Episode 8: ⏰ TikTok'ed?


🔥 mary meeker for 🖼️ visual marketers, addictive candy = TikTok, the disruptor CMO 🤽‍♂️playbook; marketing 💸 1/2 budgets = content; D2C 🔑 key = retention. Will your brand be filtered 🚬 ‘in’ or filtered ‘out’?

Helping marketers translate trends into actions, Get Customer Productive is a Robb Hecht curated newsletter that marketing execs read to empower their customers, their careers and to keep their brands ahead of societal automation, social commerce & algorithmic CX trends coming out of Amazon, Facebook, Apple & Google + China’s BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent). Let me know how you think it can be improved, simply hit reply or reach me here.

[👀 The Week’s Insights Rollup]

👉Hello Automated Marketer,

From D2C companies being overly focused on acquisition to the detriment of extending their CLV metrics through loyalty and retention efforts, to Mary Meeker’s annual report highlighting the true rise of visual marketing and strong growth of ‘shoppable commerce” across social platforms, the past few weeks have been a mix of Cannes news and the growing realization that martech is now at the center of marketing communications. Content now takes almost half of today’s marketing budget. And it’s official, the key to D2C is to gamify customer delight. Moving forward, to ensure your brand is not ‘filtered out” of the social platforms algorithms you’d best build campaigns on value, emotions and generating customer reviews. And are you ready?…YouTube announces shoppable videos are coming. Hey by the way - if you’re ‘digitally transforming’ (really means ‘data transforming’) your company, make sure you’re transforming your culture too.

To the East, China’s Tencent increases its power by offering brands the leveraging of its massive database of detailed, customizable, user profiles derived from across the Tencent ecosystem, connecting Adtech to Martech to smart retail. As for the addictive TikTok everyone is talking about, the Wall Street Journal had a piece outlining its U.S. strategy right in the middle of the trade negotiations - saying “Using high-end artificial intelligence, TikTok has figured out how to serve up the fun parts of social media - focusing on fluff - and to create a viral user-made video network that none of the other giants have managed to pull off”….noting that, Zhang (TikTok’s founder) learned early on “that consumers don’t always know what they want and are highly open to suggestions.” Sounds a little communist/socialist to me, but at the rate TikTok’s growing; it, like the Chinese economy over the past 20 years - they’re doing something right.

PS. Have you gotten your CEO’s permission to disrupt yet?

👯 Spotlight:this Week’s Influencers👯

Hugh Williams, Luck Koch, Nikhil Lai, @StevenVBe, @danielnewmanUV, @rainbowbex, @marymeeker, @Brionic, Mobvista team, @MarkWalkerFord, James Chadwick, @natalieLsach

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🛍️  Marketing Strategy: How to Build A D2C (Direct to Consumer) Subscription Brand

👉Retention is Key to D2C. LINK by Hugh Williams, Exchange Wire. SO WHAT? DTC brands have no problems getting customers, says Hugh, because they’re interesting and people want to try new things. But, in terms of that second sale, D2C can literally run out of potential buyers to convert, because in some categories there are too many challenger brands and differentiation is hard to achieve (they are all innovative, minimalist, and offer great terms of use) making it hard to win a larger piece of the pie. What’s the solution: Retention. ASK YOURSELF: Are you too focused on customer acquisition, only to the detriment of building community and a loyal retention customer base?

👉Traditional Retailers Invest in D2C Strategies. LINK. eMarketer Analyst, Luck Koch. SO WHAT? D2C companies face a different set of realities compared with legacy brands: mature companies, traditional retailers, wholesalers or brick-and-mortar-first brands (who often must first please shareholders with profits). Legacy brands have a different set of growth goals and internal stakeholders to please—and to not mince any of Luck’s words: D2Cs get to burn a lot of money. For some traditional brands, it’s not feasible to do a total overhaul of their marketing stack to unify customer data, at least not all at once. Legacy brands aren’t able to respond as nimbly as D2C brands because of the profit expectations their shareholders have. ASK YOURSELF: if you are working for a legacy brand, will you ever truly be ever to shift the internal paradigm; or will you recommend acquisitions instead?

👉Consumer Intimacy: The Essential Value Of First-Party Data. LINK. by Nikhil Lai. SO WHAT? Birchbox entices consumer loyalty by adding novelty to its transactions and designing opportunities for self-expression.  Each month, Birchbox enfranchises users to customize their box by selecting a sample of their choice. (Users learn about their choice of samples by monitoring Birchbox’s Facebook and Instagram channels for routine Sample Choice revelations.)  Throughout these touch-points, Birchbox celebrates its consumers’ agency with a mix of self-interest and altruism.  As it gamifies customer delight, Birchbox is guided by its first-party data to know what and for whom it should create. ASK YOURSELF: how are you gamifying customer delight?

