This marks the first of several retrials of convicted entrepreneurs aimed at reassuring the private sector, FT reports.
Read more: cnbc.com
This marks the first of several retrials of convicted entrepreneurs aimed at reassuring the private sector, FT reports.
Read more: cnbc.com
For the past decade, telecommunications companies around the globe have been grappling with falling average revenues per user equaling stagnant growth rates.
While particularly mobile operators have enabled increasing prosperity in third-world countries, new ways of working and fueled entirely new markets, much of the wealth created has landed on the books of companies that we look upon with increasing discomfort: Google, Amazon, Alibaba, Tencent and others. And as if this was not enough, the very ingredient — ubiquitous connectivity — that has served as lubricant for the disruption of entire industries is now on the verge of being disrupted itself.
While many expect finance or healthcare to be next on the list of global serial disruptors, and technologies like wearables, blockchain and AI are cited to be the nails in the coffins of these industries, small players have cooked up the ingredients that could well marginalize today’s prevailing telco business models globally. There are three ingredients that could make that happen…
Lack of customer trust
Among the top 100 most trusted brands globally, you will find companies of almost any industry, except telco. You will find our serial disruptors, big brand consumer packaged goods, car manufacturers — even banks, payment companies and healthcare service providers. But you won’t find telcos. In their battle for growth, telcos globally have largely alienated their customers for the sake of managing yield and profitability.
Furthermore, simple customer engagement processes are often broken, and telcos have struggled to achieve a high quality of service with zero defects, high responsiveness and a great customer experience on even their most relevant customer interactions. They have broken the trust equation with their customers.
An existing trusted relationship is hard to disintermediate.
Why is that relevant? Because trust is an important ingredient in disintermediation, à la Uber or Airbnb. Uber has put trust and ease into the car-hailing business, while Airbnb has put the trust in-between guest and host. On the flip side, an existing trusted relationship is hard to disintermediate.
However, the telco-customer relationship, as global brand indicators show, is ready to be disrupted. Perhaps even more so than the bank-client or doctor-patient relationships.
While telcos are grappling with fixing their customer front ends, becoming more nimble and responsive to customer needs and putting “greatness” back into the overall customer experience equation, small startups (and large telco suppliers alike) are creating what is known as “liquid infrastructures.”
In today’s cloud-based world, global network traffic is exploding while traffic patterns, with globally scaled and load-balanced cloud-based back-ends, are becoming more and more fluid and less predictable. Likewise, decreasing enterprise assets actually connect to the enterprise network directly.
The internet of things (IoT) is creating massively distributed architectures with globally roaming assets that need to seamlessly blend into critical enterprise applications. So, enterprises are challenged with creating more flexible network infrastructures that not only connect their various operating sites, but also create reliable connections to public cloud service providers, while connecting remote and mobile IoT assets to the core network. And all that while accommodating massive shifts in traffic patterns depending on the day of the week, time of day or reconfigurations happening at service providers.
Liquid infrastructure promises to provide a solution for such challenges, and it’s not a concept telcos are capable of, or offering, in the market place as of now. It is players like Waltz Networks, a venture-backed startup from San Francisco, that are disrupting the market place by providing solutions for the completely self-managed, liquid infrastructure that can handle today’s network demand.
Envision such an offering as a global OTT service and you have a recipe for a serious contender to the global enterprise telco services market.
“On the fly” mobile access
Redtea Mobile is another such interesting disruptor in the telco space. Imagine your IoT assets are roaming around the world globally. Which telco would you go to in order to buy a data plan, plus device management, which enables you to provision and deprovision your devices globally and on the fly?
Telcos globally have been struggling to come up with competitive offerings that make managing such global asset bases economical and a breeze. That is firstly because none of the globally leading telcos can offer a truly global network — be it of their own or partner assets. Secondly, given multiple telcos are forced to collaborate if they want to offer a global virtual mobile data service, long-standing roaming agreements often stand in the way of economical pricing models. Telcos are not yet willing to sacrifice existing global roaming revenue at the expense of a potentially growing global IoT mobility data market opportunity.
Companies are better off disrupting than being disrupted.
Despite these challenges, however, the demand is increasing. While global mobile traffic was 7 exabytes in 2016, it will skyrocket 700 percent by 2021. That’s where Redtea Mobile comes into the picture. With Redtea Mobile’s technology, you could imagine someone buying regional capacity with enough associated international mobile subscriber identities (IMSI), the unique numbers assigned to mobile phone users, around the globe at wholesale prices, bundling this capacity as a global mobile IoT data service, and reselling it to enterprises globally to fuel their IoT devices.
