim Peter, today is Tuesday, March 19th, 2019. This is episode 242 of the big show, and as ever, I very much appreciate you tuning in.

So this is going to be a bit of a weird episode for me. But one that I hope is the start of a conversation. Obviously, there was a big tragedy this past week, these terrorist shootings in New Zealand. And while it’s a small part of the tragedy in real terms, obviously, given what I do, using digital and things like that, there’s the really important discussion that’s started, given the use of Facebook video by the shooter to livestream the shooting, a number of people are asking and I think they’re asking in good faith, whether social media specifically, and the internet more generally have caused or will cause more harm than good.

And I think their arguments are generally lucid, they’re well-reasoned, they’re well worth your time. I plan to link to another of some of the best ones I’ve seen in the show notes, and I’d really encourage you to take the time to engage with them. In effect, they’re asking if the internet has broken us, if the internet has broken who we are, as human beings?

It saddens me to say that there’s plenty of evidence to support those arguments. The thing about the internet is that it democratizes not only peoples’ access to information, but also peoples’ ability to distribute information. Anyone can post any content online, for anyone to read, hear, watch, experience. I tend to think that’s a good thing. I think history will show that it is a good thing.

Of course, one downside is that anyone can post content, no matter how vile or disturbing that content might be, which is what we saw this past week. Clearly, as I’ve described in a prior episode of the show, explaining why digital is like gravity, I would never argue that it’s an unlimited good thing. Clearly, peoples’ ability to distribute whatever content they want has its downsides.

I know I’ve referenced this before, but as the philosopher Paul Virilio said, “The invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck.” I want to be clear, I want to go on the record right now. I don’t think we should abandon ship, simply because some people want to navigate that ship into rough waters, or because they want to run it aground.

The New Zealand shooter used the benefits of the internet to his advantage, as do lots of people who spread hate, incitement to violence, conspiracy theories, and frankly, all manner of trouble and trolling that you see on a daily basis, on social media. That’s a shame. It really is because people are using something that could be, and can be, and is a tool for great benefit, specifically to cause harm, specifically to cause pain, specifically to cause suffering, and specifically to spread and share that harm, and that pain, and that suffering with as many people as they can.

I think that’s twisted, I think it’s deranged, I think it’s wrong. I also think that blaming those actions on the internet is like blaming gravity when vandals throw bricks off bridges at cars. Yes, gravity plays a role, but it’s the vandals who are taking advantage of its inherent properties of gravity’s inherent use, its utility, who are to blame.

So this gets into a very, very difficult area of conversation because we need to think about the fact that, yes, other terrorists can use these tools, and these media to their advantage, that’s true. We also know that people who seek to divide us, are trying to do the same thing. They’re using these tools to drive wedges amongst people, between people, between groups of people, based on where they see fracture points.

And I think it’s fair to say, we have points of fracture, we have points of disagreement. It’s part of what makes us human. Nobody’s ever going to agree with everybody else about everything. I wish that that were true. And I think there are people who seek to divide us, who want to use those points of disagreement as a wedge, and to drive that wedge further between us, to make us dislike one another more, to make us ham one another more, whether with violence or whether simply with words.

So I don’t encourage that, obviously, and I understand completely how painful and awful a thing that can be. I also think it plays into the hands of the wrong people when we start to say, “How do we stop this?” I do. If you look at things like the Great Firewall of China, or a recent law that was passed in Russia, actually just signed yesterday by Vladimir Putin, that puts quote unquote, “Reasonable limits on content.” It allows authoritarians and people who seek to divide in other ways to restrict access to information that really would be beneficial to most of their population.

That’s not a good thing, I can’t see that as the right solution. And I think if you look at the internet more generally, you’ll see so many examples of where people have used the internet for good, for real good. I think about something like the Ice Bucket Challenge a couple of years ago, to raise awareness of ALS. We all remember it, it went completely viral. It cost the charity, the organization behind it very little money, and resulted in an enormous amount of publicity, and even better, an enormous amount of fundraising and attention to this awful disease, to try to do something to stop it. I’ve run into more stories than I can tell you over my years of working in digital, of times when people used the internet, learned that someone was thinking about killing themselves, thinking about suicide, and using that to help these people when they were in a time of crisis. And of course, it provides access to information for marginalized people all around the world. People who are struggling with their identity, people who are struggling with being oppressed in various communities around the world.

