Opinions And Ramblings By Adam Kmiec On All Things Media

Tag Archives: Google

How I Did With My 2014 Marketing, Advertising And Technology Predictions

If all you have time for is one sentence, here it is…I was 8/10. If you have even more time, thanks. Before we start the analyzing, I want to provide a few pieces of context. A few years ago I started offering predictions in the marketing, advertising and technology space. These predictions would come out in December and would look ahead at the next 12 months. Because I believe accountability is important, towards the end of the year, I critique my own predictions to see how well I did.

This was the original post from 2013, that analyzed my 2013 predictions and outlined what I thought would happen in 2014. Without further adieu, let’s see how I did. Text in bold is my commentary and analysis.

  1. Agencies will feel the squeeze from two ends of the spectrum. On one front companies like Accenture, IDEO and smaller boutiques take a chunk out of the strategy portion of budgets. On the other front clients will start transitioning functions like social media and insights in-house. This will cause a ripple effect that will lead to more large consolidations. These consolidations will be big, but not quite at the scale of the Omnicom/Publicis merger. Definitely nailed this one. We saw big acquisition/mergers like Publicis’ purchase of Sapient Nitro and small ones like VML acquiring Biggs Gilmore. More and more clients started bringing social in-house, including Apple, who hired Musa Tariq away from Nike. There were ripple effects, with Mass Relevance being acquired by Spredfast and Sprinklr acquiring The Dachis Group.
  2. SnapChat will implode. It will grow it’s user base, but won’t figure out how to monetize the platform. All the while, Facebook/Instagram, twitter and Google will come up with extensions to their platforms that will provide the basic utility of SnapChat, but for a mass audience. While we still haven’t seen a full on nuclear implosion, we’ve see Snapchat deal with everything from data breaches, privacy concerns and SnapChat’s CEO coming under fire for misogynist comments. Beyond that, they’ve continued to struggle to generate ad revenue, with most large brands still avoiding the platform. We saw Facebook acquire WhatsApp to boost their messaging game. They also spun of FB Messenger as a separate product. The big surprise here was Apple rolling out SnapChat like features as part of iOS 8. I’m giving myself a check mark in the yes column.
  3. Google Glass will come to the mass market, but will flop, UNLESS the consumer version has a built in cellular connection. Flop, well Flop would be an understatement. I’ll let you enjoy the irony of this set of Google Search Results that call for Google Glass’ death.
  4. Amazon will purchase a grocery retailer to expedite the growth of their Amazon Fresh service. If I were betting, it would be Supervalu. I missed on this. While Amazon did NOT purchase a grocery store they did expand Fresh, significantly, including offering unique delivery services in New York City.
  5. Über will IPO. No IPO yet, but we still have 1.5 months to go.
  6. We will see a major movie studio release a semi-major movie available for stream/download before it comes to theaters. My money is on Netflix pulling this off from a distribution standpoint. I want to be fair. The real question is how you define “major.” For martial arts fans, Netflix announcing Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon 2, as a Netflix exclusive and something that won’t launch in theaters, was BIG. I feel good about this prognostication. Netflix is disrupting like crazy, and that’s a good thing.
  7. Mobile payments will finally gain traction, making up for the poor launches from ISIS and Google Wallet over the past few years. Um, you might have heard about this thing called Apple Pay. Kind of a big deal. Win!
  8. Companies of all walks of life will start creating “products.” For example, we might see Nestle create a product similar to FitBit, that will integrate with their Lean Cuisine line. P&G might create a wearable technology type of device for babies. It’s coming. P&G didn’t create a wearable device for babies, but they did launch Swash. Also, apparel manufacturer Under Armour purchased Map My Fitness. We didn’t see as many as I thought we’d see, but we did see it. That’s a win.
  9. iBeacon and other proximity driven messaging/communication platforms, designed to sync and communicate with your phone, will struggle to take off. The problem won’t be interest or cost. The problem will be the continued relative poor battery life of phones and the privacy concerns of consumers. Got this one right. I think we’re going to see this change in 2015. Longer battery life for phones and better understanding of how to use Beacons (it’s more than offers) will see this go from 50% of retailers testing beacons to more than 50% using them in a meaningfully beneficial way.
  10. The next big mobile platform, won’t be a phone, it will be a car. Ford, BMW or another car manufacturer will bring a custom version of Android to their vehicles. Boom! Nailed this, in a BIG way. Apple launched Car Play and Google is bringing Android to manufacturers like Audi and GM.

