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Tim Peter

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February 25, 2020

Is a Recession More Likely This Year? Here’s What You Don’t Want to Do (Thinks Out Loud Episode 276)

February 25, 2020 | By | No Comments

Is a recession more likely this year? Marketers worried about losing money -- and talent.Looking to drive results for your business? Click here to learn more.


Lots of news this week that affects lots of businesses, including the coronavirus news and Expedia announcing a pretty significant set of layoffs. All of this suggests a recession is more likely this year. But, assuming a recession hits, there's a good way to handle it… and a not good way to handle it. What is the good way? What's the bad way? And what do you want to make sure you don't do? The latest episode of Thinks Out Loud takes a look at whether a recession is more likely this year and tells you what you don't want to do.

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

Is a Recession More Likely This Year? Here's What You Don't Want to Do (Thinks Out Loud Episode 276) — 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 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 16s

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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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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February 5, 2020

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

February 5, 2020 | By | No Comments

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


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

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

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

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

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

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

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

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

Running time: 16m 32s

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Google Breaks Out YouTube Revenue

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

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

Google's Competition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tim Peter

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January 29, 2020

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

January 29, 2020 | By | No Comments

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


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

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

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

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

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

Subscribe to Thinks Out Loud

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks

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

Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud

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

Running time: 19m 35s

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

Tim Peter

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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.