Big changes are afoot in a number of industries that will alter our experience with services; prepare your AI now, before it’s too late; Detroit is becoming the Mobility City; seven questions answered about bitcoin; is content marketing sustainable?; mobile shopping increases; the Amazon–Walmart war wages on; the Chinese platform that surpassed Facebook; pay TV subscribers shrunk in Q3; podcasting for middle America; the lying, cheating ways of Uber; getting data visualization right; tranquility from Seneca; plus, what to listen to, what to watch and what to read; and more in the edition of The Full Monty from Brain+Trust Partners for the week of December 4, 2017.
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- CVS is buying Aetna in a deal that is set to change the landscape of healthcare, as insurance meets drugstore. While the combination makes sense in reducing some administration between the entities that pay for and dispense your drugs, it’s also largely seen as a defensive move against Amazon. We’ve gotten to a place where an Amazon head-fake can move markets, and now entire industries are rethinking their positioning as the online retail giant potentially threatens their previously solid ground.
- Digital media has lived and died with advertising, but now it’s mostly just dying. So expect lots of paid-content experiments, many taking the form of paywalls, where there’ll be everything from apps to merchandise to live events.
- The New York Times halved the number of articles available to non-subscribers to five, in order to grow subscriptions. This marks the first change to its paywall since 2012, reflecting growing demand. So much for the “failing New York Times.”
- Publishers need to look beyond advertising for revenue. Subscriptions are a solution for some. But commerce, services, events and getting more narrow vs wide are other coping strategies. Reporter “personalities”play a role too.
- Case in point: the $399/year The Information has introduced $199 and $749 options that reflect budgets for Millennials and those interested in events, respectively.
Artificial Intelligence / Autonomous
The latest in AI, machine learning, bots, and blockchain, mobility, and autonomous everything.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE / MACHINE LEARNING
- The rise of artificial intelligence, machine learning, hivenets, and next-generation morphic malware is leading to an arms race that enterprises must prepare for now. The Looming War of Good AI vs. Bad AI.
- Some traditionalists in customer service turn their noses up at using AI. But here are 8 stats that prove natural language processing, machine learning and cognitive computing are helping businesses to deliver excellent customer service. Ask us about how Brain+Trust helps clients do this.
- An Alexa for Business Platform is planned, with a suite of launch partners. Amazon intends to announce an Alexa for Business Platform, along with a set of initial partners that have developed specific “skills,” or apps, for business customers.
- Google and Amazon are finding out what IBM has known all along: when it comes to new technology like AI, not everyone is ready for it.
AUTONOMOUS / MOBILITY
- Ted Serbinski, head of the Techstars Mobility accelerator looks at how Detroit’s automotive roots made it a hub for transportation startups. The Motor City is becoming the Mobility City.
- GM has announced that self-driving cars are its next big thing. By the end of 2019 it will be mass producing fully autonomous electric cars. It’s the first step toward a massive shift in its business — moving away from selling cars to customers to selling rides in autonomous cars.
- And if you’d still like to drive yourself, Volvo would like you to purchase a subscription, giving you access to a fleet of vehicles for a set fee every month.
- Meanwhile, Ford expands its public shuttle service Chariot to Seattle and London.
BLOCKCHAIN / BITCOIN
- With everything that’s been happening in the bitcoin market lately, you probably have a few questions. Here’s the beginner’s guide to bitcoin.
- Don’t hate the Winkelvoss twins because they rowed for Harvard, are impossibly tall, have square jaws, or because they won a $65 million lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg. Hate them because they’re now bitcoin billionaires.
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Industry developments and trends, including advertising & marketing, journalism, customer experience, content, and influencer relations.
COMMUNICATIONS / MARKETING / STRATEGY
- As the volume of content published increases, there is a fall in average engagement in terms of social sharing. So is content marketing sustainable?
- It’s the end of the year, and predictions are in the making. So here are six email marketing predictions for 2018.
- You’ve seen mobile ads, right? You know, those ads that pop up on a screen, occupy to much real estate, or are located too close to link you want to click. It should be no surprise that a new survey found that most consumers say they rarely or never mean to click on ads served up on their phones. Homer found out the hard way.