It is an enormous benefit. Yes, I clearly remain optimistic about this. I’m cautiously optimistic, and I share a number of concerns about the ways that digital and the internet can be used for harm. Despite that, I am optimistic all the same. And I recognize that that may sound foolish, after the horror of the past week. But I also think that trying to change the world for the better requires optimism. It requires us to hope, it requires us to think about where we want to be, and who we want to be, and envisioning ourselves into a better future.

Not a perfect future, not a future that won’t come with bumps and bruises, but a better place. I don’t think the internet has broken us, the internet is us. We still have a voice, and we still have influence, and we still have the opportunity to control, and shape the direction it takes. Yes, there are awful people, who want to take it in different directions. Yes, there are bad actors, who choose to use the internet for terrible ends. They also remain a minor share of total usage.

The shipwrecks might be real, but I strongly believe that this ship is worth saving. I’d encourage you to check out the show notes, you may feel different from me. I’d encourage you to take a look at the show notes, where I’ve linked to a number of posts, even those I disagree with so you can get a sense of other points of view on this. And after you’ve had a chance to check those out, I’d genuinely love to hear what you think about this. Maybe I’m wrong, this is supposed to be a dialogue.

Drop me a line on Twitter, using the handle @tcpeter, or an email at podcast@timpeter.com, or a message on Facebook at Facebook.com/timpeterassociates, and let me know what you think. Let’s use the internet in its best, most pure form, and I’ll be sure to share your thoughts in a future episode so that we can keep the conversation going. Because ultimately, I think that proves the strength, and the power, and the value that the internet provides, and the ability it helps us, the ability it offers us to steer the ship in a direction we want it to go. So I hope you’re willing to engage in this dialogue. I really look forward to continuing the discussion.

Now looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. But I do want to remind you, you can find the show notes for today’s episode, as well as an archive of all of our episodes at timpeter.com/podcast. Again, that’s timpeter.com/podcast. This is episode 241.

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 your favorite pod catcher, every single episode. You can subscribe in iTunes, or the Google Play Music Store, or Stitcher Radio, or wherever your favorite pod catcher 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.

With that, I want to wish you nothing but peace in your life. I hope you have a wonderful week ahead, a fantastic weekend, and I do look forward to the ongoing discussion with you, here on Thinks Out Loud. Until then, please be well, be safe, and take care, everybody.

Tim Peter

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March 12, 2019

The History – and Future – of Trust in Digital Marketing (Thinks Out Loud Episode 241)

March 12, 2019 | By | No Comments

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Trust in Digital Marketing: Customers using digital who don't trust you

The History – and Future – of Trust in Digital Marketing (Thinks Out Loud Episode 241) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about 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 Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 13m 51s

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

The History – and Future – of Trust in Digital Marketing (Thinks Out Loud Episode 241) Transcript

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. Today is Tuesday, March 12th 2019. This is episode 241 of the big show, and as ever, I really, really appreciate you tuning in.

I’ve been talking for the past handful of episodes about data. I got a question from a listener, Steve in Cincinnati, who asked, “Should customers disguise their digital footprints from businesses? When customers are traveling around and interacting with your business, should they be protecting their data from you as a company?”

I think what Steve’s really asking is, “Shouldn’t customers be protecting their data from you as a company?” I think there are a couple of answers to this question, and to answer it, I’m going to have to take some odd digressions at points. First, whether or not customers should, we know that /they already do/. We know that customers already do with companies who haven’t earned their trust.

If you think about the rise of ad blockers and how prominent they have become, if you think about anonymous mode, if you think about GDPR, which was something I talked about in a previous episode. GDPR exists because we as marketers screwed up. GDPR exists because we did not do enough to protect our customers. Not even their data, but our customers themselves, their privacy, their rights.

Customers will increasingly protect their data, their digital footprints, whenever companies misstep. It’s obvious that you shouldn’t misuse something that doesn’t really belong to you. I’ve said many times that data is the crowned jewels, and that you need to protect that data as if your company depends upon it, because as I said many times, it does.

