Category Archives: Internet

Is Privacy for sale?

Privacy. What does it mean to you?

At its basic level, privacy is “the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby express themselves selectively”. Universal and understood across different cultures and boundaries, you would think that people’s privacy would be respected and upheld by those who hold information provided to them.

However, there has been recent scandals around privacy and personal information. Facebook were in the news recently about their “experiments” and how they manipulated news feeds to what expressions of emotions users saw. Other stories around personal privacy include the phone hacking scandal involving journalists and editors at the News of the World newspaper and lest we forget the Snowden revelations of NSA activities last year, which still has an impact to this very day. There are many more stories related to privacy concerns and how it’s handled, which could go on for a very long time, but where does privacy leave us?

Sure, you’re only as useful as the information that you choose to disclose on the internet, but what happens when those details are used in ways that make you feel uncomfortable? What about governments selling your tax data, for instance? In this day and age of big data within marketing, data is an ever-increasing asset – from CRM to manage and maintain customer relationships, to social data to provide insight and understanding of your customer’s motivations and preferences on a personal level. Data is all around us, and it isn’t going away soon…unless…

Forget about me, I don’t exist

Google have recently launched a service that enables EU residents to request that their details are removed from their search results. Now Google is the largest search engine compared to its rivals Yahoo! and Bing, meaning that there’s a likelihood you’re not going to appear in searches made by others. What is interesting is, will there come a point where more and more companies that handle data see this as an opportunity to cash in on an individual’s privacy? After all, we’re only as good as the information we give to these companies, so there has to be a trade-off, so in essence an individual’s demand for privacy depends on how much of themselves they supply online or elsewhere. If there is a market for privacy, who would be the main customers? The wealthy? The powerful? Regular people? How would companies charge? On a subscription basis? A one-off payment? Privacy credits? Will privacy cease to exist in the next two decades?

So many questions, but no one answer is black and white.

What are your thoughts?

5 reasons why content marketing has reached saturation point #check

” I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I’m going to take a stand. I’m going to defend it. Right or wrong, I’m going to defend it”
Cameron Frye, Ferris Beuller’s Day Off (1986)

Here are a few rules on how to write interesting content:

1. Catchy listicle title (check)
2. Controversial point of view (check)
3. Offer sage advice on content marketing and how it can benefit your business, project, blog, life choices… (check)
4. Call to action at the end of this article to read more about my views on things marketing related and what makes me stand out from other blogs (check)
5. Write a list. (check)

According to this grandiose list of things to make me stand out as a content marketer (I’ve done a lot of reading and following accounts that constantly remind me of the need to write ‘killer’ content – don’t shoot me, aim your gun praise at the messenger who share such articles across numerous platforms), I’ve followed the ‘rules’ of content marketing.

Except I haven’t.

Content marketing has gotten to a level where I simply can’t keep up anymore. Whether it be a snazzy list from Buzzfeed on the numerous shades of tea (mine’s a builders, splash of milk, no sugar – I’m sweet enough thanks ☺) to Upworthy sharing a video on the plight of female vegan rats and the persecution they face from evil extermimators (so sad). This constant fight for my eyeballs and my attention can be overwhelming in this day and age. If it isn’t a picture of cute cats, then it’s another listicle of the things I can be doing to improve my life or educate myself more on something I’m likely to forget in a few days. Spare me the thought on big data and how wonderful it is (yes, Big data does have its merits, but only if you can extract numbers that are useful and relevant to whatever it is you do).

Is there a need to write content for contents sake? Will the world stop if I struggle to engage you with my written thoughts and musings? Probably not, however there will always be bloggers, writers, journalists, tweeters, et al. vying for my (and everyone else’s) attention. I do enjoy reading new articles, watching videos and learning a bit every day. I just enjoy learning at my own pace. The effect this content overload has on my concentration is probably the reason why tabbed browsing is so essential to me (heck, I even have ‘Have I Got News For You?’ on in the background whilst writing this blog entry on my smartphone as I glance at my laptop).