🧬 How to Drive Your Marketing AI, Algorithms & Automation

👉Automated Commerce: Will Your Brand be Filtered in or Filtered Out. LINK. By WARC’s @StevenVBe (Steven Van Belleghem). SO WHAT? Steven points out that it won’t be long until we have an always available, omnipresent AI platform for every consumer. AI will bring big changes to everyday commerce – and brands have a limited window in which to act to avoid becoming invisible to customers. He predicts branding will change and be constructed around 1) strong brands built on emotions, 2) great products AI will recommend due to good reviews etc; 3) brands filtered out due to lack of value and bad reviews. ASK YOURSELF: will your brand be ‘filtered in’, or ‘filtered out’?

👉How Marketers Are Using AI And Machine Learning To Grow Audiences. LINK by @danielnewmanUV (Daniel Newman). SO WHAT? In looking at what Daniel outlined last Sept, we are tracking nicely in 2019:

 🦁 Build an eCommerce everywhere / Amazon Strategy

👉Key Retail & eCommerce Trends from Meeker’s Internet Report 2019, by @rainbowbex Rebecca Sentance, @marymeeker. LINK. SO WHAT? Of particular importance in this year’s Mary Meeker Internet Trends Report is the intense rise of shopability becoming integrated into social platforms, apps and services of every kind, offline retail increasingly becoming digitized, and eCommerce reaching new communities and demographics. Consumers now start their product searches on Amazon than search engines like Google and Bing now, but Jeff Bezos still relies on other services like Facebook and YouTube to inspire people to want things. With eCommerce growth now reaching 13% of all retail purchases (and parcel shipments rising swiftly) -signals point to big opportunities for new shopping apps. With the rise of social shopping - Kevin Systrom, co-founder of Instagram also made a key statement in the report insights, "People have always been visual—our brains are wired for images. Writing was a hack, a detour. Pictorial languages are how we all started to communicate—we are coming full circle, I suppose." ASK YOURSELF: are you now building a visual-first Amazon + ‘eCommerce is everywhere’ digital strategy?

🇨🇳 Chinese Tech & Retail AI Innovations

👉Why China’s Tencent is About to Leapfrog the Competition, by @Brionic (Brian Monahan). LINK. SO WHAT? Had to include this as part of my #PATCI (pay attention to Chinese innovation) series, Brian describes the new data-driven marketing power rising in the East, observing that if Tencent executes on its vision, they will leapfrog the current generation of marketing platforms. Tencent Data Cloud = its end-to-end marketing platform creates detailed, customizable, user profiles derived from across the Tencent ecosystem, connecting Adtech to Martech to smart retail. The gist of Tencent’s offer is for marketers to simply bring an interesting idea that provides value to users. From there, Tencent will help:

  • Build that experience inside their walled garden.

  • Tell you who will be interested in your thing and everything about them.

  • Source key opinion Leaders (KOLs) who influence your target.

  • Deliver targeted ads with zero waste.

  • Use dynamic offers in the payment process to drive conversion.

  • Incentivize pass along and advocacy.

  • Use its messaging platform to drive repeat engagement.

  • Connect to retail partners to track true ROI.

  • And drop machine learning on top of it all to optimize performance in real time.

  • *One note to this news piece - don’t forget, the Chinese use Tencent tools as a gateway to the Internet, vs via Google and Amazon in the States. What’s that mean- well, it means companies like Tencent effectively have much more weight than is revealed to the ‘Western’ eye - due to their massive databases

👉 Where Instagram Goes, China has led the Way. LINK by Mobvista team. SO WHAT: the western world still lags behind China when it comes to social shopping. YouTube is believed to be considering launching shopping services towards the end of the year through which products in its videos- or related formats, will be made available for purchase. China, which is more advanced with social shopping, could offer Western marketers very crucial tips in getting the products right and ensuring the imagery and video are enticing enough to hook browsers and turn them into customers. ASK YOURSELF: Are you prepared for video shopping? How must your video creative be developed to ensure a seamless customer experience?

How to Win at Social Commerce / CX

👉Almost half of marketing budgets are now spent on content. LINK by @MarkWalkerFord. SO WHAT: I remember telling an interviewer once that content would be the biggest line item in their marketing budget in the near short future. Turns out the prophecy has been fulfilled with this infographic. ASK YOURSELF: Are you leveraging written content, video content and SEO in your marketing plans to rise to the top of the social platforms?