At the same time, I don’t want any of this to be but, because obviously everybody ignores everything that came before the but, so please don’t take this that way. I think it is also true that customers share data constantly. Everyone claims that they care about privacy, and they do until you offer them something of value in exchange.

Data really is a currency, and I’m sorry to say, I actually don’t think this is a good thing. But privacy is something of a currency. Customers have learned they can trade their privacy for some value. It could be coupons, could be a white paper download, it could be any number of things where customers say, “Yeah, I get that I’m giving up a little bit of my privacy, but in exchange, I’m going to receive some value.”

That’s something that I think is going to remain true for a long time. I think all the evidence suggests that that will remain true for a long time. What I find really fascinating, and I’m going to go kind of far afield on this for a moment, is that I think we’re going to see a number of technologically enabled solutions as we go forward. We’ve already seen some, and we’re starting to see more moves in this direction, but I want to explain why.

It used to be trust was something that was imbued in a brand. You chose your local bank, or your doctor, or the person who repaired your car, or a lawyer, or things along those lines, based on how much you trusted them. Based on word of mouth frequently, they had an inherited trust from what your friends and family told you about them, but also their reputation. The same was true for stores. You shopped at particular stores, or you bought from particular vendors, or you worked with particular companies because you had some trust relationship there. Something about them made them trustworthy.

What we’ve seen, one of the things that digital has done, is it’s sort of distributed the role of trust over the years. If we want to go back in history, this really started with Amazon reviews, and even more so, I would say eBay. eBay really invented the concept of trust on the internet, in that when you bought from Amazon, there was a big company there. I’m not talking about Amazon Marketplace, because at the time, Amazon Marketplace really didn’t exist.

But when you bought from eBay, when you bought a Beanie Baby from some person who you’ve never met before who lived in some other part of the country or some other country altogether, you didn’t know who this person was. You didn’t know that when you handed off your money. You didn’t know that the thing you were going to buy, the Beanie Baby, or a used guitar, or the cool T-shirt, or things along those lines, you had no idea prior to that whether or not you could count on it arriving, whether or not you could count on the person not pocketing your money and just taking off with it.

eBay and PayPal really started to say, “It’s okay. One, because you can trust this person, because we’ve got ratings and reviews, and two, because we’ve built some mechanisms that protect you from bad actors.” What that created was an ecosystem where you could trust people you’d never met, people who you would never meet. You knew that it was all going to be okay, because the system reinforced trust.

It’s really led to an environment … If you fast forward through all the years and all the different … I don’t want to jump over history too much, because there were some cool innovations along the way, but I also want to point out that today we have things like Uber, or Airbnb, or Etsy, where you can just buy from some little random shop person, no offense to the people on Etsy, but some craftsperson who you’ve never met, and know that you’re going to be taken care of.

You can go stay in someone’s home or someone’s apartment, sometimes with them there at the same time, even though you’ve never met them, because again, a trust framework has come up that says, “It’s going to be okay.” I know I’m not the first person to make this joke, but we were all taught as kids, “Don’t get into cars with strangers,” and now that’s what we do every time we take a ride on Uber, or Lyft, or any other ridesharing service, because trust is built into the system.

Obviously, if you get into things like scooters, and all these other kinds of transportation services, just leave your bikes sitting there, and somebody won’t take it and walk away from it. It’ll be fine. Or a service like Turo that lets people rent your car and just drive off in your car, and it’s okay, it comes back. Those are extraordinary extensions of what has happened with trust.

I think we’re going to get even further. I don’t know if it’s going to be blockchain, or if it’s going to be some other type of distributed ledger technology, but just as PayPal anonymized and protected your banking details or your credit card details when you made transactions, and obviously Venmo has picked up on that in recent time, I think we’re going to see distributed ledger technologies, possibly blockchain itself, more likely other services that are built on top of those distributed ledgers that allow you to release your private information in pieces, and pull it back in pieces, sort of escrow accounts for your personal information.

I think customers will increasingly have tools that will allow them to protect their data, to protect their privacy from companies that they don’t trust, and as they do, as those services begin to exist, I have no doubt that customers will take advantage of them, because that’s exactly how we got PayPal, and how PayPal led to Venmo. It’s exactly how we got eBay, and eBay led to Uber, and Airbnb, and Lyft, and Turo. It’s where these things kind of logically go.

