#Marketers beware: Privacy Please: How the GDPR Can Elevate Marketing

The EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) can be daunting, but it can have a positive impact on marketing. Here’s why.
— Read on insights.newscred.com/gdpr/

Artificial Intelligence Potentials in B2B Marketing – D&B

ai-dnb
AI Marketing

By Leslie Hancock
Founder & CEO
CreativeCafeHQ.com

I did an amusing and highly informal survey, asking various people in my life what they think about when I mention “artificial intelligence” (AI). Not surprisingly, most think of human-like robots or omniscient, self-aware computer systems as portrayed in The Terminator, Ex Machina or Person of Interest. There’s the unavoidable association with a dystopian future in which the machines wake up and decide humans are a blight that must be eradicated. Even luminaries like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have warned us of the potential dangers of AI. But the general public still seems to think of AI technology as something to worry about in the distant future, not something that’s already a factor in almost every industry and aspect of our everyday lives.

The truth is that AI is already here, and it’s pervasive. Though most AI tech is nowhere near passing the Turing Test and taking over the world, it’s absolutely already transforming the way we do business. Whether they consider AI technology to be a friend or a foe, many B2B marketing leaders see the potential—and the inevitability—of AI. In fact, most CMOs in five global markets believe artificial intelligence will surpass social media’s influence in the industry. Nearly six in 10 believe that within the next five years, companies will need to compete in the AI space to succeed.

The Dawn of the Cognitive Era

Joanna L. Batstone, PhD, Vice President and Lab Director at IBM Research Australia and Chief Technology Officer, IBM Australia and New Zealand, says those involved in serious information science understand the enormous potential of intelligent systems.

“Cognitive computing systems learn at scale, reason with purpose and interact with humans naturally,” Batstone explains. “They learn and reason from their interactions with us and their experiences with their environment.”

Intelligent systems can go beyond answering numerical problems to offer hypotheses, reasoned arguments and recommendations. However, Batstone reassures anyone who might still be nervous about the nature of AI.

AI Is as Much About “Nurture” as “Nature”

But don’t worry, AI marketing (AIM) isn’t putting human marketers out of work anytime soon. Instead, it has the potential to be the connective tissue among martech systems, augmenting humans’ ability to make sense of and take action on data.

Wayne Sadin, Chief Digital and Information Officer at Affinitas Life, says, “Humans are still very much driving the train. It’s just a much faster, more powerful train now.”

Sadin urges marketers to rely on machine learning to perform rote tasks (like watching social media posts) in order to free teams to do higher-level creative work. By interconnecting social data to web analytics to a CRM database to external data and more, B2B marketers can use AI applications to automate and personalize many interactions that used to be time-intensive and far less efficient.

For this reason, Sadin thinks of the “A” in “AI” as augmented instead of artificial. “AI is part of the trend towards ‘Augmented Everything’: brains (AI), muscles (robots), vision (AR/VR),” Sadin says. “It makes workers smarter, stronger and faster. It’s not some central overlord machine, though. It’s just smart people taking advantage of data that’s already there and intelligent martech that is getting more and more capable of adapting to changing customer behaviors and expectations.”Sadin cautions that AI has to be carefully nurtured and guided. It can only do what we tell it to do and learn what we tell it to learn. AI can’t connect data and martech systems on its own without a human telling the technology how to make the connections and what to do with the data it takes in. (Maybe Maciej Ceglowski puts it best: “I find it helpful to think of algorithms as a dim-witted but extremely industrious graduate student, whom you don’t fully trust.”)

To train AI apps to be genuinely useful and not just more chaos cluttering up the martech landscape, we have to tie machine learning to business goals and ethical standards and be very, very specific about the data we feed into the AI to train it. We have to set limits and maintain good data hygiene so the AI makes the connections we want and stays on track. Without reasonably clean, complete data, AI is just garbage in, garbage out. And without encoding careful ethical parameters to nurture the AI’s learning and development.

ai-friend-foe

 

AI Marketing Requires a Different Mindset

AI is already proving to be more of a friend than a foe to B2B marketers. To get the desired results, though, not only do marketers have to properly nurture AI technologies, we also have to embrace their potential—even when there’s the possibility that AI will eventually render our current jobs obsolete.