Anyhow, I digress. I don’t want another article telling me how to improve my content strategy or write killer content. It’s become so saturated that almost every other article reads the same. Even the lists are the same. No idea’s original, nothing new under the sun, and I’m feeling the burn.

I admire a writer’s honest, real and authentic point of view, I really do. I just want my attention span back so I can take it in, one article, one tab, one video, one picture at a time. So the next time you’re faced with a sea of words and images floating around the Internet, take a deep breath, swim through it, and pick what is relevant to you.

Thank you.

Yahtumb

Yahoo’s Tumblr Dryer – What Next?

Yahoo’s purchase of Tumblr for $1.1bn is another move by Marisa Mayer to bring the internet giant back to its former competitive edge in a modern way. Having purchased Summly, a news summarization app for $30m in March, these are exciting times for Yahoo. What ways can they maximise the potential benefits from these purchases?

Tumblr is a very popular blogging platform, with over 109 million active blogs and over 50 million blog posts (as seen today). Its popularity stems from the simplicity it offers users in creating and sharing content through Tumblr’s simple design and social networking capabilities. Such user figures provides Yahoo the opportunity to monetize the platform, however there has already been some backlash against this move, with some users migrating their blogs to rival platform WordPress. Mayer has promised not to “screw up” Tumblr, which is a stark reminder to Yahoo’s fateful journey with Geocities.

Additionally, Tumblr has a strong mobile presence which Yahoo is aiming to improve with notable updates to its Y! Mail and Flickr mobile apps. Flickr could be a key platform, especially with its photo capabilities which complements with the ease of sharing content via the blogging site.

Tumblr’s reach, coupled with Yahoo’s financial clout and relative internet business expertise could see this deal being very beneficial to both parties. What would be important for Yahoo is to ensure that the Tumblr experience is not compromised in preference for the pursuit of monetization.

What are your views on this deal? Please comment and tweet me @ChuxOnye

Top 25 Most Engaged Brands on Twitter via Nestivity

Twitter has become a key platform for brands to connect with and engage with their customers. Efforts to build a strong community can be a challenge, however these 25 brands seem to be doing something right.

Top 25 Most Engaged Brands on Twitter

Infographic courtesy of Nestivity.

So what are your thoughts on the list? Are these the top 25? Are they really effective?

Please leave your comments below or carry the discussion further with me on Twitter @ChuxOnye.

Magic Number Three: 3 elements for a modern-day marketer to ponder

3 Is A Magic Number

“Three is a magic number” – Schoolhouse Rock

Since I’ve started writing my marketing blog, I have come to realise that other blogs that I have visited and read have this common habit of writing lists. Lists are rather useful ways of distilling a multitude of thoughts about one subject. From topics such as the top three inbound marketing strategies for mobile apps to 25 sneakers to own before you die, lists are a useful way of increasing visitor traffic, gleaning reader’s opinions and objections to your ‘definitive’ lists and generally showing you know your topic (supposedly…). Ironically, from my own general reading and discussions with a good friend of mine on the field of marketing has highlighted some interesting points in this current internet/data/technology era (I deleted all three because I couldn’t make up my mind). Anyhow, I digress. Here are the three elements that a modern-day marketer should consider for future market and business development.

1. “Free” products

When you consider how some ideas were conceived (i.e. Dropbox, Spotify, Farmville, Google Docs, etc.), they created services that people could utilise and get to grip with for ‘free’. The ‘Freemium’ model is a useful model, especially for start-up companies, to acquire a large user base where a portion of them can be converted into paying customers.

Consider Dropbox for example, which is a cloud storage service where users are initially offered 2 GB free storage. For a user to increase their storage capacity, they can either through referrals (500 MB per referral, up to 18 GB = 36 new users) or by subscribing to their ‘Pro’ plan for even greater storage (starting at 100 GB). Dropbox is an exponent of the ‘freemium’ model, taking advantage of rapidly decreasing prices in storage space and the shift towards cloud computing to increase the number of users and to generate income from power users derived from their user base.

