Saturday, November 2, 2013

Info-Currents October-November Issue: Niche Social Collector Sites, Attachable Lenses, Amazon Smartphone

Emerging trend: Digital clipping services such as Art Stack and Stash help users organize information to take actions offline. Art Stack users can connect with fellow art collectors and Stash users benefit from a list of events in their local area suited to their interests.

Implication: Customization is the secret ingredient that creates true engagement out of stacks, stashes (and pins).

Action: Take advantage of posting your branded content on these sites. Sponsor pages, brand-relevant stacks.

Emerging trend: Attachable lenses turn smartphones into formidable cameras. Sony paves the way with DSCQX10 and DSC-QX100.

Implication: Camera makers will want a piece of the smartphone market. With more people relying on their phones to take life event as well as everyday photos, Sony and competitors will shift to accessory development around phone-cameras.

Action: Photography pros may be compelled to enhance their phone cameras and experiment. Creative contests that focus on phones and showcasing smartphone photos map appeal to photography influencers.

Emerging trend: Amazon denies rumors that it’s about to release a free smartphone.

Implication: Smartphone stands for mobile commerce and location-based marketing. Amazon or other tablet makers may want to have as many conduits out there as possible.

Action: Optimize online properties (including social sites) for mobile. Explore options to shift ad dollars from other digital venues to mobile. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Info-Currents August-September Issue: Apple's gesture OS, Social Headphones, Massive Open Online Courses

Emerging trend: Gesture controlled operating systems are coming to Apple. Rumors of Apple acquiring Israeli firm PrimeSense are abound.       

Implication: Apple’s next generation products will work with the snap of a finger and respond to body movements. The new i-Series will offer stiff competition to Microsoft Kinect and Nintendo’s Wii.

Action: Embed your brand in lifestyle and entertainment apps that can help users manage their health, household and free time with such 3D technology.

Emerging trend:  Smart companies are embedding sharing technology into gear. Miami-based Muzik has released headphones with share buttons that allow consumers to send their song choices to their friends on Facebook, Twitter and beyond.  

Implication: Social networking will bleed into everyday devices, bringing a new dimension to location-based marketing.

Action: Create experiences around alternative communication platforms – glasses, bookcases, frames, or windows – where consumers can send messages about their observations. 


Emerging trend: MOOCs – massive open online courses – are generating new revenue streams for traditional education institutions, such as Georgia Tech, University of Texas, University of Virgina, among many others.
Implication: Affordable education will be available to upwardly mobile segments. Online US universities’ student body will be increasingly global.

Action: Training is the new branding. Offer expert content through online education platforms to spend quality time with your target audiences. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Info-Currents July Issue: Online Video Kills VOD, Amazon Gallery, Social TV Buzz

Emerging trend: Budding group of tablet owners choose programming based on social media updates. According to newly released cross-platforms research from Nielsen, 15 percent of tablet owners have watched a TV program upon reading about it in social media. Meanwhile, some 13 percent have made an online purchase related to the program.     

Implication: TV and digital platforms’ relationship can be a two-way stream with effective programming that has digital and social extensions.

Action: Keep a close eye on program-related buzz levels. Those programs that get traction in social media can draw bigger audiences through aptly placed social engagements.

Emerging trend:  On-demand TV services are losing blood to online TV content.

Implication:  As online TV channels extend programs and movies’ lifetime, studios will swap VOD royalties with newfound digital ad dollars.

Action: Create new ad spaces and build on box-office success--continue the plotline online and feed fan communities.


Emerging trend: Amazon is to launch an online gallery. The e-retailer has been meeting with large and small galleries.
Implication: Similar to the way it re-shaped the book market, Amazon is likely to offer an alternative to galleries’ stronghold in the art market. A ranking system can give artists new currency to pitch their work.

Action: Seize advertising opportunities on the new platform to reach arts and entertainment oriented mid- to high-income segments.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Info-Currents June Issue: Measuring Pins and Photos, Facebook Hashtags, Soft Science Skills

Emerging trend: Systems that analyze visual social media, such as Curalate, add new dimensions to measuring online behavior. 

Implication: Photos generate significant interaction in social media. The ability to capture words and images will increase the value of online content and highlight those influencers who speak through images.

Action: Not everybody wants to write. When drafting your content marketing strategy, balance verbiage with visual images. Allow your followers to be able to clip and share those images on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and elsewhere.


Emerging trend:  Facebook will mirror Twitter’s power in trending topics by adopting hashtags.

Implication: Facebook will become more useful to those who want to generate awareness on brands and issues. The hashtag streams will expand closed-in friend networks and increase Facebook pages’ search visibility.

Action: Identify words people are most likely to use in reference to your topic. Use these as hashtags consistently across all of your social media platforms.


