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IDC Retail Insights Presents Big Data and Analytics Foundation for Next Generation Revenue Management

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 300x99 IDC Retail Insights Presents Big Data and Analytics Foundation for Next Generation Revenue Management

IDC Retail Insights  today announced the availability of a new report, “Business Strategy: Big Data and Analytics Lay the Foundation for Revenue Growth,” (Document # RI250177) which describes the Big data and analytics (BDA) foundation for revenue growth and charts the likely rapid evolution of new capabilities. The report presents a framework for understanding successive generations of product intelligence, leading to a new paradigm — participatory commerce. This paradigm trains evolved market intelligence on a much larger opportunity — the triple win of merchandise economics, promotional spend, and customer satisfaction.

  • ClicktoTweet, “@IDCInsights #IDCRetailInsights Presents #BigData&Analytics Foundation for #NextGeneration #RevenueManagement – will propel #BDA”

BDA will increase revenue growth through optimized pricing, and create new opportunities to improve assortments, new products, marketing, and other demand generators. Product intelligence creates new facets of market and competitive insight through price discovery in the near term, with broader reach into assortments, private labels, and management of private label and national brands. Within five years in the context of “give-to-get” shoppers, combined with forces like supply chain collaboration among retailers and brands, self-learning intelligent agents, and autonomous event-processing, product intelligence will lead to participatory commerce.

Key highlights of the report include:

  • In 2013, approximately 50% of retailers were aiming BDA at pricing strategies, market intelligence, and customer acquisition. More retailers will join their ranks over the next two to three years.
  • Price intelligence, a subset of product intelligence, is emerging as the initial set of capabilities aligned to support these BDA initiatives. Beyond discovering prices and supporting better pricing decisions, product intelligence sheds light on competitors’ pricing strategies and tactics, assortments, localization, and channel strategies as well as on consumer decision making when combined with psychological techniques.
  • Price discovery gives retailers a countermeasure in the “spy versus spy” world of price transparency, providing them an analytical advantage but leaving consumers with the edge when comparing prices online in the context of their purchase journeys. Next-best-action analytics remain a seller’s key tool against the consumer’s contextual advantage.
  • As already evident in the 2013 holiday shopping season — supported by price discovery, predictive analytics, and real-time ecommerce price management — high-speed algorithmic pricing will break constraints on price change cadences and create breakneck “channel chess” competition.
  • In the context of supply chain collaboration, give-to-get consumers, self-learning intelligent agents, and autonomous event-processing product intelligence will create opportunities for participatory commerce — marketplaces wherein transactions based on the buying, selling, and buying intentions of participating retailers, brands, and consumers will improve merchandise economics, returns on promotional spending, and customer satisfaction.

“In particular, one application of product intelligence, price discovery, gives retailers a countermeasure versus the ‘spy versus spy’ price transparency of retail today,” said Greg Girard, program director at IDC Retail Insights. “Next-generation product intelligence in consumer decision making, competitor tactics, and market conditions will propel BDA-based revenue initiatives beyond pricing further into marketing, assortments, buying, and product development.”

For additional information about this report or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Greg Girard, please contact Sarah Murray at 781-378-2674 orsarah@attunecommunications.com. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact insights@idc.com; reporters should email sarah@attunecommunications.com.

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Are Businesses Prepared for the Internet of Things?

eMarketer

The “internet of things” (IoT) is coming. But are businesses ready for a completely connected future?

177221 Are Businesses Prepared for the Internet of Things?

According to a May 2014 study by Edelman Berland for GE, the majority of business executives worldwide had at least heard of the IoT; however, familiarity was low, with more than half of respondents who had heard of the IoT saying they weren’t sure what it meant. Meanwhile, 44% had never even heard of the concept.

Edelman Berland/GE defined the internet of things as “the next generation of internet, integrating complex physical machinery with networked sensors and software.”

