TROMPE-L’OEIL or TRUMP (snake) OIL?


The GOP circus train driven by ”The Donald” and stoked by the media, is coming dangerously close to riding off the rails that would otherwise encourage the political discourse which voters evaluate to make informed decisions.


I am awestruck by the acceptance of the republican middle, embracing the hyperbole that is blurring their ability to separate reality from the fantasies of Donald Trump.


Like the Road Runner cartoon in which Wile E. Coyote paints a tunnel on a rock wall and Wile E. Coyote slams into it believing his own illusion, Trump is leading both his constituents and his rivals into the wall as well. 


Without referencing Mr. Trump’s often caustic and hurtful instances to vituperate Mexicans. immigrants, women and his peers among others, he is, by default, energizing a dangerous group of “passionate” lemmings he considers “his people”.


And while Trump may personify Nebuchadnezzar before his twisted mind was made right, it is doubtful Trump will make things right.


George Stephanopoulos’ recent interview of Trump asking him “HOW” he intends to carry through his policies, solicited this response …. ‘Management” 


His GOP rivals have been thrown into an arena facing a den full of hungry lions.  And they don’t have the chops to go toe to toe with Trump, embracing fear and paralysis instead. 

The GOP circus train is headed straight for Trump’s brilliantly painted trompe-l’oeil tunnel.















THE NOT SO SECRET SERVICE

This, today from the National Journal ....

"The federal government is expecting to spend more than $500 million in the next five years to manage data breaches. The money will be spent to clean up the damage that results from exposed data which often includes private information such as email passwords, credit card numbers and social security numbers. The government is budgeting this money to pay contractors that can mange these events."

The 2015 Ponemon Institute's Cost of Data Breach Study examined the cost incurred by 62 U.S. companies across 16 industry sectors.

According to this year's benchmark findings, data breaches cost companies an average of $217 per compromised record, of which $143 pertains to indirect costs which include abnormal customer turnover, and $74 represents the direct costs incurred to resolve the data breach such as investments in tech and legal fees.

According to the study, malicious attacks continue to be the primary cause of data breaches accounting for 49% of incidents. Nineteen percent concerned employee negligence and 32% involved IT and business process failures.

The total average organizational cost in 2014 rose to $6.53 million.  The study suggests steps to decrease the cost of a breach, but diligence and up-front investments appear to be front and center.

The statistics are chilling and should serve as a wake up call that has been ringing off the hook for several years.

The Feds are obviously concerned as they will be investing in excess of 15X the average rate of a U.S. firm's cost for the next 5 years, at minimum, to manage these expected events.  

Note to the Feds: How about managing increased security before the breach event?



Are We Blindly Moving Forward?

In just the last few days reports of hacking and ad fraud appeared as footnotes in the trade media.

CMOs have much to be concerned about.

ITPRO announced that a YAHOO malvertising attack left 900 million users at risk of ransomware.  Yes, that was 900 MILLION.  On the same day, Trustwave Holdings discovered hackers who were using RTB platforms to spread a Trojan virus through programmatic ads that do not need to be clicked on to activate the virus.  In other words, simply visiting a site can infect a computer.

As most programmatic platforms do not have robust technology to distinguish between hackers and advertisers, Trustwave believes it is fairly easy to pose as a legitimate business and buy up infectious ads.

It is no wonder that the Association of National Advertisers and the International Advertising Association are raising the specter of transparency concerns.  As a result, they are commissioning studies and surveys in an attempt to stem the flow of fraud across all media disciplines.

ComScore recently tracked NHT (Non-Human Traffic) across a number of campaigns and recognized that 14% of the campaigns generated 5-20% of NHT, accounting for 45% of the total NHT impressions.

I would venture that most CMOs have no standards in place with sellers, technology platforms feeding programmatic and traditional trades, their agencies and data providers.
 

Recently, a Jeep SUV was hacked through its entertainment system and controlled from a remote (10 mile) distance and forced to drive off the road.  Chrysler and Harmon are now facing class-action suits.  Could Yahoo face similar negligence suits for failing to protect its users from the malvertising hack?  

It’s getting ugly and it’s just the beginning.


Programmatic Transparency and Self-Driving Media

Oh how the ad business has changed.  Not so much the creative element, although I would argue that advertising was far and away more creative in the last two decades of the 20th century, but the rush to embrace a digital cascade of data and social media that waterfalls into an ocean of swirling confusion for today’s CMOs.