The way Redtea Mobile’s technology works is that it can reprogram eSIMs on the fly from the cloud, so a device that operates on one mobile network in one country can be reprogrammed to another network on the fly once it crosses the border.
Both Redtea Mobile and Waltz Network enable the disintermediation of telcos, cutting out the expensive middle man. In the scenarios described above, the end-customer relationship would likely not reside with the telco, but with a service provider smartly repackaging core telco services with new technology into an over-the-top (OTT) service that completely marginalizes the telco to a pure infrastructure provider — much like the Uber drivers or the Airbnb property owners. And, as my first argument suggests, it is unlikely that many customers will bemoan the demise of global telcos as customer-facing service providers.
So what can telcos do?
Enough cases have proven already that companies are better off disrupting than being disrupted.
True, telcos have one strength that is impossible to beat — they own assets that are hard, in most markets impossible, to replicate. However, while telcos will not vanish entirely, they run the risk of being completely marginalized. To prevent that, they should drive disruptive change of their own. While small companies are innovating, telcos could be at the forefront of deploying those technologies across their infrastructure and of developing new and innovative offerings that disrupt their prevailing products and business models on top of those technologies.
Will this be enough to win? No, telcos will still have to fix the trust equation with their customers, become more responsive, etc.
But if telcos rely on their stagnant existing revenue streams and are too timid in embracing disruption, they are likely to continue their slow path toward the ultimate horror scenario of many telco executives: that of becoming a dump pipe.
Read more: feedproxy.google.com
While much of the excitement in the business press considers the recent changes brought about by the digital revolution, what we’re really witnessing is the final act of a step change in how our economy can be organized. Guilds, exclusionary principles (even castes!) and stable industry definitions, which for centuries were the foundation of economic organization, have gradually given way to new, flexible ways of organizing. Technology has allowed people with cars and smartphones, mediated by the likes of Uber, to challenge taxis’ monopoly. Growth in “mobility services” has put a doubt over car ownership, and automobile OEMs have started to re-define themselves. Financial services are being transformed by fintech, and the adventuresome regulatory environment (which, far from trying to quell innovation as it did in the past, is creating new “regulatory sandboxes” to try new things out) ushers in change and new players, and the very value-ad of finance is put in question by blockchain. As sectors transform, new players emerge: trailblazing firms such as Ant Financial leverage digitally-connected participants, disrupting sectors as they build competitive advantage.
These are far-reaching changes. In healthcare, the confluence of remote diagnostics, data management and personalized tracking of drug use is opening up new realms of activity for those suffering from chronic ailments, acute conditions or even simply wishing to improve their well-being. From drug manufacturers to hospitals to insurers, and even carmakers providing seats that monitor heart rate and pressure, many players are trying to unleash new sources of value and in doing so increasingly overlap, aggressively using AI to automate tasks done by regulated white-collar professions such as doctors. Stable sectors are substituted by ecosystems, and it is no accident that the five most valuable firms in the world in terms of market capitalization (Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft) have made it a strategy to build and manage ecosystems, leveraging their complementors’ energies and skills.
Managing in these ecosystems raises a host of new challenges, as firms need to redefine both their value-add and business models. As products and services become increasingly interdependent, firms can no longer afford to keep a narrow focus on their sector. It also raises the need to integrate with digital technologies, often using AI to leverage existing data; new buzzwords such as “Industry 4.0” and “platform-based services” capture the tech-powered zeitgeist. So will this new, boundary-light world constitute the triumph of technology, as human conventions become increasingly thwarted? Paradoxically, nothing appears to be further than the truth.
These changes and the rapid reconfigurations that they entail usher in the need to better appreciate and leverage people. First, as competition shifts from winning within your sector to re-shaping your sector, it is the real needs of customers and not past conventions that will dictate how sectors and ecosystems look in the future. Customer centricity, seamless experience and re-engineering the provision of service is what will drive firms’ success. Whether you’re a B2B or B2C firm, you need to better understand immediate and ultimate customer needs. Second, we need to build a deeper understanding of how customers choose, and how firms can take advantage of that. Dick Thaler, 2017 Nobel Laureate in economics, has shown the power of “default choices” customers make, and how “choice architects” can leverage their habits; such behavioural insights help explain why firms such as booking.com have more profits than mega-hotel giants like Groupe Accor, which employs 60 times more people. And third, the fluidity in sectors means that there’s more need for strategy than ever before. With industry boundaries up for grabs and business models in flux, we need to draw on human intuition, the skill of brokering collaborative solutions across sectors and domains, and leadership to bring novel structures to the fore.
