Apple and the FBI go at it, the need to evolve the entertainment industry, the potential of intelligent assistant apps, how to suck at social media, a week of tough decisions at Yahoo, Facebook wants to advertise to you in Messenger, Twitter gets customer service support, Uber $1 billion a year to break into markets in China but cuts U.S. driver fares by 15%, podcasting is a tough sell for big brands, customer experience is the new marketing, marketers need help with numbers, the psychology of good stories, upcoming events, the Zignal Labs chart of the week, plus a trivia challenge, our podcast pick and more, it's The Full Monty.
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And, if you're around at 9:30 pm ET on Sunday evenings, you can get a preview of a couple of topics via the live video on Facebook. If not, you can always catch the replay here:
This week, I'll be on a panel and participating in two webinars. Feel free to pick which work for you and join me for some lively conversation. The webinars are also available for replay in case you can't make it live.
- On Tuesday, February 23 at 2 pm ET, I'll be joining Richard Binhammer, Doug Simon and Suzanne Blackburn to talk about The Public Relationships of Stories: Context, Connection and Alternative Storytelling Techniques.
- Also on Tuesday February 23 at 6 pm ET at during Social Media Week in New York, I'll be taking part in an in-person panel to talk about Building Brand Love and Changing Behavior with Data, Insight and Action. Fellow ex-corporate types Richard Binhammer (Dell) and Ekaterina Walter (Intel) will join me for that.
- And don't miss this webinar on Thursday February 25 at 3 pm ET on Publishing on LinkedIn, as Chuck Hester and I coach you through content strategy, audience development, thought leadership and more.
- The digital world and consumer behavior is forcing a change from the entertainment and media industries. This report from PwC is an important read on just what's at stake for these companies to survive the rapid transition to a direct-to-consumer future and need an effective fan-centric strategy for doing so — lest they risk decline and irrelevance.
- The venerable BBC is dropping its television and radio divisions, focusing on content- and audience-led divisions. This could be a signal of what's to come for other news and entertainment industries, particularly as devices are less important than content.
- Online movie ticket company Fandango purchased review sites Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes. And if you ever wondered if the Fandango ratings were accurate, they're not — not by a long shot. Let's hope the FTC gets wind of this as Fandango (owned by NBCUniversal — which makes films at its Universal studio) has purchased Flixster and Rotten Tomatoes. That's right, the ticket company owns the ratings sites, and all are owned by a movie studio.
- We recently reported on the new app by news gathering service Quartz. The app has hopped onto a number of trends, including messaging, sponsored content, content sampling to entice completion, GIFs and more.
- Google and Facebook are the leaders in artificial intelligence and the rest of the industry is playing catch-up. But there is still huge potential in the growth of intelligent assistants like Siri, Alexa and M. I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.
- NASCAR is a digital powerhouse and its innovation continues with integrations with Snapchat and Twitter.
- You've reasoned that your brand needs to be on social media because people are there. But a brand's reason should be different than an individual's reason. Here Avinash Kaushik uses data to lay out How to Suck at Social Media: An Indispensable Guide for Businesses.
Advanced Bootcamp for Account Executives
Send your AEs to Advanced AE Bootcamp March 31 - April 1, 2016
The workshop is an opportunity to advance your account executives to the next level, polish their skills, and make them experts!
What AEs learn during our 2-day Advanced workshop: Agency math; running your accounts like a small business; teaching your team how to think strategically; it’s not just marketing, it’s business; getting paid to build the plan; building a sales funnel that demonstrates actual ROI to clients.
Attendees also learn how to develop marketing strategies (and know why one is better than the other) instead of just managing a project the client assigns to them.
Who Should Attend?
Agency Senior Management and Account management staff with at least 3+ years account management experience as a project manager, an account coordinator, account executive, key account manager, or as an account supervisor.
- It's been another rough week at Yahoo. The search giant is shuttering 7 of its 11 digital magazines, leaving only News, Sports, Finance and Lifestyle. And yet, David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, thinks that the time is right for magazines, as readers like content delivered on a regular basis that provides value and that they can see love and care went into its making.
- Yahoo also pulled the plug on Yahoo Labs, its in-house research group.
