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Now iPhone Cases Made of Solid-Marble Add a New Dimension to Smartphone Accessories

Posted June 14, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:42 am

The iPhone accessories industry is expected to grow to $107 billion in 5 years time and a large part of that comprise phone cases

Solid-Marble case

A search for ‘iPhone case’ in Amazon will produce around 6.5 million results including covers that are simple and functional to those that are amazing and extravagant. There are also those that are somewhat bizarre e.g. cases shaped like perfume bottles or those that are made of fake fur or even made of Swarovski crystals. Then there are cases that can hold prescription pills and those that offer other minor conveniences. Finally, there are cases that are more expensive than the phones themselves such as those that are made exotic material like crocodile hide or ones that feature 24-carat gold trim.

There is one particular material that iPhone case-makers hadn’t tried till now and that is – stone. Maybe it is because of the perception that nobody would want to walk around with a slab of rock in his pocket, making the phone a lot heavier. However, iPhone users have been using covers that are imitations of stone textures mostly made of plastic. That is no longer the case. A San Francisco based iPhone case maker, Mikol, has crossed this frontier and is now selling iPhone cases made from genuine Italian Carrera marble. That’s not all; they’ll even make a phone case from other kinds of rocks, including amethyst, rose quartz and sodalite, although they are more expensive.

Mikey Wu, founder of Mikol, said, “There were a lot of marble prints. Everybody buys prints of marble, (but) I figured, I’d want the real thing instead of plastic.” Over the last couple of years, he noticed a growing number of iPhone cases on the market that imitated stone. Wu is a construction industry entrepreneur and knew how to make the real thing. He had been working on ways to use lasers to cut the marble to its thinnest possible slice and finally managed to get it down to 0.7 millimeters, which was equivalent in thickness to a stick of chewing gum. Presently, Mikol makes around 10,000 such phone cases in a year and sells them for $99 each.

Filed under: Brand Marketing

There’s a Lot to Gain by Leveraging Influencer Marketing Properly

Posted June 13, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:55 am

It’s time marketers realized that trust, knowledge and expertise are the main values that drive influencer marketing

Marketing Influencer

The defining elements of influencer marketing are credibility and trust but when this exercise itself suffers its own integrity issues, it’s a wakeup call that needs immediate attention. Mark Zuckerberg had famously described trusted referral as “the holy grail of advertising” while speaking about the scope that Facebook offered, as a social platform. After all, it’s word-of-mouth exchanged by groups of people sharing many similarities and these conversations are based on a certain degree of trust. When a particular product manages to penetrate into this circle and gets recommended by some people here, it gains endorsement which is many times more powerful than paid advertising. In the era of social media, such influencer marketing can be done at scale at a much lower cost than and with amazing results.

Unfortunately, influencer marketing itself, hasn’t been able to resist the more elementary approach of paid advertising, which is threatening to destroy its credentials and turning it into another paid reach vehicle. Getting celebrities and other famous personalities to endorse products on their individual social media handles is a good strategy if done transparently but the problem is, this doesn’t usually happen. Now this isn’t a bad strategy for building awareness but it has its limitations when it comes to determining consideration and intent along with some other key aspects of the purchase funnel. This isn’t how marketers should utilize influencer marketing as it has a lot more potential.

Marketers need to identify their best endorsers on social sites, especially folks who love their products and the value proposition they offer. Such folks are actually the influencers and over a period of time they develop a certain level of expertise in analyzing the value that certain products offer. They don’t speak out of turn and reserve their opinion for those who are really curious about the product they have used for years and appreciate their experience and depth of knowledge about the product. These are the kinds of people who love to share a good experience and are passionate about spreading the good word among people they know.

Filed under: Digital

Marketers Must Focus More on Context of their Communication

Posted June 12, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:42 am

They Should Personalize Messages by Learning from Consumers’ Lifestyle, Interests and Purchase Intent

Lifestyle-interest-purchase

In order to optimize personalized marketing efforts, marketers ought to consider use of context; there are three key elements here that they will need when utilizing context for marketing. Marketers know that to engage consumers they must personalize their messages for better impact, but most of the time, they fall short of ideas to design and execute their messages effectively. Identifying data patterns is not the only way to figure out ways to personalize marketing communication; rather, it’s just one of the clues that define how to get a closer look at the customer’s behavior. Therefore, it boils down to putting the context at the center of the stage and begins working on other aspects of the message.

It’s critical for a marketer to balance contextual data on consumer interests, lifestyle and purchase intent to effectively design his marketing message. A successful personalized marketing campaign has to go beyond standard advertising messages and include the key context elements such as consumer interests, lifestyle and purchase intent. When marketers begin their customer engagement campaign one key objective is to know the customer across every screen that he may use and then weigh these elements together to narrow down and personalize the communication.

