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Big Blue and the Blockchain On one level, there has been nothing quiet about IBM remaking themselves as a provider of smart cloud services. Every week, another article comes out promoting a technology or a partnership. On another level, there is something shocking for long term tech observers in seeing the original technology company moving so quickly and aggressively into new spaces. Now IBM has announced that they are offering blockchain as a service to some trial customers. This technology, most famous as the core of crypto-currency Bitcoin, clearly has wider business applications. Big Blue is planning on riding this wave. Application to Marketing: IBM has been quietly buying up digital marketing agencies. Like a lot of consultant-based businesses, they envision a near future in which traditional advertising agencies are nothing more than a vestigial organ. Look at it from a client perspective: IBM understands ecommerce, cloud computing, AI, Blockchain, neural networks. Meanwhile their agency understands youtube and tweets. I have a theory about how this is going to play out. Next Steps: If I were a client, I would at least make a meeting with IBM. Read More Stalking your best customers In a recent survey, marketers said that data from wearables is the most valuable data they could get on their customers. I get this. I do. Knowing exactly what your customers were doing and where they were every moment of every day would undoubtedly allow you to market more effectively. It’s also creepy. Luckily, the largest wearables companies – Google, Apple, and Fitbit – are unlikely to share their data with marketers. The question is, will they choose to share partially anonymized data? Application to Marketing: Total Information Awareness is not a desirable goal for marketers. Yes, it would make our job so easy that a dumb bot could do it. But further violations of consumer privacy encourage a serious backlash. Cookies were enough to make ad blocking software extremely popular. Imagine what consumer reaction would be if we could track them everywhere. Next Steps: Just cause you can, doesn’t mean you should. Read More Itsy-Bitsy Printer I’ve avoided hopping on the 3-D printing bandwagon. I understand the possibilities. I just think that the current 3-D printers are too lame and limited to realize the possibilities. With these printers, you’re limited in size and scope. It’s great for printing key fobs. Bad for printing an airplane. Now a team for Siemens is experimenting with robot spiders that weave products out of plastic. This is exciting. Rather than building an object in slow layers, these spiders can construct at all angles in real time. And they can work collaboratively to speed up printing time. Application to Marketing: This is more of a manufacturing technology than a marketing technology. However, as a stand-alone event, seeing robot spiders construct a huge marketing installation in real time in a public square would be pretty metal. Next Steps: It ain’t ready yet. Give it five years. Read More And you thought your website sucked… Maisto, a manufacturer of remote-controlled toys has been infecting their website visitors with ransomware that holds user data hostage until they pay a ransom. The unfortunate toy company had neglected to update their Joomla content management system. Hackers had exploited well known security holes to set up the ransomware attack. Luckily, Kapersky Lab has detected a vulnerability in the ransomware that allows users to get their data back without paying. Application to Marketing: Many marketers don’t understand that a website is not just a digital brochure. It is a piece of software that is running on a publicly accessible network. If you don’t maintain security or pay someone to maintain security, it’s a matter of time before an exploit is detected. Marketers like to blame their web development firms when this happens (trust me, I know) but these are usually the same marketers who treat maintenance contracts like extortion agreements. Next Steps: Check for vulnerabilities right now. No, I mean RIGHT NOW. Read More

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