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.
One of the more significant product launches in the world of consumer electronics, the Apple iPad, is taking the world by a storm and establishing a whole new class of computer. “Magical”, “revolutionary” or, call it what you may, the Apple iPad provides value to all age groups. Apple describes its 9.7 inch tablet computing device as “The best way to experience the web, email, photos, and video. Hands down.”
I thought it was very interesting that in the line up to purchase the iPad there were several senior citizens. The touch screen and ability to change and enlarge type on screen of whatever you are reading online, including; novels, magazines, or newspapers is clearly a game changer and true sign that change has come to the world of the PC.
So what is the enterprise uptake concerning the iPad? Is it fit for business? According to AT&T there has been a surprising interest from the business community with one half of Fortune 100 companies using the device in some way. This includes companies like WellsFargo and Mercedes-Benz who believe that the iPad assists workers in being more productive. Email processing, approving shipping orders and even on the spot auto-finance are some of the activities being streamlined on the iPad by such users.
With over 3 million Apple iPads selling in just eighty days and line ups all over the world competitors like Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Cisco have put in place strategies to take advantage of the tablet craze. Cisco has just launched Cius aimed at the business customer. This tablet works on Android, has a camera (which the iPad does not) and is on open source for enhanced communication.
In turn Apple is planning the launch of its OS 4.0 this fall which will address some user concerns with the lack of multi-tasking.
So, if you are looking for something to do on a Friday night perhaps a trip to the App Store might be right to order? There are some cool games. Check out Air Hockey, Angry Birds (a funny kids game), and Cogs to name a few. This weekend I am in a card tourney with four imaginary friends (but don’t tell anyone), and then watching a movie. In short, the iPad can be described as a cool and fun consumer device designed for easily browsing the web, viewing videos, photos, mail and books and very rapidly becoming a great tool for business too.
Bye bye dancing sugar plums, and to 2009. A big enthusiastic welcome to 2010! Surviving the roller coaster of the economic meltdown has not been easy for anyone but the silver lining has arrived as a shining new breed of leaders that are battle-tested, customer and product driven. This voracious collective consciousness is writing history with enormous speed. The focus is on community, health, job creation, the environment, innovation and entrepreneurship. The result, I hope, will be a more sustainable global economy that we can be proud of as it will benefit all people.
“A smooth sea never made a skilled mariner”. This English proverb is a stark reminder that it is in a time of crisis, not during growth periods, where one’s emotional fortitude is tested.
Our evolving digital world presents four interesting trends to harness for growth in 2010. These are Social, Wireless, Analytics, and Security/Privacy.
There is going to be a lot more advertising revenue move online according to Forrester Research – especially from the old Yellow Pages which has seen rapid decline in usage this year – as businesses embrace social media as a lead generator and branding method. By dynamically engaging content, including blogs, reviews, videos and the like, business owners are discovering they can build stronger relationships with customers. As such in 2010 we are going to see social media integrated into the sales funnel where business objectives and ROI will be measured.
In 2009 Twitter proved we had an appetite for Real-Time search. In 2010 users are going to help Twitter find its revenue model. Twitter is an amazing lead generating tool that provides a segmentation and geo-targetting opportunity not rivaled by anyone else. I would not at all be surprised if we see an alliance between Twitter and FaceBook as there are clear synergies between these two products.
Our cars are destined to become wireless hot spots which should appease the kids on road trips. However, the increased data traffic will put a stress on the 3G networks. AT&T ran ads this Christmas promoting conservation in the area of text messaging. Apparently 40% of their network is used by 3% of its customers who have smart phones.
Applications will continue to abound and will be available in the cloud and in cross-platform format. Social networking via mobile will drive a lot of the mobile app innovation. Augmented Reality apps aimed at integrating our physical and virtual worlds will continue to be enhanced to bring our network closer to us in real-time.
Businesses will increase their budgets (60%) using existing data and predictive models. There is an understanding now that actionable insights help generate increased leads, eliminate guesswork on allocated advertising dollars, assist in understanding changing consumer behavior, and increase customer engagement.
Security / Privacy:
There has been a 477% increase in the amount of Malware added to Ad-Awares’s threat list in 2009 and expectations for 2010 is that malicious attackers are going to move to the emerging platforms, like smartphones, and social networking sites to launch their activity. Because Hackers follow trends, IBM predicts they will move their activity to the cloud. Businesses and marketers must focus more heavily on monitoring this area.
The Next Big Thing is… an integrated 3D virtual and physical world that provides real-time interaction and commerce
A new generation of predictive technologies are emerging as vast amounts of behaviorial data from “clicks” and “search queries” are being crunched by powerful computers trained to mimic sales people. Online shopping has become truly creepy as moments after buying something online a recommendation is sent on another purchase – a suggestion for something of a personal nature you were only just thinking about. Yikes, how do they know your very thoughts?
Welcome to the world of Predictive Analytics and to sexy math where we are all naked.
Mathematicians at Cambridge determined that the perfect sway in a woman’s walk is determined by hip metrics of 36 inches and waist metrics of 25 inches. So what’s the perfect metric to measure audience and customer engagement? Well, we may have to wait in anticipation for the answers because sexy while attractive, is hard to get, and slow in revealing.
Predictive Analytics is a business intelligence process that produces a predictive score for each customer or prospect. It aids in optimizing marketing campaigns, website behavior, increased customer response, conversions and engagement. It is not dissimilar to data mining but concerned with predicting future possibilities using complex algorithums.
