Tag Archives: #blockchain

World’s Second Largest Crypto Exchange OKEx Moves To ‘Blockchain Island’ Of Malta

World’s Second Largest Crypto Exchange OKEx Moves
To ‘Blockchain Island’ Of Malta

 

Malta, which has recently passed regulatory legislation concerning Blockchain,

cryptocurrencies, and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) in a bid to become a crypto-friendly “Blockchain island,” is welcoming major crypto exchange OKEx to the country, according to an OKEx press release published today, April 12. Crypto exchange Binance, the world’s largest exchange by trade volume, also reported at the end of March that they were planning on opening at office in Malta, after receiving a warning from Japanese regulators. Crypto trader and Twitter personа WhalePanda tweeted the news of OKEx’s Malta move earlier today, writing that Malta is “getting crowded”:

Malta is getting crowded.

As part of their plan to attract Blockchain and crypto-related business to the country, Malta released a document in February entitled, “Malta – A leader in DLT Regulation,” as well as proposed the establishment of several regulation-supporting organizations, like the Malta Digital Innovation Authority Bill and the Virtual Currencies Bill. OKEx writes in their press release that after meeting with Maltese regulators about the regulatory crypto framework, they are “confident in the Malta government’s approach and decided to make Malta a foundation for further OKEx growth.”

OKEx CEO Chris Lee stated:

“We look forward to working with the Malta government as it is forward thinking and shares many of our same values: the most important of which are protection of traders and the general public, compliance with Anti Money Laundering and Know Your Customer standards, and recognition of the innovation and importance of continued development in the Blockchain ecosystem.”

 OKEx is the number two ranked cryptocurrency exchange by 24 hour trading volume on CoinMarketCap, currently trading around $1.6 bln over a 24 hour period.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
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Is Snapchat Worth It For Local Marketing?

Is Snapchat Worth It For Local Marketing?

When we pass by one another, talk to each other
or just live our lives, moments fade into distant memories. Nothing lasts forever, and that is the sentiment echoed on Snapchat. The concept is simple: Look now or miss out entirely. Its seduction is evident in the data: Snapchatters open the app an average of 18 times per day, contributing to the platform's 3.5 billion snaps per day. For those who want their business to reach new heights, Snapchat provides billions of opportunities every day. Yet, many local store marketers are hesitant to expand their social presence as it’s still an up-and-coming advertising platform. However, it’s typically the early adopters that receive the most substantial return on their investment. As channels become more established and proven, costs increase due to competition among other advertisers vying for the same consumers’ attention. The cost of digital advertising is up 12% and is rising five times faster than inflation.

To help decide if Snapchat is right to add to your social media strategy, here are a few ways marketers can use Snapchat to grow their business:

Create Experiences, Not Just Stories

Viewable for 24 hours, Snapchat Stories are collections of images and videos. Use them to provide personable content such as demos, fun facts, live events, special offers, teasers or testimonials that give a behind-the-scenes look at your business. This authentic, uncut content shows your team as they are — not the perfectly polished Instagram photo version, helping to establish trust with followers.Keep your stories succinct and create impact in the shortest possible time by giving viewers just a glimpse. This will not only keep their interest to watch the entire story but provide them with a reason to come in for more. For example, NASA uses Snapchat to give followers an out-of-this-world experience by taking them into space. It also provides followers behind-the-scenes tours, interviews and trivia to keep its audience engaged while educating them on various topics.

Stories only last for 24 hours and Snaps disappear after they’ve been viewed, providing a quintessential opportunity for flash sales and promotions. In fact, Snapchatters are 68% more likely to make impulse purchases. Try promotions such as “Only 25 tickets left, order now” or “Screenshot this snap and show it at the register for $10 off today.” These enticements appeal to more than just discount shoppers — there’s a psychological effect on the recipient. Scarcity incites urgency by its nature. If you're running a one-day special or only have 100 tickets available, there’s a limited supply. Fear of missing out on an opportunity causes people to take action: 56% of people feel the desire to live more extravagantly because of the content on their social networks.

Create A Call To Action

Including your website links in Snaps and Stories is one way to turn followers into potential customers. Add links to encourage newsletter signups, directs fans to products, blog posts, contact forms or additional information about your brand, allowing them to take the next step in your sales cycle. By creating a simple landing page and using the “Auto-Fill for Web View Forms,” Snapchatters’ appropriate contact information will be automatically populated, similar to Facebook’s Lead Gen Ads.

Measurable Offline Advertising

Affordable advertising formats have been released since Snapchat became a public company. Ad objectives include brand awareness, website traffic and app installs. There is a $50 per day minimum advertising spend, but the campaign can last for as long as you'd like. One of the biggest struggles many local businesses have with social media advertising is knowing if their ads drive foot traffic. Snap to Store can play an integral role in solving that dilemma. This feature allows advertisers to see how many Snapchatters visited a physical location within one week after seeing a Snap Ad and subsequently visited.

The caveat is, ad recipients are only tracked if the app is open while they are in the location, so not all foot traffic will be accounted for. However, thanks to Snapchat’s high engagement rate, it’s frequently used throughout the day: 80% have used the app while dining out, 67% at a shopping mall and 50% at the gym. Help circumvent this by encouraging people to open the app while at your location with signage, offering incentives such as, "Show us you follow us on Snapchat for a special offer" or with geofilters.

