Masthead Blogs
Monday, June 18, 2018
Gadget Blog
Martin Seto

The tragedy of the internet is that it is available to anyone. On the plus side, being available to everyone is that information is now available to anyone that wants it. This observation can be best described by this economic concept the “Tragedy of the Commons”.
 

 

 

“The tragedy of the commons is an economic problem in which every individual tries to reap the greatest benefit from a given resource. As the demand for the resource overwhelms the supply, every individual who consumes an additional unit directly harms others who can no longer enjoy the benefits.”

 

The best examples of this is overfishing, global warming, traffic congestion and the plastic bottle island the size of Texas in the South Pacific. The internet is overrun with bad actors looking to make a score for some unsuspecting victim through a click on a email that delivers malware to infect your computer systems or a phishing exercise to get your contact info for identity theft and email scams. This unfettered access by bad actors to the internet is the “Tragedy of the Commons” and is a digital plague that needs to be exterminated,

 

I just got this scam in one of my email accounts. Hey! I just won $1.5 Million from Google and Microsoft. I bet Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are not too happy with being mentioned in this obvious scam. The best way to see if it is a scam is to ask yourself “ Is this too good to be true”,  then check the sender email address, reply address and location for authenticity. This one appears  to be from the UK but has Spanish writing in it are obvious clues of a scam. The use of the Google logo in the masthead gives an aura of authenticity for a glancing moment to get you to read it.
 

 

 

Other ways you can get scammed is with FREE offers on the internet when you are searching, but in order to get the free info you must register and give your credit card info. I call this a watering hole scam. I saw this when I was searching for a service manual for a outboard motor for the used boat I just bought. I hope eventually these types of scams are eventually filtered out by the search engines. I still remember the time I bought something online from a site that I did not know that was offering a great deal. I later discovered that this was the source of the theft of my credit card. So please shop only on sites that you trust.

 

But this heighten sense of security has caused a snowball effect of other problems for legitimate publishers. If your domain (website address) gets a bad reputation on the internet from the email spam filters, emails service providers will block you or shut you down. This may be of no fault of your own as a hacker can secretly now spoof your domain name and use it for “ Black Hat” (Criminal hacker) activities to fool the spam filters thinking it is legitimate, just like the scam I showed you above. Make sure you test all your email with a spam checker to see if it is classified as spam on various spam software platforms to gauge your reputation on the internet.

 

Government intervention to this digital plague has been legislation like Canada’s Anti-Spam Laws and the European Union’s digital privacy law that went into effect May 25, 2018. Unfortunately, this is a global problem as the bad actors always find a way to side step the rules as they operate in jurisdictions outside the reach of the law. So tough laws are toothless for these crooks, but legitimate players pay the price with more rules that tend to overreact and create more red tape. But on the plus side, ad tech companies enthusiasm for marketing surveillance for personalized marketing and ad delivery without a person's consent will stop.

 

Caveat Emptor (buyer beware) on the internet is a required skill for everyone and the best way to fight back is to expose people to their scams so we can recognize one. This is the new normal on the internet and it is not going to change anytime soon.

 
Tuesday, May 08, 2018
Gadget Blog
Martin Seto

I have been on a hiatus in writing my blog, but during this time this topic kept coming in me head, “The Rise and fall of the Digital Titans” - Is it coming?. History has shown tech companies do not stay on top forever and there is always somebody new to come along to disrupt the market to take away first place in the minds of investors and consumers.

 

If we go back to the origins of the dot-com boom the big players were AOL, My Space, Yahoo and Blackberry. Where are they today? The are all smaller in size and have become niche players. We all know of Apple’s rise and fall and rise story in tech history lore, the landscape is littered with them. So these digital titans will eventually fall, it is a question of when is it going to happen. This is the price all companies pay when they yield too much power in the marketplace, just ask Google and their battle with the European Union.

 

The digital world reminds me of the fads and trends in the kids toy market. Rarely do toys have staying power beyond a few years and this is happening with digital software toys that can be used on your smartphone. No digital company so far has the staying power of Mickey Mouse that help build the Disney Empire, but even Disney had its own roller coaster experience in its history.

 

The secret to long-term success is that companies need to grow to stay competitive and not fade away by getting bought out and then disappear. I had a look at 16 different market segments that these digital titans have products in, 14 of these products I considered mainstream (i.e.: mass appeal) with 2 - Car GPS and Virtual Reality the next mainstream products. Amazon entering the ad market to support sales on their website, entry into steaming video with Fire TV cannot be underestimated as the next big player to enter the game. Amazon is the biggest online retailer in the world and they want to grow too!
 

