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Preview: Six Pixels of Separation - Marketing and Communications Insights - By Mitch Joel at Twist Image

Six Pixels of Separation - Marketing and Communications Insights - By Mitch Joel at Mirum

Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Blog is marketing and communications insights from the edge. Mitch Joel will unravel the complex world of digital marketing and social media with the perspective of a digital marketing agency. The Six Pixels Of Separat

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Virtual, Augmented And Mixed Reality With Shel Israel And Robert Scoble - This Week's Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast

Sun, 23 Apr 2017 04:18:25 PDT

Episode #563 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to. The future of us humans connecting to technology will not be about the web or mobile. It will all take place in some kind of virtual reality. That future is happening faster than most of us would care to admit. Whether it will be virtual, augmented or mixed reality... that is yet to be defined. We're at that unique moment in time. Remember when we were not sure if the web was going to be called the Internet, the information superhighway, the web, etc...? Two thinkers and doers on this, exact, subject are Shel Israel and Robert Scoble. They have teamed up (again) to co-author their latest business book, The Fourth Transformation -- How Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything. The book looks (deeply and intelligently) at what we're in the midst of right now, and where technology is really taking us. In fact, they're so bullish on this space, that they've partnered to launch a consultancy business called, Transformation Group. With that, many will also recognize these two digital futurists as the co-authors of Naked Conversations and Age Of Context. Enjoy the conversation... You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast #563. Tags: advertising advertising podcast age of context ai ar artificial intelligence audio augmented reality blog blogging brand branding business blog business book business podcast business thinker david usher digital marketing digital marketing agency digital marketing blog facebook futurist google itunes j walter thompson jwt leadership podcast management podcast marketing marketing blog marketing podcast mirum mirum agency mirum agency blog mirum blog mirum podcast mixed reality mobile mr naked conversations robert scoble shel israel social media technology the fourth transformation transformation group twitter virtual reality vr web wpp   [...]

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #357

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 10:39:06 PDT

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see? My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, HBS; chair of Strata, Startupfest, Pandemonio, and ResolveTO; Author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist's Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see". Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another:  Jungletown - Viceland. "Documentary filmmaker Ondi Timoner first showed up at Startupfest, a conference I chair, years ago, working on a film about a founder and his quest to build the next Facebook. She adapted that into a video series; she'd had success with things like We Live In Public and won at Sundance. This year, I launched a conference in Panama, and found out Ondi had been working on a show there too. It's about a bunch of kids who try to set up a sustainable village in the jungle. Its announcement sparked a Twitter firestorm -- is this white privilege writ large, or a slow descent into Lord Of the Flies? Whatever it becomes, with Ondi at the helm, it's likely to be an interesting ride." (Alistair for Hugh). The Master Would Approve: The Cast of MST3K on the Surreal Joys of its Return - Paste Quarterly. "When I first moved to San Diego in 1995, I was confronted by a bizarre wave of US shows: Aeon Flux on MTV stands out, as does MST3K. Over the years, I eschewed MP3s, but scoured torrent sites for episodes of this weird, hackneyed, subversive program. And now, after much Kickstarter and some Netflix support, it's back. Here's what it was, how it happened, and why you might like it." (Alistair for Mitch). The Other President - This American Life. "A fascinating insight into Putin's (former) chief propagandist, who implemented a program of 'managed democracy'." (Hugh for Alistair). What is Technology Doing to Us? - Sam Harris Podcast. "I've been enjoying listening to Sam Harris' long conversations with smart people lately. This fascinating discussion with Tristan Harris (former Design Ethicist at Google) projects out the impacts of the 'persuasion technology' that underpins, well, just about every consumer-facing tech/web business. The impacts are profound, especially when you consider the enlightenment concepts of democracy, free will, and rational decision-making driving society." (Hugh for Mitch). "Mission-driven" leaders are losing their mystique - Quartz. "Silicon Valley is learning something, as a journalist, that I have known since the late eighties: words matter. You can't be out in the world with a mission statement about making dents in the universe, if there's a ton of activating happening at the c-level and management team that says otherwise (and makes you look bad). Living and breathing a mission-driven business isn't easy, but technology puts you under the scrutiny and microscope of everyone. More than that, when one domino falls, it makes everybody, everywhere look for the next one. It's corrosive and the valley better beware." (Mitch for Alistair). The Oral History Of TED, A Club For The Rich That Became A Global Phenomenon - Wired. "As someone who has been attending the TED conference for close to a decade, it's tough to read that headline. I'm not sure that it's a club for the rich, so much as it is a place for people who will spend a lot to invest in themselves. That's my take. Still, on Monday, I will make my annual pilgrimage to the TED conference in Vancouver. As usual, the energy is high and I can't wait to have my brain put in a blender and then dumped out on to a trampoline (because that's what it feels like). Prepping my Field Notes as I type this and I'm super-excited to see where this year's journey will take me. This is a good primer on the event and global sensation that is TED (with a bad headline)." (Mitch for Hugh).  Feel f[...]

The Pending Influencer Marketing Bubble

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 06:40:43 PDT

If you're looking for growth in the marketing industry, look no further than influencer marketing. The global advertising business will see a slight slowdown in 2017, according to Magna. The industry will only grow by 3.7% with total advertising revenue expected to reach $511 billion. That's over half a trillion dollars. The slowdown could be related to a lack of "big events" like a major political campaign or the Olympics (which usually pushes incremental ad spend). We're also seeing something else happen: the chairs on the deck are being shuffled around. Ad spend is bleeding from traditional media channels and being reallocated to digital. Digital budgets will see double-digit growth and will become the top media category this year, over-taking television advertising sales for the first time ever. Every other media category will not feel this kind of wind in their sails.   This is a big deal, but it does not tell the story... It's not just money going from tv ads and newspapers over to Google and Facebook. Influencer marketing has shifted from the new and shiny bright object to becoming the fastest growing channel in digital marketing today. TL;DR: brands love paying influencers hefty fees to get them to shill their wares. For every advancement that we're seeing in the marketing technology world (think marketing automation, programmatic, artificial intelligence, self-serve tools, etc...), there's a hot new startup replicating these platforms specifically for influencer marketing. There are multiple and big agencies who have one sole focus: connect brands to influencers. And, of course, influencers are loving it. In the past short while, we've seen companies like Google, Twitter and Adobe make acquisitions of businesses in the influencer marketing space. It still seems to be heating up, with no signs of slowing down. Even Amazon has been (somewhat) quietly renaming their affiliate marketing program as an influencer marketing platform (and targeting some of the influencers with larger followings to create more traction and opportunities).  If everything is so exciting in influencer marketing, why is there a pending bubble to burst? Influencers build significant audiences. It's not just a consumer watching a piece of media. Fans of influencers are (usually) "all in." They're attracted to these influencers for a myriad of reasons (the influencer's knowledge, likeablity, how the influencer is a part of the community rather than someone pushing content down to an audience, etc...). Influencer marketing is working, because the relationship between the content creator and the fans is built on trust, and how close the influencer gets to the audience. This makes things (somewhat) tenuous for brands. The brand is not just running a pre-roll ad before the content. For a true influencer marketing campaign to work, the influencer has to really believe in the brand and be able to create content that is reflective of both the brand's needs and the audience's receptiveness to this content. Brands need to tread carefully here, but the influencer is really the one who has to be the most careful. Any mis-step, any sign of shilling without belief in the product/service, and it could cost them audience, growth and long-term staying power. You would think that this would make influencer marketing one of the most powerful forms of marketing and endorsement.  Yes... and no. It's not that money corrupts. It is that money can skew things. Influencers can be quite convincing. Influencers can be quite manipulative. Even with full transparency that the content is sponsored (an ad), money can sway influencers. This is especially true in more mature influencer marketing categories like beauty and fashion. Becoming a beauty and fashion influencer these days, is like the new mommy bloggers of a few years back. It's all the rage, and brands all want the hottest, biggest and brightest rising stars of Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, etc... to shill their latest products. Influencers of the day are l[...]