Filters In A Snap

A Snapchat filter is a design that you can overlay on a photo you take within the app. Geofilters are filters that are available within a geographic area you designate. It allows marketers to contextualize snaps, letting followers on your account know what’s going on that would be of interest to them. These are a great way to promote an event, promotion or new launch. For example, if you’re holding an event, you may designate a geofilter to be available only at the venue. When attendees use the filter and share their photos, their friends will see your event details, generating more awareness. Make sure to promote your geofilter at your designated location — without being prompted, attendees may not look for your filter and you will have wasted money and opportunity.

Pricing depends on various factors including the size of the area in which you would like your filter to be visible and how long you want it to be available. As an estimate, it’s about $5 per 20,000-square-feet per day. In the end, Snapchat can provide immense opportunities for marketers to connect with fans unmirrored by other platforms. It comes down to knowing where to direct your efforts. If your ideal customer skews to a younger crowd, it can indeed be advantageous to your marketing strategy. As with all marketing, experiment, analyze the results and continually optimize. By entertaining and building relationships in an authentic way, you will capture your audience’s attention, loyalty and wallet.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Marketing.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Ways Machine Learning Can Boost Your Marketing

Ways Machine Learning Can Boost
Your Marketing

Marketing success depends on many factors.

You need accurate consumer research to build your branding strategy, engaging content to delight your audience, a firm grasp of behavioral economics, and a near-mystical ability to intuit how people will weigh your message against those of your fiercest competitors. In the digital age, marketers can't win without mastering data, analytics, and automation. Fortunately, machine learning (ML) can already improve marketer performance on common tasks like customer segmentation, generating branded collateral, extracting and classifying relevant content, customer communication, and overall productivity and output. In the new economy, a marketing unit without machine learning mastery operates at a serious handicap.

But wait. Adopting an ML solution without understanding what it truly does can do more harm (usually expressed in wasted hours and dollars) than good. Machine learning is NOT magic and won’t automatically move the needle unless your team selects and configures the right ML solution for specific marketing challenges. Many Martech companies shamelessly claim that their solutions are "AI-powered" or "use the latest breakthroughs in AI." Some indeed exhibit cutting-edge technologies, while others use commonplace and easily replicable techniques. To help you know the difference, here's a primer on the top applications of machine learning for marketing:

Common Applications of Machine Learning in Marketing

Because marketing is a multifaceted field, machine learning can be applied in many ways using various combinations of techniques.

Clustering For Customer Segmentation And Discovery

Not all customers are the same. Unsupervised machine learning can help marketers group their audience into dynamic groups and engage them accordingly. Affinio’s platform, for example, analyzes billions of consumer interest variables, identifies specific customer’s interests based on their social media activities, then generates a visual report grouping people with similar interests. You then gain insight on which of your customers are die-hard foodies, who follows which series on Netflix, or who among them have similar travel plans.

Multi-Arm Contextual Bandits For Content Optimization

A/B tests are effective ways of finding out which content option (email tone, web page layout, visual elements in an ad, article headline, etc.) resonates better with your audience. However, A/B Testing involves a period of “regret” where you lose revenue while using the less optimal option. You have to wait and finish the countdown before learning which option — the final answer — is better. In contrast, bandit tests mitigate regret (opportunity loss) through dynamic optimization where it simultaneously explores and exploits options, gradually and automatically moving towards the better option.

Regression Models For Dynamic Pricing

The right pricing scheme can make or break a product. Regression techniques in machine learning allow marketers to predict numerical values based on pre-existing features, which in turn enables them to optimize different aspects of the customer journey. Regression can also be used in sales forecasting and in optimizing marketing spend.

Text Classification For User Insight And Personalization

Using natural language processing (NLP), a machine learning system can probe text- or voice-based content, then classify each content based on variables such as tone, sentiment, or topic to generate consumer insight or curate relevant materials. IBM Watson’s Tone Analyzer, for example, can parse through online customer feedback and determine the general tone of users reviewing a product.

Text Extraction And Summarization For Trending News

Marketers can leverage ML to extract relevant content from online news articles and other data sources to determine how people view their brand and/or react to their products. The Protagonist platform enables companies to gain full visibility into their customers’ values and motivations and how these attributes affect their buying decisions. Tech-savvy marketing teams can also build their own ML algorithm using APIs such as AYLIEN for relevant news aggregation, social media sentiment monitoring, and other purposes.

Attentional Neural Networks For Machine Translation

Attention mechanisms in deep learning help improve machine translation and empower your marketing assets for the global stage. Translation work for a brand’s entry into a new, linguistically different market used to be a major marketing spend but advances in AI enable machine translation to achieve near human parity. To rationalize costs and speed up the process, many companies opt to just have a human translator review and sign off machine translation output.

Recurrent Neural Networks (RNN) For Text Generation

If your branding creatives are constantly pressured to come up with great names for new products, campaigns, and companies, you can use generative models like RNNs to serve up loads of plausible-sounding names — some catchy, some weird, and a few surprisingly on the spot. We challenged several branding agencies on an AI vs. human naming competition. Guess who won?