Regulation’s one way we’re going to get there, but another way is that the market will find solutions. Now, what I would recommend is you can be the type of company that simply lets regulation tell you what to do, or you can be the type of company that doesn’t need it. Now, I get it, that might sound naive to say, “Oh no, don’t worry about regulation. Yada, yada, yada.” I don’t mean it that way.

Obviously, sometimes regulation is very necessary to protect customers from bad actors, and sometimes regulation causes unnecessary harm to the free market, and requires companies to push the boundaries, not because they’re trying to do anything wrong, but because they’re trying to do what’s right, because the boundaries actually are hurting people more than they’re helping people. I fully understand that.

What I’m saying is as customers have increasing control over who gets access to their data, and for how long, and in what ways, you’re only going to win if you’re the type of customer … if you’re the type of company that customers are okay letting that be you. Because fundamentally, they’re still only going to work with people that they trust, and so customers, Steve, will disguise their digital footprints. They will disguise their data. They will hide their data from companies. The question is, are you going to be the type of company that they’re going to want to do that?

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 episodes, by going to timpeter.com/podcast. Again, that’s timpeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 241.

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 your favorite podcatcher every single episode. You can also subscribe in the iTunes, or the Google Play music store, 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.

I’d also very much appreciate it if you could provide us a positive rating or review while we’re there. It’s so helpful. I really, very much appreciate it. Since we’re talking about trust, let people know you trust us to deliver you quality content in every episode.

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, your customer satisfaction, and make your search smarter by going to solosegment.com.

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, or of course you can email me. Just send your emails to podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that’s podcast@timpeter.com.

With that, I want to say thanks so much for listening. I really, really appreciate it. I hope you have a great week ahead. I hope you have a fantastic weekend, and I will look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud again next time. Until then, please be well, be safe, and as ever, take care, everybody.

Tim Peter

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February 12, 2019

Why Google is the Beast That Scares Your Industry’s 800-lb. Gorilla (Thinks Out Loud Episode 238)

February 12, 2019 | By | No Comments

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Google is the beast: Gorilla aggressively defending its territory

Why Google is the Beast That Frightens Your Industry’s 800-lb. Gorillas (Thinks Out Loud Episode 238) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about 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 Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 16m 29s

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

Why Google is the Beast That Has Your Industry’s 800lb Gorillas Running Scared Transcript

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. Today is Monday, February 11th, and this is Episode 238 of the big show. I am so thrilled you are here with me again today. I really appreciate it.

I want to open by building on a whole chunk of episodes that we’ve been talking about over the past handful of weeks and months, and it all starts with a news story that I saw not long ago on skift.com where Mark Okerstrom, who’s the CEO of Expedia, was talking about how he’s a little scared of Google. He said that Google is their number one competitor. It’s not booking.com, it’s not other online travel agencies, it’s not hotel companies, it’s not even Airbnb. It’s Google. He said the internet has been littered with the bodies of companies put out of business by Google, and of course he’s trying to make sure Expedia isn’t one of them.

Now, you have to remember, this is a huge company. They get some 40 million visits a month, at least according to alexa.com, and are undoubtedly among the top five most important companies in the travel industry easily. More importantly, among the top digitally-native companies in the travel industry. This isn’t somebody who’s quote unquote a “legacy player,” trying to fight off some insurgent or the old story of the couple of guys in a garage who come out of nowhere to take down an incumbent leader. This is a digital-first, digital-native company that is now facing the biggest, most existential challenge it has ever faced by another digital-native, digital-first company that’s been around for about as long as they have. A little bit longer, but not a whole lot longer. And the reason is because Google is the ultimate gatekeeper.

There are a number of players out there who are the big gatekeepers. Google, obviously, and YouTube obviously, and Apple and Facebook. Facebook’s little buddy Instagram and Netflix and Amazon. These are the gatekeepers. They get to decide who lives and who dies based on where they send the customers who start their journeys with them. Let’s be fair, most customers start their journeys either for very specific types of content or very specific types of experiences with one of these folks. Obviously, they are the biggest competitors to one another because they’re competing with one another to be the place that customers start those experiences.