Paul Greenberg, independent consultant and author of the best-selling book CRM at the Speed of Light, points out that marketers have to embrace a very different mindset moving forward. Marketers are trained to target personas—representations of broad groups of people with similar characteristics and drivers—and produce content that appeals to them. But now customers expect an extremely high level of personalization and real-time interactions with brands across a multitude of devices and channels.

These technologies will nevertheless grow in popularity. Greenberg expects these applications to be acquired by, and absorbed into, big marketing clouds like IBM, Oracle and Salesforce, so you should expect to see them soon in your martech portfolios if you don’t have them already.

As for what we can and should expect AIM technology to do today and in the future, Greenberg points to one of his favorite marketing videos of the past few years, Corning’s “A Day Made of Glass.” This video was not produced using AI, but it’s the kind of thing Greenberg believes we can and should be leveraging AI to create. He says the Corning video brilliantly connects with consumers’ emotions to create a human-centric vision of the future with extremely broad appeal.

“AIM technology can already do this if we ask it to. It’s not way off in the future,” Greenberg says. “Intelligent systems can already make the connections between systems of record and systems of engagement to understand what would emotionally engage people. These technologies can independently test and learn from people’s reactions enough to change their approach and build highly personalized, relevant and contextual custom content for prospects and customers in real time.”

So is AI a friend or a foe to B2B marketers? The answer is yes. AI is what you make it. It all goes back to how you feed, nurture and train your intelligent systems. Just as you wouldn’t toss a five-year-old child into a mosh pit to learn how to dance, you can’t leave AIM technology on its own to learn from unlimited inputs and “dirty” data sources. If you train it well and use it to build interconnections across your organization and beyond, AIM can significantly augment your human marketing team’s capabilities to anticipate and connect with much larger and more diverse audiences over time.

Source: Artificial Intelligence Potentials in B2B Marketing – D&B

The Sales and Marketing Promance (technology not included)

Many businesses lack strong alignment between their sales and marketing organizations. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s important to understand the barriers that prevent alignment. Six com…

Source: The Sales and Marketing Promance (technology not included)

Retargetting is so Flintstones



By Charlie Tarzian, Founder, The Big Willow

So we’re at least 7 years into exchange based media and we’re still complaining about retargeting. Consumer complaints are that it is mindless or creepy. And on the professional side, clients want more control over who to retarget and when.

Meanwhile, back at the zombie ranch of retargeting there has been very little innovation or progress made on some basic requirements that would change the game.

The biggest issue is lack of integration into the enterprise. And by enterprise I mean those data repositories and systems that run any company. The fact that brands continue to chase us with acquisition based messaging even after we have purchased is clearly a missed opportunity. Which begs the question: Is retargeting that misunderstood that it falls to the bottom of the data integration wish list? Do brands understand the magnificent fail of not knowing who their new customers are and the state of play between any one consumer and their company?

Without question brands need to start paying attention to this continual consumer aggravation.

Recently, a B2B client said in a meeting: We are only really interested in investing in our targeted client list. We want to know when they come to our site, we want to know when we serve them ads, when they open and click through our ads, when they follow and share our social links, etc…

So why, she asked, are we retargeting everyone that comes to our site? Our targeted list represents less than 10% of everyone that comes – so why can’t we suppress retargeting to the other 90% of the audience we are not interested in at this time? And what about if we want to retarget based on which part of the site and which product they were engaged with?

Her company’s agency responded: That’s not how it works. There is no way to discriminate. Anyone that comes to the site becomes part of the retargeting pool.

So – indiscriminant retargeting is what it shall be!

Now, on the other side, retargeting relies on building sizable pools of audience to drive the cost of bidding down – meaning the more you have in the pool and the more you have to choose from the better chance you have of winning a certain percentage of your bids and of keeping the costs down. Retargeting buys can be two times the cost on a CPM basis when compared to straight CPM buys. We get that. But retargeting parameters should be no different than how you would set up any DSP-based campaign. You should be able to create whitelists with rules we use in any campaign: only these IP addresses, or these devices or cookies, or customers that have contracts coming up, etc… I only want to target those and with the right context.