177222 Are Businesses Prepared for the Internet of Things?

Looking at a breakdown by industry, the survey found that preparation and planning for the IoT varied greatly across sectors. Unsurprisingly, high-tech/IT sector business execs were the most prepared to optimize the IoT, with 34% of respondents from that industry saying so. Nearly one-quarter of professionals in that group were planning to prep for this new world—the highest percentage out of sectors once again. Telecoms execs were the second most prepared (31% of respondents), but interestingly, those who weren’t set to take advantage of the IoT were the least likely to say they were planning to—and the most likely to report that they had no intention to do so.

Meanwhile, both healthcare and manufacturing landed at the bottom in terms of preparedness, with just 21% of respondents from each of these industries saying they were ready to optimize the IoT—and nearly half never having even heard of it.

Majority of Latin America’s Smartphone Users Buy via Mobile

eMarketer

Where are smartphone users most likely to report purchasing products or services on their handsets? The answers may surprise you—especially the answer to the question, “Where aren’t they?”

176331 Majority of Latin Americas Smartphone Users Buy via Mobile

May 2014 polling by IDG Global Solutions found that 78% of smartphone users in Asia-Pacific had made a mobile commerce purchase, compared with 70% in North America. It makes some sense that a relatively less developed ecommerce market would place high according to this metric, however: Overall, smartphone penetration in Asia-Pacific is relatively low, meaning the share of such users who have made a purchase is likely to be high. Across a broader swathe of the population, mcommerce penetration would look lower.

Latin America is another standout by this metric—an outright majority of smartphone users reported making a purchase. That compares with significantly lower penetration rates across the population of consumers and internet users who make ecommerce purchases at all (including on the desktop).

And while Latin America is behind the Middle East and Africa—another region where smartphone penetration reaches a fairly small share of the overall population, and smartphone users are therefore a select and advanced portion of the market—it placed ahead of both Eastern and Western Europe, places where smartphone penetration is higher, according to eMarketer’s estimates.

A buyer’s view on native advertising and transparency

Digiday

Attitudes toward native advertising in its various forms continue to divide the industry. Some view it as publishing’s savior while others see it as the final nail in journalism’s coffin.

Nick Cohen is managing partner and head of content at MediaCom U.K. and oversees content-led campaigns for its clients, some of which include GlaxoSmithKline, Volkswagen and Procter & Gamble. Cohen gave Digiday his view on the native advertising debate, how it’s being managed, and he told us what he made of that now-infamous John Oliver skit lambasting the tactic.

What did you make of John Oliver’s critique of native advertising?

I thought it was very funny. He very astutely highlighted the shoddy end of it. It’s easy for people in advertising to lose a sense of perspective. It’s right that we constantly question things.

What’s your take on native?
Personally, I think the term “native advertising” has been a bit unhelpful. It confuses more than it illuminates. We don’t really actively go out to clients and say, “You should be doing native advertising.” We just talk about content and how it can be used effectively to meet their business objectives.

Which campaigns have you been impressed by recently?
There was a nice example from MediaCom, which I don’t take credit for, where Audi and the Telegraph filmed a race to Le Mans. It’s great content and one of those where it makes sense for the publisher and for the brand: It’s not a square peg for a round hole.

All brands need to be thinking about how they can use content — be it on their website and social channels, through their physical distribution channels or through sponsored content with an external media brand. And there are ways of doing it well, and there’s ways of doing it badly. Focus on doing something everybody would be proud of.

Some publishers draw on journalists to help write ads, others have a completely separate studio and some let brands publish through a self-service model. What are the most typical approaches to sponsored content you’re seeing?
It’s mostly a studio model which we see, where it’s sales people involved in the process of pitching. I think for most publishers there’s still a separation between the sales and those on the editorial side, though as part of a commercial piece of work publishers might commission someone who also writes on the editorial side. For the likes of the Guardian and The Telegraph, who are very active in this space, I’d say the separate-studio model prevails. The likes of BuzzFeed, who we’ve been doing work with recently, use a separate team for commercial content too. AOL and the Huffington Post say that divide needs to evolve, but I think there is a realization that you do need to maintain a separation between the two things.