There was a funny story a couple of weeks ago … well, not “funny.” An interesting story about a week ago or so where Apple blocked Facebook and Google from its App Store for a couple of days because those companies broke the rules that Apple had established for what’s allowed in the App Store. Now, imagine if that happened to your business. What that would do to your business? What that would do to your company?

Now, you’ve probably heard people talk about earned, owned, and paid media, and I always ask people to consider when you think about Google or when you think about Facebook or when you think about Instagram, what kind of media are those? Are they earned? Are they owned? Or are they paid?

I frequently heard people say that really they’re all three because obviously if you earn links or you’re in social, trending, that is earned media. You also have your own page on Facebook or your own results on Google, so that’s owned. Of course, you can buy ads, so that’s paid. But I don’t think that’s the right way to think about it. I think that these folks represent none of these categories.

I think that they are leased media, L-E-A-S-E-D media, or maybe rented. It’s kind of like you have an apartment, not like you have a house. Maybe you can hang a few pictures or you can put some paint on the walls, but the walls themselves belong to, if I can mix a metaphor here, the gatekeeper. Do you control what people see on Facebook? No. On Instagram? No. On Google? Hell no. You don’t control any of those. They have an algorithm that says what people see and what people will experience even when they’re looking for your brand, when they’re looking for your business. We’re seeing more and more examples of that.

I’m gonna post a link in the show notes to some tests that Google’s been running where you have to scroll three, four, screens on mobile before you ever see an organic search result. Suddenly, something we’ve taken for granted for a long time is starting to go away. Now, there are some terrible implications here that we’ve talked about before in the episode about digital is like gravity.

Guillaume Chaslot, and I hope I’m pronouncing his name correctly, that’s G-C-H-A-S-L-O-T on Twitter, who works for YouTube, has an amazing thread from earlier today about his work on YouTube’s content recommendation AI and how it regularly offered some truly disturbing and challenging content to viewers. When I say challenging, I don’t mean challenging in the sense of made them think hard. Quite the opposite, it outlined things like Flat Earth videos being promoted 10 times more than ones that talked about the Earth being round. It creates this issue where these folks are deciding what our customers and what are citizens see every day, and that’s got a real challenge in all kinds of ways.

Now, in the interest of what we talk about on the show, what I talk about on the show, I’m gonna keep it to the business side, but obviously that’s incredibly important to recognize the amount of power that these gatekeepers hold with regard to your business. The fact of it is, customers need gatekeepers because they need guideposts to help them find everything that’s out on the internet, everything that exists when they have a problem that needs to be solved. Customers don’t want 50 different gatekeepers. That’s too hard. They’ll settle for just a few. In fact, they kind of have to because if there are 50 different gatekeepers, then they need another source to say, “Which of those 50 is appropriate for the specific challenge they have?” Which then means all we’re doing is creating one more gatekeeper and one bigger gatekeeper.

That’s one of the reasons that digital often means you have to get big or go niche, which is something Hal Varian and Carl Shapiro pointed out in their fantastic book Information Rules, and something I’ve talked about plenty of times because, A, I think it’s a great book, and, B, I think they’re right. It’s also one of the reasons why everything becomes a service in digital. It’s all about ease of access to information and products and services, but as I just described a moment ago, that’s also literally where the gatekeepers come from. They exist because customers need it to be easy to find the products and services that they want. If you make a product or you make a service, you have to exist in the universe of the gatekeeper or else they’ll never find you. Your customers will never find you.

Now, how do you compete with that? Well, I’ve talked before about how you can compete with Amazon and places like that, but I want to take a step back and say more generically what you need to do with regard to gatekeepers.

There are really about five different things.

First, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Years ago, I worked for a hotel company. I worked for a luxury hotel company and we ranked very well for search terms like “luxury hotels” and “extraordinary hotels” and things like that. Of course, the economic downturn came and our traffic dried up because we relied heavily on Google and especially organic search for the vast majority of our traffic.

