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Technology Tools and Customer Engagement: It's Complicated
June 25, 2019
The most successful brands today are those that have created engaged audiences and an exceptional customer experience. They have managed to humanize the most unsentimental of buying processes, and somehow made it look easy. Providing a world class customer experience is so profitable that Gartner has estimated the CX and CRM software market alone to be worth $48.2 billion and rising steadily.
Proposed Law Would Force Big Tech to Reveal Value of Consumer Data
June 25, 2019
A Democrat and a Republican have filed a U.S. Senate bill to require companies to report to financial regulators and to the public what consumer data they collect and how they leverage it for profit. "When a big tech company says its product is free, consumers are the ones being sold," said Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. "These 'free' products track everything we do."
The Greening of E-Commerce
June 24, 2019
E-commerce by its nature involves a lot of packaging and shipping, and e-commerce companies can't always control how their products get sent. There are ways to make these processes more sustainable, however, and the benefits might well be worth the effort. "E-commerce won't stop growing anytime soon," said Mark Bastiaanssen, CEO of Shiptimize. "Many models are currently being tested."
6 Things We Won't Be Able to Live Without in 2035
June 24, 2019
Things rarely happen as fast as we think or progress as slowly as we hope. We all thought we'd have flying cars by the end of last century, for instance, but we are due to be up to our armpits in them by the end of next decade if the impressive number of trials continue to go well. I touched on the drone drop issue a little last week, and I have been thinking about it ever since.
Plot Thickens With Dish's Interest in Sprint, T-Mobile Wireless
June 20, 2019
The merger between T-Mobile and Sprint has been dragging on for quite a long time, but it finally may be in the home stretch. To get the deal approved, Sprint and T-Mobile might have to sell off some of their wireless assets to competitors. Many were surprised to see Dish Network's interest. What would this mean for the merger and for the wireless industry as a whole?
In Zuck We Trust: Facebook to Launch Own Cryptocurrency
June 19, 2019
Facebook's plans to mint its own digital coin will test the company's consumer credibility. After being savaged for months for its cavalier attitude toward users' privacy, the social network will be asking those same users to trust its new cryptocurrency. The currency, called "Libra," will be stashed in a digital wallet, the first product of new Facebook financial services subsidiary Calibra.
Customizing for Your Customers: How Headless Commerce Is Driving Change
June 19, 2019
The future is headless. As the world of commerce continues to mature, today's most successful retailers have one thing in common: They're getting better and better at meeting their customers whenever, wherever, and however they want to shop. The number of possible commerce touchpoints has grown exponentially, which means having a holistic commerce mindset is critical for survival.
The New Era of E-Commerce Personalization
June 17, 2019
A personalized shopping experience gives e-commerce sites an edge, and businesses increasingly have been seeking ways to welcome their customers. "Every business should make their customers feel like they are the most important customer in the world," said Rob Maille, head of strategy and customer experience at CommerceCX. "To do that you need to know and anticipate their wants and needs."
Cisco's Take on Making the World a Better Place
June 17, 2019
I attended Cisco Live last week, and one of the things that impressed me was how many amazing things the company has been doing that have nothing to do with products, services or revenue. Most companies have a philanthropic budget and donate, but they don't really seem to care if the money makes a difference. For most, philanthropy is more about uplifting their image than making a difference.
Retailers' Most Common Cloud Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
June 15, 2019
It's easy to understand why so many retail organizations have moved their infrastructure to the cloud. Cloud-based architecture allows provisioning nearly infinite compute instances on-demand in minutes. There is no need for upfront licensing or infrastructure costs, meaning a faster ROI can usually be realized. Best of all are the unmatched agility and scalability of the cloud.
Can Brands Protect Privacy While Personalizing?
June 14, 2019
I sometimes think personalization is the best thing that happened to humankind in terms of marketing. As a consumer, I love getting suggestions on what to buy, especially when it's exactly what I need. Sometimes I feel as though I'm under constant surveillance, however, so I turn on my ad blockers, I surf in private mode, and I report ads that are not relevant to me.
Are You Gish-Galloping Your Business Toward Disruption?
June 13, 2019
Recent events have led to many people learning about a long-understood rhetorical tactic called "Gish galloping." Named after creationist Duane Gish, it means confronting an opponent with a rapid-fire series of arguments -- including half-truths, misrepresentations and outright lies. Confronted with such a BS barrage, the opponent may try to refute each assertion, which is a losing proposition.
Internet's Crowds Stunting Its Growth: Trends Report
June 13, 2019
More than half the world's population -- 3.8 billion people -- have access to the Internet and that may not be a good thing for business, according to digital savant Mary Meeker's Internet Trends 2019 report. Global Internet user growth has slowed to 6 percent year over year, down from 7 percent, noted the Bond Capital general partner. The Asia-Pacific region leads in both users and potential.
China-US Trade Tension Is Causing Irreparable Damage to High-Tech
June 12, 2019
While trade disputes between countries are nothing new and seldom are remembered, the ongoing one between China and the United States may change the course of the electronics industry going forward. In the beginning of the dispute proposed tariffs excluded electronics for the most part. The U.S. even modified some initial proposals to avoid impacting Apple and other U.S. tech companies.
News Industry Ad Study Knocked as 'Tripe'
June 12, 2019
A study that estimates Google last year raked in $4.7 billion from news content has drawn widespread criticism. That $4.7 billion is a conservative estimate, according to the News Media Alliance, the trade group that released the study. That's because the estimate doesn't take into account Google's advertising revenue from publishers and data collected from news content.