How overtly should advertorial be labeled as advertising?
If you’re reading a commissioned by-lined piece and it’s written by someone who is CEO of company X, you’d see that and understand that someone’s coming from a particular perspective and is coming from their specialist, informed opinion, rather than offering a completely unbiased perspective. As long as it’s properly labeled and transparent, I don’t think there’s a problem with it.

We always advise our clients that there’s a shared interest between the brand and the publisher, and those are typically around three areas of transparency, relevancy and quality. In terms of transparency, if you’re creating content that’s similar to other work produced by a publisher, you want it to be clearly labeled so it doesn’t look like you’re being underhanded. There’s also the need to abide by the Advertising Standards Authority guidelines, which has been pretty clear about this stuff. It’s not in the brand’s or the publishers’ interest to mislead people.

The content has to be relevant to the brand and something they’re legitimately able to talk about. It’s got to be relevant to the audience, and it has to be relevant to the publisher’s agenda. The last point is quality: making sure anything produced by a brand is as good a quality as what would be produced for that site anyway.

Have some publishers gone outside their comfort zone when it comes to posting commercial content on social channels?
If for whatever reason a publisher feels like they shouldn’t promote something, there are plenty of other ways of doing that through content-amplification services. It’s about having a really clear, honest discussion with the advertiser. If a publisher feels bad about doing something, they shouldn’t do it. Be clear with the client and the agency, and don’t do something you’re not completely comfortable with when it comes to branded content.

Neura’s novel approach: Baking intelligence into connected devices

CITEworld

A well-known problem in the Internet of Things is that many connected devices operate in silos. Your Fitbit doesn’t communicate with your Nest thermostat, for example.

One way some companies are trying to solve this problem is to create a hub, like Revolv. The idea is for all devices to connect to the hub, which serves as a central point for users to control all the devices and allows certain events to trigger activity in different devices.

Neura, a startup chosen as part of Microsoft Ventures’ accelerator program, has a novel approach to the hub concept. “The phone and potentially in the future the watch is how we treat a hub,” said Gilad Meiri, CEO of Neura.

Neura aims to be like a central clearinghouse for IoT data collected from fitness trackers, home automation products, and phones. But then it interprets that data into useful information that it supplies to other devices.

Here’s one scenario. Neura works around the idea of events in a person’s life. An important event could be waking up in the morning. Neura may figure out that a user has woken up based on information from a variety of devices like a sleep sensor, a Nest thermostat, motion sensors in a phone, and historical patterns.

Once Neura has detected such an event, it supplies it to partners that subscribe to that event data. For instance, a TV vendor might want to know a user has woken up in order to turn on the TV to the user’s favorite morning program. Waking up could trigger events like turning on the coffee maker or starting up the hot water heater.

“This is our model. To understand people and events and allow devices and services to subscribe to that,” Meiri said.

Neura offers its business customers a confidence scale around the information it delivers. For instance, the TV app may not want to turn on the TV unless Neura has 100 percent confidence that the user is awake because it wouldn’t be a great user experience if the TV turned on while the user is still asleep. But the app on the hot water heater might instead like to know when Neura is 60 percent sure the end user is awake since it takes some time to heat the water and it might be better to err on starting to heat the water before the user is awake.

Healthcare applications envisioned by Neura get even more interesting. Neura could detect that a user is driving to the gym and predict that in 20 minutes the user’s glucose level is likely to drop, based on historical data collected from the user’s glucose meter during previous workouts at the gym. The service can suggest to the user that it’s a good time to eat an apple.

Neura could also provide information to services so that, for example, a music service like Spotify can get a notification that a user only has 15 minutes left to her run so that the service can start playing music that might motivate her through the final stretch.

On the backend, Neura ingests the sensor data into its translation machine that it calls Harmony. It’s an abstraction layer that normalizes the data that’s coming from different sources. On top of that sits what Neura calls its Trac Event Machine which looks for patterns in user behavior. Its artificial intelligence layer makes sense of the data.

