Events
Event Date Location

Social Media Insider Summit

08/20/2014 - 08/23/2014 LAKE TAHOE CA

iMedia Agency Summit (Malaysia)

08/25/2014 - 08/27/2014 Kota Kinabalu Malaysia

The 6th annual Mobile World

08/28/2014 Seoul

iMedia Brand Summit (Australia)

09/01/2014 - 09/03/2014 Gold Coast Australia

iMedia Brand Summit (India)

09/03/2014 - 09/05/2014 Adao Waddo, Salcette India

Data+: Analyze, Predict, Monetize

09/07/2014 - 09/09/2014 Phoenix AZ

iMedia Brand Summit: Marketing in an Always-On World

09/07/2014 - 09/10/2014 Coronado CA

Content Marketing World

09/08/2014 - 09/11/2014 Cleveland OH

Video Insider Summit

09/14/2014 - 09/17/2014 Montauk NY

Ad Age Digital Conference San Francisco

09/16/2014 San Francisco CA

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Tech Marketing Guide to B2B

News, video, events, blogs about Social Media Marketing for high tech business-to-business from IDG Knowledge Hub.

Tech Marketing Guide to B2B

News, video, events, ideas and blogs about Digital Media Marketing for high tech business-to-business from IDG Knowledge Hub.

Tech Marketing Guide to B2B

News, video, events, ideas and blogs about Advertising and Marketing for high tech business-to-business from IDG Knowledge Hub.

Tech Marketing Guide to B2B

News, video, events, ideas and blogs about Lead Generation Marketing for high tech business-to-business from IDG Knowledge Hub.

Tech Marketing Guide to B2B

News, video, events, blogs about Mobile Marketing for high tech business-to-business from IDG Knowledge Hub.

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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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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

Click to continue reading…

‘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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The future of marketing: Precognition, bots, and user agents

CITEworld

The movie 2002 Minority Report nailed what the future of CRM will look like — but not in the scene you are probably remembering.

The scene everybody remembers has the Tom Cruise character walking through a department store where he is targeted, by name, by such brands as Lexus and Bulgari based on biometric readings taken from his irises. But the true bit of prescience in the movie is the specialized PreCrime police department’s ability to predict who will commit a murder and then stop it before it happens.

A day in the life

To really understand this scenario, let’s consider Ava, a consumer in 2039. She’s not much for advertising or interacting with flashy brands — ads for Lexus and Bulgari would basically roll right off her. She is more into sustainable living, farm-to-table food, support emerging market micro-commerce, and animal rescue — not exactly topics or channels that today’s marketers or companies can really reach. But in 2039 that will hardly matter.

Lisa Arthur, CMO for Teradata Marketing Applications, describes a day in Ava’s life. She gets into her smart car and it asks if she wants to go to her usual round of stops that she makes on the weekend. Ava says yes and they drive to her favorite organic grocery store, which primarily sells small, local organic labels. She walks into the store, which recognizes her — or at least her mobile or wearable device (the form factor of this device still a bit hazy from our 25-year view, but you get the idea). Instantly, it knows that she always buys a particular brand of bread when she is there. The store sadly informs her they are out at the moment and would she like to order some? Ava says yes and continues to shop.

While she’s shopping, she sees several handcrafted items from artists in Africa and thinks they would make nice gifts for the upcoming holiday season. She presses her device against them, buys them, and at the same time has them shipped to the recipients. Ava won’t have to schlep them home to package and mail them out later. Then it’s off to the gym, where the man next to her is rocking out to music on a pair of headphones that catches Ava’s eye. He lets her try them out and she decides to buy them. Presto goes the device, but this time Ava isn’t sending them elsewhere — she has bought them for herself and they are waiting for her at home later that afternoon.

We see glimmers of this world here and there today, in such developments as predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, natural language systems, big data, and the internet of things. Networks, channels, and data will be integrated to the point where people can communicate and interact with brands and service providers like they were people on the street to whom you would say hello.

Judgments about consumers and potential consumers will be made instantaneously, based on an enormous amount of information, much of which comes from everyday objects around the house and in the store and workplace. As for actual voice or electronic or in-person conversions with customers, those will be few and far between. They won’t be necessary: Like the specialized PreCrime police department in Minority Report, retailers and other service providers will just know.