Dialog Systems For Chatbots And Customer Experience Automation

Bots and chatbots represent one of the most ubiquitous applications of AI, but most marketing bots you see in the wild are completely scripted and use minimal natural language processing and machine learning. The more sophisticated dialog systems are able to reference external knowledge bases, adapt to unusual questions, and also escalate to human agents when required. Quite a number of companies have already adopted chatbots to engage customers throughout their lifecycle, from when they first learn of a brand to after they've already made purchases and require customer support.

Text-To-Speech (TTS) And Speech-To-Text (STT) To Power Voice-Based Search

Considered part of the conversational AI domain, voice-enabled and voice-only platforms introduce a new paradigm and new user engagement possibilities into our software and hardware interfaces. With the rising adoption of voice-based digital assistants such as Amazon Echo and Google Assistant that enable touch-free shopping and search, marketing executives need a conversational AI strategy to future-proof their marketing.

Computer Vision For Branded Object Recognition

Computer vision is a rapidly advancing field in AI that lends itself to a wide range of applications. Marketers can use ML-powered computer vision for product recognition and to extract user insight from unlabeled images and videos. Solutions like GumGum allow marketers to identify when their brand logos have appeared in user-generated content and quickly calculate earned media from video analysis. More tech-savvy marketers can use an API like Clarifai to build custom solutions for content moderation as well as search and recommendation engines based on visual similarity.

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) For Original Media

Nvidia stirred the business community and created a buzz around its methodology for generating photorealistic images of fake celebrities. While these images make look like photos of real people, they are entirely AI-generated. Using generative adversarial networks (GAN), Nvidia’s system progressively becomes more adept at creating fake but ultra-realistic images. GANs involve two competing networks — a generator and a discriminator — that spar and learn from each other, steadily becoming better and better at detecting and creating fake images. Other technologies use GANs for creating logos, generating photorealistic images from sketches, and another for generating voices.

Robotic Process Automation For Marketing Operations

Digital marketing is replete with automations aimed at making work easier for hard-pressed practitioners. Automated processes for reading emails, opening and analyzing email attachments, data entry for templated reports, and tracking/engaging social media triggers help marketers stay ahead of the curve. For online ads, the AI platform Albert reduces the need for human involvement in large-scale media buying, quickening the pace of required analytical computations and optimizing paid ad campaigns.

Automated Data Visualization For Superior Reporting

Images speak louder than words. AI is a lot faster and more efficient at transforming data into visual insight than any human expert. Analysts usually use tools like Excel or Tableau to manually create visualizations, but automated enterprise analytics solutions such as Qlik can centralize data sources and generate useful dashboards and reports for your marketing teams. Many platforms now use data analytics and advanced machine learning algorithms to vividly clarify market trends, people’s behavioral patterns, and other information that are otherwise hidden from plain view and not readily convertible to practical insight.

Reinforcement Learning For Sequential Marketing Decisions

Some of the most complex decisions we make are not single predictions, but rather a series of decisions made over a long time horizon. Balancing short-term tradeoffs versus long-term gains is challenging even for the smartest humans. Reinforcement learning has been used successfully in cases like DeepMind's AlphaGo to beat human decision making in such complex scenarios. While business cases are usually far more complex than games, the success in narrow domains suggests promise for larger ones. A notable study by IBM researchers explores how reinforcement learning could be used to optimize targeted marketing.

Machines Go Where Humans Point

Artificial intelligence and its subfields such as deep learning, computer vision, and natural language processing have become incredibly powerful in the past ten years due to big data and the rise of computational power. The problem is, some “experts” sell AI products like snake oil, promising an elixir to cure all your marketing woes. Take their claims with a grain of salt and do your homework. Be sure to first clearly identify your business goals and metrics of success before evaluating AI and automation solutions. Also remember that not all problems are best solved by machine learning!

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Marketing.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Ripple invests $25 million worth of its own cryptocurrency into a blockchain-focused fund

Ripple invests $25 million worth of its own cryptocurrency into a blockchain-focused fund

  • Blockchain Capital is a venture capital firm dedicated to blockchain technology.
  • Ripple said the investment would allow it to develop inroads with entrepreneurs and other firms in the blockchain space.
  • Ripple has struck several partnerships with banks and other financial firms, with the intention of enabling faster payments.

Blockchain firm Ripple, whose digital currency has seen huge volatility

in recent months, is investing in a $150 million blockchain-focused fund. Ripple, which owns about 60 billion of the 100 billion ripple, or XRP, tokens created, said Wednesday that it would invest $25 million into the fund, created by Blockchain Capital, a venture capital firm dedicated to blockchain tech. Blockchain is the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies. It records a continuously growing list of transactions across a distributed network. The original blockchain was used as the foundation for bitcoin. Ripple said its investment would allow it to develop inroads with entrepreneurs and other companies in the blockchain space.

"This is the first fund that we've contributed to, and it won't be the last," Patrick Griffin, senior vice president of strategic growth at Ripple, said in a statement Wednesday. "We plan to be major players in shaping the future generation of blockchain or crypto companies." Ripple seems to have shown increasing interest in investing in other companies as of late. CEO Brad Garlinghouse told TechCrunch in March that the firm wanted to invest in more start-ups that want to use its cryptocurrency.