If you were keeping score at home that’s 8 right (1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10) and 2 wrong (4 and 5). Not too shabby. I’ll take an 80% success rate. There’s also still time for Uber to announce an IPO or for Amazon to buy a grocery chain. Though, if I were a betting man, I’d say Uber announcing an IPO is much more likely.

Over the coming weeks I’ll be working on my 2015 predictions. Would love to hear your thoughts on how I did in 2014 and what you think is going to happen in 2015.

Friday Five – July 18, 2014

Google contact lenses: Tech giant licenses smart contact lens technology to help diabetics and glasses wearers
Talk about the internet of things, being something more than just a scale that can tweet your weight. Google and Novartis are partnering up to create contact lenses that among other things, could measure a wearer’s vitals and eliminate the need for painful blood tests.

How The World Cup Played Out On Facebook Versus Twitter
Good insight. I won’t bury the lead, “Twitter is where people go to talk about surprising, unexpected events as they’re unfolding. Facebook is where people go to record their feelings about big, shared milestones somewhat after the fact. The World Cup told us what we already know.” definitely worth reading and for a more in-depth analysis check out twitter’s publicly released info about the activity surrounding the World Cup http://bit.ly/1zMVxCM

People remember ads more when they binge on TV shows
“A binge watching audience is different than the traditional one because binge viewers are more invested in the content on the screen, and that includes the ads, said Pamela Marsh, director of primary research and insights for Annalect, which conducted the study.” While this is great for advertisers, it could be bad for people in general. A recent study indicates that binge watching TV kills us faster http://nbcnews.to/1zMVPtc

Publishers have an updated evergreen strategy: Make the old new again
Publishers are starting to realize that “news” and “content” doesn’t have to be new to perform really well. Content from a few months to a few years back can be just as engaging, if not more, than content that’s new and fresh. This really isn’t too crazy when you consider the great images that are shared by people, across social networks, on every Thursday (aka Throwback Thursday). As Don Draper once remarked, nostalgia is potent.

An Actually Useful Version of Yo Is Warning Israelis of Rocket Strikes
Have you heard of “Yo!” – it’s a messaging app that lets you say “Yo!” to all your friends. Yes, I’m serious. Stop shaking your head. It’s real. There’s no shortage of jokes about the app. As ridiculous as the concept seems, Yo! Is now serving a higher purpose. “Yo users can now follow “RedAlertIsrael” to get a “Yo” at the same time that the sirens go off. The user typically receives a warning via smartphone 15 to 90 seconds before a rocket hits.” Impressive and innovative.

Friday Five – January 24, 2014

How Spotify, Netflix and Amazon control your online habits
“The more we know about you, the better the engine can be,” says Spotify’s Donovan Sung. This is why I’m still a big believer that the best is yet to come for Facebook. Choice Architecture is one of the most difficult things to grasp. When you have 3 ice cream flavors, choice is easy. When you have 100 it’s substantially harder. How information is presented will impact the consumer’s decision. This is why I think in-store design is so important, yet unfortunately overlooked.

Former Apple CEO backs virtual doctor’s office to create the ‘consumer era’ of medicine
First, this is pretty damn cool. Second, do you realize we’ve been talking about this concept for roughly 10 years? The first doctor to get mainstream coverage of this was Dr. Jay Parkinson. In a Wired magazine article from 2007, he shared how he was using email, video chat and IM to treat patients. Perhaps, the world and technology needed to catchup to his trailblazing ideas. This is a great example of why I believe we are living in the Now Economy and it’s not going to change.

Target Tests Small Store for Urban Shoppers as Young People Pick Cities Over Suburbs
Interesting isn’t it? Stores were once small and in the heart of the city. Then we went to the super sized Wal-Mart and Target format. From there it was on to the mega sized Sam’s Club approach. But, as people are sticking in the city and foregoing cars, we’re headed back to a smaller format. This is why I think the omnichannel approach Walgreens is taking by leveraging their 8,000 store footprint and adding larger format stores into the mix, is a win. It’s always easier to make your smaller footprint a little bigger than it is to downsize your larger format store.