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Sales of wearables set to rocket despite current ‘chaotic’ stage of development

MarketingWeek

Sales of smart wearable devices are forecast to grow from 9.7 million in 2013 to 135 million in 2018, according to CCS Insight’s global forecast. Wrist-worn devices are expected to account for 87 per cent of the devices sold in 2018, which will be made up of 68 million smart watches and 50 million smart bands.

“Quantified self” devices – which track things such as steps taken, sleep and calories burned – are currently the fastest growing category of wearables, which CCS Insight says can be attributed to their “clear purpose” and affordable prices. The researchers predict around 7 per cent of the population in developed markets will own a quantified self device by the end of 2018.

Such devices are likely to be popular Christmas gifts this year, fuelling strong growth of wearable sales in the final quarter. The researchers predict wearable shipments will rise 129 per cent year on year to 22 million in 2014.

In the second half of 2014, standalone cellular wearables with their own SIM cards that do not require a connection to a separate smartphone or computer are expected to become more prominent in the wearables category. However, these devices will face “significant challenges” as many consumers will be reluctant to take out additional contracts with their mobile operators, CCS Insight says.

Looking further ahead, CCS Insight forecasts strong future growth in smart watches, as the company expects many smart band manufacturers to update their ranges by adding devices with screens. By 2018 smart watches are expected to displace fitness bands altogether as their capabilities are expanded and prices come down.

Marina Koytcheva, CCS Insight director of forecasting, says: “The wearables market is in its Stone Age right now. There needs to be huge improvements to broaden their appeal. This is particularly acute when it comes to devices for women: wearables need to quickly move on from black, clunky devices – fortunately we’re starting to see the first steps in this direction.”

The category faces several challenges, as consumers struggle to come to terms with whether some wearables – such as Google Glass – are socially acceptable and brands in the sector also need to overcome privacy concerns over data collection.

Koytcheva says the market could still yet be changed “beyond recognition” if a major player such as Apple – which is reported to be developing an iWatch – enters the category.

She adds: “History shows us that when Apple enters a market it can reshape the way people think about a product.”

North America leads in terms of wearables adoption, with more than 40 per cent of all wearable devices currently in use in the region. The CCS Insight forecast says this is partially because many wearable companies – such as Google, Fitbit and Jawbone – are based there, but also because US consumers tend to be early technology adopters.

However, consumers in Western Europe are expected to buy more wearables than those in North America by 2016.

Twitter touts ‘objective-based campaigns’ to advertisers

MarketingWeek

The social network is introducing the model through four ad formats that brands will pay for if a user takes the desired action as a result.

This means brands can choose to pay based on tweet engagements, web site clicks and app installs, as well as gaining followers. For example, app installs or app engagement campaigns will only be charged on a cost-per-app-click basis. Targeting options are also provided to ensure tweets reach users at the right moment, the company added.

Twitter will suggest the appropriate ad format to advertisers using the self-serve tool.

The company said the launch aims to encourage brands to think harder about campaign objectives in order to lift performance to “the next level”.

“Let’s say you’re a camera retailer, and you want to drive more visitors to the summer promotion on your web site. You can create a website clicks or conversions campaign and then promote a tweet with a website link or website card our recommended ad format that is specifically designed to drive website traffic,” the company said in a video (see above).

Twitter said the tool delivered positive results during initial tests earlier this year and is currently offering the service to small and medium-sized companies ahead of a wider invitation-only rollout. The business has said in the past the majority of self-service buying on the network comes from smaller companies.

The launch aims to refresh the company’s pricing model, which previously only let ad buyers pay for Promoted Tweets when they were clicked, replied, retweeted or favourited. It is the latest in a pipeline of products from Twitter as it looks to lift ad revenues and address criticisms from some observers that user engagement and growth is stalling.

An upcoming tool will make it easier to create ads on the platform, allowing brands to crop images and more easily customise photos. Earlier this week, it launched its “Flock to Unlock” tool via a tie-up around Puma’s “Forever Faster” global campaign.

Twitter says it sees the “hundreds of millions” of visitors logged-out of its platform as the next key revenue generator for its nascent advertising offering and is exploring ways to monetise the audience.

6 things publishers need to know about UK media consumption, from Ofcom’s latest report

The Media Briefing

The dust has by no means settled when it comes to the changing mix of devices and methods people in the UK use to consume content, if Ofcom’s latest communications market report is anything to go by.

