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If This, Then That. IFTTT (If this, then that) is an automation service that allows people to integrate connected devices and digital services more easily through two services, IF (which focuses on automation) and DO (which allows users to trigger an action through the press of a button.) While DO, is a very simple solution, it requires the integration of multiple API’s to function. IFTTT relies on a community of developers to ensure that DO works in a multitude of use cases that they call “recipes.” Application to Marketing: The Internet of Things (IoT) will have a big effect on marketing. No one (including yours truly) has any idea how this will play out; which platforms and technologies will end up winning. But this is a bandwagon that has not yet left the station (mix that metaphor!) So this is the right moment to begin to experiment with the IoT in a low pressure, low expectation environment. DO allows marketers to start experimenting. Availability: A good place to start is this interview with Linden Tibbets, CEO of IFTTT: Read More Coding for All In college, I got to know the Ali and Hadi Partovi, identical twin brothers from Iran. They were unassuming, earnest, funny and a bit goofy. One day a mutual friend mentioned to me that they were both computer geniuses. I remember being heartened that geniuses would be so down-to-earth. I also looked forward to a day when I could tell people I knew the Partovis back in the day. So I’m telling you this now. I knew the Partovis back in the day. Today, the Partovis are both very, very successful tech entrepreneurs and investors. Their current effort – code.org – is a non-profit encouraging young people to study programming in school, supported by industry leaders like Bill Gates, John Doerr, and Reid Hoffman. Application to Marketing: Knowledge of technology is transmissible via osmosis. Actually, it isn’t. But it is true that the more time you spend around people who know technology, the more you will come to know technology. Fake it ’til you make it is an excellent approach to getting on board with the technological revolution. If you feel that you or your organization does not have the technological expertise you require, I would suggest getting involved with supporting code.org. If you feel like you’re behind the curve, your best move isn';t to catch up. It’s to try to jump ahead. Availability: Send them money. Pressure your school district to get involved. It’s not too late to be ahead of the curve. Read More Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom Google has announced that they are building a stand alone VR headset. This is in addition to Google Cardboard. And also in addition to the new plastic version of Google Cardboard that Google recently announced. And also in addition to their commitment to build VR into the Android OS. And also in addition to Google Ventures sizable (actually, gigantic) investment on AR company Magic Leap. So what’s the deal? Why the apparent redundancy? Is Google just so big that different divisions are randomly investing their time in VR and AR technologies without telling anyone else? Is this a sign of terminal bloat at one of the world’s most important technology companies? I doubt it. Application to Marketing: Google has clearly decided (along with Microsoft, Facebook and Apple) that VR and AR technologies are going to be very, very important to the next generation of computing. Rather than just betting on a single platform, device or approach, they have decided to spread their bets. This allows them to be flexible in their approach, but also generate huge amounts of internal expertise in the challenges and solutions of VR and AR. If these very, very knowledgeable people are willing to bank so much on AR and VR, you should too. Availability: If you are an agency, get an Oculus Rift. If you are a client, ask to see your agency’s Oculus Rift. If they don’t have one, ask them why not. Read More The Future of Toys Internet-enabled toys are becoming big business. Smartphone programmable robots, educational connected toys and plastic figurines that become virtual characters in video games are all becoming more popular and attracting more investment. It certainly isn’t surprising to see toys follow porn as one of the earliest practical applications for the Internet of Things. Application to Marketing: Remember the toys in Happy Meals? That is one of the greatest unrecognized feats of marketing in the last 50 years. A lot of burgers got sold with five cents worth of plastic. If you are trying to sell to kids or trying to sell to battle-weary moms, think about an internet-enabled toy. Be the first marketer on your block to release a Twilight Sparkle figurine and app! (Shout out to all my bronies.) Availability: “Toys-to-life” feels like the low hanging fruit here. If your chunk of plastic can become a videogame character, that could build some serious customer engagement. Read More

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