Emerging trend: As hard technologies (i.e., machine-based) become automated, soft technologies (e.g., social technology, behavioral sciences) gain value as they still rely on human interpretation and creativity.  
Implication: Qualitative analysis skills, humanities education, and the ability to process emotion will be critical to business success.

Action: Supplement hard science curriculum with social sciences and humanities. Watch for executives who can fuse analytical thinking with emotional intelligence and a sharp eye for observations.

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Friday, May 17, 2013

Info-Currents May Issue: Innovation Stems from Emerging Markets, TV Cord Cutters on the Rise, Temporary Social Media

Emerging trend: Innovation in technology, communication and other media-related fields will come from abroad. Latest Nielsen research shows that 31 percent of the world’s innovation (e.g., new product development) came from developing markets, up from 25 percent in 2008.

Implication: Silicon Valley will continue to push for increased quota on work visas to draw talent. Meanwhile, multi-nationals will need smart and fast approaches to apply emerging ideas from Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe to additional markets. 

Action: Stay abreast of emerging ideas from around the world by following PSFK and Springwise’s global network of idea curators. To answer ‘what’s next’, hold global brainstorms and invest in technologies that connect employees from different regions.


Emerging trend: TV cord-cutters are outpacing the number of TV subscribers. According to Convergence Consulting TV cord-cutters surpassed 1 million people in 2012, while only 31,000 people subscribed to TV in the US.

Implication: TV cord cutters will extend movies’ lifetime by increasing demand for DVDs and digital on-demand viewing.

Action: Build creative, engaging experiences online that accompany the movies and TV series viewers watch on demand.


Emerging trend: Temporary social media – posts that self-destruct after a designated time as in Snapchat -- provide relief to those embarrassed by their past Facebook status updates.
Implication: Vanishing social media posts can reduce the value of digital/mobile content and change content marketing dynamics.

Action: Pay close attention to engagement levels and content shared on temporary social media platforms.  Do people post more frequently and share more freely? What do people choose to post temporarily and what do they save and index? The answers to these questions can provide tips for marketers who need to drive participation in social media programs. 

To sign up for Info-Currents and receive monthly updates on emerging social media and technology trends, click here

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Info-Currents April Issue Online: Mobile health tech, maker communities, women pick and choose SM outlets

Emerging trend: Mobile health technologies are poised to be one of the fastest growing markets in the world, projected to be worth $11.8 billion by 2018.

(Source: The Atlantic, MIT Technology Review)

Implication: While US marketers may be limited in engaging broad publics through mobile technologies, high penetration of mobile Internet access in emerging markets present opportunities to connect urban and rural populations with health centers.

Action: Healthcare providers can change attitudes and behaviors in emerging markets with socially beneficial and simple to use mobile apps and information systems.


Emerging trend: Niche and custom products created in limited editions by 3D printers will be preferred to cheaper, mass-produced items. “Maker” communities of artisans are offering consumers alternatives to mall shopping aisles.

Implication: Small businesses offering unique items and solutions will see a surge in their e-commerce activities.

Action: ‘Makers’ can invest in search advertising to break through the online clutter to connect with customers who are seeking customized products. 


Emerging trend: North American women are pairing down their social media usage, focusing on fewer networks. According to the latest research from Weber Shandwick, conducted by KRC Research, four in 10 (38 percent) of North American women have decreased or stopped usage of one or more social networks in the past six months, due to loss of interest (59 percent) or lack of time (35 percent).

Implication: The medium is less important than content, when it comes to attracting and sustaining women’s attention in social media.

Action: When creating social engagement activities for North American women, offer practical solutions that fit into their lifestyle. Do not add to their ‘to-do’ list.



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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Info-Currents March Issue Online: New Norms -- Dads As Caregivers, Loyal Customers in Social Media, Internet-only TV Households

Emerging trend: Coparenting is for couples who are together as well. As moms carry on with demanding jobs, dads increasingly take on child-rearing duties.

Implication: Opportunities to market to men expands into different facets of family life, going beyond typical CPG messaging on self-care and home improvement.

Action: Go beyond the classic assumption that women shop for men. Market to men in ways that acknowledge them as able and involved partners and parents. Note what family products and services they consider to be valuable and practical.


Emerging trend: Social data gets connected with post-purchase behavior.

Implication: Engagement is not the only outcome of a social media relationship. Facebook’s partnership with data companies Axciom, Epsilom and Datalogix, suggests marketers can now trace the social profile of a loyal buyer.

Action: Start your analyses with purchasers, instead of those who are just aware or considering. Buyers will reveal most about the role of social in purchasing decisions, as well as up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. 


Emerging trend:  Definition of TV households will include Internet-based and mobile viewing homes as well. Nielsen announced it will include Internet-connected TV viewers in its TV ratings sample households.          