Modern Marketer Leadership Corner

👉The Disruptor CMO Playbook (19 strategies CMOs can use to take charge, adapt faster, and optimize the metrics that matter): LINK by James Chadwick. SO WHAT: Chadwick lays out 19 (why 19?) marketing principles modern marketers should drive their brands by. ASK YOURSELF: can you implement 75% of these with your marketing team by year's end?

👉What is the role of the Chief Digital Officer? LINK. By Natalie Sachmechi @natalieLsach. SO WHAT?: Natalie defines how the CDO’s role is to help companies stay competitive in an age of increasing digitization, striving to implement new digital models; while the CIO looks to improve existing models. A common trait of CDOs seems to be their ability to help companies grow not only technologically, but culturally. “Digital is not only about technology,” says a source. “It’s also about people.” ASK YOURSELF: if you are looking to your IT leads for your true organizational digital transformation; look elsewhere.

👉New Job: Director, China Expansion @ Away SO WHAT? You will partner with the VP, International & Managing Director, China in all aspects of market entry strategy & execution, from market research & discovery to in-market CX, retail, & operations - resourcing to liaising with potential third party vendors, ensuring that all strategic decisions take into account both local & HQ contexts. Developing a strategy for how Away can enter the market via both e-commerce & physical retail & ensuring it is coordinated with Away’s strategy in mainland China. Experience in both e-commerce & physical retail operations prior familiarity with Tmall operations is a must. ASK YOURSELF: don’t you want this job?

👉Need Career Advice from someone at a FANG (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) company? Look here.

🤡  What’s On my Amazon Wishlist?

👉Agency: Starting a Creative Firm in the Age of Digital Marketing (Advertising Age) by Rick Webb

👉Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil

👉Rockonomics: A Backstage Tour of What the Music Industry Can Teach Us about Economics and Life by Alan B. Krueger

🎧 What’s Your Brandhacker Story?

👉We need your D2C, digital transformation & subscription marketing insights. Visit Brandhacker Stories and provide your perspectives.

🎙️ Brandhacker? What Are You Working On?

👉Got Feedback or news? Hey, thank you for reading. 👨I’m @robbhecht - your Get Customer Productive modern marketing coach. Fancy sending some feedback on how we can make GCP better for you? I’m honored that you’re reading, and delighted that I am learning from you all.  Now, tell me what you’re working on and let’s capture you in our next episode.

Have a great week - Robb

☕ PS. If you fancy buying me a coffee, I’ll return the favor :-)

🎙️ Readership Notes

👉Shout outs to those who have reached out and updated me on what they are up to: Piers Fawkes, Husam Machlovi and Patrick Toner.

PS. While this version will stay open for all, please support my work by recommending Get Customer Productive to your network as a resource. Send some ❤️ & simply retweet this if you’re on Twitter. Thanks!

Episode 7+: 🛍️ Let's Brandhack


🔥 🏖️ the D2C funnel, ⏰ TikTok as Trojan Horse?,🤱The ‘Reliance Economy’, 🐷 Influencers & AI, Say 👍 to MarTech Certificates, 🙌 Stay human

Check out the full newsletter at: https://getcustomerproductive.substack.com/

Episode 7: 🛍️ The ‘Reliance Economy’

Staying Human in an Automated Marketing World

🔥 🏖️ the D2C funnel, TikTok as Trojan Horse?,🤱The ‘Reliance Economy’, 🐷 Influencers & AI, Say 👍 to MarTech Certificates, 🙌 Stay human

GCP is the newsletter that marketing execs read to keep their brands up on societal automation, social, commerce + algorithmic trends coming out of Amazon, Facebook, Apple & Google + China’s BAT (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent). Let me know how you think it can be improved, simply hit reply or reach me here.

[👀 The Week’s Insights RoundUp]

👉Hello Automated Marketer. This week’s roundup keeps we marketers thinking ahead of the curve on topics like how should we flip our funnels to be D2C; how we can build our products and services to be a part of the ‘Reliance Economy’ - but perhaps built with technological functionalities that improve our customers lives with convenience and productivity - not just focused on habitual addictive use of the product. And as AI increases its push into our automated marketer daily lives, we still have a love/hate relationship with its ‘take over’ - because we know its efficiencies, yet we need more time to get trained to manage it. The question is, will we fully ever manage the marketing technology going forward? Finally I leave you with the “Near Me” generation. As we wish to remain relevant to our users we must recognize that our customer’s mobile phone is now effectively their new ‘home’ - wherever they are physically - that is their ‘home’ - with their entire lives controlled and managed by that mobile phone as a remote control. How can we increasingly redefine commerce and provide customer experiences where we meet the needs of the “near me” generation (allowing our users to order, receive deliveries, and return items from wherever they are “home”)? Remember, team always: 🙌 Stay human .