If you think about it – instead of relying on the primitive, non-evolved way retargeting is done today, we should be thinking about moving the heavy lifting of retargeting to the same data-driven approach we take through our DMP’s-to-DSP’s-to-ad servers process. That’s how we operate the foundational aspects of our media stack today, so why can’t we use the same stack to inject logic, filtering and knowledge into retargeting.

I can tell you we are working on this issue and I have to imagine others are as well. We call it Filtered Retargeting and to be honest – it is not retargeting as much as it is sequencing messaging based on using historical data. Historical can mean 10 minutes, 10 days or 10 weeks – but the strategy relies on being up to date with previous interactions across data sets and systems. But that is just one dimension.

The other is getting client organizations to architect how key customer data gets into the marketing stack with the aforementioned frequency. When someone makes their first purchase, reactivates, buys a new service, upgrades, etc… the marketing operations world must be updated and rules put in place to allow a change in how we communicate to that individual and/or company. This is the promise of both DMP’s and of an ALWAYS ON marketing stack.

All to say, retargeting has withered on the vine for so long and yet could be so much more effective in enhancing relationships.

Let’s put some of that great thinking that has created so many innovations and breakthroughs into this issue so we can stop talking about it. Selfish as it is, I am tired of retargeting being the subject of dinner party conversations!

What are your thoughts? And who do you think is and/or should be solving for this lack of progress?

Data Driven V. Predictive Marketing: BEWARE JETSON’S MARKETING!

The Big Willowby: Charlie Tarzian

My son came to me one day in early December and said:  ‘Hey, Dad, let’s get Mom one of those robotic vacuum cleaners.  You know, the ones you switch on and they vacuum your whole floor!’  He could not contain his enthusiasm – this was going to be great – no one would have to vacuum our floors ever again!!!

So we went to Amazon (of course) and two days later our round disc of a maid showed up via FEDEX.

Come Christmas Day, the robot fully charged, off we went to the kitchen to marvel at what was certain to be a life changing event.  We turned it on and put it down on the floor and the vacuum swung into action.  It crossed the floor, sensed it was coming to a wall, made a pivot, chugged in another direction…and got stuck on the slight incline by the fireplace…then stuck again on the floor mat by the stove…then got caught between a chair and a table and went into a break dance that would make R2D2 jealous.

I bring this up because a colleague sent me this little snippet from the website of a Predictive Marketing vendor:

“Predictive Marketing doesn’t need to be a services heavy engagement to get you up and running. With CompanyX (name of company withheld) and our push button integration, we can integrate with your existing systems and build your predictive model in under a day. – See more at: http://www.companyx.com/what-we-offer/#sthash.vBzkU18n.dpuf

There you have it: Jetson’s Marketing – just push our one little button and off you go:  great leads, great meetings, great website experiences – in fact all your marketing/sales problems solved in ‘under a day’.  All that is left to do is fire your staff, except for that one person in charge of pushing the button when you run out of leads, meetings and website visitors.

Look, I know what I don’t know, but I can tell you this: whatever you’re thinking the new generation of transformative marketing is – one thing it isn’t is automated bliss.  It takes a fair sized village to make things happen.  And herein lies the huge disconnect between data driven marketers and the shiny new object called Predictive Marketing.  Data driven marketers know that data can and should be utilized across the marketing/sales continuum – but it is more about data orchestration than anything else.  Therefore, one button, add water and stir does not take into consideration any of the cause and effect across all the communications and transactive channels that marketers rely on.

Marketing is services heavy (sorry, Company X) because at the nexus of MarTech, AdTech and Sales Enablement sits quite a bit of cause and effect.  And unless you aspire and build towards using predictive data to positively impact all channels aligning as one – then what you are predicting is a very small sliver of what could be.  In other words, if the connectivity and synapsis among outward facing channels are not orchestrated and optimized using predictive data and you are not feeling good that all channels are working in sync – then how can you predict a scaled outcome?  The predictions you are making will reflect a small percentage of the whole – and so instead of widening your funnel and increasing your opportunities along every step in a buying journey, you are narrowing that funnel based on a flawed assumption that you are predicting against a full boat of reliable data.