Fraud Siphons Billions of Ad Cash Into Digital Hole
June 11, 2019
Fraudsters have been stealing online advertisers blind -- to the tune of $23 billion, based on a report from Cheq. Indirect economic and social costs might increase the total to $30 billion. Marketers have been wasting billions of dollars on digital ads that never reach buyers' eyes. Up to 30 percent of ads are impacted by fraud that affects 21 trillion online ads each year.
Salesforce and Tableau in Merger
June 10, 2019
Salesforce has announced an all-stock deal to acquire analytics powerhouse Tableau Software. Salesforce will pay 1.103 of its shares for one Tableau share. The deal is expected to finalize by the end of October, about a month before Dreamforce. A number of questions arise from this deal. For instance, why do it at all? Why keep the companies separate, and what will their relationship be like?
The 5 Most Pressing Problems With Drone Delivery
June 10, 2019
Amazon plans to begin drone deliveries within the next several months. The drones have become far more capable, safer, and less noisy, but there are five other problems that will need to be addressed before this delivery method reaches its full potential. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm looking forward to drone delivery. Still, there are several things that will need to be addressed.
For Brands the Future Is Facebook
June 7, 2019
Mark Zuckerberg recently said that the future of Facebook is private. Interestingly, connecting the dots between all the announcements made at Facebook's 2019 developers conference draws a bright picture of what the future looks like for brands, small e-commerce stores, and new businesses using the Facebook family of apps. It includes a whole new world of opportunities.
Dodging Facebook's 'Like' Trap for Small Businesses
June 7, 2019
Despite complaints about user privacy and the sharing of personal data, Facebook remains the de facto social media powerhouse. It may have started out as a place to connect with friends, but with 2.23 billion users worldwide it isn't hard to see why it matters to marketers. For the past decade Facebook has been a proven way for small businesses to connect with customers -- at least in theory.
When Retail Customers Take It on the Chin, Investors Win
June 6, 2019
I am a reluctant Costco shopper. My wife is one of the many who really love the chain. Me... not so much. Seriously -- someone should knock Costco's top officials on the head and wake them up to the need to focus on their customers. After all, it's the customers who make Costco successful. When my family owned lots of retail stores, I learned many important lessons that Costco needs to learn.
YouTube Punishes Homophobic, Racist Pundit Following Internet Furor
June 6, 2019
YouTube on Wednesday demonetized the account of right-wing commentator Steven Crowder following widespread indignation over its initial response to his attacks on Vox host Carlos Maza. Crowder for years has attacked Maza, host of Vox's Strikethrough series. Crowder's homophobic and racist comments often spurred mass social media attacks and other abuse against Maza.
New Antitrust Probe Tightens Screws on Big Tech
June 5, 2019
The U.S. House of Representatives Antitrust Subcommittee has opened an investigation into competition in digital markets, increasing the pressure on big tech companies over antitrust issues. The subcommittee is part of the House Judiciary Committee. The bipartisan investigation will include a series of hearings on antitrust, commercial and administrative law about the rise of market power online.
Trailhead, Salesforce's Not-So-Secret Weapon
June 4, 2019
Salesforce has used its Trailhead learning system to teach developers how to program on its Lightning platform for more than five years. The company last week completed its fourth highly successful TrailheaDX conference, which attracted 14,000 people to the Moscone Center in San Francisco. There are plenty of good reasons for Salesforce to be in the software-coding-education game.
The Importance of Strong Domain Security to Brand Value
June 3, 2019
Building and sustaining a brand has gotten more challenging. The global marketplace, empowered by the Internet, has delivered a raft of opportunities to businesses, but it also has opened the door for challenges. These challenges include increased competition as the result of a wider market, and increased possibilities for brand abuse. Added to that mix is the ever-present cyberthreat.
AMD Slam-Dunks Intel at Computex and It's a Good Thing
June 3, 2019
Like a lot of folks, I'm a tad sick of Intel. Last month we learned of its second big security scandal in as many years. Once again, the company not only neglected to disclose the problems in a timely way but also lacked a plan to recall the failed parts. Once again, buyers likely will have to cripple their Intel processors if they want to use them safely.
Leveraging Live Video Streaming, the Great Democratizer
June 1, 2019
When live streaming first started to roll out across multiple social media platforms, it remained pretty unclear how this new technology would interface with Internet users. More often a source for friends to include one another on events they're missing out on, frequent uses of live video streaming felt experimental in nature. What was it all about?
The Cannabis Rush: Where There's Smoke, There's E-Commerce
May 31, 2019
The budding online cannabis industry has a long way to go before it delivers bumper crops. The market for both recreational and medicinal cannabis has been plowed and pre-seeded by the previous underground market and the impetus of state laws legalizing its use. Still, the cannabis industry is almost invisible online, cloaked as it is in a broad ad and search engine blackout.
Trailblazing a Path for Blockchain
May 30, 2019
Many of us think of blockchain as the technology that prevents counterfeiting digital currencies like bitcoin. However, the so-called cryptocurrencies have hit the rocks recently, losing value or at least fluctuating wildly, making them look more like the stocks of startups than stores of value. Still, as an independent technology the value of blockchain is only growing.
Amazon to Edge Out Small Wholesalers
May 30, 2019
Amazon has been reworking relationships with several of its long-time wholesale suppliers in a bid to cut costs, according to a report. The plan is to buy from larger companies instead of smaller businesses. Thousands of small suppliers that sell less than $10 million annually on Amazon's platform would lose bulk orders, while big brands like Procter & Gamble and Lego would benefit.
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Should government regulators force the breakup of big tech companies?
Yes -- it's the only way to restore competition.
No -- breaking them up would make them less useful to consumers.
Yes -- it would encourage entrepreneurship and innovation.
No -- but some regulation is needed to restrict their power.
Yes -- but only the firms that function as utilities.
No -- the government should keep its hands off and let the market decide.