Blog

Google Map makes it Easier to Find Parking When You Drive into Town

Posted August 30, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 10:06 am

A good update that could have come earlier especially from a global leader like Google, which can make amends with better features soon

Google map parking location

Earlier this year, Google Map offered users in the US the option to see whether parking is going to be difficult close to their destination and if so, whether there are other parking options available. Now, Google has extended this facility to 25 cities outside the US. These cities are, Alicante, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Cologne, Darmstadt, Dusseldorf, London, Madrid, Malaga, Manchester, Milan, Montreal, Moscow, Munich, Paris, Prague, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Sao Paulo, Stockholm, Stuttgart, Toronto, Valencia and Vancouver. Additionally, Google has also updated its Maps platform with a new feature called “parking difficulty” that is accessed via an icon on the Google Maps destination card.

The level of parking difficulty is categorized into ‘limited,’ ‘medium’ and ‘easy’ on the basis of historical parking data and machine learning. The feature is presently available on phones with Android OS. After identifying their parking slot, when a user taps his selected option, it automatically gets added to his trip. Since walking from the parking slot to the final destination is a vital matter, Google has mapped this walking distance and now offers walking directions from the parking slot to the final destination. Another parking reminder feature that allows users to record their parking locations was launched by Google Maps in April this year.

However, this new update has been found wanting by some users who felt that unless they get to know the number of parking slots available in a parking garage recommended by Google, as well as the price they have to pay for booking the parking slot the new update Map update isn’t worth much. They have a point when they point out that certain parking apps in Europe already offer such information and it’s only fair to expect it from the global leader. Of course, it won’t be long before Google identifies this gap in its offering and comes up with a solution that could include the option reserve parking slots in a garage.

Filed under: Digital

Ads from Pages That Spread Fake News will be Blocked by Facebook

Posted August 29, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 9:31 am

It is the latest move by the social platform in its fight against the menace of fake news and malicious content

facebook fake news

“False news is harmful to our community. It makes the world less informed and erodes trust,” said Facebook. The social site, that had become one of the main distribution points for fake news, has been criticized during the 2016 US presidential election as many think it influenced the election. So it is now trying to set things right by taking additional steps to find out the root cause of how it spreads.

According to the announcement, Facebook won’t allow advertisements on the platform that repeatedly share false stories – the social site will send articles to third-party fact-checking companies and will use updated machine learning to detect possible hoaxes. This is the extension of existing policy of blocking ads for links to stories and the latest attempts to clean-up the news-sharing function of the social platform.

According to the Facebook product managers, Satwik Shukla and Tessa Lyons, the move is really to help prevent pages from distributing misinformation, and making money they don’t deserve. According to the managers, the company will focus on three areas: disrupting the economic incentives to create false news, building new products to curb the spread of false news, helping people to take informed decisions about what they read and share.

They wrote “We’ve found instances of pages using Facebook ads to build their audiences in order to distribute false news more widely. Now, if a page repeatedly shares stories that have been marked as false by third-party fact-checkers, they will no longer be able to buy ads on Facebook. If Pages stop sharing false news, they may be eligible to start running ads again.”

Facebook news feed product manager, Sara Su said in a blog that Facebook would keep on testing its “related article” and work on other changes to its news feed to cut down on false news.

Filed under: Digital

Square, the Mobile Payment Processor, Unveiled its First Physical Store

Posted August 28, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 9:20 am

San Francisco based Square Inc.’s first brick and mortar outlet, opens at Mulberry Street

Square brick-mortar-store

Square, the company that started out providing small businesses with a credit card reader for smart phones has grown big enough to have a store of its own.

The company started by selling smartphone plug-ins that let food-truck vendors and other small businesses accept credit cards. It attracted larger merchants by offering a suite of services and software that make running a business easier. Those services have boosted the company’s financial performance and its stock including loans, food delivery and inventory-management software.

Initially square started as a business-to-business operation focused primarily on startups that were not able to bear the heavy credit card transaction fees. In a true sense, it is not a store, since from Monday to Friday, the showroom is open by appointment only and on weekends, the public can stroll in as well. The showroom holds point-of-sale tablets, third party accessories and credit card readers including bar-code scanners and iPhone cases. Square Capital, in addition to mobile payment processing, offers small business loans and automated payroll. There is rotating selection of products, which range from handmade jewelry to fancy packs and candles.