Mobile being the preferred device today, most consumers have undergone a major change in the way they absorb content. The attention spans today are much shorter since most of the content is consumed on the go and marketers will find that these consumers actually do not have appetite for long running descriptive messaging; rather they like short, precise, informative and actionable content. Therefore it is in the interest of marketers to focus on bite-sized content that will allow them to magnify customer priorities and fire in personalized messages at their customers with mobile-first ads.

With more context on consumer behavior at home and at work, use of the right technology can get marketers amazing results. Today, consumers’ browsing habits at home and at work can be quite different – the same person may be looking up ecommerce sites at home and business and industry news at work. Marketers can precisely target their audience with personalized and accurate messaging when they make use of such critical data.

Filed under: Marketing Innovation

Can Native Advertising Overcome the User Experience Challenges it Faces?

Posted June 9, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 1:03 am

The pace of change in mobile technology platforms and applications as well as compliance with standards is critical

Digital Marketing Stats

Today, many brands are embracing native ads in their regular ad strategy even though it initially faced resistance and criticism in the market. But native advertising has arrived and is not just here to stay but is showing great promise as it is estimated to grow 156 percent in the next three years driven mainly by a shift in consumer behavior. A study of user experiences in native advertising showed 86 percent of respondents in favor of the trend but today it also presents a set of challenges for brands that desire to use it more often. It is the diversification of platforms in the mobile environment itself with a wide array of apps, videos and social media that has changed native advertising like never before.

The way technology is evolving in the mobile environment also offers opportunities a lot more dynamism in native advertising. The Better Business Bureau had come up with new policies for native advertising in October 2016 which has effectively raised the bar for native advertisements to keep customers more meaningfully engaged. The native ad field has seen a lot of creative innovation as of late. As far as social media applications are concerned, customer experiences have become seamless and more rewarding with brands spicing up their offers with a lot of creativity.

One area where native advertising is up against some serious challenges is transparency when it comes to engaging users. Even though the Internet Architecture Board(IAB) has come up with a playbook to address this issue, many publishers haven’t been delineating ads from other content with the desired level of clarity and consistency. The IAB is now developing an industry standard to tackle this issue but can’t afford to let advertisers overlook the need to make sure that customers are able to distinguish the native ads from regular content. It needs to be appreciated that native advertising does offer great opportunities for advertisers to win over new customers, unless it does so by enriching user experience it won’t have the necessary space to grow to its full potential.

Filed under: Digital

Latest Digital Marketing Stats Gives a New Reality Check

Posted June 8, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 10:06 am

Twitter is still a favorite of journalists by a long way while a majority of mobile gamers are women

Digital Marketing Stats

Mobile stats continue to impress with online marketing data points that show engagement intensity and patterns not seen before.

Social TV in 2017

The TV show that is doing really well on social is the AMC program, The Walking Dead, with 18 million engagements recently according to 4C, which reviewed social engagement from January to middle of May this year.

Sponsored locations

Advertisers on Pokemon Go are shelling out decent amounts of money, from 15 cents to 50 cents every time a user visits a sponsored location, per TechCrunch. Sponsored locations are ad products that the smartphone-based apps offer marketers.

Interesting new gaming data

Analysis of activity across 64 million mobile devices by Chartboost, a mobile app ad network, reveal that mobile gaming audiences are 62 percent female and normally older than 25 years of age, and 47 percent of them shop online more than three hours per week. This is way higher than the 28 percent of non-gamers that shop online.

Mobile leaves traditional media behind

The third annual forecast from Zenith Media shows that mobile web will account for 26 percent of all media consumption globally by 2019. Media consumption on mobile web was 19 percent last year. These are uncomfortable stats for traditional media businesses.

Twitter is the overwhelming favorite of journalists

A survey of 400 journalists by Muck Rack shows that an overwhelming 70 percent consider Twitter the most valuable reporting tool, while Snapchat is nowhere near with just 4 percent of the journalists considering it useful.

YouTube loses traffic while Facebook gains more

Hard to believe but YouTube lost 10 percent mobile traffic from 30 percent down to 20 percent over the last four years even as Facebook increased its share from 7 percent to 14 percent per internet trends report from statstar, Mary Meeker.

Where GenZers dare

The hyperaddictive social media platform Musical.ly is where more than 100 million users with a large representation from Gen Z, meet and greet Baby Ariel, on that platform. Baby Ariel is a 16 year old star with close to 20 million followers on Musical.ly which also has other upcoming stars with their own score of followers.