Humans are a transactional species, and the practice — if not the very notion of what retail is — is undergoing a historical metamorphosis.
- The future of shopping may not involve shopping carts as technology discovers what you want and delivers it perhaps before you even realize you need it. If it means avoiding holiday shoppers, we’re okay with that.
- Speaking of holiday shopping, data shows the mobile shift is accelerating: consumers are more comfortable than ever buying on their mobile devices this holiday season.
- But as you might have guessed, there’s a generational divide in mobile shopping, with Millennials preferring apps and Baby Boomers preferring the web.
- Target introduced a mobile payment system called “Wallet” in its app. It’s an attempt to catch up with Walmart, CVS and Kohl’s and their apps’ payment systems.
- Walmart and Amazon are locked in a bitter retail war. And in the process, they’re becoming more like one another. Disclosure: Walmart is a Brain+Trust client.
- In fact, Walmart has cut Amazon’s lead in the race for the lowest prices online. Beware of falling prices, indeed.
- Amazon may have patented the next big thing in e-commerce: video reviews.
- What’s Amazon‘s next purchase? It probably won’t be Nordstrom. Some of the considerations when considering a new partner for them: material advance in a large category, both online and physical locations, an experiential brand, and strong marginal economics.
If you’re seeing this, maybe you’d like to see your company’s name here too. Let us know.
News to know about relevant social, virtual, and augmented reality platforms that may affect your business.
- Tencent has surpassed Facebook as the world’s fifth most valuable company. Why? Simple: because Tencent’s messaging app WeChat is virtually ubiquitous in China among mobile users, with a global adoption rate nearing a billion monthly active users. And this is why Facebook purhcased WhatsApp a few years ago.
TWITTER / PERISCOPE
- Twitter didn’t delete the anti-Muslim tweets that the Twitter-in-chief retweeted because the company says it wanted to “help ensure people have an opportunity to see every side of an issue.”
- No, wait — that wasn’t the reason. The real reason, according to part-time CEO Jack Dorsey, walking back what a spokesperson previously said above, is because their media policy permits them. Twitter seems confused. We are too. Maybe it’s the 280-character limit.
FACEBOOK / INSTAGRAM / WHATSAPP
- Facebook launched Messenger Kids, a standalone messaging app that lets kids under 13 chat with friends and family approved by their parents, on iOS in the US. It’s clearly meant to be a broadside at Snapchat, claiming the younger audience, but lots of folks online questioned the wisdom in making this available to children.
- The company is also testing sending out mass messages via Messenger for businesses. Because “I want mass marketing in Messenger,” said no one ever.
- In the best decision it made last week, Facebook rolled out artificial intelligence to detect suicidal posts before they’re reported. That’s 1 for 3. Too bad it couldn’t employ AI to detect poor business decisions before they’re introduced to the public.
ALPHABET / GOOGLE
- YouTube announced it is launching its own Snapchat Stories clone. The Google-owned video site announced Wednesday that it’s putting its own spin on the slideshow-like format popularized by Snapchat and co-opted by nearly every other social tech company since.
- As Snapchat redesigns, their CEO says the company is separating the social from the media. And there was much rejoicing.
The latest in the world of streaming video, audio, and the advertising, pricing and bundling models related to them.
- Pay-TV subscriber losses widen as the country’s largest pay-TV providers shed more than 400,000 subscribers during Q3, according to the Leichtman Research Group, leaving them with slightly more than 92 million subscribers at the end of the quarter.
- If you’re in the mood for a documentary, check out Deep Web, an Amazon original documentary on some of the biggest digital crimes of the last three decades.
- Spotify and China’s Tencent Music Entertainment Group are in talks to acquire 10% of each other.
- You might want to consider a podcast for your B2B marketing. More than one-third (35%) of LinkedIn members around the world listen to podcasts, and fewer than 1 in 10 (8%) don’t know what a podcast is (seriously?), according to results from a recent LinkedIn survey of more than 2,500 members.