- Over the last year, Yahoo has seen a slow death of its core products, with a drop in daily active users on Mail, Search and Yahoo.com.
- And while it's ominous, it shouldn't be too surprising that Yahoo has hired investment bankers to help the board explore options around a sale of its core businesses.
- At the same time, Yahoo-owned Tumblr is having trouble growing its user base, with only 8.7% of Internet users being Tumblrers.
- Last week, we explored Snapchat through the eyes of a 13 year-old. Now we take a look at The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens.
“If you would not have a man flinch when the crisis comes, train him before it comes.” — Seneca [TWEET THIS QUOTE]
- Get ready for it: Facebook plans to put ads in Messenger. The catch is that this will only be for customers who have interacted with the Pages via chat. Let's hope there's an opt-out function, though.
- But this does bring to mind a need: we've had the Do Not Call Registry for handling telemarketers and the CAN-SPAM Act to help with email spam. Do messenger apps need their own pro-consumer legislation? [TWEET THIS]
- Instant Articles will be open to all publishers beginning on April 12. Expect more engagement within Facebook and not on your site. Are you prepared to make this effective?
- At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona yesterday, Mark Zuckerberg said that virtual reality "could become the most social platform." At the same time, Facebook announced that VR 360-degree video would have 4X higher resolution. Pay attention: if this is what Facebook believes, this is what they'll be spending their money on to ensure. VR is becoming increasingly important for businesses.
- However, don't be surprised if this is what the future looks like:
- The photo-sharing service finally gets two-factor authentication, to help fight hackers.
- After companies have been using it for customers service for years, Twitter is implementing a couple of improvements to specifically help with customer service: better Direct Messaging and a Customer Feedback integration.
- Expect more GIFs on Twitter as the company is rolling out native GIF support with Giphy and Riffsy.
- Great news — Twitter is bigger than Facebook. In Japan. It's particularly valuable as a news service there.
- One reason Twitter may stumble so much: it's difficult for normal people to figure out.
- Some are still hopeful for Twitter's future, despite it increasingly becoming a cocktail party where everyone shouts at each other.
Trivia question: Online review company Yelp fired an employee for what reason? *
Collaborative / Autonomous Economy
- With a company named Uber Promotions having business in Gainesville, Florida, a judge wants Uber to "ensure that a search conducted with the Google, Yahoo, or Bing search engines using the keywords “Uber promotions Gainesville phone” or “Uber promotions Gainesville phone number” does not return a result with Defendant’s 352-area-code number." That's right. The judge wants Uber to control Google search results.
- Lyft has asked a judge to stop Uber from its witch hunt in pursuing confidential information and trade secrets as part of a data breach case.
- Uber is losing $1 billion a year in China. Is it fiscally responsible for Uber to pursue a win-at-all-costs approach in every market?
- Meanwhile, Uber has angered its drivers with its 15% drop in fares. In a letter to the company, the drivers wrote: “In the beginning, your company was great for both drivers and customers. You treated drivers well and we loved you for that. Little did we know that it would be a short-lived momentary ecstasy that you used to lure us in in great numbers, just so that you can execute your plans and strategies toward world domination.” Consider this with respect to Uber's billion-dollar approach to China for a moment.
- Advertising dollars have yet to flow into podcasts in a big way, as many big brand marketers remain unconvinced they will get their money’s worth.
- And yet, you have some that are doubling down on radio — radio! Maybe because they have a vested interest?
- IHeartMedia, Inc., the parent company of IHeartRadio, is saddled with over $20 billion in debt.
- Spotify Premium accounts were exposed to hackers. Change your password if you're a customer.
- Podcast Recommendation of the Week. This week, check out The Moth — true stories told live. If you enjoy the art of storytelling, you'll enjoy The Moth. Do you have a podcast recommendation for us? Add yours to our Google Sheet: smonty.co/yourpodcasts
Content / Customer Experience
- Content marketing is a fluid thing. Everything you know about content marketing is changing: content needs to provide more value, video needs more love, search favors rich content, and not everything is destined for social media.
- Put these nine principles of psychology to use in your next marketing campaign.