As usual it’s packed with useful survey data that helps answer some of the questions publishers have about the way in which their consumers approach media in the digital age, so we’ve picked out six of the most important points. The full reportis worth reading for more detail, however.

1. A laptop still most important device for connecting to the internet

Overall across all internet users, a laptop was considered the most important device for connecting to the internet, according to 40 percent of respondents. However, more respondents said a smartphone was more important than a desktop for getting online – 23 percent to 20 percent, respectively.

Only 15 percent of respondents said a tablet was the most important device, up from 8 percent in 2013.

Those tablet stats almost double however when just looking at those people who actually have a tablet.

mostimportantdevice 6 things publishers need to know about UK media consumption, from Ofcoms latest report

2. Newspapers won’t be missed

Given TheMediaBriefing’s raison d’étre, we’re pretty attached to newspapers and magazines.

However, the wider population doesn’t seem so sentimental, with just two percent of respondents saying a newspaper would be form of media they would miss the most.

Unsurprisingly, watching TV tops the leaderboard for most-missed media (42 percent), but smartphone use comes in second, with 22 percent of respondents saying they would miss it the most.

mostmissed 6 things publishers need to know about UK media consumption, from Ofcoms latest report

3. Less time is spent listening to radio

More time is spent per day using TV, the internet, and mobile phones, but consumers are spending less time per day using the radio, which has dropped from 172 to 166 minutes in the last 5 years.

Consumers are now spending an average of 68 minutes a day using the internet on a PC or laptop, and only 28 minutes a day on a mobile phone, which seems a little low, but the averages are probably skewed by older age groups that still use traditional consumption forms like TV and radio and eschew more digital alternatives.

timeperday 6 things publishers need to know about UK media consumption, from Ofcoms latest report

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Should publishers really think ‘mobile-first’?

Digiday

The trend for many publishers is to loudly declare they are “mobile-first.” But the reality is, well, more complicated.

Most mobile-first proponents loudly trumpet exploding mobile audiences. That’s true. Just about every publisher today is seeing an increasing amount of their traffic coming from mobile devices — often over 50 percent of their overall, in the case of sites like BuzzFeed,Glamour and CNN.  Yet it’s not a zero-sum game: Most publishers are seeing their desktop audiences grow, too, albeit at a much slower rate than mobile.

According to publisher analytics service Chartbeat,  mobile consumption is, on the whole, complementing desktop. Desktop traffic is essentially daytime traffic: It starts to increase at 9 a.m., peaks at noon and starts to decline at 6 p.m. Mobile, in contrast, tends to decline in the early morning and peak in the evening. Put in more concrete terms, people are reading on their desktops while at work and shifting to tablets and smartphones while at home.

 Should publishers really think ‘mobile first’?

There’s no doubt that many publishers are seeing surges in mobile traffic, but right now, they’re not all seeing corresponding declines. Data from comScore shows that while mobile traffic to the Web’s top 10 news/information properties grew 36 percent in the US last year, overall desktop traffic for those sites decreased by just 1 percent. Mobile consumption may be eating into desktop habits, but, so far, it’s doing so slowly.

“In general, it seems like each medium is strong while the others are weak,” said Josh Schwartz, chief data scientist at Chartbeat. “People are using phones while they wouldn’t be using desktops anyway,” he said.

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Here’s how wearables will invade the workplace

CITEworld

When people discuss wearable tech, it’s typically as a consumer phenomenon. Smartwatches, Fitbits, Google Glass — these products seem like they’re for hipsters only, not mainstream consumers.

But if anything, it’s the opposite. It’s probably true that most people will feel silly wearing Google Glass, for example. But it’s also probably true that there are countless business contexts where your boss will want you to wear Google Glass.

Let’s look at some of the most promising future applications of wearables in the enterprise.

Google Glass (or something like it)

Let’s start with them. So mocked. They probably don’t have a future as a consumer device, at least in the short and even medium term. (Long term, who knows?) But they — or something like them, such as the Vuzix M100 – most certainly have a future in the workplace.

The first and obvious application is on-premises security. From police departments to private security firms to the military to bar bouncers, Google Glass has obvious applications.

Other applications include retail (think of store greeters), medicine (one hospital in Boston is already using them in the emergency room, and a number of startups like Pristine are well along the way to developing Glass apps for surgeons), and any kind of hands-on work done in remote locations — think oil drilling, mining, and the like.