In this fast-changing world, organizations will need to become less not more mechanistic. AI encroaches on the repetitive and the routine; technology is better than even skilled employees at quality control, defect identification, and pattern recognition. What we need from employees (and entrepreneurs) is creativity, initiative, and flexibility. Organizations embodying principles articulated a century ago by F.W. Taylor, aiming to reproduce the regularity of a well-oiled machine, are increasingly irrelevant when technology is used judiciously. The value-add of organizing is to empower firms to become nimble, shape-shifting participants in ecosystems, ready to straddle and configure the context around them. In the new tech era, success will hinge on our ability to rediscover human nature, as we build our value-propositions, our sectors, our business ecosystems, our regulatory apparatus, and our organizations.
Read more: druckerforum.org
A travel blogger has landed in hot water after posting an Instagram photo of himself sitting on the ruins of Pompeii.
Nils Travel has close to 50,000 followers on Instagram.
Sitting on the ruins of Pompeii is disrespectful and forbidden.
“To read the… harm and death wishes that I have received over the past 24 hours hurts me to the core,” Nils wrote.
A travel blogger sparked backlash after posting an Instagram photo of himself posing on the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii.
Nils Travel, who has close to 50,000 followers on Instagram, posted the photo of himself atop a crumbling pillar in the Roman city with the original caption: “A little area that had NO people! Meaning, nobody to yell at me meaning I had to come down from this thing! Exactly what I needed!”See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Read more: feedproxy.google.com
With unemployment at just 3.8 percent, companies are working hard to attract young talent.
Read more: cnbc.com
After successfully launching the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket on May 11, Elon Musk tweeted that it still has about “300 missions over 5 years” left in its lifespan.
SpaceX is predicted to “build 30 to 40 rocket cores” for the Falcon 9 Block 5 to cover about 300 missions over the next five years.
This means dramatically lower costs that will make space travel cheaper and more accessible in the very near future.
After successfully launching the Falcon 9 Block 5 rocket last Friday (May 11), Elon Musk has shared via Twitter that it still has about “300 missions over 5 years” left in its lifespan.
2 tech startups changing the world that are backed by Hollywood starsSweden has a Tesla fan club — and they want Elon Musk ‘to shut his mouth’British police defend their new criminal facial recognition technology – even though it’s failing at a rate of 92%
Read more: feedproxy.google.com
Business Insider/Jessica Tyler
More than 3,800 stores are set to close across the US in 2018.
Retailers including Walgreens, Toys R Us, and Gap are closing hundreds of stores each.
A retail apocalypse is ripping through the industry, leaving clearance sales and empty malls in its wake.
Department stores like Macy’s, Sears, and JCPenney, and retailers including Toys R Us, BCBG, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Bebe have decided to close dozens of stores.
Walking through a mall in 2018 is like walking through a graveyard.
Here’s photographic evidence that a retail apocalypse is hitting the United States hard:
Perhaps most emblematic of the retail apocalypse are photos of dead malls.
As customers increasingly shop online, malls are suffering the consequences.
Visits to malls declined by 50% from 2010 to 2013, according to the real-estate research firm Cushman & Wakefield.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
I just went to Costco for the first time, and it was unlike any other shopping experience I’ve hadSears is closing 63 stores as sales tumble — here’s the full listWe visited H&M and Zara to see which was a better fast-fashion store — and the winner was clear for a key reason
Read more: feedproxy.google.com
The future of marketing is changing.
For one thing, marketing is no longer a siloed department.
In many companies, it is now part of customer service. It’s part of sales. It’s part of product development. Marketing is becoming more and more involved in other departments, as people realize the buyer’s journey never truly “ends.”
And as marketing itself changes, marketers will have to evolve their skill sets to keep up.
I believe that the days when you could be a highly successful marketing specialist are numbered. In the future, the most effective and sought-after marketers will be “full-stack marketers.”
In other words, marketers who understand the entire marketing process from beginning to end. Marketers who can do it all.
In order to become one of those “full-stack marketers” and really thrive in 2018 and beyond, you’ll need to attain a solid grasp of many different marketing topics.