Filed under: Digital

Marketers Use Identity Mapping to Reach Customers with Offers They can’t Refuse Off-hand

Posted June 7, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 4:02 am

Narrowing down preferences of customers through identity mapping helps drive customer relationships at scales never known before

Marketers Use Identity Mapping

For brands and agencies that want to deliver and operate a truly customer-focused business model, the personalized experiences of customers can be a much-needed resource. The key to this resource is what has come to be known as identity mapping, which not only connects the dots across screens but also offers a better understanding of the needs, desires and actions of customers. Such marketing that is focused on people’s needs can happen anywhere, and not remain confined to a particular geography or niche.

So what makes identity solutions so important for marketers? To begin with, customers interact and transact with brands in more ways and across multiple places than ever before. The same customers could be found using different devices and it’s a challenge to avoid duplicating messages to these customers across devices. Finally, a growing number of customers today are not obsessed with brands and don’t show the kind of loyalty toward brands as before; instead they are showing an increasing preference for personalized services. In other words, they have redefined the typically held views about value for money.

Now, where does identity mapping come here? Merely gathering all of the data from the different points of interaction with customers isn’t enough as it just offers data from all interactions and transactions with those customers. This is where identity mapping becomes critical because it allows marketers to identify customers as individuals and not just the device they use. The process begins with a persistent identifier that is created on the basis of the data at hand. When this persistent identifier is used to map customers to second and third-party data, a much more vivid, actionable picture of the customers emerges. This is what empowers the marketer to engage customers, one-on-one, via people-based marketing, narrowing it down to the customer’s preferences in ways that were never tried before.

Filed under: Agencies

A Publisher That Doesn’t Have a Website and Uses Only Social Platforms

Posted June 6, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:06 am

Obsessee is a Gen Z-Focused publisher that believes in meeting its audience where they are most likely to be in – social sites

Pizza Packaging

Obsessee is a lifestyle publisher focusing on fashion, beauty, culture and social justice but it doesn’t have a website quite unlike all other publishers. Instead, it is present on social media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Tumblr, Spotify and some others. This is surely something that was unheard of before, at least not on a scale that Obsessee appears to be operating on. This new experiment was initiated just a little over a year ago by the Clique Media Group, the parent company that owns Obsessee along with sites like Who What Wear and MyDomaine.

The editorial staff at Obsessee comprises a small team of four full-time editors and its newsroom essentially reflects an expanded social media team. Most of its feed like, posts and voices come from its 50 Gen Z-aged contributors from across various locations. Obsessee mixes up its content with layers of reporting and news alternating from original graphic design to personalized captions and stories from its writers. The content on this platform ranges from fashion and beauty fare to inspiring stories and breakdowns of major news events, tailored to specific social media sites. For instance, on Spotify they might offer a “Governors Ball Jams” playlist to prepare fans and listeners for the music festival while on Pinterest, they would display a digital graphic of that track list.

Alex Taylor, president of digital at Clique Media Group, said, “When we launched, we wanted to create content for where people were already consuming it. Instead of using social media to achieve mass scale, or as an instant growth play, we get to evolve and grow where our Gen Z girl goes. Websites are, clearly, highly relevant content-delivery systems for other publishers. For us, we wanted Obsessee to be an innovative process and experiment with platform monetization. This is a different stand against the rise of clickbait in order to drive traffic.” According to the editorial director of Obsessee, Naomi Nevitt, “Our stories feel like updates from a friend rather than traditional journalism because our content is created by and for our Gen Z community.”

Filed under: Digital

Soon Advertising on Google Chrome Will Have to Meet Better Ad Standards

Posted June 5, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 3:30 am

Google recently announced that from early 2018 Ads on Chrome not meeting the new standards, will be blocked

Pizza Packaging

Google’s Chrome will begin blocking all ads that don’t comply with what it calls ‘Better Ad Standards’ by early 2018. The Better Ad Standards is a set of rules that provide “clear, public, data-driven guidance” for the industry. The updates will even block ads served through Google’s own networks and they will apply to both the mobile and desktop platforms. The search engine browser will come pre-installed with this new ad-blocking technology to automatically filter ads that are considered too annoying or burdensome. Publishers not meeting these new standards for creating good advertising experiences will now have to fall in line if they want their ads to pass through the filter.