Trends Come and Go in Retail, but Technology Is the One Trend That Is Here to Stay
I think you could also call this post, “Job Security For Those Who Love And Can Adapt To Change.” This could and should have been a longer post, instead of a primer to get people to sign up for a white paper. I don’t normally include these types of links, but even in the relatively short post, I think they may a very important point – you need a model for managing and forecasting the rapid change in technology and its impact on your business.

Our Mobile Planet
If you made it down this far, thanks. This post is your reward. I spent hours playing around with the Our Mobile Planet tool that Google created. The tool lets you slice and dice a large variety of data about mobile. The data spans everything from app usage to mobile shopping and you can slice the data by age, gender and geography. This is the one link you’ll keep revisiting this year. Bookmark it. Yes, I said “bookmark.”

Friday Five – January 3, 2014

Google And Audi Likely To Announce Infotainment Partnership At CES
I’ve been saying it for nearly 2 years, but the future is mobility, not mobile. Our cars are one of the most mobile “devices” we own and yet it’s been fairly technology limited. Ford really changed that with their Microsoft Sync relationship. It was only a matter of time til someone turned your car into something that resembled your phone. If the rumors are true, it’s Audi and Google who are committing to bring you the future of mobility.

Wendy Clark: All Marketing Strategies Should Start With ‘Why’
I love this article, penned by Wendy Clark, Coke’s VP of Marketing. Brands are built over time and with relentless focus. There’s a reason Coke, as a brand, is recognized, understood and appreciated across the world. To hear Wendy explain it, it’s their focus on their mission. “In these moments, when we lead with the product (what) and not our mission (why), our decisions get smaller, our perspective less brave, our work less memorable, our world impact more limited.” Purposeful positioning matters. It gives a brand a foundation to build upon and to thrive on.

Zappos is going holacratic: no job titles, no managers, no hierarchy
It’s the kind of thing only Zappos could do AND be successful in doing. Instead of a top down hierarchy, “…there will be around 400 circles at Zappos once the rollout is complete in December 2014—and employees can have any number of roles within those circles. This way, there’s no hiding under titles; radical transparency is the goal.” I love this approach. Then again, I’ve always loved the idea of accountability. Roles are much more valuable than titles. It’s your role that enables you to feel purpose and drive impact beyond your box on an org chart.

More Than 300 Sharks In Australia Are Now On Twitter
“Government researchers have tagged 338 sharks with acoustic transmitters that monitor where the animals are. When a tagged shark is about half a mile away from a beach, it triggers a computer alert, which tweets out a message on the Surf Life Saving Western Australia Twitter feed. The tweet notes the shark’s size, breed and approximate location.” That sums it up. Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Pew Internet Life Project: The 2013 Social Media Report
Always a fan of the work done by Pew. Their reports on internet/digital/social use and adoption always have me leaning forward. In their 2013 report on social media trends we see a few interesting things.

  1. If you thought Facebook was on the decline…think again.
  2. Just about everyone uses social. Ok, not everyone, but 73% of adults online. That’s significant.
  3. While Facebook isn’t on the decline, people are diversifying their time across many social networks…especially Instagram.

The full report can be found here.

Friday Five – December 20, 2013

Why Advertising Is ‘Dead Last’ Priority at Outerwear Marketer Patagonia
Great reminder that purposeful positioning is more important today than it’s ever been. Mission focused organizations are finding an easier go in digital, because story-telling is simple and effortless for companies that stand for something bigger than just selling more cases.

The top visual design trends for 2014
Solid infographic outlining the major visual design trends next year. As a dad of 2, I’m especially thrilled to see “Hands on Dads” as an emerging category. Personally, I don’t think dad’s get enough credit for all we do. Also, pay special attention to #11. The idea that photos that aren’t professionally taken or styled will be expected and more impactful, will prove difficult for companies that like to over-edit EVERY visual.

Text messaging will look boring after you try this app backed by Betaworks and Dave Morin
I’m not bullish on SnapChat as a business driving platform, nor do I see it ever living up to it’s valuation. Dave Morin, famous for launching and overseeing the slow death of Path, backed a new platform called “Context.” This will be one of several new messaging apps that will hit the street in the next few months. Each one will erode away at SnapChat’s audience. Teens are fickle and they certainly don’t want to be on the same platforms as their parents (see Facebook). As Gen X, Y and Boomers invade SnapChat, Context will be one of many alternatives teens and tweens will join.