According to the company’s hardware lead, Jesse Dorogusker, the company had plans to open showrooms in other cities too, but initially started in New York because it already has an office in SoHo and hundreds of Square customers are within walking distance; also, there is heavy foot traffic. It will be easy for those customers who have questions or concerns and often want to meet face to face rather than communicate via email or on the phone.

In addition to Square, there is another Line, called Line Friends the Japanese messaging app, which also opened a store in Times Square. Similarly Warby Parker, the fashionable and affordable eyeglass company, has also built its lineup of retail stores across the US after selling only on the internet.

Filed under: Brand Marketing

Uber Launches a New Feature – Uber for Business

Posted August 25, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 10:13 am

The new feature is designed to absorb user feedback for streamlining travel policy, group-based access as well as custom programs

uber for business

Uber, ridesharing app is introducing a major revamp for its business platform and has launched a business-to-business (B2B) model called “Uber for Business”. This model incorporates a lot of user feedback to enable new cases like late-night rides, from work to home, daily commuters and much more. It helps the organization in saving costs as it ensures that employees travel within company travel policy.

It is time-saving for admins and managers since previously HR mangers used to tell employees what they were or were not allowed to do in terms of Uber usage, now as per the “Uber for Business” model business set rules ahead of time to streamline the process of using rides as well as group-based access levels and custom program creation.

Based on the employee eligibility or transportation requirements, a manager can configure programs like the type of car used, what time of day the service is to be used or even geographic limits can be set for Uber. How much an employee can spend and set travel location and if the rider’s travel could fall out of policy, they will be prompted to add their own payment method, while staying within the limit of organization policy. So they follow flexible approach, where they can mix and match these rules that work best for their company.

“Late night rides policy” as per this policy managers can set automated programs for airport rides, business travel and any other mobility needs such as, if employees are working late night, under this policy they can use a comfortable ride as this policy works for trips taken after 8 p.m.

Overall, “Uber for Business” is a great redesign with new features and has changed the way employees travel around the world as well as its use for businesses of all sizes for future growth. The Uber for business dashboard gives administrative flexibility and looks like a convenient option for expense departments trying to ease the workload.

Filed under: Marketing Innovation

Google and Walmart Team up to meet Amazon’s Challenge

Posted August 24, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 10:05 am

For the first time, Walmart is using a website other than its own to sell its products while Google sees a real challenge in the search business

google-walmart-teamup

Very few people would have thought that two global leaders in their respective fields would feel threatened by a single rival who is thundering towards their huge markets at great speed. That rival is Amazon, the world’s biggest e-retailer which dominates online shopping, aims to win a sizable chunk of customers from the world’s largest brick-and-mortar retailer, Walmart, and is posing a serious threat to Google’s dominance of the search market as more and more people start their web searches for products directly on Amazon instead of Google. It has set alarm bells ringing ever more frequently in the Google and Walmart boardrooms, eventually bringing these two global giants together to tackle the common threat to their dominance.

Now Google will start offering Walmart products to people using Google Express mobile app and website. Hundreds of thousands of Walmart items can be purchased through Google Assistant, the AI-driven software assistant found in smartphones running Google’s Android software and Google Home devices. For the first time ever, Walmart, the world’s biggest retailer felt obliged to make its products available outside its own website, in the United States. Here’s how it works – first, customers need to associate their Walmart account to Google via a feature called Easy Reorder that helps organize the items that the customers will purchase online and in store by speaking to Google Home.

The two intimidated giants said their partnership is more about where online shopping is going in the future and less about how it is done today. Google Home, the voice-controlled speaker on Google will surely offer stiff competition to Amazon’s Echo and the future Walmart customers will reorder items they had purchased before, by speaking to Google Home. Walmart is also experimenting with new delivery methods with Google and in a year’s time, shoppers will be able to buy groceries and pick up voice orders on Walmart stores. Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart US ecommerce, said, “When it comes to voice shopping, we want to make it as easy as possible for our customers—that’s why it makes sense for us to team up with Google.”