When did it all start?
Could it have been with AOL when it first appeared on May 24, 1985?  After all, it was simply a communication tool and an online social gathering place. 


There was no useful search engine until 1990, when Archie (originally Archives) appeared as a database of searchable web file names.


By 1994, Yahoo (short for "Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle") launched to cobble together and categorized the community of searchable websites.


On September 4, 1998, Google (originally called “BackRub”) made its debut.  Today, Google argues that it has the “right to collect your most sensitive data, as long as it flows across an open WiFi network”


MySpace launched on August 1, 2003 as a more sophisticated social networking site.  But a fickle audience and the debut of FaceBook less than a year later, on February 4, 2004, contributed to its tortuous decline.


Then, the CEO of FaceBook declared “the age of privacy is over”.  And today, Google knows what you’re looking for and Facebook knows what you like and they both know where you are. 


The volumes of data that are collected via the digital pipeline we call the Internet, stretches the imagination.  According to SINTEF, a Scandinavian research organization, 90% of all of the data in the world has been gathered over the last two years, now classified as “Big Data”. 
 

What is Big Data and how does it act and integrate with programmatic media platforms?  


Big data is simply trillions or records of billions of people from a variety of sources to include the web search and surfing, sales, customer contact points, social media, mobile data and more.  It is a massive volume of structured and unstructured data that can be manipulated to predict the needs and wants of individuals. 


What is programmatic buying? 

In its simplest form, programmatic technology platforms allow for automated buying and selling of digital advertising via real-time bidding, akin to financial market trading.   

There are pros and cons to this emerging discipline, not the least of which is a seeming lack of transparency that tends to obfuscate the process. 
 

A recent study by Forrester Research for the Association of National Advertisers suggests there is deep concern and confusion by marketers with respect to cost, quality and real impact.   

But much like the unstoppable advancement of the self-driving car, self-driving media decisions will, in its early stages, suffer the cries of skeptics who mistrust the system to provide promised value.

The root of the problem is lack of trust …. not necessarily unwarranted as marketers and procurement officers pressure ad agencies and media buyers to reduce costs and service fees.  In turn, agencies consolidate into holding companies, utilize technology to reduce staff and increase productivity and, in many cases, act as intermediaries to purchase media and data in bulk, acting as resellers. 

As market evolution begins to demand the placement of enforceable standards for programmatic procurement , quarterbacked by contract guarantees, both marketers and agencies will win.

But both parties must come to the table with the knowledge that a fair and understanding view of business process for each will provide a rising tide to the benefit of all.  

35 COUNTRIES, 3,000 PEOPLE, 86,400 SECONDS LATER


Day two of the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo came to a close today.  It was the first event of its kind for this technology, bringing together over 3,000 attendees from 30 plus countries over a two day period.  It was a roaring success and will go on a road tour to Chicago, San Jose, Singapore and Munich.

A range of topics from cooking (you can print chocolate), medicine (printing organs for clinical trials), manufacturing (GE is using the process for jet engine parts) and building construction (architectural design) and fashion (print a dress) were covered.

And now Wall Street is taking note as we noticed participation by Lux Capital, Goldman Sachs, RRE Ventures, T. Rowe Price, Trent Capital and Piper Jaffray among others.

Deployment of the technology is now creeping towards consumer use, fueled by a consumer-facing company, ShapeWays, where you can make, buy and sell products (thousands of them).  The company's ecosystem moves from designer to distributor (ShapeWays), to the consumer and back to the designer.

ATTENTION ad agencies and marketers:  Don't miss the boat on this exploding, disruptive technology.  Your absence at the event was obvious.  Get ahead of the curve and a step ahead of your competition.  NOW.

You can review current, updated news on the world of 3D Printing at www.3DPrintingBureau.org 







I just came away from day one at the Inside 3D Printing conference at the Javits Center in NYC and was blown away by the size of the crowd and the throngs of people stretching to get close to the exhibitors at the expo.

Several dozen sponsors and exhibitors took over a corner of the Javits Convention Center for a track series on 3D Printing 101 and tutorials on design initiatives.  As it relates to the medical industry and pharma, Lawrence Bonassar, associate professor for the department of biomedical engineering at Cornell noted that his “vision for this technology” would be to reduce the cost of medical imaging so that physicians can take profile photographs of healthy patients that can then be stored and used at the time of injury.

