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Realities That Will Rock The World Of Marketing In 2018

Realities That Will Rock The World Of Marketing In 2018

The digital marketing industry shows few signs of slowing down

as brands continue to adjust to the pace of change in data, technology and measurement. As marketing shifts away from the classic model of mindless spending, there are new opportunities and emerging technologies that can better trace the correlation between spending and engagement with prospective customers. From fake news to Facebook algorithms to Google and other tech giants changing the game, the industry landscape continues to force brands to adapt to new consumer behaviors and innovate to get the win. Based on my experience as the CEO of a digital marketing agency, here are four realities that I see shifting the world of marketing this year.

Every aspect of marketing is in the midst of an automation transformation.

Technology has introduced new kinds of marketing tools that take the guesswork out of advertising. For some firms, this has been a game changer, and for others, it has been a death sentence. Driven by emerging technologies, analytics and better data, marketing plans are shifting every day to match media consumption changes and platform updates. Yet, one of the biggest opportunities out of the digital transformation in marketing is reimagining the strategy in itself. Brands need to evolve their thinking to a process that observes the behavior of consumers through unique customer journeys and optimize efforts accordingly. Gone are the days when marketers can look at the last click in the funnel and make campaign-based decisions.

Digital transformation is not as straightforward as a one-touch fix. To deliver consumers a personalized marketing experience, brands need better control over their channels and performance. The rise of machine learning and automation has given way to incredible platforms for attribution modeling and optimization. By using these technologies, marketers can now track and measure their interaction with customers across all mediums to see where their ad spend is most effective and how customers are receiving and interacting with their marketing message.

Marketers must mine the endless mounds of data.

Across the board, companies increasingly understand that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to marketing can’t win anymore. Brands will be connecting with consumers in a more innovative, data-driven environment — especially in retail — by tapping into marketing technology platforms for better insights into consumer buying habits. Those brands with campaigns that are data-driven with location intelligence and analytics are more apt for stronger data and greater personalization. In this strategically intricate dance, consumers will be continuously touched by brand messaging, experiences and influencers that, when optimally layered together, drive better results.

Besides easing operational processes and increasing efficiency, marketers must leverage the potential of artificial intelligence-driven tools to power through data and effectively engage with their customers — and with better success after every instance. AI can also help identify the best engagement points in the buying journey. Innovations in AI like chatbots and augmented/virtual reality are changing the way brands plan campaigns, envision touchpoints and enhance customer experiences, all while generating actionable data insights throughout the process.

The power of search has voice.

Last year marked a huge shift in the power of voice in search marketing. If consumer brands haven’t gotten on board with SEO strategies catered to voice search, they need to get in the game before it’s too late. Google insights reveal that, on a daily basis, more than half of American teenagers and 41% of adults are talking to their phones via voice search. Amazon is said to have sold more than 20 million Echo units to date, with Google Home gaining ground and taking up to 24% of market share since it entered the game in 2015. By 2020, ComScore predicts voice search could account for up to half of all queries. This trend has been happening in the SEO world for some time, and with the growing appetite for search bots (i.e., Alexa, Cortana), the transition to a voice-search world is progressing every day.

SEO marketers should make note of this, given that optimizing for voice search requires different tactics compared to the traditional method and having insight into this new normal could help brands provide better customer experience. Optimizing for voice search technology allows for marketers to create more conversational campaigns and provides a natural way for people to interact with brands. Voice search will continue to explode as more predictive machine learning technologies advance this particular AI evolution. Looking forward, the voice search market is wide open and it’s possible that the strongest user group hasn’t even been born.

Content transformation will be king.

By 2021, an eMarketer report (registration required) predicts there will be more than 2.7 billion people around the world using mobile phones, with more than 87% of those using smartphones for internet access. The report also described the dominance of tech titans Google and Facebook in the U.S. digital ad market and digital ad revenue worldwide. In this attention-driven duopoly, with ever-changing algorithms and updates, businesses are competing against friends and family for attention. The demand for mobile-ready, shareable content has never been more relentless. Every aspect of content marketing will become more user-centric and personalized, and brands must be willing to adapt.