- When 71% of customers have ended their relationship with a brand because of poor customer service, it might be helpful to know what customers' top service-related frustrations are.
- There's marketing in everything you do, but particularly in the customer experience. Mark Schaefer sits down with Brian Solis to discuss Brian's new book X: The Experience When Business Meets Design with him. And you should get the book!
Privacy / Security / Legal
- As you know, Apple and the FBI are at it, as the FBI wants Apple to provide access to the phone of the San Bernardino shooter, which is encrypted. [You can read the court order here.] But Apple is resisting and shared a letter with its customers to explain why such a move would be detrimental to all customers.
- The EFF immediately announced its support and Google also joined in.
- Then, Facebook and Twitter got on board. The delay in Silicon Valley support was thought to be due to government contracts that might make things awkward.
- In a bizarre development amid the squabble, ex-fugitive and self-styled "cybersecurity legend" John McAfee volunteered his services to help decrypt the device.
- But despite it protestations of principle, Apple has cooperated with the government man times previously, just not to the extent that the FBI is asking now.
- The Justice Department then started playing a little dirty, calling Apple's refusal to unlock the phone "a marketing strategy."
- It turns out that the FBI had requested an Apple ID password reset of the device previously. Had this reset not occurred, the decryption request might not have been needed.
- Anyway, it's not a technical issue; Apple can comply with the order: "In order to limit the risk of abuse, Apple can lock the customized version of iOS to only work on the specific recovered iPhone and perform all recovery on their own, without sharing the firmware image with the FBI."
- The bottom line: the government wants more access to your data. Expect the saga to continue into this week and to continue to color the conversation about privacy, security and personal devices.
- American Airlines is suing
NogoGogo for poor inflight wifi performance. We were going to ask what took them so long, but they probably filed it via a Gogo connection on a flight.
Measurement / Metrics / Data
- Marketers keep spending on social platforms, despite that less than 12% can prove the quantitative impact of social media.
- What stops marketers from becoming more data-driven? They claim it's the technology. We think it's more than that. How about you?
- Buzzfeed doesn't consider pageviews and unique visitors as viable metrics.
- Some communicator of questionable ability recently wrote that advertising value equivalency (AVE) is the best way to estimate PR value. Our friend Gini Dietrich effectively cuts to the bone of this argument with Die AVEs, Die! around a metric that's over 30 years old and that was laughable in its prime.
Chart of the Week
Brought to you by Zignal Labs, a realtime, cross media analytics platform (also a client of Scott Monty Strategies).
The Apple/FBI skirmish was all over mainstream and digital platforms last week. Zignal Labs does cross-media monitoring, meaning it picks up broadcast, mainstream and social sources in a single tool. What stuck out this week was how the shared stories were shared from a variety of sources: Apple itself (showing the continued importance of owned media), mainstream news sites and a user-generated site (dontbreakourphones.org). You never know where a spike in sharing will affect your business.
* Answer to the trivia question above:
- Online review company Yelp fired customer service rep Talia Jane for writing an open letter to Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman, complaining about the lack of living wage. Yes, that's right. An online review company fired an employee for effectively writing a negative review.
When You Have the Time: Essential Watching / Listening / Reading
- Storytelling gets a lot of play in marketing and communications circles. Yet, it's incredibly hard to implement. Why is that? Maria Popova looked at the writing of Harvard psychologist Jerome Bruner to get to the psychology of what makes a great story. Bruner indicates that scientists and philosophers (and marketers?) are concerned with getting to the truth; but storytellers are concerned with the question of how to endow experience with meaning.
- With Apple and the FBI in the news this week, here are five stories about espionage. Yes, we know the CIA, not the FBI, is concerned with espionage. Still.
- Our friend C.C. Chapman channels Abraham Lincoln's quote "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be," in his uplifting piece on choosing optimism.
- Seth Godin's manifesto for small teams doing important work is a mini masterpiece, including this gem: "I'll know it when I see it," is not a professional thing to say. I had the experience of having a manager like that once. Made me wish I forwarded this to him.
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I advise brands and agencies to help them improve their communications and digital acumen. Please get in touch if you'd like to put my experience and digital smarts to work on a project, to consult with your group, or to address an audience at your next corporate or industry event.