Filed under: Digital

Relations Between Agency and Marketer Depends on Trust

Posted August 23, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 11:12 am

Agencies and marketers should rebuild fractured relations, continue partner on industry initiatives and keep open the lines of communication

agency and marketer

Agencies work for marketers and every brand has its horizon of work. As the marketer or brand has the responsibility to develop a product, they lend emphasis on product development rather than on the creative visual communication needed for marketing or selling of the product. That’s a full-time job done by ad agency professionals and it’s just not the core competence of the marketer. At the same time, it’s a critical part of the marketing exercise and so a lot depends on how well the brand marketer and the ad agency is able to sync and coordinate on a common strategy to implement the ideas generated by the ad agency. Here it boils down to ‘trust,’ which is a very big factor between the brand and the agency.

As far as the brand marketer is concerned, it is absolutely essential to treat the ad agency as a partner and not just as a vendor that will work according to the brief. Here it’s important to understand what exactly is the ‘brief’ – it is actually the guideline that the brand marketer provides to the client about the strategy to be followed. It is for the brand to understand why it has hired an ad agency to work on its creative communications and leave the arena free for the agency to come up with interesting ideas based on the strategy that has been outlined.

On the part of the ad agency, it is important that it should not step into uncharted territory by raising questions about the brand’s product offering. The agency’s job is find the best and most interesting way to communicate the benefits of the brand’s product. It should not exceed the brief or try to get involved with product development. Of course, these are not hard and fast line that either the brand or the agency doesn’t ever cross, but these are always exceptions and not the rule. That’s why in cases of misunderstanding or any gap in communication between the brand and the agency, there should be CBMs (confidence building mechanisms) available to handle crises.

Filed under: Agencies

CNN and Volvo Have Teamed up to Produce Live Ads During Solar Eclipse

Posted August 22, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 11:21 am

The epoch-making phenomenon had last happened across the United States from coast to coast about a century ago

podcasts marketing

The Great American Eclipse on Monday, Aug, 21 is the first total eclipse that had been seen from coast to coast across the United States in nearly a century when the earth, the moon and the sun came under a single alignment. This phenomenon presented a unique opportunity for brands and TV news networks across the country to tune up for the once-in-a-lifetime event that would be watched by a huge audience. The first big name that came up was that of CNN which has partnered automobile major, Volvo to cover the epoch-making solar eclipse. Ads featuring Volvo, produced by Courageous, which is the in-house brand studio of CNN, were shown during the break of the livestream of the once in a century solar eclipse.

The live ads showed Volvo in 4K virtual reality and 360-degree video across all of CNN’s digital and social platforms. SVP of news content partnerships at Turner Broadcasting, CNN’s parent company, Michal Shapira, said, “Since launching Courageous, we’ve been intensely focused on experimenting with new creative formats and innovating with our marketing partners to help tell more powerful brand stories. Live ads are simply the next iteration of this effort, born from the fact that we live in a ‘live’ culture that values real-time experiences. This incredible partnership aligns Volvo with CNN’s live VR capabilities, our award-winning brand studio Courageous, and massive global reach to capture this unique moment in time, while underscoring the spirit of the all-new Volvo XC60 to embrace the future.”

Bob Jacobs, VP – marketing product and brand communications at Volvo, said, “We wanted to bring the innovation and creativity that Volvo is known for into viewing the eclipse, a once-in-a-lifetime event. We developed a virtual reality and 360-degree camera concept that we pitched to multiple media outlets. After an extensive search, we chose to partner with CNN, who we believe will provide an exceptional and immersive media event.” As the eclipse progressed, Courageous filmed influencers, who shared their views on the significance of this momentous eclipse even as it happened, with the help of four cameras stationed across different locations around the country.

Filed under: TV-Video

Podcasts are Gaining Popularity in the United States

Posted August 21, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 10:57 am

Around 25% of Americans listen to podcasts at least once a month and the number is expected to grow

podcasts marketing

In the United States popularity of the podcast market is increasing. At present, approximately 25% of US adults aged 18 to 49 listen to podcasts at least once a month. In the last two years, many large digital publishers have released their own podcasts. Increase in digital media consumption on mobile has made it more attractive to both listeners and advertisers.

Distributers have now started monetizing podcasts. In 2016 advertisers in US, spent an estimated $35 million on podcasts and this number is more than 2% as compared to 2015. As per the study by comScore, nearly two-thirds of all podcast listeners have shown their purchase interest after hearing advertisements on podcast and that number could surge, in case podcasts assuage advertisers’ concerns.