Judging By Google Searches, Here Are The Things Americans Were Most Clueless About in 2013
I think this is a combination of the things Americans were clueless about (eg twerking) and interested in learning more about (eg Boston Marathon). While the data isn’t included, it’s clear the power TV has on search. TV is a stimulus that leads us to explore. And today, when we want to explore, it’s google that we turn to. In 2014 it will be interesting to see if twitter chips away at that decade + trend, especially as people want real-time and frequent updates.

Beyoncé Rejects Tradition for Social Media’s Power
Great background on how and why Beyonce chose social media over traditional marketing to launch her new album. I especially love this passage:

“I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it,” Beyoncé said in a news release, which so far represents the only public comments that she or Columbia, her label, have made. “I am bored with that.”

Perhaps if more marketers adopted this philosophy we’d see a quicker transition away from the copy and paste approach to marketing campaigns. The album itself is mediocre, but this is brilliant marketing. What I love about this, is that it speaks to why I got into marketing and advertising in the first place…to keep reinventing brands and breaking molds. That’s the fun part. Great marketers are ever curious and antsy. We like to tweak, plan and re-tweak. Then when we launch something, there’s a void, not a relief. That void is filled by thinking about how to set an even higher bar.

I’m Back – 5 Things To Share

It’s been a while since my last post. Too long. It’s not for lack of content. Believe me, I’ve had plenty on my mind, that’s worth sharing. A few things happened that brought my writing to a screeching halt:

  1. I’ve been swamped at the office working on some very exciting new projects
  2. I broke my hand which makes typing challenging at best
  3. I’ve been doing a lot more travel than normal and using the flight time to catch up on sleep
  4. I spent the last week in Florida with the kids at Disney World

Excuses, I know, we all have them. So with all that said, rather than write an ungodly amount of posts, I’m opting to condense all my ramblings into 3 posts with 5 focus areas. This is the first.

  1. We launched 4 the first ever Walgreens Photo Blog, titled “Walgreens Snaps.” I got the privilege of crafting the first post. I’m excited about this blog because it’s content that our community wants and it’s going to drive serious SEO performance for our Photo Site.
  2. Like many early adopter brands, we launched our official Walgreens Google+ page. We’re still figuring out how we’ll use Google+, but I can tell you that Hangouts will be a major part of how we find success on Google+.
  3. First To Know” launched on our Walgreens Facebook page. First to know is about rewarding our most plugged in community members. By signing up for first to know, Facebook community members will be alerted to great deals, special offers and more, before ANYONE else learns about it. The response has been great since launching 2 weeks ago.
  4. Our Walgreens Social Media team won a Chicago Interactive Marketing Association award for our Flu Check-In program. While I’m not an award junky like Creative Directors at Leo Burnett, I think awards are a great sense of validation for the ideas we’re bringing to market. Part of our KPIs this year are 5 projects that meet the Return On Amazing criteria…with 3 of them needing to win awards. This helps keep the bar high and all of us focused on big ideas that drive the organization.
  5. Our Social Media team started as a team of 1 and now we’re a team of 7 with 2 more hires to go. Sam Ogborn and Eric Gottloeb are our 2 newest hires. Both bring great experience…REAL experience, as opposed to “consultative” experience that’s focused on theory. To go from 1 to 7 inside of 7 months…and eventually 9, definitely shows you how important social is to our organization.

My Early Thoughts On Google+

This video from The Jimmy Fallon Show does a great job of explaining the mass hysteria around Google+:

It’s funny, but Seth Green is spot on. Others, more qualified than I, have already ripped the invite policy, so I won’t go there. We also have a large group of misguided people who are proclaiming Google+ a Facebook killer or a twitter killer or a something else killer. To those pundits, I say, you are missing the point.