On the other hand, Data Driven Marketing  sets up to be based on solving for the cause and effect of what is less than optimized (can anyone say, broken?)  It attempts to determine (not predict) what works and doesn’t and then – as a village – cohesively knits together a response to results that can be repeatable but certainly is not a just add water, one button pushed result.

So – are we starting to see a difference:  Predictive Marketing – a push button approach to a complicated set of executional events and response, or, Data Driven Marketing – a human driven (sorry robots!) approach to the cause and effect of humans communicating to other humans about things that may or may not be important to the recipient (we always hope for the former)?

What do you think?  We would love to know.  Have any stories to share – we would love to hear from you.

by: Charlie Tarzian, Founder, The Big Willow

The Sales and Marketing Promance (technology not included)

Many businesses lack strong alignment between their sales and marketing organizations. Whether you agree or disagree, it’s important to understand the barriers that prevent alignment. Six common barriers include:

  1. Success in the sales and marketing departments is being measured differently.
  2. Sales and marketing have a different vision of the ideal target customer.
  3. Actionable customer insight sits in disconnected databases.
  4. There is a lack of view of customers and their buying preferences.
  5. Broken processes make it impossible to track what is working.
  6. The technology is too hard to use so that there is limited adoption.

 

These barriers lead to the disconnect and are making it difficult for organizations to make the most of their sales opportunities and go to market investments. As an example, companies are unable to provide the right offers to the right people, at the right time, because customer insights live in disparate locations and the company’s go-to-market strategies are uncoordinated and inefficient.

To address this disconnect, businesses are turning to applications and new technology to help build cohesive sales and marketing alliances. The common mistake businesses have been making in their rush to technology is that they forget to address their people and process challenges first.

The promises of the digital revolution and emerging technologies are often not in line with management’s expectations. Many mid to large sized companies have rushed to replace older systems that worked, to new and unproven cloud based technologies that are not living up to expectations. Many of these decisions were based on unrealistic, pie-in the sky, cloud in the sky promises (no pun intended) and the pain is just beginning to be felt by customers.

The reality is that many companies launched into cloud based technologies without a good business plan. So perhaps 2015 will be the year many companies awaken to a reality check.

The pendulum is about to swing in another direction. Brace yourselves.

Good times ahead.

Cheers,

rvargas@solomonconsult.com

How Big Data Will Shape Industry in 2016 | Datafloq

how-big-data-will-shape-the-it-industry-in-2016Accurately predicting how Internet trends and future technology will play out is no easy task. This year alone there has been an increase in cyber threats and hacks, new software from Windows and the introduction of smart watches, and of course, a spike in big data. As technology advances, so does its growth for possibilities.

Below are six sure-fire predictions made by analysts for 2016:

1. A Huge Decline in Legacy Vendors

As indicated by a report released by the IDC, almost a third (30 percent) of IT vendors will cease to exist by 2020. As it appears now, many legacy vendors, especially larger ones, will either have to shut down completely, downgrade or partner with another company due to sluggish growth and lost earnings.

Good examples of this trend can be seen with Dell which is rumored to buy out EMC, and HP splitting its operations in half. In a nutshell, legacy vendors as a whole are missing the mark when it comes to delivering practical solutions in the tech industry—a red flag that many vendors will eventually end up being archived in exchange for private equity.

2. Appearance of More Wearables

Within the next two years, wearable health and fitness tracking devices will take the critical role workforce by storm. By 2018, it is estimated two million people will be required to wear health and fitness tracking devices as a safety measure. This includes firefighters, law enforcement, paramedics, remote field workers, airline pilots, industrial workers, professional athletes, and even political leaders.

This expected boom in wearable tech calls for IT professionals that are adept in device discovery. Network and device discovery at this level usually calls for a more formal network device discovery platform, and IT professionals that understand how to implement it.

3. Big Data Gets Bigger

In 2016, big data will have an even greater impact on how many industries function. Diverse industries are seeing the benefit of analyzing large amounts of data from healthcare to language translation. Understandably, more and more companies are adopting big data services and customizations; they’re catching on that utilizing insights based on algorithms is a much more practical strategy to successful marketing and business expansion as opposed to trial and error. By the year 2018, analytics will be embedded in every application to enhance functionality or convenience.