The Audience (Formerly Known As The Audience)

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 06:48:15 PDT

Who is your audience? On my early morning drive to the airport, I caught the tail-end of Howard Stern interviewing Sheryl Crow. Crow was live and in the studio promoting her upcoming album. The constant reflections and self-commentary on how she's just a middle-aged white woman, were both self-deprecatinglty funny and illuminating. Even rock stars question their own relevancy every now and again (maybe brands should come at it with the same self-reflection and humour?). As the interview was winding down, Stern asked Crow who this album was created for? Without missing a beat, Crow responded: "who knows who my audience is anymore?" It wasn't meant to be sarcastic. It wasn't meant to be self-deprecating. Creatively, Sheryl Crow is in a place, where she's writing and creating the music that she wants. Her sentiment was meant to mean that if the music feels right, it will find an audience, but it did give pause. Do you know who your audience is anymore? At a recent speaking event, the Chief Marketing Officer pulled me aside to ask for some advice. The company was launching a new product aimed at business travellers, and was curious about the best travel apps for these types of consumers. Immediately, a persona of the modern business traveller was being compiled in my mind's eye... Male. White. Middle-aged. Salt and pepper hair (male pattern baldness). Business suit. Shined shoes. Tumi briefcase. Travelpro carry-on roller (4 wheeler). Bose noise-cancelling headphones. iPhone but PC laptop. Funky socks. Interesting glasses. Airline status luggage tags. Lounge access. Do you see this modern business traveller persona in your mind's eye? I imagined this individual pulling into the airport in their Audi and whisking through security with their Global Entry. Back to this morning and Sheryl Crow. As I sat in the airport lounge (the modern business traveller's home away from home), I reflected on my conversation with this CMO and looked around. There must have been about 150 modern business travellers in the mist. Maybe four of them looked like the persona above. In fact, even if closer to eighty percent of them matched the persona above, I wondered how many of their personal interests, traits and purchasing habits were similar? I'm guessing close to zero beyond their own self-image desires to look like this "modern business traveller." Personas and analytics are not the audience. Is it possible that personas and your analytics are not your audience? Is it possible that it's getting harder and harder to gather up all of your audience members, and paint a brush of similarity across them all? Think about the last concert that you went to. Think about your last shopping experience. Diversity isn't just about how brands hire or how your kid's playground looks at recess. With so much access to information, connectivity, global marketplaces and more, perhaps everyday is a winding road (as Sheryl Crow sings) when trying to figure out who your true audience is? Who is my audience? Often, before I start recording my podcast, this is the question that a guest will ask me. I'd like to think that the audience for Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is senior marketing professionals and the senior leadership of large national and multi-national brands. This is what the persona and analytics would lead me to believe. Then, the reality of emails and meeting people out in the wild and in their protein forms completely cracks that model. In fact, many brand leaders act surprised when they meet their consumers, mostly because they look nothing like the personas that were built and are being marketed against.  New thinking around audiences and targeting. Who do you think has a keen understanding of their audience? Which brands have nailed it? And, most importantly, is it truly able to lump them all into a similar bucket (or two)? Candidly, when I think of a "senior marketing professional" and counter that with the thousands (yes, thousands) of marketing profe[...]

What Makes A Great Brand?

Tue, 18 Apr 2017 11:37:07 PDT

Not a good brand. Not a successful brand... a great brand? In fact, before attempting to answer this question, it's probably important to define what, exactly, a brand is? For me a brand is the complete experience and manifestation that a company produces, and how it is then internalized by the consumer. Candidly, that's a little bit vapid when you consider that piles of business books and courses have been written and conducted to explain what a true brand is. Still, the brand is the experience that a consumer has when it comes to product, price, promotion and place. Now, what brand is truly "great" in your estimation?  It's not always the biggest, the most profitable or the most well known. One could argue that you would need to hit those three mountaintops to be considered "great," and that's fair enough. Does size make a brand great? I know many great brands that many of you would question. Some think Apple is a great brand. Many hate it. Same could be said for just about any brand. Still... let's push on this together: What makes a great brand? Let's make a list of what makes a brand great... How it makes a consumer feel. How it is mission-based and driven. How it is on the consumer's side. How trustful it is. How its inspires confidence. How it handles customer support. How it aligns with consumer's values. How it prices itself in relation to perceived value. How well it communicates. How well it knows its customers. How unique it is in relation to its competitors. How well it demonstrates its passion. How consistent it is. How well distributed it is in its market. Any more to add? Candidly, many of the answers that we give to this idea of "what makes a brand great?" Feels more tactical and post-purchase, than what got them to be considered great in the first place. Is a great brand one that understands the power of innovation while injecting a lot of money to make their products/services known? That's not always the case. We have seen countless instances, when the 800 pound gorilla of any given industry has attempted to introduce a new brand... and failed spectacularly. These are companies with hefty research and development teams and the funds to push an idea through to the market and still... crickets and tumbleweeds.  There's something about great brands that many of us don't want to/never will admit... Often what makes a brand great is simply tapping into the zeitgeist at the time and a lot of luck. Chief Marketing Officers, brand architects and marketing professionals don't like to talk about it/admit it, because it diminishes their impact, and continues the human narrative that we're all in deep control of the outcomes in our lives (not to get too spiritual, but we're often not in control). This is not hyperbole when it comes to building a great brand. It is fact. I spent over a decade speaking to rock stars and musicians. If I had one genuine curiosity at the time, it was why them... and not someone else? This is where I netted out: it's not always tangible, definable or something that went according to plan. Sometimes, it just worked (most often, it did not). When this happens, there is no formula, prescription or reasoning. These bands (and, yes, bands are very similar to brands), just happened to hit a weird intersection between capturing the zeitgeist and lots of luck. How is this possible? Throughout my years as a music writer and publisher of music magazines, I have seen countless amazing bands with major record deals, massive production budgets, a hit producer on their album, amazing support tours for when they were road-ready, the best managers in the business. and more. Many bands like that have simply fizzled and faded. Nobody knows or understands why. In fact, that happens more than those small few that break through to become great. Sadly. Building a brand and building a band have the same components in them. When asked, "what makes a great brand?", everyone tends to describe the ou[...]

The Business Of Addictive Technology With Adam Alter - This Week's Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast

Sun, 16 Apr 2017 04:50:35 PDT

Episode #562 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to. When a business and marketing professional asks me which thinker and author they should be paying more attention to, I immediately respond with Adam Alter. His first book, Drunk Tank Pink, was a fascinating journey into the relationship between the forces of our environment and how it shapes the outcomes of our lives. His latest book, Irresistible, looks at how addictive all of our technology is, and why businesses need for it to be this way (and how they keep us hooked). Adam is an Associate Professor of marketing and psychology at NYU's Stern School of Business and psychology department. His research focuses on the intersection of behavioral economics, marketing, and the psychology of judgment and decision-making. He's also an all-around nice guy. So, put your iPhone down and enjoy the conversation... You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast #562. Tags: adam alter advertising advertising podcast audio behavioural economics blog blogging brand branding business blog business book business podcast business thinker david usher digital marketing digital marketing agency digital marketing blog drunk tank pink facebook google irresistible itunes j walter thompson jwt leadership podcast management podcast marketing marketing blog marketing podcast marketing professional marketing professor mirum mirum agency mirum agency blog mirum blog mirum podcast nyu psychology social media social psychology stern school of business technology technology addiction twitter wpp [...]