Such models do need to be scrutinized, as they can be rather costly if they are not ‘leveraged’ properly in terms of the product/service offering, however they can be very successful for growing a business, as Dropbox can testify.

2. Marketing the product OR the product does the marketing?

Some companies are market/marketing driven whilst others are product-driven, relying on its relative strengths for the marketing sales pitch. Take Microsoft and Apple for instance. Here is the Microsoft advert for their Surface tablet.

Microsoft Surface Commercial

Apple iPad Commercial

As you can see from these commercials, Microsoft has gone for the more visual, dramatic, let’s-put-on-a-song-and-dance approach in showing off their Surface tablet, whereas Apple have gone for the ‘Let’s show you what the iPad and the iPad mini can do’ approach. Microsoft package and wrap up their product in the most glamorous fashion, marketing it in a way where it sells you the dream. Apple’s approach is clean and minimalistic, showing the product in action and its features. There’s no right or wrong way in how to market or promote a product, however the approach a marketer should decide on depends on how they want to present their offering to their target market and customer.

3. Innovation

How were Nintendo, Nokia and Google initially founded? Nintendo initially started by making playing cards back in 1889. Nokia’s first steps as a company was as a Finnish paper manufacturer back in 1865, and Google’s story started as an search engine called ‘BackRub’ from the creative minds of Larry Page and Sergey Brin back in 1996.

Where are they now? Nintendo is now one of the biggest computer game console manufacturers across the globe, creating iconic characters such as Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong. Nokia is one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of mobile phone devices, creating classic models such as the 5110 and the current Lumia 920. Google is now the web’s go-to page for search results and has expanded into other areas, from creating the Android mobile platform to offering map services on the internet. Despite Nintendo and Nokia being many years older than Google, who are the gifted genius wunderkid, what has kept these three global icons continuing their longevity is innovation.

Through constant change and adapting to future needs and disrupting existing business models and paradigms, these companies have survived the test of time whilst maintaining their brands by pushing new boundaries and frontiers in their respective fields. Who would have thought Google would be competing with Nokia in the mobile industry?

These are my thoughts on the elements that a modern-day marketer must ponder in order to create new markets and develop and grow their business respectively.

What are your thoughts? Please comment and connect with me via Twitter @ChuxOnye and via LinkedIn.

Survival Of The Fittest: 4 tools for Marketers

High Street Chains that folded

Can your business survive the High Street?

The demise of HMV, Blockbusters, Comet and Jessops in the past two months has brought sharp focus to the high street. Despite the Government’s best efforts in appointing Mary Portas to find solutions to revive the high street, it seems that this current age of technology and the internet could see further casualties for businesses. Such challenges require modern and forward-thinking solutions for businesses to survive and thrive for the future. Here are my 5 suggestions for survival:

1. Improve e-tail offering

The number of people purchasing goods and services using the internet is increasing year by year, with over 10% of total retail sales being made online during December. With e-tailing expected to grow further in the coming years, traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers should improve their online offerings. Techniques such as SEO, multi-channel marketing and branding using social media, responsive and adaptive web design for different devices and user-friendly web pages enhance the shopping experience. Additionally, using discount codes for purchases and loyalty vouchers may increase online purchases for a retailer.

2. Use alternative methods of payment

Mobile payments are becoming an increasingly common method of receiving and making payments for businesses. Services such as PayPal, iZettle and Square have add-on devices for mobile payments. These enable consumers to pay for goods and services in a fast and convenient fashion. Furthermore, NFC technology has caused an influx of payment services such as Google Wallet, Visa mobile and O2’s mobile payment service offers businesses many solutions to accept payments for now and the future.

3. Adopt ‘smarter’ methods in products for consumers

Smart products are becoming more commonplace in society. From smart readers in the home that monitor energy and power usage to sensors in vehicles that assist parking and uses intelligent lighting when driving in certain road conditions. Such innovations can be applied for food packaging, with the use of smart packaging used to detect food that has gone off to reduce wastage. Additionally, other applications for ‘smart’ food could be portion size recommendations (smart labelling) and notification alerts for when food is running out in the fridge. These methods may potentially save businesses money, by using data gathered may provide supermarkets within a particular area about the type of customers that purchase items from their stores. This enables the supermarket to use efficient stock control methods and reduces their food wastage.