4. Cloud Providers Will Diminish

In reaction to the big data explosion, many big cloud providers will be vying for the chance to host big data storage. Google, Microsoft, and AWS all provide machine learning services as well as access to a range of massive data groups that can be used for analytics. Major public cloud providers will gain momentum and strength, with Amazon, IBM SoftLayer, and Microsoft grabbing a large percentage of the business cloud services market.

Unfortunately, smaller cloud service providers just won’t be able to invest in hosting machine learning services; this will likely be the catalyst for such companies to bail out of the market altogether. The volume of options for cloud management software and general infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud services will significantly decline at the end of 2016.

5. More Business Content Generated by Machines

Technologies possessing the ability to proactively assemble and send information through automated composition engines will take a more active role. Business content such as legal documents, market reports, shareholder reports, press releases, articles and white papers will be generated more frequently by machines.

This shift in operations will increase by 20 percent in 2018, this includes machine learning in the IT sector as a whole. The initial companies predicted to expedite and implement smart machine technologies effectively will be startups and other fresh-out-the box companies.

6. Increase of Artificial Intelligence Implementation

According to esteemed analyst Daryl Plummer, the artificial intelligence (AI) trend is the result of enterprises and consumers willingly embracing the advancement of machine-driven technologies. Since the capability of applying smart technology for specific tasks dramatically improves the time, cost and energy generally contributed to recruiting, hiring, training and expansion demands associated with human labor, it’s little wonder, then, that artificial intelligence will play a larger role in a company’s infrastructure in 2016.

Source: Datafloq – How Big Data Will Shape the IT Industry in 2016

Article Author:

Xander SchofieldFollow Xander SchofieldLinkedIn Xander Schofield

How Big Data Will Shape the IT Industry in 2016 | Datafloq

how-big-data-will-shape-the-it-industry-in-2016Accurately predicting how Internet trends and future technology will play out is no easy task. This year alone there has been an increase in cyber threats and hacks, new software from Windows and the introduction of smart watches, and of course, a spike in big data. As technology advances, so does its growth for possibilities.

Below are six sure-fire predictions made by analysts for 2016:

1. A Huge Decline in Legacy Vendors

As indicated by a report released by the IDC, almost a third (30 percent) of IT vendors will cease to exist by 2020. As it appears now, many legacy vendors, especially larger ones, will either have to shut down completely, downgrade or partner with another company due to sluggish growth and lost earnings.

Good examples of this trend can be seen with Dell which is rumored to buy out EMC, and HP splitting its operations in half. In a nutshell, legacy vendors as a whole are missing the mark when it comes to delivering practical solutions in the tech industry—a red flag that many vendors will eventually end up being archived in exchange for private equity.

2. Appearance of More Wearables

Within the next two years, wearable health and fitness tracking devices will take the critical role workforce by storm. By 2018, it is estimated two million people will be required to wear health and fitness tracking devices as a safety measure. This includes firefighters, law enforcement, paramedics, remote field workers, airline pilots, industrial workers, professional athletes, and even political leaders.

This expected boom in wearable tech calls for IT professionals that are adept in device discovery. Network and device discovery at this level usually calls for a more formal network device discovery platform, and IT professionals that understand how to implement it.

3. Big Data Gets Bigger

In 2016, big data will have an even greater impact on how many industries function. Diverse industries are seeing the benefit of analyzing large amounts of data from healthcare to language translation. Understandably, more and more companies are adopting big data services and customizations; they’re catching on that utilizing insights based on algorithms is a much more practical strategy to successful marketing and business expansion as opposed to trial and error. By the year 2018, analytics will be embedded in every application to enhance functionality or convenience.

4. Cloud Providers Will Diminish

In reaction to the big data explosion, many big cloud providers will be vying for the chance to host big data storage. Google, Microsoft, and AWS all provide machine learning services as well as access to a range of massive data groups that can be used for analytics. Major public cloud providers will gain momentum and strength, with Amazon, IBM SoftLayer, and Microsoft grabbing a large percentage of the business cloud services market.