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #356

Fri, 14 Apr 2017 01:48:04 PDT

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see? My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, HBS; chair of Strata, Startupfest, Pandemonio, and ResolveTO; Author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist's Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see". Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another:  Appearing in Stock Photos Was the Biggest Mistake of My Life - Vice. "This title says it all; but the reasons why are worth considering. It isn't just that royalty-free clipart is common; it's also that there is a demand for a specific face to represent grimaces and regret (which this guy has); and that in a connected world, news of our fame leaks back to us in ways it once didn't. Also, it's pretty funny. Would you want to be the face of genital diseases in Brazil?" (Alistair for Hugh). Is Lo-Fi House the First Genre of the Algorithm Age? - Thump - Vice. "Alistair's Law of Music Backlash writ large. As we try to train algorithms (like the one Hugh shared below of Bob Ross deep-dreamed into madness) to get better and better at things humans do, humans like what's flawed and distorted. It's a Wabi-sabi for the digital age. And some of its first offspring are trends like glitch (in audio, visuals, and advertising)--and lo-fi house, which was shaped by algorithms such as YouTube's recommendations. Mitch, I know this isn't bass or metal, but it's still for you." (Alistair for Mitch). Deeply Artificial Trees - artBoffin - Vimeo. "What is this? What is it? My God. What what is it? This is, if I understand correctly, a neural network-generated video of Bob Ross painting; or, the most hellish version of David Lynch's nightmares." (Hugh for Alistair). Just a clown singing Pinball Wizard to the tune of Folsom Prison Blues - BoingBoing. "Clown. Pinball Wizard. Folsom Prison Blues. Nightmares." (Hugh for Mitch). Consumers Starting To Buy More Through Voice Assistants - MediaPost. "How often do you think about your own conspicuous consumption? Maybe it's no longer just about buying expensive items to display wealth and income rather than to cover your real needs? Maybe it's just about getting more stuff, instead of stuff that you really need? If you think about it, these voice assistants are making it ever-more easy for everyone to act like an old school king. Simply wave your fingers in the air and ask for something... and it arrives. Sometimes that stuff will be there within a few hours. We invent technology and often don't know what it will be used for. After reading this, think about how much stuff we'll simply ask for versus the stuff that we actually need." (Mitch for Alistair).  A New, More Rigorous Study Confirms: The More You Use Facebook, the Worse You Feel - Harvard Business Review. "Facebook's job is to keep you coming back. The people you are connected to on Facebook have a job too. Their job is (mostly) to make you feel like you're not living up to your full potential, because everything that everyone else posts is the life that they want you to think that they're living. Only the good stuff. The result: we're all much more miserable. And, the more you use it, the worse you feel (unless you've done a little bit of work on yourself, how you feel, how you think and how you manage your life). It's a misery out there, folks..." (Mitch for Hugh). Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play. src="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"> Deeply Artificial Trees from artBoffin on Vimeo. src="[...]

Fidget Marketing For A World That Won't Stop Moving

Mon, 17 Apr 2017 16:37:01 PDT

How should brands connect to consumers who just can't stop moving? Social psychology and marketing professor, Adam Alter, has a new book out. It's called, Irresistible - The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked (you can check out my conversation with Adam right here: The Business Of Addictive Technology With Adam Alter - Episode #562 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast). It's not just technology and how these developers engage, connect and ensure that consumers come back that should be worrying. It is also who we are (all) becoming - as a society. It's no longer a question of how healthy/unhealthy it is for us to be so constantly and consistently connected to technology, it's also about how we just can't stop doing something... anything at all times. Keep moving. Keep busy. It's more than a habit. On one hand, we're seeing an increased interest in mindfulness practice and meditation (look no further than the mass success of apps like Headspace). On the other side, we're neck-deep in a culture of people (and this is affecting kids too) that just can't stop doing something/moving. For kids with more severe issues like ADHD, etc... there was this little toy called the fidget cube and fidget spinner that took off on Kickstarter. The lore goes that kids who fell on a spectrum would fidget with these devices, and that would both calm them down and help them to focus. Now, these toys/devices have crossed over to the mainstream. Everybody wants them. Not just kids. The hottest toy going these days are fidget spinners. You can find them cheapish ($5 - $10 range) but they also can quickly move into the $25 - $75 range as well. It would be easy to dismiss this craze as something that could become the next Yo-Yo. After watching these fidget spinners take off in popularity with elementary school kids and move up to adults who are, simply, looking for something to fidget with at all times, it should give us all pause. Always fidgeting. Whether it's thumbing through a newsfeed, responding to text messages or incessantly checking out iPhone for updates, that digital desire to always be flicking, fondling, clicking and tugging at your smartphone is now transcending digital with a new-ish version of the stress ball... and the real concern should be the habit-forming nature of how these young kids (and adults) always need something to do. Much has been written on the subject of stillness (here's a great primer from Pico Iyer's excellent TED Talk, The Art of Stillness), but what seems like a innocuous gift to a kid, or just following along with what's hot in toys today, could well be programming the next generation to always be moving, doing, etc... A tougher environment for business to come.  We see the process of selling and marketing to consumers as "moments in time." The concept that while consumers are watching (or engaging with) media, we can get our brand messaging in front of them. Brands work on the newer digital platforms by being present should a consumer be searching or chatting with another consumer about a brand, a competitor or looking at a catagory for a potential purchase. We know that we're already in the age of distraction, but what if this shifts to the age of fidgeting? A place where these is never a moment when a consumer is doing nothing at all. A place where consumers are always doing something else. A place where consumers are constantly fidgeting. Is the future about fidget marketing? Will brands be faced with new challenges as they try to get their messaging to the masses? In my second business book, CTRL ALT Delete, I made the case for utilitarianism marketing (the idea that a brand can provide tools and functions that add more value to their consumer's lives than simply advertising to them). Watching the popularity of fidget spinners take hold, it made me wonder what more a bra[...]

Automated Creativity Is Inevitable (And A Good Idea) - Strategy Magazine Column

Thu, 13 Apr 2017 08:55:45 PDT

You can't throw a marketing professional down a flight of stairs these days without the words "artificial intelligence" tumbling out of their mouth. We've seen a slew of announcements about just how much artificial intelligence is going to be used to replace all of us protein-based, left-and-right-brain-evolved monkeys in marketing today. Still, there seems to be this top-level thinking that artificial intelligence will never be smart enough to replace the creativity and human insights that truly make our work sing in the marketplace. What makes us so confident? This isn't about a dystopian science fiction narrative, the inevitable moment where we switch on SkyNet. This also isn't about the futurist's Pollyanna glee over that moment when Star Trek's Holodeck goes from virtual reality to reality, and suddenly nobody wants to leave the hot sex fantasy of virtual worlds. Maybe we've all spent too much time watching Westworld? Maybe it's just me? Coca-Cola's global senior digital director, Mariano Bosaz, recently did an interview with AdWeek during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. He talked about breaking the age-old process of creative briefs, pitching ideas and producing content for experimenting with "automated narratives" (quick, get that title on your business card, before everyone else does). Bosaz believes that artificial intelligence can do simple content activities like update social media platforms and choose music for video content. His is a long-term vision for the industry, but it could come sooner than most people anticipate. AI is already doing the work of creatives in other arenas, from composing music to bots writing all kinds of weather reports and basic sports journalism. Companies like Tronc (formerly Tribune Publishing) will be using artificial intelligence to ramp up video production from a few hundred to two thousand videos a day. It's not hyperbole. There's technology, distribution and a plan at play here. Still, great content and advertising won't ever become the job of artificial intelligence... will it? Could AI ever create something as mesmerizing as a Monet, as touching as a chorus from Dylan or as cutting as the words of Twain? It could. Look at it this way. Currently, many people are scared about relinquishing their driving to a computer. But as someone who had the pleasure of taking a joyride in a Google autonomous vehicle on an open road in a populated city, my first reaction was: I never want a human being to drive another car again, including me. Being privy to exactly how much the computer can "see", parse and react to in relation to our simple brains made it evident just how transformative that technology could be. Think about the sheer number of cultural and artistic inputs that artificial intelligence can consume, parse and remix to come up with variations on a creative brief. It's fair to argue that they could be better at understanding and emoting than humans with that many inputs. Artificial intelligence is not going to affect every part of business and then just stop when it comes to creativity. The wheels are already in motion. So let's think about it in terms of the here and now. If bots are currently (and successfully) writing articles (and humans are none the wiser), what kind of baseline creative content could machines produce for your brand today? Think about all the different iterations on an email newsletter for targeting. Is there part of your creative process that is both repetitive and time-consuming that simple AI technology can not just replicate, but optimize and enhance? Does anyone in your business use or have access to Amazon AWS APIs, Google Cloud ML APIs, IBM Watson Bluemix APIs and Microsoft Cognitive Services APIs? Why not? What seems like a reasonable timeline for your brand to start experimenting with artificial intelligence and c[...]