Ripple has struck several partnerships with banks and other financial firms, with the intention of enabling faster payments. Those partnerships have rarely included the use of its digital asset, but earlier this year the company announced deals with both Western Union and MoneyGram. Its cryptocurrency, which hit a record high of $3 in January, has pulled back significantly to around 50 cents. It rose shortly after the announcement, and was up almost 0.9 percent, according to CoinDesk data. CoinDesk's price indexes track prices from several cryptocurrency exchanges.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Marketing.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Like flu season, the ‘infectious’ spread of bitcoin could be over, Barclays says

Like flu season, the 'infectious' spread of bitcoin could be over, Barclays says

  • Barclays analysts came up with price model that likens bitcoin to an infectious disease and shows that like flu season, price spikes and cryptocurrency mania may be nearing an end.
  • "We believe the speculative froth phase of cryptocurrency investment – and perhaps peak prices – may have passed," says Barclays analyst Joseph Abate.
  • Current holders are also developing "immunity" to more investment, and as a result, the analysts see little likelihood of widespread adoption.

A Bitcoin Embassy ATM seen at the train station in Krakow. Bitcoin
is currently the most popular cryptocurrency in circulation.In order to value bitcoin and predict future prices, analysts at Barclays came up with a model that likens it to an infectious disease. Like flu season, the mania around cryptocurrency and subsequent price spikes could be coming to an end.

"Like infection, transmission – especially to those with 'fear of missing out' – is by word-of-month, via blogs, news reports and personal anecdotes," Barclays analyst Joseph Abate wrote in a note to clients Tuesday. "However, once full adoption is approached, the price decline is sustained and rapid." Bitcoin has fallen by more than 50 percent in 2018, trading near $6,742 as of 8:48 a.m. ET after starting this year above $14,000, according to data from CoinDesk. The cryptocurrency rose more than 1,300 percent last year, reaching a peak near $20,000 in December.

The Barclays model suggests that awareness around cryptocurrencies is now almost universal, and only a small group of the population could now catch speculative interest, and buy in. Current holders are also developing "immunity" to more investment, Barclays analysts said. "We believe the speculative froth phase of cryptocurrency investment – and perhaps peak prices – may have passed," Abate said. The model splits the global population into three sectors: Those who are susceptible, those who are vulnerable but not yet infected, and those who are immune.

The "infected" in this model are the 0.1 percent of the population who first bought cryptocurrencies with an unknown long-term fundamental value. Another 25 percent of the population was susceptible to the new asset, mostly drawn in by "fear of missing out," Barclays analysts said. Some of the global population is "immune," and will never buy the asset. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies however may see demand from weaker economies with little investment opportunity, according to Barclays.

"Cryptocurrencies may have a home in low-trust corners of the global economy," Abate said. "Broader adoption of crypto technologies faces critical challenges and strong incumbents." Barclays analysts targeted a "generous upper bound" for total cryptocurrency market capitalization between $660 billion and $780 billion, which is near the total in early January. The total market cap as of Tuesday is roughly $259 billion for all of the crytpocurrencies tracked by Coinmarketcap. The total cryptocurrency market cap has dropped by more than 57 percent this year, according to Coinmarketcap.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

As Tech in Marketing Becomes More Commonplace, so Does the Necessity of the CMTO

As Tech in Marketing Becomes More Commonplace, so Does the Necessity of the CMTO

Chief marketing technology officers will address modernizing, data-driven brands

The role of the marketer is evolving,

and it seems completely unfeasible to think of modern brands operating without the new role of the chief marketing technology officer, such is the demand for the skills the post combines. The CMTO role is a hybrid of the traditional CMO and the CTO, with a focus on technology and data-driven marketing. This encompasses everything from decisions on buying technology to understanding quantitative analysis from big data.

We’ve seen the need for the role arise as more CMOs, focused originally on the product, are required to work alongside digital directors because it’s become hard to build a strategy without combining product with the data side, bringing platform alongside product. The CMTO has the ability to fuse creativity, strategy and marketing and analytical expertise to leverage data in the most effective way for a brand. To some degree this involves throwing out the marketing rulebook and embracing digital change as it happens. We’ve seen this at RTL, where becoming part of the “total video” universe means a full digital transformation of the company. As all businesses address this, we’ve identified five key ways that the CMTO role can work for marketers and brands.

Embracing new technology

From my perspective as a partner of our brand advertisers, I see that the CMTO role essentially adds another layer of selecting and integrating new technologies to help CMOs make more informed and smarter decisions for their go-to-market strategies. Where in the past there were silos with separate roles for IT and technology, this is now more embedded within the marketing department so that the CMO gets a holistic view of the customer and can better foresee coming market changes.

Providing seamless integration 

The creation of a CMTO role allows for integration of ad operations and tech functions into central marketing. This is important, as the need to adapt media solutions and be at the forefront of media consumption shifts with the emergence of new distribution channels.The CMTO has the ability to fuse creativity, strategy and marketing, and analytical expertise to leverage data in the most effective way for a brand. The market needs change more rapidly because in some traditional organizations with a classic CTO, the martech decisions are not often fully aligned and linked to the core business KPIs. The new role allows the tech stack strategy to go hand-in-hand with the business objective.