- How much do analytics matter in podcasting? Effective podcasts are almost always effective no matter what is being advertised, or for whom.
- Spotify does a bang-up job using data to create its outdoor ads. This is how they do it and why it works so well.
- iHeartRadio‘s top country music radio host Bobby Bones is launching the Nashville Podcast Network, a podcast network built to lure Middle Americans into podcasts. And hopefully that 8% of LinkedIn members.
- Program of the Week: And as our recommendation this week, we have Decoder Ring Theatre, all-new audio adventures in the tradition of the classic programs of Radio’s Golden Age. Thanks to Erik Deckers for this one. Do you have a program to recommend? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts.
Regulatory / Security
Business disruptions in the legal, regulatory, and computer security fields, from hacking to the on-demand economy and more.
SECURITY / HACKING
- When people discovered that Expensify was not using AI but rather humans (powered by MTurk a freelance job site) to sort their receipts and expense reports, they were a bit upset that their private information was seemingly no longer private.
- If someone really wanted a gold mine on your personal data, they’d have to look no further than fafsa.ed.gov, the Web site set up by the U.S. Department of Education for anyone interested in applying for federal student financial aid. There they’ll find your Name, DOB and SSN (among other things). Trifecta!
- There is pending legislation in the U.S. Senate that will send executives to jail for concealing data breaches. Transparency pays.
- Lyft has gained from Uber’s scandal-ridden year, seeing revenues triple, while Uber has seen losses accelerating.
- Uber’s security practices are under fire again as a former Uber employee claims some of the company’s security officers worked to actively avoid creating a “paper trail.” That employee also says that Uber stole trade secrets, codebase and competitive intelligence from other companies. Ouch.
- Airbnb launched payment splitting for group trips for up to 16 people on a single reservation.
Measurement / Analytics / Data
The future is not in plastics, but in data. Those who know how to measure and analyze it will rule the world.
- Data visualization should make the underlying data easier to comprehend. It’s a problem when the graphic is harder to decipher than the underlying dataset. This, from Junk Charts.
- Only 29% of influencer campaigns use trackable URLs for attribution. How are the other 71% measuring their success?
- Brain+Trust‘s own Tim Hayden was part of a lineup of impresarios at Variety‘s industry summit on the evolution of the entertainment industry. Brain+Trust’s take: “Data still exists in silos. If we unified all consumer data on purchases, gaming, viewing habits, and more, into a custom data platform, we could create a seamless, direct and more personal way to serve customers.”
- If you’re in data and you’d like to work at IBM, you might like to know what IBM looks for in data scientists. In short, you need to use data science to solve business problems.
- Math phobia is a recipe for missing out on the professional insights and opportunities that make the difference between a business that scrapes by and a business that is wildly successful.
Other links to help you reflect, improve, or simply learn something new.
- For God’s sake, stop working on your personal brand. Enough with trying to tell people who you are — just start doing meaningful work that demonstrates it.
- Why a Gen-X CEO hired a Millennial to help him keep a learning mindset.
- Seneca had all of the answers for finding answers amid a harsh world in the tranquility of the mind: “Nothing is so bitter that a calm mind cannot find comfort in it.” The ancient philosopher explored resilience, the trap of power and prestige, and calibrating our existence for maximum contentment.
- Do you enjoy puns? If you do, your brain might be working harder. Researchers studying the neuroscience of puns say that understanding them, even the bad ones, requires cooperation between both sides of the brain. And if you don’t like puns, maybe you can give the researchers a piece of your mind.
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Upcoming Brain+Trust Speaking Engagements
- SocialFresh in Orlando December 8-9, 2017 (Christopher and Tim)
Brain+Trust Partners helps smart, risk-taking executives discern the real from the hype. From strategy development to technology and data vendor selection, and streamlining processes, our focus is on digital business transformation that improves customer experience and drives efficiency for your company. And our decades of experience working for major brands means that we deeply understand the challenges you’re facing. Let us know if we can help you.
Top image credit: First Voyage, Departure for the New World, August 3, 1492 by L. Prang & Co. (1893), public domain
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