Be The Brand That You Wish To See In The World

Wed, 12 Apr 2017 12:18:34 PDT

Brands have done a wonderful job of stepping in it over the past little while, haven't they? Usual gaffs and poor advertising judgment aside, brands may have crossed a new line when they are physically accosting and having their paid customers roughed up and out of the brand experience. Not sure a brand wants to be known as the new "Fight Club"... unless they're putting out a sequel to the 1999 blockbuster film. And with that, comes many things: excuses, apologies, adapting policies, legalese, public relations, spin, consumer backlash, social media armchair quarterbacking, memes (oh, the memes), and the general piling-on of traditional media and the late night show crews. It's enough to make a brand want to curl up in a corner and die... for a little while.  Many pundits point to the stock market as an indicator of just how much value/money a brand pays when they make silly (and super huge stupid) mistakes. The next day's markets are not a true indicator. One needs to look out (about a month) to see if there truly is any lingering impact, or if the corporation lives to tell the tale of another stellar quarter. The bigger the brand (and the bigger the gaff), the less we have (historically) seen any kind of longterm impact. The big behemoths have resilience, don't they? This is a generality (and there are exceptions to the rule, of course), but it's true. One airline's massive public relations and business scandal today is hardly even mentioned on the next quarterly earnings calls. If you're a consumer advocate, that can be a depressing fact. If you're a brand, it gives them carte blanche to make massive mis-steps, correct as they go, and hope that the market's memory is short.  Is this the way that consumer's really want brands to be? There seems to be common thread throughout many of these mistakes that can easily be summed as: "it is legal?". There are rules and regulations in place. With that, mistakes are human nature so long as they don't cross the rule of law. In the UFC-like clip from the major airline this week, there is that same underlying statement hidden with the brand's apology. This is all legal (unfortunate, but within their legal rights to remove the passenger). Here's a pretty clear and simple rule for a brand that is looking to trascend the ordinary, and move from good to great (as the saying goes): If all a brand is looking to do is stay within the legal bounds of what is acceptable, it's going to be a tough slog towards greatness.  Oversold, overbooked, or even having a clause that allows a paying customer to removed so that an employee can take their spot is not going to be compared against whether a brand lobbied government or created a loophole to make this a legal practice. Your consumer is not a lawyer or a government official. They are your paying customers. They come first. Always. Period. Just because your industry has a set of laws, legislations, regulations and more, it does not mean that the brand's job is to get as close to the edge of that law as possible without falling into the abyss. To be a brand that cares... you need to be a brand that is better than the law.  Why not simply ignore those laws, regulations and legislations? Know them. Ensure that your people know them, but let your brand be the one that puts the consumer first. Let your brand be the one that doesn't need those rules or laws, because you would never - as a practice of buisness - get close to what is being considered offside.  Who would not want to be a customer of that brand... today and tomorrow? Being an airline is a tough business. It's a very sophisticated and complicated and regulated business, where the airline also takes a lot of heat that is unwarranted, due to the many other corporations involved in this business. With that, there is nothing stopping any airline f[...]

Transform Your Digital Marketing - Live (And Free) In Montreal This Wednesday

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 11:49:55 PDT

I will be speaking live in Montreal this coming Wednesday... and it's free. I am often asked when I will be speaking live in Montreal. Candidly, it does not happen often. And, when it does, it's usually a private corporate event that is not open to the public. So, if you're interested in seeing my latest keynote presentation (and what I've been thinking about when it comes to disruption, marketing innovation and the future of business), you are more than welcome to join me on Wednesday, April 12th, 2017 at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (1379 Sherbrooke Ouest, Montreal, Quebec). There is one catch: You must register. Why is my presentation and this live event open to the public and free? It turns out that KPI Digital (an IBM partner company), the APCM (Association des Professionnels de la Communication et du Marketing), AMR (Association du Marketing Relationnel) and the Canadian Marketing Association have all come together to host, sponsor and bring this event to Montreal.  Space is limited. It's not a huge venue, so if you are interested, please do register. The event will take place from 5:30 - 7:30 pm this coming Wednesday. I will be speaking for about an hour. Here's what I will be talking about: "We live in a culture of change. Most brands are overwhelmed by the massive shifts they have to make to their business models. Disruption is everywhere. Digital transformation is imperative. We live in the Uber-ization of everything. There are several new (and dramatic) realities that will force businesses to rethink many of their commonly held beliefs about what works in business today, and what the future may look like. Interestingly, this is less about the evolution of technology and much more about how consumers have become that much more efficient in this very different landscape. Bring an open mind, because the world continues to change and challenge brands like never before. The new leadership is being a digital leader. This is your compass." Transform your brand and your digital marketing this coming Wednesday night in Montreal. I hope to see you there! Register here: Transform Your Digital Marketing Strategy With Mitch Joel (President, Mirum) Live In Montreal. (Please note: the registration website is in French, but my presentation will be 100% in English). Tags: advertising agency amr apcm brand business business blog business model business transformation canadian marketing association cma culture digital leader digital marketing digital marketing agency digital marketing blog digital marketing strategy digital transformation disruption future of business ibm ibm partner innovation j walter thompson jwt keynote keynote presentation kpi digital marketing marketing agency marketing blog marketing innovation mirum mirum agency mirum agency blog mirum blog mirum canada mirum in canada mitch joel mitchjoel montreal montreal marketing online culture presentation six pixels of separation technology transformation uber wpp [...]

Amazon Is Eating Retail, Uber Is In Hot Water (Again) And More On This Week's CTRL ALT Delete Segment On CHOM 97.7 FM

Mon, 10 Apr 2017 08:28:40 PDT

Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio out of Montreal (home base). It's not a long segment - about 5 to 10 minutes every week - about everything that is happening in the world of technology and digital media. The good folks at CHOM 97.7 FM are posting these segments weekly on iHeart Radio, if you're interested in hearing more of me blathering away about what's going on in the digital world. I'm really excited about this opportunity, because this is the radio station that I grew up on listening to, and it really is a fun treat to be invited to the Mornings Rock with Terry DiMonte morning show. The segment is called, CTRL ALT Delete with Mitch Joel. This week we discussed:  Amazon is eating everything. Literally. They're calling it "the Amazon effect." Just this week, the Payless shoe chain filed for bankruptcy, Ralph Lauren said it will close its flagship Fifth Avenue Polo store, Rue21 is preparing to file for bankruptcy as well. Hudson's Bay Company didn't mince words about their retail challenges last week, and Bloomberg is reporting that we could see over 50 retailers file for bankruptcy this year alone.  Uber is back in the news. It's not good news. Now, the company is involved in a class action suit over the use of "sophisticated" software that was able to defraud not just the drivers, but us passengers as well. It was filed in federal court in Los Angeles last week. And, if proven to be true, paints a terribly anti-Silicon Valley view of this company as it continues to struggle with good values and ethics in business.  This Wednesday evening, I will be giving my latest keynote presentation (for free) here in Montreal. I rarely do events that are open to the public. It's part of a Canadian Marketing Association event in partnership with KPI Digital. It's from 5:30 - 7:30 pm at Musee des Beaux Arts, and anybody is welcome to come but they have to register here. App of the Week: Postepic. Take a listen right here... src="" width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no"> Tags: advertising agency amazon app of the week bloomberg brand business blog canadian marketing association chom fm ctrl alt delete ctrl alt delete with mitch joel digital marketing digital marketing agency digital marketing blog digital media facebook google guest contributor hudsons bay company i heart radio j walter thompson jwt kpi digital marketing marketing agency marketing blog mirum mirum agency mirum agency blog mirum blog mirum canada mirum in canada mitch joel mitchjoel montreal radio morning show mornings rock with terry dimonte payless shoes polo radio segment radio station ralph lauren retail retailer rue 21 rue21 silicon valley six pixels of separation social media technology terry dimonte twitter uber wpp  chom 977 fm  postepic [...]