In keeping with its methodical approach to new developments, Google will provide a tool to help publishers adopt the changes and implement them in their desktop and mobile websites that need to meet the new Ad standards. Publishers who implement these standards on their websites will effectively avoid the risk of losing any digital ad revenue in the new environment. The tool known as Ad Experience Report, will explain to publishers, via screen shots and videos, how the rules relate to their websites. It will show how the search engine identifies all Ad content that fall in the “annoying ad experiences” category and how they can be fixed to fit into the new standards. Publishers will also be provided with a list of ads by the Ad Experience Report, fitting the Better Ad Standards that they can use instead of those that need to be reworked or recreated.

Sridhar Ramaswamy, svp of ads and commerce at Google wrote in a blog post recently – “The vast majority of online content creators fund their work with advertising, which means they want the ads that run on their sites to be compelling, useful and engaging ones that people actually want to see and interact with. But the reality is, it’s far too common that people encounter annoying, intrusive ads on the web—like the kind that blare music unexpectedly, or force you to wait 10 seconds before you can see the content on the page. We believe these changes will ensure all content creators, big and small, can continue to have a sustainable way to fund their work with online advertising.”

Filed under: Digital

Pizza packaging of the future by a GenX Genius

Posted June 2, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 5:33 am

Yinan Wang, a recent graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Arts, produced a brilliant design

Pizza Packaging

Pizza boxes are not exactly the first thing that springs to mind when you think of creative packaging design. Graphics aside, all pizza boxes look the same – plain corrugated cardboard boxes that don’t particularly spark your appetite. Additionally, research has shown that today’s pizza boxes fail to meet the average pizza lover’s needs and expectations. It’s about time the pizza box got a stylish makeover and it finally came from Yinan Wang, a student of the Maryland Institute College of Arts, who produced a brilliant design which is worth the wait.

For a recent project, Wang set out to find a solution for leftover pizza problems and was soon able to create a clever new pizza packaging design called ‘Toss.’ This innovative concept ditches the old-school square design for a pizza box and individually packages the slices into their own triangular-shaped boxes, much like the ‘slices’ of a pie chart. Each box is armed with a detachable holder at the bottom covering the outer diameter of the pizza which also happens to be the portion that comprises most of the left-over bits of pizzas.

This awesome pie-chart shaped box is probably the best thing to have happened in the history of pizza packaging. It will not just take the convenience factor, while eating pizza to new level but also open up a range of new opportunities in marketing and logistics. In terms of spicing up the deal, the pizza seller may offer different toppings in all the slices that together stack up to the conventional disc-shaped full size pizza. In fact, it spices up the scope of marketing pizzas since this slice-wise detachable packaging has further widened the scope of more competitive pricing.

Contrary to popular perception, more than half of the pizza lovers in the United States are women, most of whom are young, health-conscious individuals, who exercise at least twice a week. According to the Center for Generational Kinetics, these women value natural ingredients, appreciate creative design and have a preference for sustainable packaging. Young Yinan Wang’s brilliant design will most likely impress this hard-to-please demography and most others as it will meet a major part of their specific preferences in pizzas.

Filed under: Marketing Innovation

Artificial Intelligence Driven Predictive Marketing Can Cut Through the Ad Clutter

Posted June 1, 2017 by Rashmi D @ 2:55 am

Machine learning is what propels AI and is engaging consumers in real time with predictive marketing like never before

Predictive Marketing

A factor that’s critical to marketers today is the sheer volume of advertisements that struggle for the eyeballs and mind-space of audiences. One of the commonly talked about realism that is spoken about quite often is that four-five decades ago, audiences were exposed to around 300-500 ads a day, or thereabouts. These figures supposedly sounded like a lot then, although when compared with the figures today, which is around 10 times more, those figures appear small.Digital advertising has been promising to cut through this clutter but because of exponential growth, it has ended up adding to it.

Predictive Marketing

At present we are in the era of predictive marketing, driven by the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which is expected to cut through the increasing clutter in advertising today. AI and machine learning, involves use of precise and predictive intelligence that enables consumer engagement and personalization at scale. This is what has come to be known as predictive marketing where customized digital content automatically reaches individual consumers in real-time for more effective and precise impression. AI is the technology that helps marketers creates real-time predictive insights that anticipate and exceed customer expectations.

Till recently, the use of the term ‘predictive’ to describe a process that revolved around what can be called ‘adaptive’ capability. Such capability uses static rules framed by the marketer in advance, that can make instant content decisions but does not provide continuous machine learning. On the other hand, predictive intelligence is automatically processed by technology enabling machine learning in real-time. How does it do this? Its ability to observe subtle trends in customer engagement and deliver precise and personal communication is possible because it bypasses the need for A/B testing and trying to re-learn the subtle trends every time a consumer engaged.

Filed under: Marketing Innovation
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