 
 

We all know in the digital ad space Facebook and Google dominate, but when is this ride going to end. Both companies are now facing new threats as they get bigger and become a target of critics, hackers and now litigation lawyers looking for a quick score. Who has the title of the Big Bad Empire now, that used to be Microsoft’s crown. It seems it changes monthly between Google and Facebook now as they are co-champions based on the latest scandal or lawsuit .

 

Can Facebook recover from all the scandals that they have weathered the past few years like the distribution fake news, political propaganda and now the Facebook account information problem. It looks like the bigger they get the more problems they have to deal with through no fault of their own (perhaps). The European Union has challenged Google a few times about privacy rights, but perhaps Google is too big to take down.

 

There is a growing “ Consumer Tech “ movement in the marketplace to protect individuals right to privacy. No one wants to be tracked. Did you know that Twitter has 40 different ways a tweet can be tracked and this data is sold to corporations. The digital programmatic ad network space according to P&G in 2017 is wrought with fraud and bad actors with fake news sites, ad farms and email phishing, so law and order in the digital space is sometimes non existent. There is growing evidence that web display ads are not an effective ad tool and there is a growing confidence for pre-roll video for web ads instead. This development is perhaps the catalyst of the fall of ad networks, ads that don’t work and a source of ad fraud. So maybe the fall has already begun. 
 

 

 
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Words of Inspiration
Industry Guest Blogger

Nearly 600 marketing professionals recently attended the 10th annual Think INSIDE the Box (TITB) direct marketing conference in Toronto. There, industry leaders dished up the latest insights, trends and research – along with tasty helpings of creative inspiration.

 

 

This year's big story? Customer experience! From the resurgence of analog, to brain hormones, to hard data, the experts stressed that marketing is all about the customer mindset.

 

Do you like Sushi Pizza? Physical's new value in a digital age

 

 

 "Humans are not sensible, logical creatures," declared New York Times best-selling author of The Revenge of Analog and TITB 2017 keynote speaker David Sax. "We aren't digital, we are physical beings. And we crave the real."

 

Marketers shouldn't fall into a false narrative of digital versus analog. It's a continuum. Sax cautions, "The world isn't binary. We don't ONLY eat sushi or pizza. Some nights we want a different meal – or even a sushi pizza! Old-school analog marketing becomes even more valuable in in a digital world."

 

Watch a clip from David Sax's presentation

 

Buying is a hormonal thing

 

 A rapid-fire and fascinating presentation by psychology-based marketing expert Jeanette McMurtry revealed the powerful survival instincts that release the brain hormones that help to drive over 90 per cent of our decision making.

 

She explained the importance of assigning emotional values to your products and brand to better engage the psychology of choice. And how this works for emotional and non-emotional products.

 

Apple's skill at eliciting these neurotransmitters is one reason why iPhone users are so loyal, release after release. This, according to McMurtry, is despite studies that show that competitor Samsung's phones are better in 8 out of the 10 categories that matter to consumers.

 

Watch a clip of Jeanette McMurtry's presentation

 

The Even/Over formula is the best marketing strategy

 

 

A third of all marketing budgets now go towards technology. In the rush to adopt shiny, new marketing technologies, it's easy to lose sight of the real marketing goal, your customers.

 

"Strategy," says marketing expert John Ounpuu, (President, Modern Craft), "is the tool that helps businesses focus on what counts." A great strategy calls for tough choices – choosing one good thing, even over this other good thing." Netflix, for example, found success by focusing on growth over revenue for many years. All its company efforts were measured against whether they supported that growth strategy.

 

Watch 3 keys to great strategy

 

Customer experience, not points, builds loyalty

 

 

Loyalty and data experts Nicole Scavuzzo, VP of Global Guest Recognition and Insight, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Shelly Anwyll, VP of Retail Solutions, DATA Communications Management, have the hard evidence to prove that the customer's experience, not the points' card, is loyalty's secret sauce.

 

 

Starbucks, despite strong competition has more than doubled brand loyalty in the last decade. It did so by paying attention to its customers' journey – especially that all-important first coffee of the day, as Anywll pointed out. The company's trailblazing mobile app seamlessly integrates advance ordering, loyalty points, payment, and special offers.

 

Watch Shelly Anwyll

 

We're producing art, not ads

 

 

Chief Marketing Officer, St. Joseph Communications', Michael Chase took his audience through some of the year's most creative, innovative marketing campaigns – ones where print and digital engage holistically.