I resisted the urge to publish a post on Google+ right after it came out, unlike many others. When I first joined there just wasn’t enough people using it to get a fair read. To be honest with you, there still isn’t enough people, or maybe a better way to say it, is enough of the right people using it to make a fair evaluation. With that in mind here’s 5 thoughts I have:

  1. Google+ gets a lot right.  As I wrote on Google+, “Circles seem like the key. The ability to segment your entire circle of connections into sub-circles is a game changer and honestly, aligned better with user behavior. We don’t want to share the same way with a long-time friend, co-worker, former colleague or family member.”  That’s really the killer function and it shows that Google truly understands user behavior.  But, it’s also something that Facebook could very easily replicate.  So how long will it really be a point of differentiation?
  2. The integration of Google+ into all other Google products (gmail, calendar, etc.) was the smartest decision they made.  Instead of Google+ becoming a separate destination it can now act as something that ties across all the Google products you’re already using.  Facebook can’t even start to compete here.
  3. The lack of a mobile app for the iPhone and Blackberry (yes, I know the Blackberry is dying a slow death) is hurting the ability for Google+ to scale.  With more than 40% of Facebook users using Facebook via mobile devices and similar behavior (mobile, mobile, mobile) for other social networks, Google wasn’t thinking forward enough here.  As a sample size of 1 I can tell you my Google+ usage is nowhere near as high as it would be if I could be connected to it on the go.  Big miss here that I know they’ll correct, but it needs to be said.  The success of failure of Google+ will be tied directly to how strong and simple the mobile experience is.
  4. Google+ isn’t a replacement for twitter or Facebook.  But, it is something that will redirect and shift where we spend our time.  That’s why #2 is so important.  We already search for things, email, watch videos on youTube, scheduled events, etc.  With Google+ being integrated across all Google products, Google has found a way for us to “multi-task” with Google+ while we’re doing something else powered by Google.  Time is finite, the integration approach is one way to gain more of it.  What else will they do to keep us plugged in?
  5. This is the most important thought, what problem does Google+ solve?  I still don’t know.  Sure, it’s nice.  It’s simple. It has great features like Circles and Huddle.  But, if you are already on Facebook, if you are already on twitter, if you don’t social network at all, what does Google+ provide that makes your life better, simpler, easier, more enjoyable, etc.?  The best products, the best ideas, the best platforms…the ones that succeed, SOLVE a problem.  What does Google+ solve?
I’m looking forward to using Google+ more and more, especially through the iPhone and iPad apps once they are in market.  After that, I’ll have a more in depth post covering what I think the value of Google+ is for users and marketers.

A Child’s Imagination

I love Legos.  I think I love them more as an adult than I did as a child.  In fact, there’s really only one major Lego initiative I can remember undertaking as a kid.  My dad and I, over the course of about a month, built Disney’s Magic Castle.  It was hundreds of pieces. I wish I had a picture; I looked all over Google for it, but couldn’t find anything.  Bummer, because it was impressive.

My son, John, loves Legos.  Love might even be an understatement, because Legos seem to be a passion for him.  This past weekend, John and attended the Lego KidsFest in Minneapolis.  It was a blast.  Just awesome.  John was tentative at first.  I think the scale of the event was just daunting for him.  But, he quickly warmed up and got to work with building towers, buildings and cars that could be raced down ramps.

I mostly sat back and just watched him dream up idea after our idea.  There’s something cool, raw, interesting and exciting about watching a child create something.  There are no rules, no boundaries, no need to be uniform.  It’s all wide open.  It’s pure creativity, just like how it should be all the time for everyone.

When did we stop imagining like a child?  And why?

Can You Pay People To Change?

Can you pay people to change?  Can you purchase compliance?  Is social success predicated on company culture?  Do people really want to be social?  Are the social “gurus” (laughable) right in how the lofty and esoterica language they use to describe social?  All of these questions and more are up for grabs with Google’s decision to tie employee bonuses to the succes of failure of their forays into the social space.

Last week, Larry Page, Google’s CEO sent out a company wide memo that outlined the importance of social, the role employees must play in driving social success and how their compensation will be tied to Google’s growth in social.  If you will, Google is trying to buy employee participation, adoption, interest and promotion of social.

Ballsy, for sure.  It certainly sends a signal that Google has flopped thus far in social and doesn’t want it to happen again.  I’m not exaggerating when I say failure.  Take for example the following: Knoll wasn’t a hit.  Orkut fell on deaf ears.  Jaiku was just bad.  Wave was a failure.  Blogger is nice, but is no WordPress.  Buzz didn’t take off.

Over and over Google has flopped in the social space for one reason or another.  Will this brave approach by Larry Page be the lightening rod that unifies the organization or will it cause irreparable harm because people will be faking their participation?

Time will tell.  But, one thing is for sure, this is the ultimate social experiment.