• Agency Pitches: A Review
    Over the last few weeks, as I watched various agency presentations, it was amazing to see pdf pages from marketers' briefs come to life in ideas, proposals, and demonstrations of imaginative thinking. Although the briefings for each pitch were of course wildly different from each other, certain themes were consistent across all sessions. I thought it would be interesting to share these themes. Call it a year-end trends summary. Call it random thoughts from a cranky marketer. Here goes:
  • A Tale Of Two Tails
    Targeting works -- which, by the way, is why everyone does it, and continues to do it. Just check the stock price of Criteo -- or Google, for that matter.
  • Why You'll Be Talking To Your Devices More In 2018
    The biggest trend to look forward to in 2018 is how voice is transforming the way we interact with our devices. This trend is taking hold because we've reached a clear tipping point in technology development: humans no longer have to learn the language of machines to create actions. Instead, machines have learned the language of humans. This means you can effectively talk to your machine and ask it to do things rather than having to type things in to request actions.
  • What Price Privacy?
    As promised, I'm picking up the thread from last week's column on why we seem OK with trading privacy for convenience. The simple -- and most plausible -- answer is that we're really not being given a choice.
  • Scale vs. Personalization: Is Mass Marketing Dead?
    Consumers increasingly want unique, customized, personalized experiences - at a time when companies are often trending in the opposite direction.
  • AI Isn't Becoming More Intelligent, But More Capable
    Just a year and a half after the artificially intelligent Go player AlphaGo beat champion Lee Sedol at Go, DeepMind came out with AlphaGo Zero -- which beat the original AlphaGo 100 games to none. This week, DeepMind turned the technology on chess- and beat the best AI chess system in the world in just four hours. Amazing. And yet, as AI researcher Joanna Bryson tweeted, "It's still a discrete task." Is this accomplishment not as impressive as it seems at first glance? Or is she just being curmudgeonly?
  • The Marketing Challenge Of Selling 'Human' Technology
    Why isn't the focus on benefits rather than the problems created by new technologies? ? Theodore Levitt, a former professor at Harvard Business School in the '60s, may have the answer.
  • Empowering A Decision-Oriented Company Culture
    What's your company culture like? Culture is a hot topic right now. With unemployment rates heading lower and lower, there's increased competition for high quality employees. The best employees are looking at many elements to determine where they want to work, and culture is among the most important, along with compensation and a chance to learn. The best cultures are oriented around empowerment decision-making - where there's never a sense of fear around making decisions.
  • Why We're Trading Privacy For Convenience
    What's the deal with humans and privacy anyway? Why do we say it's important to us -- and why do we keep giving it away? Are we looking at the inevitable death of our concept of privacy?
  • Instagram's Dreamscape Winning Fans
    If you take a quick look at the data, you might think that the winner of the race to own social media is Snapchat. Piper Jaffray's biannual "Taking Stock With Teens" survey reports that Snapchat is now the most popular social networking service among the teen set by far. But the real story - and the one that matters for storytellers and marketers - is what's happening at Instagram, especially Instagram Stories. Over 200 million people use Instagram Stories each month, which is over 50 million more than those who use Snapchat. Instagram usage has doubled in the last two ...
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