In order to scale authenticity in this crowded environment, some brands are heavily investing in video to connect with customers to help share ideas, products, purpose and personality. Likewise, influencers will continue to play a role in content but with a new requirement of stronger return on investment. No matter the industry, your brand must steer away from vague, overly expensive programs and partnerships and opt for relevant, data-driven influencer strategies. The challenge in digital content for today’s marketer is to remain authentic while achieving campaign goals. Brands that create experiences that inspire, educate or entertain through content and messaging efforts will continue to win in 2018.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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

What marketers need to know about Facebook’s updated Business Tools Terms

What marketers need to know about Facebook’s updated Business Tools Terms

The updates are largely guided by GDPR and go into effect May 25, 2018.

As Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced Senate and House committees in Washington, DC,

this week, the platform introduced new terms around the use of customer data, tracking and measurement. Zuckerberg reiterated to lawmakers that Facebook will, in effect, apply the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards to its business globally. Not surprisingly, the Terms changes are timed to go into effect on May 25, 2018, the same date the GDPR’s sweeping set of rules governing the handling of consumer data will go into effect.

A new “Facebook Business Tools Terms” consolidates the “Conversion Tracking, Custom Audiences From Your Website, and Custom Audiences From Your Mobile App Terms” and “Offline Conversion Terms,” and the Custom Audience Terms have been updated. Here’s a rundown of the key changes to the terms that apply to any website owner, publisher, developer, advertiser, business partner (and their customers) and any other entity that integrates with, uses and exchanges information with Facebook. Note that Facebook Business Tools encompass a lot: APIs and SDKs, the Facebook Pixel, social plugins such as the Like and Share buttons, Facebook Login and Account Kit, as well as other platform integrations, plugins, code, specifications, documentation, technology and services.

New terms for GDPR compliance

In section 5.1 of the Facebook Business Tools Terms, a note to EU and Swiss data controllers specifically on

GDPR states:

To the extent the Customer Data contain personal data which you process subject to the General Data Protection Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/679) (the “GDPR”), the parties acknowledge and agree that for purposes of providing matching, measurement, and analytics services described in Paragraphs 2.1 and 2.2 above, that you are the data controller in respect of such personal data, and you have instructed Facebook Ireland Limited to process such personal data on your behalf as your data processor pursuant to these terms and Facebook’s Data Processing Terms, which are incorporated herein by reference. “Personal data,” “data controller,” and “data processor” in this paragraph have the meanings set out in the Data Processing Terms.

What this means:
This section clarifies that the Facebook Marketers are considered data controllers from a GDPR standpoint and Facebook the data processor. A third-party data processor is an entity that processes personally identifiable information (PII) on behalf of a controller. A controller is defined by the GDPR as an entity that determines how that data will be processed and for what reason. Both controllers and processors must comply with the EU regulation. The Terms for using Facebook Pixels and SDKs have also been updated for GDPR.

Section 3.3 states:

In jurisdictions that require informed consent for the storing and accessing of cookies or other information on an end user’s device (such as but not limited to the European Union), you must ensure, in a verifiable manner, that an end user provides the necessary consent before you use Facebook Business Tools to enable us to store and access cookies or other information on the end user’s device. (For suggestions on implementing consent mechanisms.

What this means:
Site and app owners must obtain and manage user consent for Facebook to access, gather and store their data. This is a critical piece of GDPR that pertains to any company controlling or processing data on EU citizens, regardless of where they reside.

Requirement to notify Facebook of any actual or ‘threatened’ complaints about personal data

Another important change in the terms that marketers need to be aware of is in section 1.5.

The provision states:

You will notify us promptly in writing of any actual or threatened complaint or challenge related to the use of personal data under these Business Tools Terms and will cooperate with us in responding to such complaint or challenge.

What this means:
Advertisers must take any user’s complaint (even threatened) about the use of personal data seriously. You must be prepared to report to Facebook, in writing, any suggestion of a complaint or challenge over the handling or use of personal data when you’re made aware of it.

Keep reporting internal

Want to share a case study about your Facebook ad campaign? Think again. Section 2.2.2 of the Facebook Business Tools Terms explicitly states that advertisers are not allowed to share Campaign Reports or Analytics unless they have Facebook’s written consent:

We grant to you a non-exclusive and non-transferable license to use the Campaign Reports and Analytics for your internal business purposes only and solely on an aggregated and anonymous basis for measurement purposes. You will not disclose the Campaign Reports or Analytics, or any portion thereof, to any third party, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by us. We will not disclose the Campaign Reports or Analytics, or any portion thereof, to any third party without your permission, unless (i) they have been combined with Campaigns Reports and Analytics from numerous other third parties and (ii) your identifying information is removed from the combined Campaign Reports and Analytics.