Unfortunately, smaller cloud service providers just won’t be able to invest in hosting machine learning services; this will likely be the catalyst for such companies to bail out of the market altogether. The volume of options for cloud management software and general infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) cloud services will significantly decline at the end of 2016.

5. More Business Content Generated by Machines

Technologies possessing the ability to proactively assemble and send information through automated composition engines will take a more active role. Business content such as legal documents, market reports, shareholder reports, press releases, articles and white papers will be generated more frequently by machines.

This shift in operations will increase by 20 percent in 2018, this includes machine learning in the IT sector as a whole. The initial companies predicted to expedite and implement smart machine technologies effectively will be startups and other fresh-out-the box companies.

6. Increase of Artificial Intelligence Implementation

According to esteemed analyst Daryl Plummer, the artificial intelligence (AI) trend is the result of enterprises and consumers willingly embracing the advancement of machine-driven technologies. Since the capability of applying smart technology for specific tasks dramatically improves the time, cost and energy generally contributed to recruiting, hiring, training and expansion demands associated with human labor, it’s little wonder, then, that artificial intelligence will play a larger role in a company’s infrastructure in 2016.

Source: Datafloq – How Big Data Will Shape the IT Industry in 2016

Article Author:

Xander SchofieldFollow Xander SchofieldLinkedIn Xander Schofield

Big Data Trends | Strategies driving investments in data

imgresLast year, IDG published a study 2015 Big Data and Analytics, Insights into Initiatives and Strategies Driving Data Investments that was based on interviews with 1,139 IT leaders from nine industries with high tech (16%), government (12%), financial services (11%) and manufacturing (9%) being the top four industries surveyed.

 

Key findings Infographic:

Below are a few key take-aways, the report is embedded at the bottom of this post:

  • 80% of enterprises surveyed have data-driven and big data projects in implementing or planning stages today versus 63% of SMBs. 37% of enterprises have deployed data-driven projects in the last year, and 18% are in the process of implementing or piloting projects as of today.
  • 83% of organizations prioritized structured data initiatives as critical or high priority in 2015, and 36% increased their budgets for data-driven initiatives.
  • Improving the quality of decision making (61%), improving planning and forecasting (57%) and increasing the speed of decision making (51%) are the three most common business goals and objectives driving data-driven initiatives in organizations today. The following graphic compares which business initiatives are driving big data investment and the positive impact of big data on each.
  • 36% of enterprises expect their IT budget allocations for data-driven initiatives increased in 2015, 41% anticipated budget levels would remain at current levels and 21% aren’t sure. Only 3% say data-driven and big data-related project funding will decrease.
  • Data analytics continues to accelerate as the most preferred solution for gaining greater business insight and value from data, with this category increasing in importance 55% from 2014 survey results. In enterprises, data analytics (65%), visual dashboards (47%), data mining (43%), data warehousing (40%) and data quality (39%) are the five most preferred solutions. In my discussions with CIOs in financial services and manufacturing companies, the shift away from pre-built dashboards with common metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to the flexibility of defining their own data models in metrics is the future. Dashboards in financial institutions need to have the flexibility of quickly integrating entire new metrics and KPIs as their business models change. For manufacturers, the need for interpreting shop floor data to financial results is what’s driving data analysis and dashboards in the many manufacturing industries adopting analytics today.
  • The number of enterprises who have deployed/implemented data-driven projects increased 125% in the last year, with 42% still planning data implementations as of today. The following graphic from the study illustrates a comparison of 2014 and 2015 plans for considering, planning and implementing data-driven projects.

 

View the report here:

Download the IDG Report: 2015 Big Data and Analytics, Insights into Initiatives and Strategies Driving Data Investments

Google paid Apple $1bn to be default iOS search engine | Technology | The Guardian

 

google-apple-650Lawsuit proceedings reveal Apple was paid handsomely to make Google default search engine on mobile Safari, while company’s total revenue from Android just $31bn…

 

Source: Google paid Apple $1bn to be default iOS search engine | Technology | The Guardian