Reengineering Retail With Doug Stephens - This Week's Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast

Sun, 09 Apr 2017 04:30:16 PDT

Episode #561 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to. Doug Stephens is one of the world's foremost retail industry futurists. His work and thinking has influenced some of the world's best-known retailers, agencies and brands. Prior to founding Retail Prophet, Doug spent over 20 years as a professional in the retail industry. He is the author of two business books: The Retail Revival - Re-Imagining Business for the New Age of Consumerism and his latest, Reengineering Retail - The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World. The world of retail is facing disruption, innovation and digitization all at once. Is this the end or just the beginning of retail? Enjoy the conversation... You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast #561. Tags: advertising advertising podcast audio blog blogging brand branding business blog business book business podcast business thinker consumer consumerism david usher digital marketing digital marketing agency digital marketing blog digital world digitization disruption Doug Stephens facebook futurist google innovation itunes j walter thompson jwt leadership podcast management podcast marketing marketing blog marketing podcast mirum mirum agency mirum agency blog mirum blog mirum podcast post digital world reengineering retail retail retail futurist retail industry retail prophet selling social media the retail revival twitter wpp [...]

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #355

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 15:06:30 PDT

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see? My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, HBS; chair of Strata, Startupfest, Pandemonio, and ResolveTO; Author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist's Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see". Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another:  Did Reddit's April Fool's gag solve the issue of online hate speech? - Ars Technica. "You can do a lot of things when you have the world's attention. Reddit has occasionally been a lab of sorts for nearly-collaborative interactions, where the nature of collaboration is severely restricted (the reddit button social experiment is a good example.) Well, this year, they gave the reddit community a canvas on which users could change one pixel to a color of their choice -- and set it free. Would it result in chaos? Coordination? Competition?" (Alistair for Hugh). The Silicon Gourmet: training a neural network to generate cooking recipes - Postcards From The Frontiers of Science. "We're finding ways to get algorithms to do all kinds of things. In this case, write recipes. Feed a neural network a bunch of recipes, let it iterate and compare what it makes to real recipes, repeat. The results are hysterical -- but also a good demonstration of the gradual, relentless improvement algorithms can make. Plus, this makes for hysterical clipart." (Alistair for Mitch). Cooking with Cthulhu - Postcards From The Frontiers of Science. "Take some incomplete recipes, feed them through a neural network trained on the works of early horror master, H.P. Lovecraft, and enjoy some tasty ideas for your next kitchen session." (Hugh for Alistair). Early Heavy Metal Documentary - BBC Proto - YouTube. "This one's for you, Mitch!... and all the other headbangers out there." (Hugh for Mitch). The Five Stages Of Tech Disruption - Disruption Hub. "I often lament that brands don't really understand the difference between 'disruption' and 'destruction'. No, they are not the same thing (clearly), but many brands do this. They think that disruption is the end, verses an amazing opportunity to future-proof their business. Here's a great way to think about tech disruption, that got me thinking about how the marketing industry was disrupted... and how it will be disrupted next. What happened next? A whole bunch of new business ideas." (Mitch for Alistair). Dad photoshops kid into dangerous situations, people think they're real and go mad - ShortList. "The headline says it all. This is perfect for a serious laugh... and also helps to illustrate how people react, interact and comment online, without stepping back to think about anything. Still, all of the funnies are here." (Mitch for Hugh). Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play. src="" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0"> Tags: advertising agency alistair croll ars technica bbc bit current bit north book a futurists manifesto brand business blog complete web monitoring digital marketing digital marketing agency digital marketing blog disruption hub facebook gigom google harvard business school hp lovecraft hugh mcguire human 20 iambic j wa[...]

The Amazon That You Don't See (That Google And Facebook Are Watching)

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 19:35:31 PDT

Amazon is a media beast. Amazon is just getting started. In 2012, I published an article titled, Is Amazon The Future Of Media? From the piece: "While people wax poetic about the retail prowess and clout of Amazon, I am always quick to point out that they are one of the most fascinating media companies that has ever been created. Marketing professionals and luddites alike typically stare at me the way that a dog does when you try to talk to it. What the majority of people don't know is that Amazon is able to undercut so many retailers not just because they have a more streamlined or technologically advanced supply chain system, but because each and every customer also provides Amazon with a significant amount of media revenue per user that eclipses most other media properties (let alone competitive online retailers). I have no formal proof of this - and Amazon is very quiet about how media is played on their site and partner sites - but industry insiders from all corners have all conferred that Amazon gets a lot of media dollars per user, and is able to optimize that number by constantly and consistently putting highly targeted and relevant offers in front of them." It's five years later.  A few days ago, CNBC published the news item: Amazon's growing advertising clout threatens the dominance of Google and Facebook, says analyst. From the piece: "Amazon's advertising business is growing fast enough that it threatens the dominance of Google and Facebook, according to BMO Capital Markets.The company's ad business is 'gaining significant momentum' and will take market share from Google, Facebook, and others... The advertising segment of e-commerce giant Amazon's business model has the potential to grow sales by 65 percent in 2017, reaching $3.5 billion... 'A key point of differentiation for Amazon [from competitors] is the massive amount of consumer purchase data it possesses.'"  It's easy to look at Google... it's easy to look at Facebook. Dig deep into Amazon and the media story is more fascinating than ever before. The article goes on to make the argument that Google knows what you're searching for, and that Facebook knows what people are interested in (and who they are connected to), but Amazon knows what they're shopping for. That's fairly elementary. Amazon has become a beast of a search engine. If someone is looking for anything to purchase, they use Amazon (over Google) for their searches. This is profound. Amazon's marketplace also enables vendors (not just Amazon) to build and stock their own stores. Amazon also has a lot of personal information (and who it's connected to). Think about wishlists, gifting friends and being able to pull that data together. It goes even deeper. Think about AWS (Amazon Web Services), and how much of the Internet it powers through this early investment and constant innovation in the cloud computing space. Gartner is now predicting that about 30% of all searches will be done without a screen in the next four years. Voice is driving the next generation of navigating technology, and Amazon is one of the significant leaders of voice with its Alexa platform, and their line of Internet of Things voice-control hardware for the home and office. Think about the data, information and analytics that Amazon will be soon be collecting based on voice commands (and listening to those enviornments). Staggering. Amazon is a juggernaut. Not just in retail, but in disruption, innovation and understanding consumer behaviour. Don't think - for a second - that the media play is not going to quickly become a significant component in everything that Amazon does. Amazon has search. Amazon has deep understanding of consumer's ne[...]

When Will Instagram Wake Up To Business (Or Should It)?

Fri, 07 Apr 2017 14:46:26 PDT

With apologies to my friends at Shopify, is Instagram the best place to sell stuff online? Building a website is hard. Building a mobile app is harder. Making your business work across both screens is even more complex. It's not just design and usability, but there's technology involved. What should you build it on? WordPress? What about hosting it? Who does that best? Yes, there are easier solutions (SquareSpace, Wix, Shopify, etc...). Still, it's not as simple and intuitive as others make it out to be. Plus, let's agree that you managed to cross the chasm, how do you get consumers to your digital doorstep? How do you keep them coming back? Email offerings? Marketing automation? Maintaining a database? Again, all doable, fairly reasonable from a costing perspective these days, but not as easy as many make it out to be.  Why not just build your business on Instagram? Sure, there's the whole "owned" versus "rented" land issue that a brand will have to reconcile. It's a debate that continues to this day. I used to write about a "hub and spoke" model (build it on your own hub and market through other channels as your spokes). With that, things change rapidly in the digital media world, and we do find ourselves in a "hub and hub" model (build your own and build unique hubs on the platforms). For many brands these are untenable strategies (think about the resources of small/local business owners). The time, energy and effort is just too much.  What's a brand to do? This phenom of building a business on Instagram is not new. Several years back, a group of burgeoning small business entrepreneurs in Kuwait started using Instagram to sell their wares. How? Isn't Instagram a photo/video sharing platform? How are the transactions processed? How do consumers get service from the brand owners? The workarounds were abound. Customer service and communications was done via a WhatsApp account that was promoted in their Instagram header. Transactions were then handled using Square or PayPal. How much did this all cost? Instragram accounts are free... as are WhatsApp accounts, and the transactions are a small percentage of the sale. This is a low cost barrier to entry. Instagram is almost half a billion users strong, and the very nature of its experience enables brand to very powerfully merchandise their wares... and be interesting. Images, videos, collages... you get the idea. Instagram is not an e-commerce platform (or is it)? Today, Fast Company ran an article titled, Young Entrepreneurs Are Using Instagram To Bring E-Commerce To Gaza. It features the story of several young entrepreneurs in Gaza, who are using workarounds and MacGyver ingenuity to sell stuff. Gone is the worry of trying to figure out how to nurture and develop one's own e-commerce experience, as social media can connect these vibrant entrepreneurs to local (and distant) markets. Don't kid yourself, either. This is a real thing. It even has a name: Insta-Business. Whatever works. It's hard not to admire the spirit of these young entrepreneurs. It's harder not to realize that this could well be one of the best ways for brands of any size and stature to think about. Instead of spending months rolling out a new product or service, why not try it as a Insta-Business? It's an opportunity to see what might happen to a business model, when it is put in front of half-a-billion people. Of course, you won't be able to reach all of those people on Instagram, but they are there. Plus, think about the technical and business requirements required to do this. Imagine cutting those lag-times down to a fraction of the time. Products and services can, literally, be in market within a [...]