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Tablet boom helps digital magazines boost sales share

Marketing Week

Total digital sales increased 26 per cent year on year to 369,040, a slowdown on the 59 per cent growth seen in the same period last year. This was in part due to a slowdown in the number of magazines reporting digital sales, which only increased by 10 per cent to 95 magazines, compared to a 43 per cent increase in 2013.

That sales growth was enough to outpace the market, meaning digital publications now make up 2.9 per cent of magazines’ total circulation, up from 2.3 per cent a year ago. That is still just a tiny proportion of overall sales, with print circulation at 12.22m, a 3.8 per cent fall year on year and an acceleration of the 1.9 per cent drop seen in the same period a year ago.

However, a number of publishers have questioned the veracity of the ABC figures given that many now have a wide-ranging audience across the internet and mobile devices, not just through digital editions.

Barry McIlheney, CEO of the Professional Publishers’ Association, says the growth of digital editions is “encouraging” for the sector and highlights the growing demand for digital content.

He adds: “The figures in this report reiterate how shifting consumer media habits continue to impact upon today’s modern, multi-platform magazine brands. The growth of digital editions is encouraging for the sector, and it should also be remembered that this ABC report does not include the increasing number of other ways – websites, live events, social media, etc. – in which the magazine brands of today engage directly with their consumers.”

NME, which saw its average print circulation drop under 15,000 for the first time, claims to reach more than 3.6 million people across the UK.

Marcus Rich, CEO at NME’s owner IPC Media, says: “Our core focus is on expanding the overall reach of our powerful, market-leading brands. We continue to look for even more ways to satisfy and engage our consumers’ passions and in the past 12 months have launched new events and experiences, products and apps in a variety of sectors. We also look for new and exciting ways to leverage our portfolio of brands for the benefit of our advertising partners.”

The Economist’s digital edition saw the biggest increase in sales, up 72 per cent to 21,780, helping it overtake Private Eye as the most popular news magazine overall with average sales of 223,730. Total Film had the second highest average circulation at 14,091, an increase of 16 per cent, followed by BBC Top Gear magazine with 13,553.

TV choice remains the most popular paid-for magazine with total sales of 1.3 million, although its circulation dropped slightly, by 5.2 per cent. Northern & Shell’s magazine suffered a tough quarter, with OK!, New and Star all reporting double-digit declines.

5 Tweaks to Your Website That Could Increase Sales 300%

Mashable

A company website is a must-have in today’s Internet-driven economy. But while most companies have a website, few use them to their full potential to drive sales and revenue. That’s a shame, because websites are often a major investment in terms of time and money, and they can be a lot of work to keep updated.

So if you aren’t maximizing the return on investment of your site, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity.

Luckily, there are a few relatively simple updates you can make to your website that can have a huge impact on customer attraction and retention, sales, revenue and long-term brand loyalty. These steps don’t require hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment and can be implemented by small companies and multinational corporations alike.

There are five common areas that most company websites can improve upon and expect to see an immediate boost in revenue. Taken together, they have the potential to increase your revenue by 300% or more (depending, of course, on your industry, location and a variety of other factors).

1. Add video content

Consumers love video — and so should you. Our brains process visual information 60,000 times faster than text, so ditch the long-winded product descriptions and opt for dynamic video content visitors can engage with on your website. Videos on your landing page can increase conversion rates by 86%, and 44% of customers purchase more products on sites that provide informational videos — and these numbers are only rising.

Customers also tend to stay longer on sites with videos, and even better — they are more likely to return. Engaging product videos, customer testimonials and even tours of your work space can help increase conversions.

Potential opportunity: Up to 86% increase in sales

2. Go global and multicultural

The global economic potential of online communication totals $45 trillion. But if your site only offers content in English, you miss out on a whopping two-thirds of that market potential. Making your website available for multilingual — and multicultural — audiences will help you reach a much bigger slice of the pie, improving your overall market potential by as much as 200%.

