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Social Gets Real For too long, social media marketing was treated as a solution for everything wrong with advertising. Specifically, it was free, came from a trusted source and could be targeted and measured at an individual level. Naturally, none of those things turned out to be true in practice. But no matter. Social marketing was a useful tool for certain products in certain markets. But as long as the hype machine was churning out nonsense it was impossible to tell where and when. Application to Marketing: Rich Mintz is an EVP at Blue State Digital, the company that had a little something to do with getting Barack Obama elected President. His article “5 Questions to Answer Before Launching a Social Campaign” (link below) puts some much needed perspective and wisdom around social media marketing. Finally, someone has real, actionable recommendations about social that don’t involve the word “conversation” (it isn’t) or “hashtag” (well, duh!) Availability: If I was a client thinking about social in 2016, I would contact Rich. And, to be clear, I’ve never met the guy. I just like his hypeless take on social. Read More “Oh, and it has to work on IE8…” Working at a web development shop, there are not more disquieting words in the English language. I’m not going to be coy about this – I truly, truly, truly hate Internet Explorer 8. Internet Explorer 9 was slightly better. Still a terrible, terrible browser, but better. IE 10 was … not loathsome. It wasn’t something I would recommend to a friend. But, it was fine. And now they’re all gone. Microsoft has announced that they will no longer be supporting these browsers. Meaning, that they won’t patch vulnerabilities or post updates. Meaning, that they will finally die the death they deserve. Application to Marketing: Here’s the good news. Microsoft has started building good browsers. No kidding. Here’s the better news, in the near future we can stop using the phrase “graceful degradation” when we talk about web development. Graceful degradation is a nice way of saying, we will make sure your site or app won’t look like total crap on archaic browsers. Graceful degradation was expensive, inaccurate (it wasn’t graceful) and unnecessary. Developers will be popping open some champagne to celebrate the end of an ignominious era. Availability: As of January 12th, Microsoft users will be prompted to upgrade their browser. Read More “123456” Believe it or not, the password “123456” was the most popular password of 2015; used approximately 4% of the time. Wow. Talk about unbreakable security. (Number two was “password”.) It’s an open secret that passwords are a terrible way to protect important data. Technologies like biometric security (think fingerprint or eyescan), passive security (what device you’re on) or multi-factor authentication have been around long enough that we should be able to get rid of the password. Some industry observers think 2016 may be the year. Application to Marketing: The problem with new authentication technologies is that we tend to think in terms of “in addition to” rather than “instead of.” After all, no one wants to risk their customer data and trust based on new technologies. So, I’m worried that secure checkouts will soon require both a password and a biometric scan. And I suspect that we’ll start seeing many more abandoned carts if we expect customers to jump through all of these hoops. Availability: Sit down with your ecommerce folks and figure out if your current system can support biometrics. I’d schedule that meeting soon. Read More The Intersection of Cool and Useful Last year a friend told me about a company called The Control Group doing very cool stuff that was a combination of art, technology and innovation. A few weeks later, I had a meeting with some people from Titan, an outdoor advertising company. I was stuck by their technological sophistication and thoughtful analysis. Then stupid Google went and bought both companies and combined them. Stupid Google! Stop using gamma rays to steal my thoughts! Now, the combined company called Intersection unveiled a free gigabit wireless network across New York City, called LinkNYC. The free wireless will be provided through kiosks located around the city that will have digital screens for outdoor advertising. So, LinkNYC will be both free and profitable. Stupid Google. Application to Marketing: Umm… everything. This applies to every part of marketing. First, these new kiosks will offer next generation outdoor advertising units in the largest media market in the country. Second, more wireless service means more wireless usage – more downloads, more videos, more. People will use as much bandwidth as you give them. And if I were a monopolistic cable company or a semi-monopolistic cell service provider known for poor customer service and exorbitant fees, I would be very, very afraid of Google’s intentions. Very afraid. Availability: The first two kiosks were unveiled today. 500 more will be up by mid-July. Read More

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