Why I Started Subscribing To The New York Times (It's Not What You Think)

Thu, 06 Apr 2017 07:47:27 PDT

This week I started my digital subscription to The New York Times. It's not what you think. I did not subscribe because the publication is aligned with my political views. I did not subscribe because I wanted to support the cause of journalism. I did not subscribe to thumb my nose at the current political parties in power. I did not subscribe to support their mission. I did not subscribe because they have a writer (or two) that I want to read. I did not subscribe because the good content was being placed behind a gated wall. I subscribed for one simple and honest reason: each month, I would surpass my limit of free articles, and it became frustrating to me that I was not able to read the articles that I really wanted to see. As more and more articles would come online that interested me, I felt like I was missing out on content that could be of tremendous value. This may not shake your universe, but it should make you think twice about your content marketing strategy. The quality of the content from The New York Times - constantly and consistently - made me feel like I was missing out. The free content was great, but getting unlimited access to everything made much more sense. From an elementary analysis, you could say that I was paying for more quantity. From a different perspective, you could say that The New York Times has been able to think differently about paid content. It says something - in a world of so much free content - that a company is able to produce such high quality (with such consistency) that I was compelled to subscribe. There must be some kind of graph for this? Brands should consider this as well. At what point does the total quality of your content pass from causal, free and "good enough" to build some audience, to consistently, valuable and would be missed if it were not readily available?  Support the content that matters to you. It is true that I am happy to buy the physical copies of magazine like Fast Company, The Atlantic, The New Yorker and Wired. I do not want to see these important business publications go away. Candidly, they offer so much content (for free) online, that I rarely look at the printed versions. Candidly, I'm not sure that I would pay a fee for just the online content, based on how often I find myself clicking over to stories that are of interest to me. Many of these traditional publishers are in a literary fist-fight with models like Vice and BuzzFeed. They are all constantly battling over headlines that get attention with content that doesn't match the desire to click on the link.  The lunchbag letdown of content. When is content not a lunchbag letdown for your consumers? How often are brand analyzing their content to ensure that the work to click on the headline is surpassed only by what comes after that click? It's a hard model to live up to in this bizarre world of digital media that we find ourselves in. Still, those that put in the time and consistently deliver against it are reaping the rewards. With that, there are many (many, many) online publications, newsletters and podcast that offer up this high level of quality that are still free. As a consumer, when given the chance, I am always happy to financially support these publishers. Not in an effort to be exposed to less advertising. Not in an effort to "tip jar" the producers. More in an effort to be a part of a thriving business world. When I derive value from any product or service, I am happy to pay for it. Most people are. Brands should pay closer attention to this, as they grapple with what to charge for and what to give away for free. This isn't explicitly an online publishing o[...]

Calm Down, The Name "Oath" Ain't That Bad

Wed, 05 Apr 2017 15:07:00 PDT

People are very upset with the new company name, Oath.  Oath is what the Verizon-owned AOL and Yahoo will be known as going forward. That was the news of the day, and "whoa!" are people pelting rocks at this announcement. There's not a lot of love for it... at all. Candidly, I'm not sure why? It seems like a cool name to me (am I getting old?). What's an oath? Genrally, this is what people want to know. The pure definition (thanks to Wikipedia) is: "either a statement of fact or a promise with wording relating to something considered sacred as a sign of verity. A common legal substitute for those who conscientiously object to making sacred oaths is to give an affirmation instead." So, a sacred commitment or promise. Seems strong. Seems bold. It's really not about the word "Oath" at all... it's about how humans react to anything new. On Facebook, one of my coveted marketing professional friends stated that Oath is a dumb name for a search engine (and that it was a weird one too). Does anyone else remember the days of yore, when people said, "what's a Google?" and "why would you ever call a company, Yahoo!?" Those names were considered dumb ones too. This does not mean that I am defending the name change to Oath. It does mean that what was once seen as dumb, often becomes commonplace and we tend to forget just how silly it seemed at first blush. The argument, of course, is that a lot of the silly names didn't have any true meaning, but the word "oath" already has meaning and connotations attached to it. With that, it's hard to argue that words like "apple," "amazon" and "yahoo" did not, in fact, already have meaning before they also became commonly known as technology, retail and search engine giants.  Time will tell if a brand name clicks. It's never that obvious. Verizon is a smart company. Tim Armstrong (CEO of AOL since 2009 and now Oath) is also someone that I have seen in action (since his early days at Google). This was a strategic move, and my only advice when it comes to branding and new nomenclature is this: give it time. Twist Image became Mirum a little over two years ago, and it's still something that we are all working on. Many people do not understand what the word "mirum" even means (it's latin for "wonder" and "amazement"), many people think that it's "Mirium" or "Miriam" (no, not a female name), and even more people still think of us as "Twist Image." A rebrand takes time. A rebrand of AOL and Yahoo proportions will not only take time to sink in, but will be scrutinized from day one... by everyone. This also has to do with how these individuals brands are perceived (legacy Internet companies that have struggled to remain relevant and fresh). Still, it's not a bad name... not by a long shot. Oath is a brand that will house over one billion consumers with over twenty brands that Verizon owns, and it will launch this coming summer. It's a brand that is serious, wants to be taken seriously and will push hard to make and keep their promises... to their consumers, advertisers and partners. Showing strength in a world where Google and Facebook (primarily) dominate the digital media landscape is not that wrong of a positioning. It's always easy to be a market of one. It's easy to hear a new brand name and give it a quick thumb's up or thumb's down. It's easy to take to Twitter... or Facebook... or Snapchat and take those potshots. Still, it's a brand... and a strong brand takes time to build. The future will tell if Oath is a good brand or not. Personally, I don't think it's all that bad. Do you? Tags: advertisers adverti[...]

Internet Providers Will Sell Your Soul, More Password Hacking Concerns And More On This Week's CTRL ALT Delete Segment On CHOM 97.7 FM

Tue, 04 Apr 2017 03:44:30 PDT

Every Monday morning at 7:10 am, I am a guest contributor on CHOM 97.7 FM radio out of Montreal (home base). It's not a long segment - about 5 to 10 minutes every week - about everything that is happening in the world of technology and digital media. The good folks at CHOM 97.7 FM are posting these segments weekly on iHeart Radio, if you're interested in hearing more of me blathering away about what's going on in the digital world. I'm really excited about this opportunity, because this is the radio station that I grew up on listening to, and it really is a fun treat to be invited to the Mornings Rock with Terry DiMonte morning show. The segment is called, CTRL ALT Delete with Mitch Joel. This week we discussed:  Things are getting scary in the US. All we can do is hope that our government is more vigilant with our private information. Last week, congress cleared the way for Internet providers to sell your web browsing history. As I often say: we tell things to Google (and our web browsers) that we often don't tell our spouse. Plus, that raw data creates a hyper-personal history of who we are. Quite terrifying, when you think about it.        Well, if that didn't scare you enough, my worst fears about passwords and hacking came to fruition last week. Passwords are a joke for most people (sadly). Thankfully, there are great programs like LastPass that create automated passwords and manages the problem with a "master password." My concern has always been, what happens when you centralize all of your passwords and that software gets hacked. Well...   App of the week: Google Sheets. Take a listen right here... width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src=""> Tags: advertising agency app of the week brand business blog chom fm ctrl alt delete ctrl alt delete with mitch joel data digital marketing digital marketing agency digital marketing blog digital media facebook google google docs google sheets guest contributor i heart radio internet provider isp j walter thompson jwt lastpass marketing marketing agency marketing blog mirum mirum agency mirum agency blog mirum blog mirum canada mirum in canada mitch joel mitchjoel montreal radio morning show mornings rock with terry dimonte password password management privacy radio segment radio station six pixels of separation social media technology terry dimonte twitter web browser wpp    chom 977 fm [...]