Choose a translation management system that integrates into your site; it’s much more efficient than manual translations, which often require time-consuming email communications with translators. New translation tools make it easy to roll out and maintain translated websites for the long-term.

Beyond translation, it’s important to be sensitive to the different cultural norms of your markets. Make sure you don’t make the same blunders as companies like Pepsi, whose light-blue branding alienated an entire market of consumers who associated the color with death. By preparing your site with localized content, you open a world of new opportunities to your business — literally.

Potential opportunity: Up to 200% increase in sales

3. Prevent downtime

On Cyber Monday, Amazon sold 36.8 million items worldwide. Minutes of downtime could have cost the company a big chunk of change. Same goes for your site. If it isn’t loading fast enough, you can lose customers before they even get a glimpse of your content and products. In fact, 57% of visitors abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. It’s important that your website is resilient and scales to meet demand, since 24% of people cite downtime as the reason they abandoned their shopping carts.

Improving your site’s scalability will prevent slow load-times and downtime, ultimately keeping more customers on your website and driving more purchases. Make sure to build your website on an elastic cloud platform that maintains your content and application quality, even when major traffic surges hit. And make sure to frequently test out your page speed on Google.

Potential opportunity: 24% increase in sales

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How LinkedIn hopes to become a gold mine of customers

CITEworld

LinkedIn was started as a social network for job seekers. It’s grown into a site where professionals build their networks, making connections that can help in their current positions and that might help in reaching career goals.

Now LinkedIn wants to become something more. In July it announced plans toacquire Bizo, a business-to-business marketing platform. It turns out, LinkedIn thinks it can build a $1 billion business out of B2B marketing, according to a leaked document that Business Insider posted. The document lays out LinkedIn’s vision to get into the marketing business, and how Bizo fits into what LinkedIn has already started.

The biggest change will be that LinkedIn plans to do more beyond its own Web site. LinkedIn already has some programs for businesses, like selling sponsored posts in users’ LinkedIn feeds. But LinkedIn’s programs so far are all centered around the LinkedIn site.

Bizo’s platform lets marketers show ads to targeted people on a network of thousands of websites, including business publications. Customers also get tools that let them track their web visitors through a Bizo ad to find out if they buy something or if a certain kind of visitor clicks on certain pages.

The leaked document shows that LinkedIn plans to continue offering the advertising service and will integrate it with its sponsored posts offering, so that businesses will be able to display sponsored posts on LinkedIn to people who have visited their Web site. It will also add mobile advertising capabilities to Bizo, which doesn’t already offer that. Plus, LinkedIn business customers will get the better tracking capabilities from Bizo.

“We believe we have unique assets that enable us to build a winning and highly differentiated solution,” the document reads. “Specifically, our key differentiators are best-in-class data, quality audience, and context, the professional graph, which powers account-based marketing and sales intelligence, and our publishing platform and media products.”

LinkedIn said it had no comment about the document.

On paper, the idea isn’t bad. LinkedIn has built a large network — it claims about 300 million users — most of whom are business people. When they turn to the site, it’s probably with business in mind — they’re not going to LinkedIn to be amused or look at pictures of their friends’ kids, as they might with Facebook. With Bizo, LinkedIn can offer businesses a connection to LinkedIn people who have also visited their Web sites.

But LinkedIn will have some work to do to change its image from one that hosts a bunch of job seekers to one that serves up potential customers. Would businesses like Lenovo and Zendesk, who are current Bizo customers, think of LinkedIn as a go-to vendor for B2B marketing? If LinkedIn hadn’t made the Bizo acquisition, probably not.

According to the leaked document, LinkedIn thinks it can reach $1 billion by 2017 with this new line of business. The company is hoping to launch integrated products by the first quarter 2015. Between now and then, it will have to work hard to show potential customers why they should think of LinkedIn in a new light.

