As Chairman of Firo Communications, Elizabeth Gage dedicates her time to the promotion of entrepreneurism while developing her three companies: PCM Interactive, Sonic Mobile and Vortic Technologies. A respected pioneer in the area of multi-channel digital marketing solutions Elizabeth is passionate about IT in Marketing and in finding integrated solutions that benefit a customer. She holds an Honors Degree in English from Queen’s University and is a graduate of Business Entrepreneurship from MIT Sloan School of Management.
According to Markets and Markets research the Cloud-based business analytics market is estimated to grow from 5.25 billion in 2013 to 16.5 billion by 2018. It appears Big Data and the move by companies to cloud computing is fuelling this growth. As a result Vendors in Business Intelligence Analytics are scrambling to find new ways to deliver their services over the cloud platform so that their enterprise customers can collect, access, monitor and share key business performance indicators in a way that is accessible through any platform or mobile device.
Major players delivering cloud computing solutions include: IBM, Oracle, Google, HP, Cloud 9 Analytics, Good Data Microsoft and Host Analytics.
There is no question that operational efficiencies can be derived through the integration of analytics into the operational fabric of a business but there are security issues that need to be addressed, and at the onset.
In a security survey conducted by Flying Penguin Consultancy and One Login the major areas of security concern are in the use of unsanctioned apps (71%) and the management of passwords. 43% of respondents in the survey shared passwords via sticky notes and spreadsheets and 20% experienced logins from departed employees. Password security is serious considering the changes in how we access applications. It is reported that 80% access applications through smart phones, 71% through tablets, and 80% through non-company computers.
Two-thirds of organizations identified security as their top concern when considering the move to the cloud according to “Driving Profitable Growth through Cloud computing” IBM Study (conducted by Oliver Wyman, November 2008) and it is no wonder because apart from identity management, and the plethora of devices accessing the web, there are concerns with software vulnerabilities and audit and assurance issues.
At the end of the day the move of an organization to embrace cloud computing as a strategic initiative is not just a technical challenge but a challenge of governance and compliance. I would not be at all surprised if enterprise companies chose to revert to supplying all-inclusive devices for company operations. Remember the old days when we had “our personal laptop” and “the company laptop”? This is an option to consider as the internet still is, and always will be, the Wild, Wild West.
With 5.7 billion in cash in the bank Amazon is geared up to move into selling high-end clothing online. They are busy shooting 3,000 fashion images a day with models using patent-pending technology.
The traditional retail world is up in arms. According to Forrester Research the retailers are concerned because Amazon “sets their own prices” and this is a threat for the brands. For Amazon its an opportunity to increase gross profit margin per unit since shipping costs are the same for a $25 book as they are for a $1,000 skirt. But will sales of online designer clothing take off?
For those of us who have found ourselves in a clothing store debating whether we really like a dress, and its price, enough to stand in a changing room line up to disrobe and try it on, online shopping like this “sounds” very attractive. However, the problem is returns of clothing online are anywhere from 20-40% because well, hey…most of us are a little more curvy and only look like those skinny models in our dreams.
For Amazon to move online clothing retail to another level and really see clothing ‘move off their virtual rack” they will need to think outside the box offering customers the opportunity to take their bodies digital.
Bodymetrics a London based company teamed up with Prime Sense to create a 3D body scanner that collects 100 intimate measurements that can aid in online clothes shopping.
Now flying to London may be a little inconvenient for some so perhaps a nice tip to the security guard at the airport manning the body scanning machine might get the body measurements? Certainly having a ‘real’ virtual body would make it a lot easier to go online shopping. And maybe our well-dressed virtual body can attend some cool online Amazon virtual cocktail parties and fashion shows. Now that’s taking the online shopping experience “Social” and up a notch. Be brillant not boring Amazon!
In 1998 I had the belief that to really grow my national business I needed to design a technology marketing solution that would set us apart from the larger competitors and streamline operations. To achieve the mission I found a programmer who knew the language of the web and of servers (msql at the time) and from little boxes drawn on the paper tablemats in a Chinese restaurant, along with an investment of 3k an early CMS was developed.
It was fantastic. The business grew from a couple of clients and 250k in revenue to 3mil almost overnight. Clients were wowed by the fact that they could request ad changes and approve their ads (often 100 of them at one time) all electronically. They were also amazed that their requested ad changes were made in what appeared “real time”.
What they didn’t know was that on top of being the owner and sole employee of the company at the time I was also the “real time” marketing strategy. This meant I was on call 24 hours a day to perform the ad changes from wherever I was, including from a picnic table, via Satellite internet, from a remote outpost location, and with the aid of generator power.
These were the early days of the Internet and technology marketing solutions. Now technology marketing solutions are much more complex because the amount of information businesses collect on customers has increased exponentially in terms of volume, variety and complexity. Commonly used software tools to capture, manage and process this data are for the most part inadequate.
Technology has clearly expanded the strategy canvass. Everyday 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created. To those who embrace the new game of technology marketing there are new ways of doing things and new things to do. While this is a challenge for some companies others are leveraging the opportunity to drive their businesses to gain greater competitive advantage and higher profits. Managing Big Data like managing Big Hair requires a clever design and maintenance strategy to be successful. At the end of the day the value of Big Data is in finding the information that is critical to your company’s success.