The Infinite Dial With Tom Webster - This Week's Six Pixels Of Separation Podcast

Sun, 02 Apr 2017 04:24:16 PDT

Episode #560 of Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast is now live and ready for you to listen to. Beyond the fact that I enjoy the vast amount of time that I get to personally spend with Tom Webster, he also happens to be one of the smartest (and most sarcastic) brains that I know (and love). He has spent well over two decades telling stories with numbers about consumer behaviour and media as the VP of Strategy at Edison Research (the company that provides all of the exit polling data for the networks during the U.S. elections and primaries). At Edison, he's also one of leads behind their long-standing, The Infinite Dial report, which is the longest-running research series examining consumer usage of digital and traditional media in America. Their 2017 report had some massive shifts, that make for a fascinating chat about the current state of media and future opportunities. With that, Tom is also the co-author of The Mobile Commerce Revolution, with Tim Hayden, and directed the research behind Jay Baer's bestselling business book, Hug Your Haters. If that were not enough, he blogs at Brand Savant and has a long-standing podcast that he co-hosts with Mark W. Schaefer called, The Marketing Companion. Enjoy the conversation... You can grab the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation here (or feel free to subscribe via iTunes): Six Pixels of Separation - The Mirum Podcast #560. Tags: advertising advertising podcast audio blog blogging brand brand savant branding business blog business book business podcast business thinker consumer behaviour david usher digital marketing digital marketing agency digital marketing blog digital media edison research facebook google hug your haters itunes j walter thompson jay baer jwt leadership podcast management podcast mark schaefer mark w schaefer marketing marketing blog marketing podcast marketing strategy media mirum mirum agency mirum agency blog mirum blog mirum podcast social media strategy the infinite dial the infinite dial 2017 the marketing companion the marketing companion podcast the mobile commerce revolution tim hayden tom webster traditional media twitter wpp [...]

Six Links Worthy Of Your Attention #354

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 14:07:54 PDT

Is there one link, story, picture or thought that you saw online this week that you think somebody you know must see? My friends: Alistair Croll (Solve for Interesting, Tilt the Windmill, HBS; chair of Strata, Startupfest, Pandemonio, and ResolveTO; Author of Lean Analytics and some other books), Hugh McGuire (PressBooks, LibriVox, iambik and co-author of Book: A Futurist's Manifesto) and I decided that every week the three of us are going to share one link for one another (for a total of six links) that each individual feels the other person "must see". Check out these six links that we're recommending to one another:  Inside Alabama's Auto Jobs Boom: Cheap Wages, Little Training, Crushed Limbs - Bloomberg Business Week. "Here's a bleak look at the manufacturing 'resurgence' - 12-hour shifts, seven days a week. And a heads up: This is not for the timid. If the sentence 'no one knew how to make the robot release her' sounds uncomfortable, you might not want to read the rest. Basically, it boils down to this: Robots are better at jobs than humans (a Chinese factory that replaced 90% of its humans with robots saw a 250% productivity increase). They consume human jobs. And, when humans try to keep up, they work insane hours and put themselves in mortal danger. The rest should be clear, for any policy-maker wanting to confront the facts." (Alistair for Hugh). The Robots Really Did Take People's Jobs, Study Confirms - BuzzFeed News. "I decided to go all in on robots, automation, and construction this week. Here's something often debated, but (until now) poorly researched. A recently released study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (you can read the whole 90+ page thing, complete with formulae, if you like) concluded that 'every new robot added to an American factory in recent decades reduced employment in the surrounding area by 6.2 workers,' and 'for every one robot per thousands workers in a given area of the country, the employment rate went down by .2 -.3 percentage points, and wages fell by between .25 and .5 percent.' So yes, those robots did take your jobs." (Alistair for Mitch). Get Lost in Mega-Tunnels Dug by South American Megafauna - Discover. "Giant sloths from the Pleistocene period (~2 million to ~10,000 years ago) dug massive caves in South America. So there's that." (Hugh for Alistair). The Case for Shyness - The Atlantic. "I often think that much of the web was invented so that shy people wouldn't have to talk (face to face) with strangers." (Hugh for Mitch). How Aristotle Created the Computer - The Atlantic. "When we think about the history of the computer, we tend to focus on machines, code, software, electricity and... well, math. What if the computer (and computing) was actually created much further back than we thought? Like... much, much further back..." (Mitch for Alistair). 'Your animal life is over. Machine life has begun.' The road to immortality - The Guardian. "If this sounds like science fiction... well, all science fiction eventually becomes non-fiction, right? Mobile phones, virtual reality, big data, and more. Now, Silicon Valley is turning its attention to our very core. Can we use technology to get us beyond this whole 'dying' thing? Is immortality just a few years/decades away? Haunting. Science comes from science fiction?" (Mitch for Hugh). Feel free to share these links and add your picks on Twitter, Facebook, in the comments below or wherever you play. Tags: advertising agency alistair croll [...]

The Power Of Limitations

Tue, 11 Apr 2017 05:13:22 PDT

Twitter needs to tread very carefully, at this moment in time. It was innocuous enough. At first, Twitter announced that links and added "stuff" would no longer count to their 140 character limitation. This made sense. Often, people would want to share a link, and it would take up the whole tweet (those not familiar with bitly and other link shortening/management services... plus, let's face it... those added steps were no joy. Now, Twitter has announced that it will stop counting usernames in replies towards their 140 character limit. Seems to make sense, but something is not sitting right as more and more of these announcements unfold. What Twitter is... what Twitter should not become. If the ultimate plan is that Twitter's 140 character limitation is for the core words that a user is writing, that seems fair and appropriate. If this is a step in the same direction as their direct messages (which have no character limitations), I would caution the powers that be over at Twitter HQ to not lose their soul. In a day and age when messaging apps are now bigger than social networks and chatbots are starting to take hold, the attraction for Twitter might be to concede, pivot or whatever it is that they're calling these big changes in Silicon Valley these days, and to make it a full-blown messaging app-like product. That would be sad. The world (probably) doesn't need another messaging app.  There's still something special about those 140 characters. There is no doubt that Twitter is facing many challenges - from product development to customer retention/acquisition to living up to their currently bloated Wall Street valuation. With that, there is still so much charm in trying to be (somewhat) engaging with that limitation of 140 characters. More is not always better. Having infinite possibilities doesn't always bring the right execution. Countless articles, business books and blog posts have been written about the power of limitations and simplicity. Often, the best ideas happen when they are confined by time, space and opportunity. Most entrepreneurs know this... they live it daily. The struggle is real.  Twitter's back is to the wall. Sometimes, this is exactly what a brand needs: for it's back to be against the wall. Sometimes having all of the runway in front of you makes things slow down. Twitter needs to push. No doubt about it. It has a lot of work to do (you can read more about that here: Let Twitter Tweet (And Be)). If there is one thing they should not consider, it would be the continued expansion beyond the 140 character limit. This is the soul of Twitter. There is a charm in its limitation. There is a beauty in that simplicity. It means so much more (and that can't be expressed in only 140 characters).  I hope they don't forget that. Are you with me? Tags: 140 character limit 140 characters advertising agency bitly brand business blog business book chatbot customer customer acquisition customer retention digital marketing digital marketing agency digital marketing blog direct message entrepreneur j walter thompson jwt limitation limitations link link management link shortening marketing marketing agency marketing blog messaging app mirum mirum agency mirum agency blog mirum blog mirum canada mirum in can[...]