What this means:
All Campaign Reports and Analytics need to stay internal and include only anonymized, aggregated data. Keep screen shots and charts out of presentations, case studies and social media unless you have permission from Facebook. However, Facebook retains the right to use your unidentified reporting data when aggregated with that of other advertisers

No pixel sharing

This is a change. Section 3.1 of the Facebook Business Tools Terms states:

You (or partners acting on your behalf) may not place pixels associated with your business manager or ad account on websites that you do not own without our written permission

What this means:
You may not gather data for ad targeting or measurement by placing your or your clients’ pixels on other sites you may have access to or any other site unless Facebook OKs it. This has been a not-so-secret Facebook marketing tactic for some time. If you currently have pixels on other sites, it’s time to revisit those placements and either get Facebook’s permission or remove them to stay in compliance with the Terms.

Facebook Business Tools Terms

Some of the terminology has also changed with this update.

As of May 25, 2018:

  • “Sales Data” now is called “Customer Data.”
  • “User Information” now means “Contact Information.”
  • “Sales Transaction Data” now is “Event Data.”
  • “Matched Data” now means Event Data that is combined with Matched User IDs.
  • “Unmatched Data” now means Event Data that is not combined with Matched User IDs.
  • “Reports” is now “Campaign Reports.”
  • “OC” is now referred to as “Offline Conversions.”

Those are the main takeaways that we pulled from the updated terms. There are other changes, but they don’t appear to impact the day-to-day of marketers as much as the above. If you have any other items that stood out, please let us know on social media.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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

Billionaire Tim Draper Sets $250,000 Bitcoin Price Target for 2022

Billionaire Tim Draper Sets $250,000 Bitcoin Price Target for 2022

Tech billionaire Tim Draper, an avowed cryptocurrency bull,

has set a $250,000 bitcoin price target for 2022. Draper made the bold prediction April 12 at the 2018 Block (Chain) Party at his self-named Draper University in San Mateo, California. “I’m thinking $250,000 a bitcoin by 2022,” Draper said (via Reddit). “Believe it. They’re going to think you’re crazy, but believe it. It’s happening and it’s going to be awesome!” Draper has a fairly good track record for predicting bitcoin price movements, so market observers aren’t taking his bullish forecast lightly. In 2015, the venture capitalist accurately predicted that bitcoin would top $10,000 by the end of 2017. BTC prices soared above $13,000 on December 31, 2017.

‘Blockchain Is Transformational’

Draper also predicts that blockchain will disrupt and transform finance, healthcare, and many other industries. “It’s honest, it’s straightforward, it’s incorruptible, and it’s fair,” he said. Shortly before the Block (Chain) Party, Draper signaled his unwavering confidence in blockchain, the technology undergirding cryptocurrencies. “The blockchain is one of the most transformational technologies that has happened in the history of the world,” he told the San Mateo Daily Journal. “And it is totally worth celebrating.”

Draper isn’t the only billionaire who’s betting big on blockchain. The Rockefeller family (estimated net worth: $1 trillion) has partnered with the cryptocurrency investor group CoinFund to help entrepreneurs launch blockchain-based businesses. David Pakman, a partner in Venrock — the venture-capital arm of the Rockefeller family — said his VC firm is not interested in turning short-term profits, but in making  a long-term investment in blockchain. “There are a lot of crypto traders in the market,” Pakman said. “There are a lot of cryptocurrency hedge funds. This is different. To us, it looks a little bit more like venture capital.”

Purchased 30,000 Bitcoins For $600 Apiece

Tim Draper has an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard. He comes from a long family line of venture capitalists. In 2014, Draper made headlines after buying 30,000 bitcoins for $600 apiece (total price paid: $18.5 million) at an auction by the U.S. Marshals Service, a law-enforcement arm of the Department of Justice. The Justice Department frequently auctions off property seized during criminal raids.

At today’s bitcoin price of roughly $8,000 a token, Draper’s stake is now worth about $240 million. That’s not a bad return for a four-year investment. The entry of Old Money like the Rockefellers and Silicon Valley’s stamp of approval is another signal that cryptocurrencies and blockchain — the technology behind bitcoin — is here to stay, despite the daily protestations from skeptics that “bitcoin is dead.”

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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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

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Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614