Now, we knew that was a problem. We knew we had too many eggs in one basket there. Unfortunately the economy kicked us in the rear end before we had a chance to do anything about it because when the economic downturn happened, people stopped searching for “luxury hotels”. They started searching for “cheap hotels” and “discount hotels” and “really cheap hotels” and “really, really cheap hotels”. As somebody who worked for the company noted at the time, Google sneezed and we caught a cold.

You have to look at a channel mix that makes for … For your business that works for you business. Try to grow smaller channels like social or referral or email and I mean really email to represent, A, a healthy share of your business, and also to grow at a faster rate than you might from places like organic search or paid search because you want to mix where all your traffic sources come from so that no one gatekeeper can choke off your business completely.

The second is you have to own your own content because if you don’t … We’ve said many times before … I’ve said many times before that content is king, and if you don’t have content, you don’t have search. If you don’t have content, you don’t have social because there’s nothing for your customers to share. To get that healthy channel mix I mentioned a moment ago, you have to make sure that you have things to offer in those various channels, so think about the content that your customers need and the places that they consume it that you can help them find that you are the right answer to their problem when they need a product or they need a service.

You also need to support other channels that challenge the big gatekeeper. Most importantly, you’re not looking for Google #2. You’re not looking for Facebook #2. You’re looking for, where are those places where your customers congregate that maybe aren’t the big gatekeepers? It doesn’t matter if some social site or some vertical search is small overall. It matters if they’re able to reach the people you want to reach.

The fourth thing you need to do is make sure you play nice with the beasts that … They’re the 800-pound gorillas … Obviously, you want to make sure you show up on Google. You want to make sure you show up on Facebook. You want to make sure you adapt to their changing products. As Google does more with local search or does more with featured snippets, as it does more with InfoBoxes. You want to make sure you show up in those places for the right customers and for the right search.

However, and this is number five, you also should ask whether everything Google asks for you to do is good for your business. Obviously, you want to play nice with these giant beasts with these giant gatekeepers. You also want to make sure that you’re doing what’s right for your business. If you look at AMP pages, they’re not necessarily a good thing for every business. Sure, they’re great for Google, but are they good for you? Make sure you’re looking at whether you should participate in the various programs that Google and Facebook and Amazon and the other gatekeepers offer. Do they really help your business? Or do they only benefit the gatekeeper themselves?

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Make sure you own your own content. Support other channels that challenge the big gatekeepers. Yes, play nice with them, but also ask whether everything they ask for is good for you. If you do that, you put yourself in a good position to manage your relationship with the gatekeepers and succeed even as they continue to grow.

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 episodes by going to timpeter.com/podcast. Again, that’s timepeter.com/podcast. Just look for Episode 238. While you’re there, you can click on the Subscribe link in any of the episodes that you find there to have Thinks Out Loud delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also subscribe in iTunes or the Google Play Music Store 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.

I’d also very much appreciate it if you could provide us a positive rating or review while you’re there. It would be so helpful to me. I’d also like to thank our sponsor. Thinks Out Loud is brought to by Solo Segment. Solo Segment 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, your customer satisfaction, and make your search smarter by going to solosegment.com.

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, or of course you can email me. Just send an email to podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that’s podcast@timpeter.com.

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

Tim Peter

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January 9, 2019

The Single Biggest Change Shaping Business Today (Thinks Out Loud Episode 257)

January 9, 2019 | By | No Comments

Speed: The single biggest change to business - fast-moving car driving towards the futureLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


The Single Biggest Change Shaping Business Today (Thinks Out Loud Episode 257) – Headlines and Show Notes

Speed is the single biggest change shaping business today. The pace of change, the speed at which customers experience and accept new innovation dramatically shifts customer behavior and business models alike. Customers expect quick, frictionless interactions with your business, which means that today, “Instant gratification isn’t fast enough.” And that’s why this episode of Thinks Out Loud breaks down why speed represents the single biggest change shaping business today.

Here are the show notes:

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about 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 Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 15m 44s

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

The Single Biggest Change Shaping Business Today (Thinks Out Loud Episode 257) – Transcript

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. Today is Wednesday, January 9th, this is episode 237 of the big show, and it's our first show of 2019, so Happy New Year everybody! I'm so thrilled you are here with us. This is so cool. I'm glad to be back, and I'm so excited about all of the stuff we are going to do together this year. 'Cause it's gonna rock.