It was four thirty AM and the red-hot sun had just broken the horizon over Lake Ontario almost blinding me on the couch where I was drifting in and out of consciousness. A beautiful day for the Royal Wedding I thought as I reached for my laptop and logged onto the net in search for somewhere to watch the ceremony. I found the PBS News Stream and it was most interesting. No commentators just the real sounds of the street; crowds cheering, cars honking, as the guests and the Royal Family arrived at Westminster Abby. I was glued to this “non-production” television format because it was intimate and social. The Twitter Feed was the commentator. “A sea of hats” “There’s the Queen!” “No its not” “Yes, it’s the Queen, in yellow”. I was at an online Royal Wedding Party with guests from all over the world and experiencing Social TV in its infancy.
According to a recent report by Nielsen there are some very interesting facts around the growing Social TV trends.
In 2010 50% of US citizens viewed online video for an average of 4.5 hours a month – up 41%
50% of social networking and blog site visitors also visit TV network and broadcast media sites
76% of Twitter followers and 50% of Facebook users also view broadcast
Marie-Jose Montpetit and her students at the MIT Media Lab recently demonstrated a prototype of an interactive television platform where a central database aggregates video from sources, shares user specified data with social networks, delivers video to the users’ TV, and allows commenting back and forth between users and the social network via an iPhone app.
But how well would such a platform be accepted by television viewers? It seems to me that guys are snarly enough if you interrupt “their game” and that adding Twitter and Facebook updates to “their TV screen” would not be well received. Well, there have been some interesting Social TV initiatives. ITV Lives’s (UK) soccer TV experience around world cup soccer garnered 2 million viewers in three weeks. The key is the second screen. Over 50% of TV viewers indicated they had a computing device with them when they watched TV.
The marriage of social, mobile and TV creates more than just a dynamic party, but instead this combination is a game changer as broadcast interactivity brings engaged viewers and forces broadcasters to completely reinvent their advertising models. Not to do so would be at their own peril. Because the push advertising models of the past are no longer wanted. Broadcasters need to create new ad models for Social TV.
Intro Now (recently purchased by Yahoo!) is an open source platform and available to developers and device manufacturers. It was touted as one of the more impressive Social TV apps. It has a technology that recognizes audio and identifies content. This content can then be shared with friends on social networks. Intro Now has a new ad model test going with Pepsi where people can tag a commercial and get a coupon for a free Pepsi.
Miso, another interactive TV platform, funded by Google, that goes beyond the Four Square facility of the check-in and sharing by adding reality TV voting as part of its platform.
AT&T is also active in the space and says that Social TV will allow you to see how popular a new show is, get ratings and opinions and general sentiment analysis.Verizon entered the space in 2009 with tremendous success. They offer a number of social widgets for Twitter, Facebook and the Associated Press.
Social TV is in its infancy but with TV consumption going up and revenue increases of 8% to 69 billion the television broadcast industry is again in the limelight. The key to IDTV success will be in understanding how to engage viewers on the second screen and keep them coming back. There are a whole lot of ideas around this but if you think of the many ways you can create “Fans” and communities around shows you are on the right track. In such an environment special content would be savored, relationships enhanced, and commerce enabled for advertisers through sampling and contests.
As the shift to online marketing continues there has been a proliferation of electronic channels that has lead to more meaningful and targeted ways to engage a customer. These advances have added pressure to the marketer’s role as it has become more challenging to deliver a compelling message to each consumer, at the right time, through the right channel, across inbound, outbound, on and offline and traditional and emerging platforms. Never before has there been such a need for online advertising integration as there is now. But what is integrated marketing?
IBM defines integrated marketing as an approach that “assembles all customer communications into one centralized command system that is continually informed in real-time data and intelligence”. In a recent study “State of Marketing 2011” over 87% of senior marketing executives surveyed expressed a desire for integrated marketing solutions but only 10% actually said they were having success at achieving it. Apparently organizational structure, culture, lack of in-house skills, and poor support from IT departments is to blame.
Online advertising integration is imperative in this day and age as it is the way to reach today’s new consumer. Technology has had a drastic effect on consumer behavior. Take for example the ways we can source news that goes beyond newspaper, radio or television. We have online sites, search engines and social media, Facebook, LinkedIn groups, blogs and wikis, just to name a few. The variety of channel choices allows consumers the opportunity to immediately switch between channels before making a purchase decision. This means that in order to have our products or services selected we need to be where consumers are.
It is interesting that in the emerging media like Social Media, North Americans outpace Europeans by over 30% in adoption rates. Activities are still limited to participation on 3rd party networks like Facebook, and Linked In but nevertheless the Social Media channel is not being ignored. In fact 50% of marketers are using social media despite the fact the bright light that has shone on this channel is dimming under the scrutiny for ROI.
As we move towards the adoption of more integrated cross-channel marketing strategies and their implementation there will be a greater emphasis placed on ROI and analytics that can predict outcomes. This is where the rubber meets the road in the drive to define next generation marketing excellence. However, if you thought Facebook’s Beacon was an infringement of privacy “you aint seen nothing yet, baby”.