 

One crowd favourite was Burger King's Valentine's campaign. Playing with the notion of the Kids Meal, this meal for two came in a sexy black and purple box and – in addition to burgers, fries and beer for two – also came with a very adult toy!  

 

See the presentation

 

3 things you probably don't know about marketing to millennials

 

 

Millennial customers are surprisingly like their great-grandparents at key points along the buying journey Luc Durand, President of Ipsos Quebec, shared a new study on generational marketing. The results revealed that millennials are:

 

Careful, price-conscious shoppers who research by reading reviews, price comparing and talking to their friends before making a purchase. Crazy for coupons. They're increasingly interested in getting and using them. Keen on physical experiences. Younger millennials especially prefer to make their purchases in brick and mortar stores.

 

Watch Luc Durand's presentation

 

You don't need big data, you need smart data

 

 

A panel of senior agency and marketing executives took a hard look at the challenges of running integrated marketing campaigns. One of the biggest issues on the table is data.

 

While the panel agreed that figuring out which data is meaningful is crucial, they had different approaches on how to uncover the most important data touch points.

 

Watch the panel discussion

 

Posted on Dec. 01, 2017 by Canada Post in Marketing solutions

Thursday, December 21, 2017
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly
 

In the first three articles of this series, I think we have been very insistent at laying some groundwork for you, and I hope you've taken them to heart.  It's taken me 30 plus years to get to that level of understanding and you're able to absorb it in

only ten articles. 

 

What I want you to keep in mind moving forward is that as much as we all recognize change is all around us, and the only constant is change, we are immeasurably comforted by things that stay the same. There is a security in tradition, in style, in look, in the way things used to be. When there is unwelcome change, we pine saying, It wasn't like this in the old days. 

 

We have a tremendous amount of support and stability in the familiar. I want to make sure you don't lose that. It is important to keep embracing and trying all of these new media and opportunities and new looks and styles. Please don't get so far away from your knitting that your target audience has no idea who you are, or what you represent anymore.

 

I want you, for Mistake number four – To Please Stop Changing Your Look. 

 

Remember that your customers are expecting you to have a recognizable colour scheme, a logo, a typeface. You want to build that brand. Maybe that brand is just you. Maybe it's the product or service that you are aggressively marketing. If you keep changing your image you’ll have a hard time being remembered.  You want to build upon the equity of the look and the style and the voice that you spent so much time nurturing.

 

An abrupt change just for the sake of it can be absolutely devastating to a brand because all of a sudden all of the people who followed you, tried your product were enamored with it, stayed with it, trusted it, believed in it, they start to recoil with…what are they doing?... why are they changing their look, their stuff,  I can't recognize them anymore. 

 

Be careful when you make a refresh.  I don't mind you doing a little bit of tweaking to maybe change the colour and bring the look in a little bit more contemporary. However you don't want to come up with an entirely new image that has your customer puzzling…..what brand are you now, you're not what I know, what I trust with you.  You're going to start the cycle all over again of trying to build up the equity.  So here's how you fix this. Please, please, please be consistent, keep your look the same across all media.

 

You are trying to establish an identity that is exclusive to you.  If you don't do anything to distinguish yourself and keep your uniqueness, you become as inconsequential as used tissue paper. Constantly changing undermines all your built up equity. You will be forever relegated to commodity status.  You'll be consistently challenged on price and not on the value your product delivers. Now, that said, as I mentioned it is okay to refresh and update the look and the brand once you’ve gained a foothold.

 

But too frequent changes will compromise your sales, your impact, and your memorability. In the closing words of Billy Joel’s ‘Just The Way You Are” - I couldn't love you any better, I love you just the way you are. So be consistent.  You’re proud of the look you've established. Get as much mileage out of it as you can and keep placing it where your audience knows they can expect to see it. 

 
Thursday, December 21, 2017
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock

Harrowsmith magazine is back, and better than ever!

 

“It’s a time of great change,” says Harrowsmith publisher Yolanda Thornton. “Canadians are making advances to improve our relationship with the world around us, and we want to be there to showcase and celebrate the work they do. From new trends in farming and cultivation, to helping rural communities, respecting and protecting wildlife, and nurturing a healthier, greener, more conscientious way of participating in the world, Harrowsmith seeks to bring you those stories and help you connect with like-minded individuals. Our new magazine format and website help us do this in a more eloquent way.”

 

Art Director Meredith MacKinley has really nailed the re-launch cover for Harrowsmith’s return as a full-sized magazine.  This mouth-watering food-focused cover, hits all the right notes. It debuted on Canadian newsstand November 20th, 2017, at a retail price of $6.99.
 

 
 
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