Meeting customer demand 

I am often asked how strategy, technology, marketing and analytical expertise impacts brands. In our case, increasing numbers of advertisers demands a seamless and efficient way of buying our inventory and reaching their target audiences. That’s why we’ve invested in leading ad tech companies to provide a more integrated solution. This will address the issue of consumers moving from traditional TV to connected TV, with budgets following suit. A CMTO in any organization will help achieve the goal of meeting this changing customer demand.

Helping to adopt new distribution channels

The CMTO role is crucial in the ability to adopt new advertising channels and technologies such as OTT video services and virtual reality. Targeting is key. The gathering and usage of data are at the center of this approach and, at a time where brand safety is a crucial topic, it’s an asset when brands we work with have developed safe and protected login platforms.

Leveraging data

Most brands use and leverage vast amounts of customer and market data. With regulation changing all the time (in Europe, for instance, we’re about to see the new GDPR/ePrivacy rules), it is important to build and invest in proprietary DMPs and collect login data so that you know exactly who is using your platforms and how to better address them. This will be a big part of the CMTO role: allowing brands to use new regulations like GDPR as an opportunity to create rich audience profiles with full customer consent. Knowing more about our customers means better tailoring of experiences for them and more relevant sharing of advertising, neither of which would be possible without a state-of-the-art ad stack.

A much-cited statistic from Gartner predicted that, by 2017, CMOs would spend more on IT than CTOs. Now we’re well into 2018, and that prophecy has certainly been proven true because technology has come to define a large part of marketing. This also explains why CMTO is the role of the future because it embraces the expertise necessary for creating marketing strategies that employ data and technical analysis to clearly identify the ROI across all marketing initiatives. Every brand should have one.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Marketing.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Yes, These Chickens Are on the Blockchain

Yes, These Chickens Are on the Blockchain

Can the technology improve food safety?

Did the chicken you just bought at the supermarket have a nice life,

roam free, and eat healthy grains? If you’re the kind of person who cares, Carrefour SA, the big France-based grocery chain, has the bird for you. Every chicken it sells under its house brand comes complete with its very own life story, thanks to the wonders of blockchain software. All you need to do is scan the label with your smartphone to get all the details. This is the same technology that serves as the backbone of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The grocery giant isn’t just trying to appeal to discriminating foodies. It wants to do whatever it can to ensure its products aren’t tainted, part of a broader industry trend that buys into the as-yet-unproven promise that blockchain can improve food safety.

Nestlé, Dole Food, Unilever, and Tyson Foods are working with their biggest customer, Walmart. Kroger and JD.com, China’s second-largest e-commerce operator, have also joined the same blockchain platform built by International Business Machines Corp. Carrefour developed its own system in-house. “There’s no question about it, blockchain will do for food traceability what the internet did for communication,” says Frank Yiannas, Walmart Inc.’s vice president for food safety and health. Yiannas cites estimates that for every 1 percent reduction in food-borne diseases in the U.S., the economy would benefit by about $700 million from increased productivity, thanks to reduced illness and fewer days lost at work.

Not everyone is so enthusiastic.

Critics say blockchain can be a valuable piece of the food-safety puzzle but caution that it can easily be gamed. The online ledger requires manual entries, leaving it prone to human errors or intentional manipulation that could compromise the data chain, says Mitchell Weinberg, chief executive officer of New York-based Inscatech Corp., which investigates food sourcing for evidence of fraud. Messing with the digital ledger, he points out, doesn’t take a tech genius.

“Wouldn’t criminals know how to cheat the blockchain?” Weinberg says. “How would it help with anything fluid or ground-up or chemical in nature? Those can be easily adulterated, and blockchain will never know how, when, or by whom.” That’s what happened in China in 2008 when melamine, a white crystalline compound used in plastics production, was added to water-diluted milk to increase its protein content. At least six infants died and almost 300,000 fell ill after consuming the altered milk, prompting a massive product recall.

By making suppliers more accountable, proponents say adoption of the technology would help reduce some of the headline-grabbing food tampering of recent years: wood pulp blended with Parmesan cheese, horse meat passed off as minced beef, and plastic mixed in frozen chicken nuggets. Such meddling, health dangers aside, costs the food industry as much as $49 billion a year, according to the Washington-based Grocery Manufacturers Association, which estimates a tenth of the food purchased in the U.S. is adulterated. Reducing waste is another goal. Recalls contribute to the 133 billion pounds of food the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates is lost in the country every year. That accounts for as much as 40 percent of the nation’s food supply, the USDA says.

So, let’s say there’s a norovirus or listeria outbreak associated with spinach at your local grocer. The current system may require recalling vast amounts of spinach from around the country, because it’s so difficult to identify the origin of contaminated food. With blockchain, grocers can quickly pinpoint the source, narrowed to a single region or even a single farm. Once in stores, blockchain data—combined with sensors and computer models—could help grocers better gauge the shelf life of produce, according to Donna Dillenberger, an IBM research fellow. Historical information, collected from temperature sensors on the shelf, could be run through predictive models to determine the optimal temperature for, say, strawberries.

Blockchain is making its way to sea, as well. The World Wildlife Fund is testing a combination of radio-frequency identification sensors and blockchain software to track the transport of a tuna on its way from fishing boat to processing plant, according to Bubba Cook, the western and central Pacific tuna program manager. The idea is to discourage the introduction of illegally caught fish to the food supply. It won’t be a foolproof system, says Cook, but “blockchain offers a platform that makes illegal or unethical practices infinitely more discoverable than the currently diffuse and opaque supply chains.”