Because of strong growth in mobile, video and social spending, dollars are flowing from traditional media such as newspapers and magazines to digital media and changing the face of US media market. California, New York, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia, Illinois, Washington, Florida, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are the states that have the highest number of podcast listeners using podcast players.

As per measurement done by Acast, a European podcast streaming platform and distributor, curated platform for podcast, that listeners enjoy podcast either early in the morning around 7-8 am or later at night around 11 pm ET respectively. Oskar Serrander, general manager, Acast US, said “As home devices become more popular, people can enjoy hearing the morning or evening news in the same way they used to use the radio. We all have some version of screen fatigue these days, so being able to just take a moment to listen may also be fueling this podcast expansion.”

Filed under: Digital

Account-Based Marketing is the Future

Posted August 18, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:04 am

In order to convert prospects and manage accounts that matter, marketing and sales must work in sync to clinically achieve results

Account-Based Marketing

Is the ‘cold call’ as we know it, burning itself out? Many marketers seem to think so especially with the way sales callers tend to go berserk at anyone and everyone almost in the manner of unrelenting zombies. In the pre-online days it made sense to carpet-fire across a wide perimeter and score a hit or two by sheer chance rather than shoot and scoot specific targets because that meant making efforts with both brain and brawn. The cold call is typically a sales terminology because it still has the same SOP (standard operating procedure) of picking up data from open and public sources like telephone directories among others.

This is not the end of direct sales though, but there needs to be some strategy about how to engage more customers. Every business exists for financial performance and the key to successfully nurturing and converting leads is effective coordination between marketing and sales teams at every level – from the concept of strategy to the details of execution.

If marketing and sales do not sync, the company’s strategy will be inconsistent and weak and execution will be flawed and inefficient. As per the latest approach, selling is going to be a more social and relationship-based effort as a follow up of sound marketing strategies. You need to nurture, meet and care for prospective customers and sell your brand to people who are not ready to buy from you. Here are some well-devised strategies that can help craft the right approach to marketing and sales.

Predictive targeting is one of the strategies to analyze the audience, especially to know which users are likely to buy based on in-market signals and possibly what particular products they are likely to buy. Content relevance and timing can also affect the prospects. Content is meaningless unless it serves the purpose of conveying the benefit of your brand and product to the customer.

A Customer centric approach should cover excellent user experience on the site, transparent transactions, scope for customer reviews, helpful and proactive customer support, fair and balanced returns policy, competitive pricing, and above all, quality products.

Filed under: Marketing Innovation

Amazon Spark Set to Light Up Brand Discourse on Social Media

Posted August 16, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 10:31 am

The retail giant’s entry into social media is likely to attract brands as only Amazon Prime customer will get to use Amazon spark

Amazon Spark

Amazon Spark is a social feed of user-posted images in the manner of a ‘story’ on Instagram or Snapchat but there are some crucial differences – Spark is not open for posting pictures and commenting for everybody because this right belongs exclusively with Amazon Prime customers who pay an annual fee of $ 99. However, just about everyone can read and see the content on Spark. So, what’s Amazon up to with this secluded platform? Like most other things that the retail giant does, there’s a definite strategy and method involved in this latest venture. Unlike most other social networks that depend on mass adoption and targeted ads, Spark will have content created and posted only by Amazon Prime members who are active shoppers spending $ 600 more on average than non-Prime members.

Amazon Spark may not even be looking at the kind of scale that other social sites like Instagram, Snapchat or Pinterest boast but it is by no means unlikely that Spark might hit some significant scale if all or most of Amazon’s plans attain a reasonable degree of success. After all, Amazon Prime has 80 million members which is a huge number boasting the highest spending power. That’s a marketer’s dream target market. Spark users are allowed to run comparison polls between two Amazon products which enables their network to provide feedback on their likely purchase. Additionally, they also get to post pictures of products with relevant links.

A new user can get to Amazon Spark through the “Programs & Features” menu option in the app’s navigation. The platform will ask them to select at least five interests that they might be interested to follow and once they provide this information, Spark will create a precise feed of products, pictures and proposals that are relevant to the kind of things the user prefers to buy, or know more about. The scope is endless with what Amazon can do with Spark but at some point the retail giant will have to consider some kind incentives for expert users who post high value content on the platform.

Filed under: Brand Marketing
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