Are You Not Entertained?!?!?! How To Spend Money On Advertising (Like You Just Don't Care)

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 14:56:08 PDT

What won't an advertiser do to get in front of your face? How does the title of this The New York Times Article grab you: Chase Had Ads on 400,000 Sites. Then on Just 5,000. Same Results? My second reaction was this: advertising is a game of diminishing returns when it's all driven by impressions. Brands would best be served to know at which point they're overdoing it and simply spending money on advertising because they can. My first reaction was that I almost chocked to death on my morning oatmeal from laughing at the headline. One of my business partners at Mirum is a long-term veteran of the direct marketing wars. He was there, in the trenches, as that form of marketing took hold and captured smarter marketers' attention. At that period in time, most young graduates looking for a career in advertising and marketing would interview at that agency (they were a large multinational agency). Through regular networking we became close friends, until he eventually joined our agency as one of the four business partners. Early on in the Twist Image/Mirum days, we would sweat over testing everything to make it perfect - from the code to the design to the copy. Our more experienced CEO would often tell us stories about how in the direct marketing days of yore, they would test every line of copy multiple times. Eventually, it became obvious that at a certain point, doing this was extracting no tangible benefits. Meaning: you can test and tweak all that you like in advertising, but at some point, "more" won't make the outcome any better. Brands need to listen to this. It's one thing to point at programmatic and blame the technology for feeding almost half a million websites the same brand ads. It's another thing to pull your ads from YouTube because Google can't guarantee where that ad might show up... and next to what kind of questionable content. There are arguments for (and against) all of that. Still, it takes a human to agree that a brand should be running ads for the same brand on 400,000 sites. It also takes a human to realize that advertising on 5000 sites sounds just about as crazy as 400,000 sites, when you stop and think about it for just a second. We have officially gone from the ridiculous to the sublime, when it comes to digital advertising. From the article: "'It's only been a few days, but we haven't seen any deterioration on our performance metrics,' Ms. Lemkau said in an interview on Tuesday. She added that the company had also pulled ads from YouTube in the past week after reports showed other major advertisers like Verizon unintentionally appearing on videos promoting hate speech and terrorism. JPMorgan aims to restrict its ads on the platform to a 'human-checked' list of 1,000 YouTube channels, which it expects to be able to do by the week of April 10, she said."  What's going on here? The advertising industry is a significant one. While the global advertising market will slow down a little this year to 3.7% (according to the MediaPost article, Ad Revenue Growth Predicted To Rise 3.7% In 2017, Digital Will Soar), it will still be a $511 billion year. Half of a trillion dollars is the size of the advertising industry in 2017, and digital will grow by double-digits to become the top media category this year bumping out television advertising for the first time ever. It's also important to consider this: While the ad industry is a $510+ billion a year business, think about the impact that the work has on our global eco[...]

Content Is Hard... What's Your Brand To Do?

Fri, 31 Mar 2017 13:45:58 PDT

That's one simple, but very real statement, isn't it? Maybe there was something in the water at Social Media Marketing World. Maybe it's something that I see - day in and day out - with hundreds (yes, literally, hundreds) of brands each and every month. In fact, after 40-60 presentations a year (for well over the past two years), I don't think anyone has ever pulled me aside and said: "I think our brand has nailed it." The brands that are brave enough to say this are (usually) very small operations where the CEO/Entrepreneur is also the main content creator. There is a lot of money being spent here... there should be much better results (overall). Yes, there are always anomalies and exceptions. Yes, there are some brands that can create compelling content that gets lift, awareness and pushes the business forward (sales!). The kind of "content" that I'm thinking about is: timely, consistent, relevant and - ultimately - the stuff that consumers are consciously looking out for. It's a tall order. The "Apple" of great content marketing seems to be Red Bull. Red Bull is the bellwether example that content marketing practitioners point to, as a brand that understands content and delivers on it - constantly and consistently. Others point to Dell, American Express' Open Forum and a few others. The water is shallow. The opportunity is deep. It would be easy to get down on how few brands have proven the content marketing model. The difference between the good marketing professionals and the great ones are those who are opportunistic and optimistic in these scenarios. On March 28th, DigiDay published the article, Media slims down: Publishers are building audiences in discrete verticals. The article reflects the challenges of mass media properties in growth and readership. Many of the brands (NBC News, The New York Times, Huffington Post and others) are develping specific niche titles in lieu of chasing scale at all costs. While the verticals still seem pretty wide (areas of interest like: technology, health, food, etc...), it points to an obvious brand opportunity: dig deeper than these established media entities. Vertical plans. Vertical pains. While these mass media brands have not crossed the chasm in developing and building recognizable brands yet (even the ones that these media companies have acquired have not scaled), it is still early days. In these early days, there will be lots of growing pains. These media companies (like your brand) have no long-term history of creating new brands and nurturing them into these more verticalized opportunities. Still, their efforts are going to open up opportunities for brands like yours: Brands will be able to create content, advertise or sponsor within these publisher's niches.  Brands will now have the opportunity to build their own niche publication and draft along with what these brands are doing to leverage and grow their own properties.  If a brand falls within one of these traditional publisher's niches, there is an opportunity for the brand to go deeper. An example of this would be technology. A brand could go specific into chatbots for Facebook (if that's your jam).  Brands can breathe a little bit. Brands can make plans for their content to be more hyper-deep in the vertical, but appreciate that if media properties like the New York Times are struggling to bring a product like this to market, there are significant challenges that brands will face. No free [...]

"Digital Marketing" Is Not The Same As Marketing

Tue, 28 Mar 2017 13:33:17 PDT

Obviously, I believe in the power and opportunity of digital marketing. In full disclosure: digital marketing has (for almost twenty years) provided me with an amazing career, lifestyle and opportunity to connect with and learn from great people and, in kind, it has allowed me to work with some of the most interesting brands in the world. If the term no longer held true, I would opt to ditch it. For now, it seems like those wanting to put an end to the term "digital marketing" are those who are struggling most with it. Digital marketing is still valid and needed enough that it deserves its own designation, beyond marketing and beyond the notion that, "everything is digital." Most of marketing is not digital. Last week, Advertising Age published the article, Advice From CMOs: Stop Saying 'Digital' and Practice Straight Talk. It was shared around Facebook (h/t Jon Finkelstein) and the reactions came in fast and furious: "Digital marketing" is just a buzzword, that we can't say "digital" because we don't say "print marketing," that the term is odious, and on and on. Marketing is an institution. Marketing is core to brand's success. Marketing and innovation are the soul of an organization (thank you, Philip Kotler). Over time, marketing has evolved and matured. Digital marketing - while not new - is still in its infancy. From the article: "'Stop using the word digital,' said Zaid Al-Qassab, chief brand & marketing officer of telecommunications group BT. 'The word is causing enormous problems in clients and agencies and the work we're getting.' Mr. Al-Qassab said that in the old days when he did print and billboard ads, he wasn't called a 'paper marketer' as he is called a 'digital marketer' today. The word digital moves the focus to clicks and likes, rather than customers, and is used heavily in briefs sent to agencies, he said, leading to 300 social media ideas from the agency, and clients asking for something that will 'go viral.' 'Write a brief that's about your customer and business results you hope to achieve,' he admonished. 'Let's talk about target audience and how to sell to them.'" Don't confuse digital marketing for new advertising strategies. They are not the same thing. Here's my promise to every Chief Marketing Officer in the world: We can stop using the term "digital marketing" when all/most brands actually deliver a decent web and mobile experience to their consumers. Personally, I've been tracking this (and you have too). Lots of big brands get up on big industry conference stages with big slides, talking about how great they are with omnichannel or how integrated they are (the consumer is always in the middle of the slide!), and how they can all simply drop the word "digital" from their marketing. Still, it's sad how bad most brand experiences are online. So... I'll drop "digital" once theses brands really do digital. Not sour. Just sour grapes. As a consumer, I've recently looked at everything from buying a car to buying cloud based marketing automation solutions on my mobile device, and the experience left everything to be desired. Your life is no different. Try to get information on B2B or a B2C brand... look at small, medium and large organizations. Websites are clunky, mobile experiences are lacking... almost none of this matches the "brand experience" that these CMOs promote onstage, or that we see in their traditional advertising. And therein lies the [...]