These 14 books will give you the breadth of understanding you need to become a successful modern marketer.
Analytics & Data Books
There’s no getting around it: the marketer of the future absolutely must be comfortable with analytics and data.
You don’t necessarily have to be a statistician or a data scientist, but as a modern marketer, you DO have to make the best-informed decisions you can. That requires a solid understanding of how to analyze and understand data and these two books will help give you a solid foundation in how to do that.
1. Lean Analytics by Alistair Croll
Written for startups, this book will help you grow your business with data-informed decisions—without being overwhelmed with so much data you don’t know what to do with it.
That’s really the struggle for a lot of businesses, isn’t it? You want data to inform your decisions, but you don’t want to drown in it.
So, what you need is a system that can help you distill the mountain of data that’s available into just a few important metrics.
Enter Lean Analytics.
This book teaches that all startups go through five distinct phases:
Empathy – Connecting with others to discover a problem you can help solve.
Stickiness – Discovering a way to solve that problem in a way that’s “sticky.”
Virality – Building a marketable product that people enjoy using.
Revenue – Growing your company, while maintaining profitability.
Scale – Expanding into new markets and growing your team.
The genius of the Lean Analytics method is that it helps you distill each stage down into the one metric that matters most.
This way you’re able to focus on the single most important task in your business at any one point in time.
2. Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Taleb
This book teaches that as important as data is—it can’t predict everything.
There’s always a certain amount of luck and randomness in life and business, and most people have a tendency to underestimate how powerful those forces can be.
So, what does that mean for us as marketers? Does it mean we should stop trying to measure our efforts because it all comes down to luck in the end?
NO! Of course not!
Of course, we should always try our hardest to succeed, and that often means making the most of the data and analytics available to us.
But we also shouldn’t let that lure us into overconfidence.
No matter how much we analyze the data, we can never predict the future with certainty.
No matter how confident we are that a new marketing campaign will be successful, for example, there’s no way to know for sure what will happen until we let it out into the world.
For better or worse, “randomness” will always have an effect on your business. The point isn’t to get disheartened or to think of your business like a roulette table (which it definitely is NOT). The point is to be aware of the prevalence of randomness in business so you can be prepared for any possible outcome.
This book will help you do that.
Behavioral Psychology Books
You may have heard me say this before, but I’ll say it again:
B2B…B2C…all marketing is really just H2H.
No matter how complex the digital marketing landscape becomes, remember that it’s always a human being on the other side of that computer screen; Someone a lot like you, with similar worries, fears, hopes, and dreams.
So, yeah. It’s pretty much impossible to be a top marketer without understanding the psychology of why we do the things we do.
Luckily, there are some amazing books out there on this topic. Here are my top 5:
3. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
This is the classic book on persuasion, and it deserves to be on every marketer’s bookshelf.
In it, Robert Cialdini describes the psychology of what makes people say “yes.” (Clearly, a useful skill for any marketer.)
He boils all of the persuasion down into six primary factors:
Reciprocation – When someone does something for us, we feel obligated to reciprocate.
Commitment and consistency – People like to be consistent with their own behavior, so once they have committed to something, they are more likely to stick with it.
Social proof – If something appears to be popular and well-regarded by a lot of other people, it instantly becomes more attractive to us.
Liking – People are much more likely to be persuaded by someone they like.
Authority – We tend to trust and obey authority figures—people like doctors, judges, experts, celebrities, and so on.
Scarcity – We put a high value on things that are scarce, which makes them appear more valuable.
By applying these principles to your own marketing, you’ll find that your ads and landing pages will instantly become more persuasive and effective.
4. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini
Cialdini followed up Influence with Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, a fascinating study on how you can make your marketing more persuasive by strategically taking advantage of “the essential window of time before you deliver an important message.”
In other words, framing your message in the right context and asking a “pre-suasive” question can dramatically increase the odds of people being receptive to what you have to say.
Cialdini cites a 1993 study among students who were asked a simple pre-suasive question: “Are you unhappy?” Asking this causes people to start fishing for unhappiness in their life.
Whereas, “Are you happy?” makes you look for the positives.
In the 1993 study, students asked the first question were 375% times more likely to report actually being unhappy.
Bottom line: What kind of answer you get highly depends on how you ask the question.
That’s just one example of what Cialdini refers to as “pre-suasion.” As you can see from it, it’s a fascinating topic and definitely worth a read.
(Keep in mind, this book builds on some of the concepts in his first book, Influence, so I would recommend reading that one before.)
5. Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition by Dr. Dan Ariely
In this NYT bestselling book, Dr. Ariely examines the cause and effect of some of our most irrational behaviors.
For example, have you ever noticed that name brand aspirin seems to work better than the generic (even though they both contain the exact same ingredients)?
Or that people will clip coupons to save 50¢ at the grocery store and then splurge many times that amount at a restaurant?
These are the kinds of irrational behaviors that don’t make sense on the surface.
When you start to understand our irrational psychological triggers behind them, however, you’ll start to recognize them all over the place. Self-defeating behaviors, the placebo effect, the power of suggestion, the psychological effect of price anchoring; these are just some of the phenomena we see.
As a marketer, it’s critically important that you understand how and why we make such irrational behaviors. They really are “the hidden forces that shape our decisions.”
6. Meet Your Happy Chemicals by Loretta Graziano Breuning
This book gives you a detailed explanation of your “feel-good” chemicals: dopamine, serotonin, endorphin, and oxytocin.
As human beings, we’re wired to seek out things that feel good; In other words, things that stimulate those four happy chemicals in our brains, and a big part of that means we seek out things that felt good in the past.
If you, as a marketer, can deliver customer experiences that stimulate those happy chemicals, then guess what? Yep, you guessed it. Your customers will be literally hard-wired to come back to you again and again!
(Note: the book has been republished with the title, Habits of a Happy Brain: Retrain Your Brain to Boost Your Serotonin, Dopamine, Oxytocin, and Endorphin Levels, which you can get here.)
7. Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products by Nir Eyal
Nir’s illuminating product design book explains why some products (and startups) succeed and others fail.
In it, Nir concludes that the key to launching a successful product is influencing consumer behavior in a way that reinforces a habit of using your product.
Makes sense, right? But how do you actually do that?
Nir lays it out in his 4-part “Hook Method,” which he describes as a cycle of events engineered to keep consumers coming back again and again:
Trigger – First, you need something to happen that will prompt the consumer to take action. This could be an external trigger (like an email) or an internal trigger (like feeling hungry).
Action – Next, you need the consumer to take some sort of easy action in order to receive the reward promised by your product. (i.e. click this link, sign in to the app, etc.)
Variable Reward – In order for a product to be truly habit-forming, it can’t offer the same exact reward every time. Instead, the reward has to be variable. This way, the user will never be able to fully anticipate the reward they will receive. (i.e. new updates/content every time you visit)
Investment – The last step is getting the user to make a small investment in your product, helping to keep them committed to using it even more in the future. (i.e. uploading their photos into the platform, connecting with all of their friends.)
By baking these 4 steps into your own products and marketing funnels, you can start to create a customer experience that keeps your users coming.
Classic Advertising Books
All I’ve ever really done, as a digital marketer, is take the time-tested principles laid out in these advertising books and apply them to the new mediums of the internet, email, and so on.
In my opinion, these 5 books are essential for anyone who calls themselves a serious marketer.
8. Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz
You’ll probably be surprised when you find out how expensive Breakthrough Advertising is.
I’ve bought it several times (people have a tendency to borrow it, and then when they find out how good it is…somehow I never seem to get it back), probably to the tune of several thousand dollars –and I’m sure I’ll buy it again.
It’s just that good.
In this classic marketing book, Eugene Schwartz teaches that the way to sell your product isn’t to “sell” but instead to channel demand.
Think about why your product or service exists in the first place. What massive desire triggered the creation of this market?
THAT is what you need to focus on in your marketing. Not your product’s features or price-point or any of those details, but the deeper-seated value/benefit of it.
This book also teaches how to understand the state of awareness in a market.
This is vital information if you want to create advertisements that differentiate you from your competitors while also speaking to the correct level of sophistication in your prospects.
These are just a few examples of the gems hidden in this book. It’s full of high-level strategic gold. Buy it. Read it. Then, read it again.
(And be careful when you lend it out.)
9. Tested Advertising Methods by John Caples
Caples is one of the most successful copywriters and direct marketers of all time, and in this, another must-read marketing classic, he shares his secrets in detail.
This book is especially helpful for anyone who needs to learn how to write compelling copy, as Caples spends a lot of time teaching you how to write advertising copy that appeals to the right emotional hot buttons to make people take notice and buy.