Now, just before the holidays, I looked at whether a digital, the digital world in which we live, makes every company a technology company. I also took a big deep dive into whether digital will turn every business into a service. Now don't worry, I'm not going to recap those episodes in detail, you can listen to them, there will be links to those episodes in the show notes. I highly recommend you check them out.

What I do want to say is, that's gonna be a core theme we're gonna talk a lot about over the next handful of weeks and months, is how digital is not just shaping your business, but how it's shaping the world around you, and what that means for your business. And by far, I want to talk about the biggest issue that's facing companies today. The biggest change that is facing companies today. And in many ways the biggest challenge that is facing companies today. And that is speed. It's the speed that your customers expect in every interaction. It is the speed with which customers expect things to happen for them. I've said many times that instant gratification is not fast enough. And that's the world we live in now.

But here's a terrifying thought for you if you are remotely challenged with the speed at which change occurs today. And that is that change, right now, is slower than it ever will be again. Seriously. Because the pace of change, the amount of change, the speed at which change will occur isn't slowing down any time soon. It's only going to get faster.

Let me give you a couple of examples of what I mean by that. You are undoubtedly aware that the Consumer Electronic Show is happening in Las Vegas right now, or at least as I record this, the Consumer Electronic Show is ongoing. And at the Consumer Electronic Show, all of the biggest technology companies in the world are rolling out their latest and greatest innovations. And the things that will shape customer behaviors, and customer desires, and customer demand over the next you know, eight, excuse me nine to twelve to 18 months or more.

Some of them undoubtedly are going to blow up in a good way, you know they're going to shape everything. Some of them, undoubtedly will fall by the wayside. I'm not here to make predictions as to what's going to win, and what's going to fail and all the sort of thing. I may allude to them over time. But you know the point is that what is very useful about CES, about the Consumer Electronic Show, is that you get a sense of the trends that are important to manufactures. In all likelihood because they are doing a pretty good job of interpreting the trends that are important to customers. I guarantee you, there's always gonna be one or two that kind of slip below the radar that don't emerge for a little bit. But, there's a pretty clear set of trends of things that are going on at CES right now, that highlight why speed is so important.

So just to take a look at these, we have things like AI. Obviously we've talked about AI here on the show a lot. I'm not gonna belabor the point. It's big, it's getting bigger, and it is a part of our world every day. We have voice computing with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, and many others that are out there. Though obviously Google and Amazon seem to be winning the race, at least right now. We have Blockchain, which, I'm not gonna go down that rabbit hole right now. It's beyond the scope of today's episode. But it's clear that we're starting to see its place in advertising, currency, and the trust environment more generally emerge and begin to take more fixed shape, is something we're gonna watch very closely over the next few years. We have things like self-driving cars, which again, beyond the scope of the episode, beyond the scope of the show generally. But clearly something people are talking about.

If we want to get a picture of just one company, Google, all by itself, discussed how its mobile AI Google Assistant will be on over 1 billion devices by the end of this month, by the end of January. It's capable of replying to emails, checking consumers into flights, booking hotel rooms, translating conversations in real time from language to language. I mean, that's extraordinary. And this is something that customers are simply going to carry in their pocket. Remarkable, and an enormous, enormous change. And an enormous change in their expectations of how quickly things can happen. Alright? I don't have to go to my computer and translate a text, or get an email or get a text and find someway to translate that. I can simply translate the conversation on the fly.

Another crazy innovation at CES that has implications far beyond our ability to talk about right now is quantum computing. IBM introduced a 20 Qubit computer at the show. Now, quantum computing is well beyond the scope of today's episode. But it is likely that in the next decade or so, quantum computing will upend computing as much as computers upended the world before computers existed. Remarkable change, and remarkable pace of change. And bear in mind, this is the "consumer" electronics show. Right? These innovations are, at least in theory, designed for ordinary human beings. Do you think they're going to shape behaviors, and challenge business models as we go forward?

I do.