Why is this technology important to marketers today?  Because this trans-formative, game changing technology will impact manufacturing, delivery channels, the media and the way we bring products and services to market.  

How we communicate these changes and opportunities to the consumer and the businesses that make it happen is what marketing and advertising is all about.  For too long, ad agencies have taken a back seat to technology, reacting only when prodded by their clients or when they risk a collective review of their services.

We are on the doorstep of a huge new industry.  It's not too late to begin mining the intelligence that will keep you one step ahead of your competitors.  

A daily news feed on 3D Printing can be found at: www.3DPrintingBureau.org

COMING OF AGE

It's time.   

There has been much ado about 3D printing over the last few months.  While the application to marketing has yet to make an impact, trust me, it will be huge.  3D printing has been around for more than 20 years but has not been able to scale as the technology that drives the process was costly, running into the millions.

Times have changed rapidly and the technology is now running machines (replicators) costing as little as $500 for a kit form ($2200 for a plug and play model).

Unless you've been living under a rock, shock waves across the media are heralding 3D Printing as the next industrial revolution on a massive scale.

A recent visit to MAKERBOT, one of the few storefront operations at 928 Mulberry Street in New York City, provides a peek into the possibilities.  Imagine it and you can make it.  And I strongly suggest a visit.

The watch case and band on this post was made and purchased at the Makerbot store.  It's one of many items on sale.  The store can also scan your head and make a full replica of your head (shipped within a few days).

From time to time I will be posting on 3D Printing advances and the impact of the process (additive manufacturing) on the marketing world.

WHO WILL SING YOUR PRAISES?

WHO WILL SING YOUR PRAISES?

As the garden walls of privacy fall to invasion from outside influences, managing your online persona becomes paramount.  If you're in business for yourself as a professional (doctor, lawyer) or work in the executive suite of a major corporation, how you are perceived by peers, associates, potential customers and the outside world in general can have a significant impact on your fortunes and even your sanity.

Fortunately, a young start-up saw the need for a personal and brand management tool to improve how the online world sees you.

If you have a negative search result for your name or business, QNARY can help you drive down the appearance of the search result to a lower placement and generally make your rank less visible.

QNARY's team of engineers developed a process that pulls together your search, social and contextual touch-points across the web so that you can manage your online image.

It's a comprehensive tool that will eventually expand to brands, providing a measure of relief to personal and brand PR disasters.

QNARY encourages sign ups at freemium and low cost premium levels.

The video that follows will give you a good overview of the platform (click the enlarge button for a better view).

I WANT ONE!

I WANT ONE! More to the point, how can I get one.

Toyota's concept dream machine is a cross between a three wheel motorcycle and a smart car (no helmet required).  This amazing little two person machine has a 30 mile range between charges and is perfect for short suburban shopping hops.  It charges on household current in 3 hours.  No doubt mileage will increase as battery technology is enhanced.

Toyota christened it the i-Road.  Their marketing group can create more buzz through a naming contest that would improve upon the i-Road moniker.  I'd vote for i-Hop but I think that's already taken.

Watch the neat video below and you'll fall in love with it.

IT'S NOT MOBILE STUPID

Perception and reality, at odds with one another, have crept into that which defines the growth of mobile advertising and e-commerce (or m-commerce). The problem lays in the definition and perception of the term "mobile".

Mobile, as the general population defines it, refers to a cell phone.  The term has been hijacked by the ad community and the digerati (the elite of the online communities), to include cellphones, smartphones, tablets, laptops and notebooks ... essentially any device that can move with you.

As the devices swirl around e-commerce sites, the elite have pooled both traffic and sales to imply that smartphones are the lead devices.

That's the perception.  Here's the reality.

The "mobile" (or m-commerce) shopping experience is best optimized on a tablet or laptop.  his is especially true of the baby boomer generation (the demographic with the highest disposable income).

In the m-commerce world, it is estimated that 30% of site traffic is attributed to "mobile" devices and that 80% of that traffic comes from tablets.  Not surprisingly, 90% of the tablet traffic comes from the Apple iPad alone!  These numbers leave smartphones in the dust, yet the industry spends far too much time, money and effort chasing the phone.

An eBay spokesperson suggested that consumers move from mobile to desktop and back again with some form of mobile activity touching 30% of eBay activity.

Isn't it time for marketers to reconsider how they spend their "mobile" dollars before chasing the ever-changing (and costly) mobile phone formats.  Focusing on the tablet would seem to be a no-brainer.