He starts by teaching you how to write winning headlines by…
Appealing to the reader’s self-interest
Sharing news or information
Arousing a sense of curiosity
Focusing on a quick & easy solution to the reader’s problem
You’ll learn how to appeal to a mass market audience, how to choose a layout & illustration that attract the most attention, how to increase the selling power of your copy, and much, much more.
10. Scientific Advertising by Claude Hopkins
Now, compared to Breakthrough Advertising, Scientific Advertising is a steal.
Plus, at just 88 pages long, it’s also an incredibly fast read– but don’t let that fool you.
Scientific Advertising is one of the most influential and frequently cited marketing books in history.
David Ogilvy famously claimed that nobody should be allowed to be a marketer until he or she reads this book seven times!
It was the first one to lay out the principles of advertising using a scientific method that measures results and uses data and real-world results to improve sales over time.
Hopkins taught the importance of leveraging customer psychology, being specific in your ad copy, and of using your headlines to speak to your target audience.
Along the way, he also shares dozens of highly successful examples.
11. Ogilvy on Advertising by David Ogilvy
David Ogilvy is another one of marketing’s founding fathers, and On Advertising is his marketing bible.
It’s a treasure trove of insights for anyone who wants to write better direct-response-style ads, covering topics like
The importance of research, and why it’s essential to back up your claims with facts
Why it’s so critical to find out what your competitors are doing
How to position your product to appeal to your ideal customer
What a brand image is, and how every part of your advertisement contributes to it
One thing I love about this book is how visual it is.
Ogilvy includes a lot of eye-catching examples from print ads, including his famous “At 60 miles an hour…” ad for Rolls-Royce.
Ogilvy covers a lot of important concepts and these examples help to really drive home the message and help you understand everything in concrete terms.
12. The Wizard of Ads by Roy Williams
I’ve written about The Wizard of Ads before.
Roy Williams was a mentor of mine and an absolute master of marketing for radio, and it turns out that radio marketing is a lot like digital marketing!
Think about it: in both mediums, you’re trying to grab the attention of a passive, highly distractible person, and unless you can do that, FAST, that person is going to move on to the next thing and forget all about you.
The technology changes, but the underlying emotions and motivations that drive us don’t.
That’s what Roy Williams was an expert on, and that’s why reading this book will pay dividends in your marketing career.
Successful marketers have to move fast. They have to be willing to test minimum viable products, offers, and funnels, and be willing to fail…learn…and try again.
With that in mind, the Agile framework is an important concept for marketers to grasp. Here are two books on the topic that I highly recommend for your bookshelf.
13. The Agile Marketer by Scott Brinker
This book by Scott Brinker operates on the principle that the most important aspect of your company’s marketing is the experience your customers have while using your product or service.
It’s based on the Agile methodology that started in the world of software development and focuses on making incremental improvements based on feedback and collaboration while remaining highly flexible and capable of making rapid changes.
The goal of all these changes is to help drive a superior customer experience that can help your company to stand apart from the competition.
(Thus the book’s sub-headline, “Turning Customer Experience Into Your Competitive Advantage.”)
In its pages, you’ll learn why it’s becoming more and more important for marketing and product management to work hand-in-hand to create products customers love.
It’s essentially a system you can use to infuse marketing directly into your product or service, helping you to turn it into an offer that sells itself.
14. Hacking Marketing by Roland Smart
Like The Agile Marketer, Hacking Marketing draws insightful parallels between modern marketing and software development.
In today’s digital world, marketing is more complex than ever. It has to move fast, adapt to feedback on the fly, and deal with more touch points and marketing channels than ever before.
That might sound daunting, but in Hacking Marketing, you’ll gain a management framework you can use to help achieve those goals while staying organized and preventing chaos in your marketing department.
When you learn how to apply lean and agile management strategies to marketing, you’ll be able to leverage the five “digital dynamics”—instead of struggling against them:
Leveraging these dynamics is critical to successful digital marketing today and in the future.
Never Stop Learning
I don’t want you to think that these books will teach you everything you need to know about marketing forever.
The field of marketing is changing so rapidly that you have to be constantly learning to keep up with the developments.
There’s always something new and exciting to discover, but these 14 books will help give you a solid foundation in some of the most important marketing topics and help you develop a future-focused mindset.
Remember, the marketer of the future is a “full-stack marketer”—someone with a solid grasp of ALL the different pillars of marketing.
So, check out these books to help make yourself a more well-rounded marketer. One positioned for success in 2018 and beyond.