4. Ask the audience

With crowd-sourced funding platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and RocketHub providing opportunities for businesses and start-ups to raise funds for their projects, this provides an excellent opportunity for businesses to innovate and experiment for new products and services. Also, crowd funding is useful as a means to gauge the viability and popularity of a project, as well as finding new and exciting products to stock for sale. Successful projects include the Pebble watch and the POP charging stand, which received significantly more pledged funds that their original target amount. Finally, using crowd-sourced funding guarantees purchases for your product or service offering provided a business follows through on their promise of producing the product purchased.

What are your thoughts on ways that businesses can survive the high street? Please comment or connect with me on Twitter @ChuxOnye and on LinkedIn.

Photo Wars: The bigger picture

Photo War Pictures

The Photo Wars.

The race to become (or develop) the most popular photo-sharing app has taken an interesting turn over the past week, with Google and Apple forming an unlikely alliance to bid for patents from the former photo giant Kodak. Google, having recently made the popular photo-editing app Snapseed available for its Android platform last week, after being a paid-for app on Apple’s iOS platform since 2011. Google’s purchase of Nik Software (the company behind Snapseed) in September may have been an early indication of their intentions to integrate the software on their platforms such as Google+ and Picasa.

Another point of interest was the sudden emergence of a battle between the Facebook-owned Instagram and Twitter photo-sharing platforms, with Twitter making the move of removing visibility of photos taken on Instagram off its timeline for users. Twitter’s earlier actions of removing integration with the app stem from July this year where they revoked access from Instagram users wanting to add their Twitter contacts on the platform. It could be suggested that the purchase of Instagram by Facebook for $1bn earlier in April may be a factor in the tactics used by Twitter, who want to retain control of their platform by either revoking or limiting access to their API from third party developers. Furthermore, the addition of filters for pictures posted directly through Twitter is an indication of the importance of pictures by competing directly with Instagram.

What does this mean for marketers?

In this current era of social media and technology, storytelling has become a key element for marketers wanting to reach out and connect with customers, building relationships and loyalty through the products and services they provide for them. The visual element of storytelling, promotion and advertising has become more viral with advances in mobile technology and the ease of sharing content over a variety of platforms. The current battlefield between Twitter/Instagram/Facebook and Google, Apple and Microsoft is a prime example of the fragmentation experienced by both marketers and customers to participate and connect with each other for the best social experience.

Instagram and Twitter are social communities in their own right, with Instagram far more picture-oriented by its nature in comparison to Twitter, which also enables users to share their 140 character musings and article links from across the web. Both platforms are useful for marketers in monitoring and understanding user activity, especially in terms of how they communicate with other users and the type of photos they share that provide an insight into their personal lives. Instagram does have the considerable network strength of Facebook behind them (1 billion+ users and counting), who are taking steps to improve their mobile offerings to increase advertising revenues, making it an attractive platform for marketers working in the B2C business sphere.

Twitter is a fast-growing network, with 500m+ users on the site and closely follows Facebook as a favoured marketing tool for companies, and seems to be more friendly as a B2B platform. Additionally, with mobile and tablets becoming a popular choice for users to access content, marketers need to take advantage of the opportunities that are present from using these photo-sharing platforms as a means of delivering unique content, telling stories and case studies that interest customers and businesses alike.

The Photo Wars have just begun.

18/12/12 UPDATE: Instagram are seeking the rights to sell users’ photos to advertisers without notifying them. This is an interesting development in the changing landscape for photo-sharing, I wonder how Twitter may respond in the coming weeks and months with regards to it’s users data and content?

What are your views on the current Photo Wars? Please comment and share your thoughts with me on twitter @ChuxOnye