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Marketers: Here’s what your job will look like in a blockchain world

Marketers:
Here’s what your job will look like in a blockchain world

General Stanley McChrystal was responsible for the U.S. Army

in Iraq and Afghanistan. In his book Team of Teams, he talks about the rude awakening he had when he saw how disadvantaged his centralized command was compared to the decentralized networks of Al-Qaeda in Iraq and Afghanistan. McChrystal quickly recognized he needed to reimagine how teams were built and empowered. He understood that innovation, insights, and awareness happen at the edges of networks, not in the center. That is why it is critically important to empower the edges of those networks with information, resources, and feedback loops. Captain David Marquet immortalized that same lesson in his book Turn the Ship Around! He’s the source of the doctrine “Move authority to information; don’t move information to authority.”

We are witnessing the same decentralizing trend in large organizations, powered by the arrival of blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT). This trend is going to affect every industry and every business function in the years to come. And hundreds of thousands of blockchain-based technologies are going to emerge onto the market to fuel it. Coinbase cofounder Fred Ehrsam suggests “There will be a Cambrian explosion of economic and governance designs where many approaches will be tried in parallel at hyper speed.” Indeed, in 2017, we saw more than 442 crypto startups get funded through token sales.

Just as the evolutionary process requires some lifeforms to fail while others succeed, the best products and platforms won’t necessarily win. What makes one product win — or survive — instead of another? In Darwinian terms, it is the ability to adapt to a changing environment. In the world of organizations, the function responsible for ensuring the ability to adapt to changing environments has a name: marketing. Peter Drucker, the legendary management consultant, once wrote that, “Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two — and only two — basic functions: marketing and innovation.” If Drucker is right, it stands to reason that an organization’s marketing function should match and complement the innovation function. After all, it is at least as important.

What I am proposing is that this era of decentralized, crypto-based technical innovation requires an equally decentralized, crypto-based marketing function that enables adaptation: a decentralized marketing organization (DMO). The purpose of the DMO is to partner with the decentralized technology organization (the innovation part of the business) to create a “crypto-customer.” A crypto-customer is different from the customer of a traditional organization. In a decentralized network, the overall value (i.e., market cap) of the protocol loosely trends to Metcalfe’s Law. That is, the most valuable customers are the people who engage most deeply with the protocol and bring in more nodes to the network. So an effective marketing strategy for a decentralized project will enable a series of multipronged demand pulls that target the wide array of roles that play into protocol adoption — developers, designers, token buyers/investors, social media influencers, regular users, partner integrations, etc.

All of these customers engage with the protocol because they believe in the value of the associated token. The more a token holder believes in the expected future value of the token, the more likely they are to hold on for dear life (HODL) and the more likely they will evangelize. So token holders are naturally and intensely motivated. They will engage in activities they think will drive the utility and value of the token higher in the long term. One might say they are marketers without knowing it, which is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, token holders have the same motivations and incentives as the project’s marketers. On the other hand, because they are stakeholders, not employees, they cannot be “controlled” or guided as a traditional employee can be.

Marketers who are employees in a centralized organization are accountable to the leaders who judge their results and decide their compensation. In a decentralized project, many of the people executing marketing tactics do so without any guardrails. Their compensation doesn’t come from a boss, it comes in the form of market response to their aggregated activities, as measured by the appreciation in the value of a crypto token. Hence, marketing is syndicated well beyond the traditional boundaries of the organization. Formerly the “edge” of the marketing network was simply rank and file employees responsible for marketing activity. Now, the edge is the network of token holders who need to actively market the decentralized project to the next set of potential customers. The upshot: the formal organization, or “core,” is accountable to the edges of the network.

Token holders view themselves as brand ambassadors

and may feel that, no matter what type of marketing activity they engage in, it is, by definition, on brand. This combination of motivation and no direct accountability means the execution of low-cost innovative activities has the potential to explode in quantity, run the gamut in quality, and be aimed everywhere and anywhere.

A DMO’s many responsibilities

Anyone can blog about a project. Anyone can create a video about it. Anyone can host an event about it. Those are all positives. At the same time, these activities present risks,

including:

  • Inconsistent messaging and look-and-feel stemming from many voices creating confused or even contradictory messaging about the purpose, vision, and value of the token and project
  • Wasted energy going after less-desirable customer segments or low-value objectives
  • Feature delay stemming from differing points of view about the primary use case and target customer, leading to confusion and infighting (look no further than Bitcoin Core vs. Bitcoin Cash). To be sure, one of the benefits of an open-source project is the ability to “fork” it and create a new, better alternative. But premature forking can make it hard to reach critical mass adoption. And that kind of delay can be lethal in a fast-moving, dynamic, noisy marketplace.

For the reasons above, the marketer of a decentralized project has goals in common with a traditional chief marketing officer as well as goals that are unique to a DMO:

Like in a centralized marketing organization, a crypto-marketer must:

  • Avoid total marketing chaos through the creation and communication of a strategic marketing plan
  • Ensure brand clarity and message discipline with well-thought-out brand and messaging platforms
  • Maintain and encourage the passion of the people most vested in the success of the project with a well-planned and inspired communication program that highlights momentum, new features, and benefits
  • Uncover the active and latent needs of current and future token holders
  • Aggregate those needs for assessment by the core technology team
  • Help the technical team prioritize protocol development against expected increase in utility and value, weighed against cost/time to deliver.