Read more: impactbnd.com
Hitlist, a several-years-old app for finding cheap flights, has begun rolling out a subscription tier that will turn it into something more akin to your own mobile travel agent. While the core app experience, which monitors airlines for flight deals, will continue to be free, the new premium upgrade will unlock a handful of other useful features, including advanced filtering, exclusive members-only fares and even custom travel advice from the Hitlist team.
The idea, says founder and CEO Gillian Morris, goes back to the original idea that inspired her to create Hitlist in the first place.
“Going back to the very beginning, Hitlist was essentially me giving travel advice to friends,” she says. “People had the time, inclination, and money to travel, but didn’t book because they got lost in the search process. When I sent custom advice, like ‘you said you wanted to go to Istanbul, there are $500 direct round trips in May available right now, that’s a good price and the weather will be good and the tulip festival, this unique cultural experience, will be happening’ — 4 out of 5 people would book,” Morris explains.
“I wouldn’t be able to scale that level of advice at the beginning, so we focused on just the flight deals. But now we have four years’ worth of data that we can learn from — browsing and searching within Hitlist — and we can start to build more sophisticated models that will inside and enable people to travel at scale,” she says.
The new subscription feature will offer users the ability to filter airline deals by things like the carrier, number of stops and the time of day of both the departure and return.
It’s also working with airlines to market “closed group” fares that aren’t accessible through flight search engines, but are available to select travel agents and other resellers that market to a closed user group. These will be flagged in the app as “members-only” fares.
Hitlist says it’s currently working with one airline and, through a third party, with several more. But because this is still in a pilot phase and is only live with select users, it can’t say which.
Meanwhile, the app will continue to focus on helping users find low-cost fares — not only by tracking deals, but also by bundling low-cost carriers and traditional airlines. (On Kayak, they call these “hacker fares.”) However, it won’t promote dates that are likely to be cancelled by airlines, nor will it venture into legally gray areas like skipping legs of a flight (like Skiplagged) to find cheaper fares. So it’s not a one-stop shop solution for a determined low price finder.
Beyond just finding cheap flights — which remains a competitive space — Hitlist aims to offer users a more personalized experience, more like what you would have gotten with a travel agent in the past.
For starters, it developed a proprietary machine learning algorithm that sorts through more than 50 million fares’ worth of data per day to find deals that appeal to each individual user. It also learns from how you use it — browsing flights, or how you react to alerts, for example.
“The app gets to know you better over time, just like a human travel agent would,” says Morris. “With the premium upgrade, we’re gaining more insight to the traveler’s preferences that helps us to develop even more sophisticated A.I. to provide advice and make sure you’re getting the best deal.”
Or, simply put, Hitlist over time will suggest things based on what it thinks you might like, just like any ol’ personalized service now does.
When you find a flight you like, Hitlist will direct you over to a partner’s site — like the airline or online travel agency such as CheapOair.
Where the app differs from others also trying to replace the travel agent — like Lola, Pana or Hyper — is that Hitlist doesn’t offer a chat interface. Morris feels that ultimately, travelers don’t want to talk to a chatbot — they just want to browse and discover, then have an experience that’s tailored for them as the app gets smarter about what they like.
But consumer sentiment around chatbots won’t necessarily be negative forever. While the original chatbots were arguably bad, advances in A.I. may see them improve over time. And at some point, they may be nearly as useful as phoning a travel agent for help. At that point, Hitlist’s decision to forgo a chat interface or chat feature could be called into question.
Instead of chat, Hitlist offers editorially curated suggestions, which can be as broad as “escape to Mexico” or as weird and quirky as “best cities to find wild kittens.” (Yes really.)
Hitlist will also help travelers by offering a variety of travel advice to help them make a decision — similar to how Morris used to advise her friends. For example, it might suggest the best days to fly (similar to Google Flights or Hopper), or tell you about the baggage fees, or even what sort of events might be happening at a destination.
From my experience as a user, the app is straightforward and simple to use, and can easily serve as a place for travel inspiration and discovery. It’s also a fun utility for marking off where you’ve been and where you want to go, bucket-list style, and then keeping an eye on prices. But there are a ton of tools for cheap flight shopping, so you shouldn’t book through Hitlist without checking around to ensure it’s the best deal.
Since its launch, Hitlist has grown to more than a million mostly millennial travelers, who have collectively saved over $25 million on their flights by booking at the right time, the company claims.
The new subscription plan is live now on iOS as an in-app purchase for $4.99 per month, but offers a better rate for quarterly or annual subscriptions, at $4.00/mo and $3/mo, respectively. It will roll out on Android later in the year.