Fitness trackers and health insurance

This is a bit Orwellian but also perhaps unavoidable  if you work for a big corporation and they think they can reduce their insurance bill by getting you to wear a Fitbit or equivalent device, they will. Some companies may even see and promote it as an employee perk, since a lot of people get value out of fitness trackers.

Cutting down health costs is a huge priority of governments and private sector actors alike, and the idea that using the bio data our bodies generate could help to do this is a powerful one. The idea is that insurers would pay you to wear fitness trackers, and then pay you even more to behave healthfully; since most people in the United States get health insurance through their employers, the way to roll this out would be via large employers.

The privacy and security applications are immense, but so is the drive to make this system a reality, whether you want to or not.

Retail

Wearable tech will also make quick inroads into the retail space. Apple’s iBeacon is already a potential enabling technology there. Many startups and large retail firms are working on ways to identify customers as they walk in the door.

Continue reading…

Price & Big Data for Marketers

IDG Connect 0811 300x141 Price & Big Data for Marketers

Marketers have a wide choice of new software solutions that can help them be more productive, including automated lead-generation systems, customer tracking and social media tools. However, when it comes to leveraging big data to enhance revenue and profits, marketing professionals often overlook one of the classic four pillars of the marketing mix—price.  Yet those marketing executives who learn to harness the wealth of big data they already possess can gain substantial advantages and outperform their markets. 

While the marketing function in global businesses is often responsible for setting list prices for products and services, few marketers excel at the task. For distributors and retailers, this can mean a constant struggle to manage prices for thousands of SKUs, as well as associated discounts and promotions. Those suggested list prices can also be discounted during the sales process to close deals and maintain customer relationships.

Unfortunately, there is an unequal balance of power in the battle to maintain prices and margins in today’s highly competitive global marketplace.  That’s because marketing and sales teams frequently don’t utilise the kind of big data tools and insights their customers’ procurement departments possess when negotiating prices and contracts.

By adopting big data solutions to look across internal ERP and CRM data, as well as external marketplace information, you can free your marketing and sales functions from time-consuming, manual spreadsheet updates and other inefficient pricing practices. Analytical tools can efficiently process vast amounts of data to identify customer segments and provide insights into specific customer buying behaviours. Using information this way can also identify the key drivers or variables that influence buyers, and determine their willingness to pay a certain price for a given set of products and services.

As a result, you can begin to harmonise pricing practices across your organisation and align marketing and sales resources to achieve strategic as well as tactical goals. Instead of constantly reacting to price changes in the marketplace, you can test various marketing scenarios and take a more proactive approach to decisions. Harnessing the knowledge locked in your big data translates into the power to price more efficiently and profitably.

Let me offer an example. A global chemical company based in Europe was able to analyse and interpret available internal data, as well as external marketing information. With these combined resources, the organisation integrated pricing and competitive and transactional data in one centralised location.   

The chemical company gained immediate value. By allowing the company to organise incoming data and identify key customer segments, they found 10 key value-based customer-behaviour drivers. Collecting this vast amount of data from various sources and putting it together meant that the company could determine list prices, which they could adjust to help achieve strategic margin goals. In addition, big data enables the company to execute more informed pricing decisions in conjunction with field sales operations, providing specific pricing guidance during contract negotiations. None of this would be possible using traditional pricing and sales methods that frequently rely on outdated, manual spreadsheets.

Today, marketing and sales executives can use pricing technology solutions to simulate pricing and promotion campaigns as a predictive tool. Exploring and then choosing optimum pricing strategies, marketing and sales professionals can execute their campaigns then monitor and measure the results by regional markets, individual sales people and customer accounts.

In the case of our global chemical company, a pricing initiative led by marketing and sales executives established a new process for setting prices that incorporated a wide range of variables, including product bundling, freight and handling costs, payment terms, discounts and rebates, and exchange rates across global markets. The pricing project identified more than USD $20 million of potential revenue uplift within the first quarter of implementing its big data analysis. 

Given the growing complexity and competitive nature of global markets today, marketing and sales executives owe it to themselves and their companies to learn how to exploit the potential of big data in making better pricing and business decisions. The right tools and opportunities exist today. Those who act now will reap the rewards.

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