But a crypto-marketer also has some unique challenges. They must:

  • Identify and build a developer audience that sees the value in building on the core protocol
  • Inspire effective execution of marketing activities by token holders using 100 percent influence and 0 percent authority
  • Create a marketing infrastructure to enable any token holder to leverage a set of brand assets that support consistent messaging and visual identity with the absolute minimum amount of friction
  • Identify and analyze the token holder-driven marketing activities that produce effective outcomes
  • Rapidly disseminate the learnings and know-how to other motivated token holders for reuse, where applicable
  • Propagate the belief that token HODLing is the utmost sign of commitment and dedication.

The first part is not easy, but it is doable. An experienced marketer who has had a leadership role in an organization and had a broad range of responsibilities, including planning, budgeting, brand communications, go-to-market, product, community, PR, influencer relations, developer relations, analyst relations, content, and lead generation should be able to help you. It is the second part, however, that provides the greatest opportunity for growth.

When it comes to marketing innovation, the best ideas tend to occur at the edges of a network. After all, that is where the interaction with the evolving market is most intense. Yet, while the best marketing ideas tend to emerge in locations that are far away from the “group think” of those in the core, the mechanism for funding and executing those ideas tends to sit in the concentrated areas of the network. This leads to friction in terms of meetings, approval processes, communication lags, and internal selling. In the “Age of Accelerations,” as Tom Friedman calls it, the projects that figure out how to identify, cultivate, and activate their token holders to drive marketing outcomes as quickly and effectively as possible are going to significantly increase their odds of success.

The tech behind a DMO

How will all of this actually work? To be honest, that question is probably at least slightly ahead of the technology. At the same time, like a jigsaw puzzle on a floor, we are starting to see the pieces of an eventual DMO emerge. As my CEO at Sprinklr, Ragy Thomas, used to say, “Think future back.”

A DMO tech stack will have a number of elements. Here are some of them:

  • Decentralized autonomous organization platforms
  • Decentralized idea-generation and voting platforms
  • Decentralized prediction engines
  • Decentralized artificial intelligence
  • Decentralized bots
  • Decentralized gamification engines
  • Decentralized content management
  • Decentralized marketing tools

These technologies will serve as the nervous system for the DMO. The ability to create organization-wide governance systems that are enforced by blockchain-based smart contracts is not just possible but is in development (albeit in the early stages). Projects like Aragon, DAOstack, Colony, and District0x are all pursuing the vision of enabling the back-office functions of global, decentralized organizations to work with less friction, lower costs, and greater agility.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Marketing.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Best Investment? Mark Cuban Says Not Gold Or Bitcoin But Paying Off Debts

Best Investment? Mark Cuban Says Not Gold Or Bitcoin But Paying Off Debts

Billionaire tech businessman

and one of the Shark Tank show’s “shark investors,” Mark Cuban has recently sat down with Kitco News, an outlet specialized on covering news about precious metals, to talk about his opinions on investing in various assets, including Bitcoin and gold. When asked about what is the safest investment right now, Cuban didn’t say stocks, gold or Bitcoin (BTC). Instead, he argued that paying off your credit cards, student loans, or  “whatever debt you have” is “probably the best investment”

you can make.

“The reason for that is whatever interest you have – it might be a student loan with a 7% interest rate – if you pay off that loan, you're making 7 percent. And so that's your immediate return, which is a lot safer than trying to pick a stock, or trying to pick real estate or whatever it may be.”

Talking about gold and Bitcoin, Cuban said that he hates both, adding that he looks at cryptocurrencies and precious metals as largely the same thing, calling them “collectibles.” The billionaire investor explained that the value of both gold and Bitcoin is based on supply and demand. However, he also stressed that Bitcoin is in a more favorable position

due to its scarcity.

“The good news about bitcoin is that there’s a finite supply that’ll ever be created, and the bad news about gold is that they’ll keep mining more.”

This is the second time when Cuban seemingly reversed his opinion on Bitcoin. Back in June 2017 he criticized the world’s leading virtual currency by calling it “a bubble,” but by October he started claiming that cryptocurrencies and Blockchain are the future. Last October, Cuban also included a tip to invest up to 10% of your life savings in Bitcoin or Ethereum in his video “Guide to Getting Rich,” calling them “high-risk” assets. In his latest interview with Kitco, Cuban recommends to put the money in the bank to those who want to play it safe, “just to sleep well at night.” Apart from investing in a digital currency hedge fund and an ICO, and launching the Ethereum-based cryptocurrency Mercury Protocol in 2017, Cuban also announced in January this year that the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, which he owns, will start accepting Bitcoin as payment next season.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

 

Digital Marketing Trends that are Dominating 2018

 Digital Marketing Trends that are Dominating 2018

The digital marketing world continues to mature.