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Switchee, an IoT startup based in London, has raised £1.3 million in “pre-Series A” funding for its smart thermostat and accompanying cloud-based service. However, unlike consumer offerings, such as Nest, Hive or Tado, the company’s product is targeting large landlords, initially within the social housing sector.
The idea is to help social landlords both tackle fuel poverty amongst their residents and as part of their social remit, and to provide a scalable technology solution for managing their properties. This includes something akin to an early warning system for common housing stock maintenance issues, such as mould, poor insulation, or a failing boiler.
Leading the round is Fair by Design Fund, a new £15 million fund managed by Ascension Ventures and backed by Big Society Capital and Joseph Rowntree Foundation. It specifically targets companies tackling the U.K.’s poverty premium.
Other backers of Switchee’s latest round include Contrarian Ventures, an early stage energy fund backed by Lietuvos Energija (the largest energy provider in the Baltics), and AU Capital Partners, a VC fund focused on the U.K.-India corridor and investing in technology companies in IOT, Smart Cities and fintech. Previously Mustard Seed, and ClearlySo invested.
“We solve two problems, one on the resident side the other on the landlord side,” Switchee co-founder Ian Napier tells TechCrunch. “For residents, fuel poverty and high energy costs, with 1 in 10 households in the U.K. having to make a choice between ‘heating’ or ‘eating’. For landlords, the poor or non-existent data about their housing stock and resultant maintenance and repair inefficiencies. To give an idea on cost, the average annual maintenance spend per property is £4,000. We have even seen examples of Housing Associations not knowing which houses they own”.
Interestingly, Switchee has decided to build its own hardware rather than, say, piecing together existing consumer smart home solutions or simply white labelling a competitor’s offering. This is something Napier says the startup has routinely debated internally but decided that to deliver a smart thermostat that truly fits the needs of social landlords, it was necessary to be fully vertically integrated, with bespoke hardware working in tandem with the Switchee cloud service and landlord analytics.
And that seems to be working out quite well so far. Following two years of commercial pilots, including successfully deploying Switchee on a national scale last winter, the company says it is now working with over 40 of the U.K.’s leading social landlords, including Flagship Group, The Guinness Partnership, and Peabody, in addition to a number of Local Authorities and Councils.
“We sell the hardware, which landlords give to their residents for free. We also sell access to our landlord SaaS dashboard which aggregates sensory data from Switchee thermostats and presents housing management and welfare alerts. These data insights allow landlords to better understand and manage their large housing portfolios, and the communities they house, more efficiently”.
The Switchee device itself has temperature, light, motion, humidity and air pressure sensors, which it uses to learn occupancy and a property’s “thermal profile” i.e. how quickly it heats and cools. Based on this data, it then optimizes heating settings remotely — meaning that the Switchee device can be used passively, which Napier says is crucial for a non-direct to consumer offering — and as a result claims to reduce resident energy bills by up to 15 percent. It connects via 2G phone networks (in addition to WiFi) so as not to have to rely on a resident’s own internet connection.
“We can be passive ‘fit and forget’,” says Napier. “Switchee will automatically calculate optimum heating settings and regulate heating to reduce wastage and cut bills. Residents who receive a free thermostat can be less engaged than a consumer who chooses to buy a Nest or Hive… so we can’t rely on engagement. But we hope residents will love our technology and use it. We just don’t need them to if they have other things going on”.
The data the device collects is also used to produce a landlord dashboard displaying a range of welfare and maintenance KPIs and alerts such as mould risk, poor insulation, fuel poverty risk and boiler performance. “This facilitates a shift from reactive to pre-emptive maintenance, saving money and delivering better outcomes,” he says.
On the topic of data privacy, Napier says the Switchee team believe in using “data for good”. In this instance, to combat fuel poverty and to help social landlords care for properties and communities more effectively. “The real key to data privacy, we believe, is transparency and communication: we explain to residents what information we are collecting and why. And we always obtain consent before installing,” he says.
Asked specifically about the occupancy data the device collects and how it can be used, Napier says the company is not interested in the occupancy profiles that drive residents’ energy bill savings, only the outcome, i.e. lower energy bills. “Similarly, we don’t share raw occupancy with landlords, but we do have a couple of features derived from that occupancy. We can suggest convenient times for engineer, repair or other house visits. And we can alert landlords if we think a property has been abandoned,” he adds.
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