 

‘Marketer enthusiasm for mobile slowing’

Marketing Week

The CMO Council’s annual State of Marketing report found that 52 per cent of marketers are either planning no change or a decrease to their mobile marketing budgets, which includes search, banner and display. A third (32 per cent) are planning to increase them by up to 5 per cent while 16 per cent expect to see a 10 per cent increase.

That is a significant slowdown on last year, when 62 per cent of marketers planned to increase their budgets and 25 per cent expected that increase to be more than 5 per cent.

Liz Miller, senior vice president at the CMO Council, says the slowdown has come as marketers hit the “growing pain stage” in their approach to mobile. She says the sector has seen an “excited spending spree” over the past few years as brands try to take advantage of the opportunity in mobile as sales of tablets and smartphones rise.

However, they are now pulling back slightly to work out how mobile links to the rest of their marketing strategy. She believes a lot of marketers were stung by mobile apps, which they invested millions in but consumers aren’t really using, meaning they are now more wary of mobile and how it connects with to the wider customer experience.

“This is a positive thing. Marketers are redefining what they mean by mobile. Everyone raced out to try and develop their own app before realising that mobile’s power is in the mobile web, banners and search. Now they are trying to figure out their strategy again,” she says.

Miller believes social is two years further down the line, meaning that excitement about the possibilities are again returning to the space. This is why 71 per cent of marketers expect to increase their social media marketing budget over the next year, the highest percentage alongside video.

Overall, 54 per cent of marketers expect their budgets to increase over the next year, with 31 per cent expecting more than a 10 per cent rise and 9 per cent forecasting an increase of 20 per cent. That is a big turnaround from five years ago, when more than 50 per cent were forecasting budget cuts.

That renewed optimism is reflected other areas, with 83 per cent of marketers expecting a salary rise this year and 55 per cent planning to take on new staff. This recruitment drive will particularly focus on people with expertise in data and analytics, an area where 85 per cent believe they are lagging.

To improve their ability to tackle big data, Miller believes more marketers must take a step back and spend time mapping and understanding every customer touchpoint. She says this requires a move away from only thinking about campaigns to considering the whole customer experience so marketers can ask “targeted, smart, valuable and actionable questions” of the data.

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Global adspend back to pre-crisis levels

Warc

Next year global advertising expenditure will finally surpass the peak seen before the global financial crisis, although this recovery is patchy with some markets remaining well below the 2007 level, a new study has said.

In its This Year, Next Year report, GroupM, the media management investment operation of WPP, forecast that global adspend would increase 4.5% in 2014 to reach $534bn, and 5.0% in 2015 to hit $560bn.

This progress is not spread evenly, however, as just 17 markets will account for 93% of expected ad growth this year. The US leads the way with an expected additional $162bn of spending, followed by China, adding $76bn. Other countries contributing include Nigeria, Kenya and Vietnam.

Of China, report editor Adam Smith observed that the consumer economy was continuing to grow. “This, plus intensive digitisation of advertising, keeps China ad investment rising at or near double-digits, with no large print legacy to correct,” he said.

The Western Europe outlook, however, was less bright. In the eurozone area, which accounts for 73% of the regional economy, adspend was still 20% below the 2007 peak; amongst those countries hardest hit by the crisis – Greece, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Portugal – it was 47% below the peak.

The report noted that Western Europe also had the world’s most print-heavy advertising, although the downward trajectory of adspend in this medium was slowing from double digits to single digits.

And, according to Smith, Western Europe is also the most-digitised ad region in the world, “though this may finally be maturing to judge by digital ad investment growth slowing from double- to high-single digits in 2014 and 2015″.

In Asia, GroupM warned that the political and economic challenges being faced in several countries – and it highlighted Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam – meant that ad growth in the Southeast Asia region would slip from double-digit growth to mid-single.

The fastest-growing markets were expected to include India, Brazil and Russia, although GroupM warned that its Russia forecast – already reduced from 10% to 6% – was dependent on the situation in Ukraine remaining stable.