Successful personalized marketing relies on an indepth understanding of customer profiles and behaviors.This in turn leads to strategic insights and business intelligence where predictive models can be built to predict response. Response leads to the development of business actions such as cross-sell options, mail solicitation, or promotions. The results are increased response and lift rates at reduced expense for the organization.
Predictive Analytics can also play a role in enhanced operational and competitive advantages. With things changing so fast operational decisions often have to be made on the fly and under pressure. Predictive Analytics and smart systems can help with decision making, revenue growth, cost reductions, and strategy control.
In this complex world of ad networks and increasing accountability, Predictive Analytics and sexy math is clearly more than the square root of 69. It is becoming imperative as it turns Marketers into number crunchers. “Marketing Metrics: 50+ Metrics Every Executive Should Master” will blow your mind with its 114 marketing metrics. Some of the basic metrics such as the cost of customer acquistion, retention and those related to channel management are very valuable.
As we evaluate the current metrics craze and its impact on the world of marketing we can’t forget the value of spontaneous hip swaying and the part creativity plays in influencing human behavior.
In the past 18 months hacker attacks have increased by 600%. Protecting your most valuable marketing asset – your website – could not be more vital than it is today. Security ambivalence could lead to spam links, injected adware or malware – all of which could result in the degradation of your website rankings, online marketing performance, and sales. There is also the strong possibility you could be delisted (or sandbagged) by the search engines.
Hackers generally target innocent, legitimate websites with their drive-by-download malware in order to send out mass viruses. In former days they spread viruses through executable files via email but that’s too much work for the newest breed of black hatters.
Every month more than a million pages are infected and Google delists hundreds of websites, so its very important to be preventative, not reactionary when it comes to your website security. Here are a few tips you can consider towards protecting yourself:
1. Consult Google’s Webmaster Guidelines
2. Perform a Vulnerability Assessment
3. Assign someone on your team security maintenance and request regular reports
4. Change passwords regularily (although some softwares allow modifications without passwords)
5. Be aware that advertising displayed on your site could be a source to bring in malware since most include direct links to other sites
6. Check out Juniper and Cisco Firewall Solutions
7. Install anti-malware to detect and quarantine infections
8. Remember there is no perfect preventative measure so read and be pro-active
Social networking sites also pose some additional security hazards. The usual advice, not to give out birthdates and carefully screen every link request are obvious. But how do we know if the link itself is secure? On Twitter a 17 year old created a cross-site scripting worm that could have affected every account holder. This points to future Web 2.0 worms which could threaten other social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and My Space.
A former FBI computer forensics examiner, who heads up Facebook’s security team recommends reporting malware, not sharing passwords, and bailing out of Windows to Mac or Linux.
As web applications become more sophistocated and mobile devices outpace PCs in adoption, attacks will only increase over multi-platforms and sites. As many attacks are now wide scale and automated we need to fight back in some concerted way. It is welcome news that President Obama has made cybercrime a priority by committing some serious dollars to fighting it. He very recently unveiled his White House Cybersecurity Policy.
The web is a powerful medium where the elusive malware attacker lurks understanding very well the vulnerability of our ecosystem.
Have you ever wondered what the CEO was doing behind his closed office door? Well, 36% of them are playing video games and these numbers are growing. That’s right, surprising as this sounds it is a fact according to the latest research compiled by Information Solutions Group. Survey respondents indicate they play a multitude of times during their work day and often for sessions longer than 15 minutes. The average amount of time spent in a day playing video games is 60 minutes.
91% of CEO gamers are age 30 or older, 68% are 40 or older, and 39% are 50 or older. Incomes are higher than average.
72% say video game playing at work “improves their mental health”. 84% said “they felt more relaxed and less stressed out” and 52% said “they felt more confident, more energetic, more productive and more mentally focused”.
And get this…14% admitted to playing video games during conference calls. (No wonder no one meets face-to-face anymore).
So what games are popular with CEOs you might ask? Unfortunately the survey does not answer this. Perhaps the popular selling game “Grand Theft Auto” or “Street Fighter: The Special Champion Edition”? I am hoping the CEO popular video game list does not include going “Postal lll” by Running with Scissors.
Well, whatever the game choice is, the fact that 80 million CEO executives are spending 5 hours a week playing video games – or 400 million hours collectively a week – means there is a terrific opportunity for a marketer to reach a demo that is often hard to reach.
In-game advertising either static or dynamic that doesn’t interrupt the game environment can be a niche marketing advantage for a brand. For example: adding a “30 second CEO Workout” feature integrated in a game (ab workout sponsored by Butterball, arm lifts sponsored by Johnny Walker, the shower afterwords sponsored by Old Spice) might be kind of fun. Actually Old Spice might be open to this video gaming idea since they have run successful in-game branded programs. CEO gamers could do their online workout, plus maybe win a Butterball Turkey to take home to their wife. Just one hurdle comes to mind with this idea though, and that is how would you explain all the Butterball Turkeys arriving at the corporate headquarters?
For the most part gamers are not against advertising. They understand that development costs have to be underwritten somehow. The true “value-add” for the advertiser though, is when in-game advertising is successfully tied in with out-of-game advertising. Toyota did this effectively with their out-of-game tv ads where they tied in “World of Warcraft” imagery. The result was a heightened engagement with their target demo.