An explosion of technology over the last two decades; from the creation of a connected digital world with desktop access to a mobile-heavy, device-responsive, persona-driven, data-collecting ecommerce behemoth, has produced both a marketer’s dream and nightmare. And now that technology and the Internet are so easily accessible, digital marketing is among the most reliable methods. The following trends can help your mortgage business with the distribution of your content throughout the digital world by means of various technological devices and social media platforms.

Email Marketing

Email has constantly been positioned as the channel of choice. Consumer behaviour is shifting as online communications diversify. Although inbox usage has lessened due to the use of social media and text messaging, email communication is still the preferred method for business to interact with their customers. Based on statistics, email has always been a significantly more effective way to acquire and retain customers than any other digital medium. Survey data has shown a 40 per cent better customer acquisition rate than social media.

Tips and Stats to Consider about Email Marketing:

  • Recipients are about 14 per cent more likely to open an email if it’s a part of a segmented campaign vs. traditional email.
  • Video emails see click-through rates that are 96 per cent higher than non-video emails.
  • Email is the number-one channel when it comes to sharing content. Readers are three times more likely to share via social media if they originally receive via email.

It is predicted that email is bound to continue growing and maturing. Data-driven inbox interactions will become a universal practice; content will update in real-time within the inbox, the mobile dominated markets will interact more with video-in-email marketing, and the email traditions of the early 2000s will become automated persona-driven programs.

Mobile is going to keep growing

These days, everyone is attached to their mobile device 24/7, so of course mobile marketing will continue to grow and gain importance for modern companies. Mobile has become a critical part of every marketing strategy, and the sooner you join the party, the better off you are going to be. Mobile marketing is not a new idea or tactic, but the strategy behind it has been evolving dramatically in the past few years, and that momentum is going to continue through 2018 into 2019.

Tips and Stats to Consider about Mobile Marketing:

  • The amount of emails being opened on mobile devices has grown by 180 per cent in just a few years.
  • More than 50 per cent of Smartphone owners will reach for their mobile device immediately upon waking up. In other words, the early marketer gets the worm.
  • 57 per cent of all mobile users will not recommend a business if their mobile website is poorly designed or unresponsive.

Mobile optimization is an important theme that has been reoccurring this year and will surely affect 2019. With the rise and increasing access of wearable technology, consumers are constantly performing their searches on the go, and this practice is becoming more and more widespread. Google has regularly adjusted its algorithms to support more mobile-friendly pages on websites and has already begun to make its search results page on desktops better resemble its mobile version. Desktop searches aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but mobile queries are expected to grow.

Video and Live Streaming

Video continues to become increasingly accepted among audiences and is a great method of delivering your brand and message. The use of live streaming is one of the growing social media marketing trends. It is a great tactic for your mortgage business to reach out and grab the attention of your clients, prospects and leads. Google has even increased the appeal of video by allowing them into search results pages. Through the use of social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope and Twitter, the possibilities for your mortgage business are endless, and for this reason it’s worth incorporating live streaming in your business and marketing plans.

Tips and Stats to Consider about Video:

  • 59 per cent of executives agree that if both text and video are available on the same topic, they are more likely to choose video.
  • Social video generates 1,200 per cent more shares than text and images combined.
  • Native videos on Facebook have 10 times higher reach compared to YouTube links.

Live streaming video is simply a more interactive form of video marketing, and video marketing has been proven to be a very effective form of building relationships. Video currently accounts for half of all Internet traffic, so it is understandable why businesses would want to be part of it. Videos are accessible and affordable, and their Return on Investment has been tested and proven again and again. Its success is expected to continue into the next years.

Social Media

We currently live in a world dominated by social media, and marketers and businesses are taking full advantage of it. However, this means that there is a constant change in the trends and the way brands should best communicate with their customers. It’s important that brands keep up with the latest trends in order to achieve their goals, whether that is to increase conversions or improve ROI. The popularity of social media continues to rise, and 2018 is no exception. Facebook clearly stood out as a social media channel and reached 1.79 billion monthly active users in the third quarter of 2016. This is followed by YouTube, which has 1.3 billion users. It is quite clear that social media is here to stay, and mortgage professionals need to capitalize on it and use the various platforms to their advantage.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has been growing in popularity for the past few years, but new and different types of brands are now starting to take notice. According to Inc.com, 84 per cent of marketers planned on executing at least one influencer marketing campaign during 2017, and businesses generate $6.50 for every $1 invested in influencer marketing.

In general, consumers—especially younger ones—prefer content that feels less “staged” and more natural. Subtle sponsored content that feels and looks organic promoted by influencers is extremely effective. Nearly 95 per cent of marketers who currently use an influencer marketing strategy believe it is effective, and we only expect the number of marketers (and their respective brands) to increase next year. Destination organizations are now collaborating with influencers to gain that more authentic voice to resonate with target audiences they would otherwise reach with less credible paid advertisement or native content, when their own content has a hard time cutting through the noise.

Let’s recap

Electronic mail has been utilized the entire time, equally creating success and hardships for organizations that adopted the digital way of life. Video and live streaming are both new and familiar methods that are perfect for businesses that want to attract audiences. Mobile marketing is an enormous trend that all businesses should consider as a strategy as its growth and popularity increases. This is also the case with social media as it becomes increasingly popular amongst the public. And Influencer Marketing can help distribute in a less “staged” and more natural way amongst current and potential customers.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Marketing.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614