Implication:  Advertisers will get a more comprehensive perspective on audience reach and the impact of ads and branded content on consumers.

Action: Look at the momentum generated by those households canceling cable subscriptions and watching on-demand, online only. Compare the impact of shared (i.e., family living room) and private (e.g., mobile) viewing experiences on brand recognition and likelihood to purchase.



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Monday, February 18, 2013

Info-Currents February Issue Now Online: How to Rise Above Email and Social Media Clutter

Emerging trend:  Google seeps into the oldest mobile technology: cars.

Implication: New models from Kia and Hyundai featuring Google maps and places gives the search giant additional advertising space and eliminates competition for eyeballs and clicks.

Action: Note additional revenue streams: Small business owners (e.g., restaurants, specialty shops) can increase foot traffic by making sure they increase their web presence and get listed in Google services.


Emerging trend: E-mail consolidation services such as helps consumers gain control of their inboxes and reduces spam.

Implication: E-mail marketing has to be an outcome, rather than the starting point of customer-brand relations. When consumers sift through their list of promotional emails consolidated by services like, they will only allow Very Important Emails (VIE) to filter into their inboxes. Brand love will need to weigh more than discount offers.

Action: Re-evaluate the ROI from vast email lists. Test run an email campaign among fans and return customers, as well as a random sample of non-fans. Compare open-rates and follow-up actions from both groups. Consider focusing email invitations only on fans.


Emerging trend: To break through social media clutter and gain visibility, thought leaders and enterprises alike will rely on automated content management systems such as Meddle.

Implication: Building social media presence takes significant effort and continuous updates. Smart content management systems can shrink time to fame and broaden industry experts’ and academics’ audiences.

Action: Instead of investing in static online presence (e.g., web sites), build a social base and propel your news to audiences searching for niche content.


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Sunday, February 3, 2013

Google as the Next Car Accessory: Upcoming Info-Currents

The February issue of futurist newsletter Info-Currents will hit the inboxes on February 11th. Topics will include

  • Google as a car accessory
  • Clutter consolidation services -- a threat to email marketing
  • Personal brand builders (automated, of course) -- opportunities for thought leaders and content marketers

To sign up for Info-Currents, please click here

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Smart calculator measures potential impact of word of mouth

I was honored when the Useful Ideas team invited me to provide input for a 'smart calculator' they wanted to create to help marketers gauge word of mouth activity. Our goal was to get end users to think through the fundamentals of getting a message cascade online and offline vs. claim to have a crystal ball for viral outcomes. The calculator algorithm is based on four elements:

1- Number of customers

2- Percentage of customers who would share a message

3- Average number of recommendations/customer

4- Impact of recommendations (i.e., % of recommendations that turn into purchases)

The site is full of fun, 'useful' calculators that help you figure out how addicted you are to Facebook, how you rank in work overtime, your income before and after taxes, etc. Below is the word of mouth impact calculator.


<div style="margin-bottom: 5px">WOMM (Kulaktan Kulağa Pazarlama) Etkisini Hesaplama, diğer tüm hesaplama araçları için</div>


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Info-Currents January Trends: Smart Online Calculators and Social TV Guides

I shared the following trends earlier in the month with my Info-Currents subscribers. Enjoy!

Emerging trend:  Smart online calculators will coach increasing number of users to estimate outcomes of their life events or work-related decisions. 

Implication: Immediacy in access to online information has increased our expectations to find answers to complicated questions such as ‘How much should I pay for a mortgage?’ or ‘How many people can I reach with this message?’ While providing estimates only, calculator apps can shorten time to insight.

Action: Creating customized calculators for your web site can take considerable resources. Increase site stickiness and sharing by white labeling calculators created by utility marketing shops such as Useful Ideas.  


Emerging trend: As indicated by Instagram’s change of privacy policy, social businesses’ need to monetize will reduce consumers’ content ownership rights. 

Implication: Consumers will need to gain an understanding that what’s posted – in private or public accounts – can be up for grabs by Facebook and other mega platforms. Upon news of changing privacy policies, people will curb sharing habits briefly. Most will continue to socialize online, perceiving the benefits of social connections as more than the risk of being publicized.

Action: Be transparent in communicating how your business intends to use ‘consumer data.’ Make this information accessible and understandable, to earn trust and grow business.


Emerging trend: Twitter-based social TV guides will give consumers more ways to find out about new shows and choose programs.

Implication: Online chatter about new shows, premiers and plot twists will increase, giving content providers more ways to tap into audience excitement with social engagement tactics.

Action: When evaluating branded programming, product placement or traditional TV advertisement plans, review social activity around the show. You may discover additional value from hyper social TV users who are likely to influence their peers’ purchasing decisions.


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