The takeaway is the change is happening faster than ever, and that pace isn't going to slow down anytime soon. And if that's the reality, if this is the biggest change that we have to deal with. If this is the biggest risk and the biggest threat, and the biggest challenge that businesses have to deal with, I think it's fair to ask, what's the right way to deal with the reality of this pace? And I think, ironically, it might be to slow down. You're never going to think faster than a computer. You're never gonna think faster than an AI. I'd argue, don't try to. Instead, take a minute. Stop. Think about what's important to you. Take a minute. Stop. And think about what's important to your customer. Think about where technology provides a positive benefit today, for you, for your business, for your customer. Think about where that technology helps your customer. Spend a lot of time on that. Think about what won't change.

Now, this was a topic of a past show, but I mean we know that people expect a great customer experience. We know that people expect quality products, or at least product that fit their specific needs. You know, quality has a lot of definitions in this context. It doesn't have to be the very best product. What it does have to be is the product that best fits their need at that time. We know that customers will continue to rely on helpful information. And yes, we know that customers will have increasingly great expectations of speed. Speed of delivery, speed of the encounter that they have with you. Reduced friction in those encounters that lets them get back to whatever else they have to deal with in their busy day. Right? You're not the most important thing in their world. You are simply something that enables them to do the things that are important in their world.

All of these things that won't change are why I'm continually saying that content is king, customer experience is queen, and data is the crown jewels. Because these are all critical components, critical support mechanisms of what won't change. They're what helps your customers accomplish their goals, and helps them succeed at what they want to do. And the way you succeed is helping them do that.

You also want to think about companies who have used technology well, and also think about the companies who've used technology badly. I've said many times on this show that when you invent the ship, you also invent the shipwreck, right? Digital is like gravity, it's got its positives, it has its negatives. But I would argue, and I have, that part of Facebook's big mistake over the last couple of years, is because they didn't slow down to think. They tried to move at the same speed as technology moves, and in doing so, forgot about the customer. Forgot about … And I know there's a whole debate that the customer at Facebook is actually the advertiser, and the users are as some people say, "If you're not paying for it, you are the product." But the point is, they certainly didn't take enough time to think about the user and what's most important to them.

So once you've thought about all this, what's important to you, what's important to your customer. Where technology helps you, where it helps your customer, the companies that do it well. The companies who've done it badly, and the things that won't change, then and only then, go find the technology that supports what's important to your business. To your customer. You know, and then ignore all the rest. All the rest is nonsense, its useless. It's not helpful. It's confusing. At least, for now, focus on your customer and your business, and how technology can bring those closer together, and create a better customer experience, and you will be in better shape.

Now, I've said many times, I've quoted many times William Gibson, science fiction author who said, "The future is already here. It's just not evenly distributed." Well speed, speed of interactions, speed of change, speed of the customer experience is the future. It's also the present. Your customers expect speed. The pace of change is all about speed. Speed depends on technology. But more important, it depends on using technology well. It depends on putting the customer first. On focusing on creating the best experience, and not on tech for technology sake. And that's why speed might be the single biggest change that shapes business today. But, what really shapes successful businesses is how you use that to your advantage.

Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. I'd like to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode, as well as an archive for all our episodes by going to timpeter.com/podcast. Again, that's timpeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 237. While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find there to have this delivered to your favorite podcatcher every single week. You can also subscribe in iTunes, or the Google Play music store, 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.

I'd also very much appreciate it if you could provide us a positive rating or review while you're there, it's very helpful to us. I'd also like to thank our sponsor. We're brought to you by SoloSegment. SoloSegment focuses on AI driven content discovery, and sight search analytics to unlock revenue. You can learn more about how to improve your search results, your customer satisfaction, and how to make your search smarter by going to solosegment.com. You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Facebook by going to Facebook.com/timpeterassociates. On Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter. Or via email, by emailing podcast@timpeter.com. Again, that's podcast@timpeter.com.

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

Tim Peter

By

December 10, 2018

In a Digital World, Is Every Company a Technology Company? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 236)

December 10, 2018 | By | No Comments

Is every company a technology company? Leaders use technology to answer customer questionsLooking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


In a Digital World, Is Every Company a Technology Company? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 236) – Headlines and Show Notes

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about 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 Sound PR 30 Large Diaphragm Multipurpose Dynamic Microphone through a Cloud Microphones CL-1 Cloudlifter Mic Activator and a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 12m 13s

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