[👯 Spotlight:this Week’s Influencers👯]

Gerard Keeley, @mahoney_sarah, @TobyNwazor, Jesse Weaver, @conniechan, @TaylorLorenz, @PCMag, @AWS, Matthew Humphries, @AWS, @JorgeGregonis, Pandu Danzinger, Amit Sharma, Seema Gupta, Phani Manpaka, Daniyal Malk, @TechNote, Nick Frisch, , Jack Loecher, @mp_research, Ray Schultz

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[🛍️  How to be D2C & Subscription First]

More than half of consumers expect a response from customer service within an hour, even on weekends. *Edelman Digital

👉4 ways next-gen D2C brands can crack creative marketing. Link by Gerard Keeley. SO WHAT?: 1) understand your audience; 2) hang on to that funnel: use content to ignite interest and bring a product to life, use paid social ads to deliver those messages, and employ pixels to facilitate retargeting and drive purchases directly through social platforms with features like Instagram checkout; 3) develop a test-and-learn creative mentality. 4) budget for multiple formats - brands that want to go truly direct must now factor in Amazon as part of their growth strategy, understanding how to use it as a distribution tool for their products. ASK YOURSELF: Moving to D2C? Taking these steps?

👉The secrets of D2C powerhouses. Link by @mahoney_sarah. SO WHAT?: If you want to be D2C, traditional [legacy brand] companies put brands on top, and build on an “industrious dedication to creating products,” quoting Jim Stengel, P&G’s former CMO. Insurgent [challenger] brands “reverse that process, starting with personality, then tribe, and then brand and product.” ASK YOURSELF: How can I flip my funnel? How can I refocus my marketing on my audience first vs product?

[🧬 Improving AI, Marketing Automation & the Engineered Algorithms Incentivizing Us]

As technology advances, we have begun offloading more and more of our cognitive functions and skills to our devices -Jesse Weaver

👉Welcome to the “Reliance Economy”. Link by Jesse Weaver. SO WHAT?: Some might define it as ‘getting customers productive” or making their lives convenient, but Jesse outlines that today, much of our existence centers on the attention economy, where our focus and time are mined, and the resulting data is manipulated and sold as a commodity in service of driving advertising revenue and feeding algorithms. He believes that despite the way we position it, technology is no longer a tool to solve problems; it has been twisted into a tool to grow profits. “Capitalism isn’t geared to solve problems. If a company truly solved a problem, it would put itself out of business. Instead, the system [the algorithm] is geared to keep consumers perpetually in need,” he says. ASK YOURSELF: Are we trying to addict users or solve their problems? How about we meet somewhere in between and develop an addictive solutions app?

👉Influencers & AI: 6 ways top influencers are implementing AI and machine learning to grow their followers. Link by @TobyNwazor. SO WHAT? You may be posting, you may be leveraging automation, but are you using AI like influencers are? ASK YOURSELF: Will I lose ground if I don’t leverage the latest AI?

👉How TikTok is different. Link. by @conniechan. SO WHAT?: In another step towards a “Reliance Economy” subservient to the decisions of ‘the algorithm', Connie Chan teaches us that TikTok stands unique among other social platforms because of its use of AI. Whereas Netflix, YouTube, and Facebook’s news feeds all use recommendation algorithms to push users a curated list of options, TikTok removes choice from the experience all together. Its algorithms give viewers only one video to watch at any given moment and uses subtle cues like how much time you spend on it, whether you like it, or even how quickly you swipe away to determine what video you get to watch next. ASK YOURSELF: Are you yourself comfortable with algorithms making this many decisions for you based on your behavior?

[ 🦁 eComm Everywhere: Amazon Prime, Alexa, Shopify]

One-third of all purchases during the 2018 holiday shopping season were made on smartphones. *TechCrunch

👉Amazon Web Services: check out this global infrastructure interactive map of Amazon’s web services. Link by @AWS. SO WHAT? The Verge says Amazon is thought of as retail, but it is clearly becoming something much more massive than just that. ASK YOURSELF? Is your company tapping the real Amazon yet?

👉Over 40 percent of Amazon's sellers are based in China. Link by @PCMag/Matthew Humphries. SO WHAT?: Turns out that U.S. Amazon addicts could be responsible for the current trade deficit? Says Matt: “If you're not buying direct from Amazon, chances are you're dealing with a Chinese merchant regardless of which regional Amazon website you shop with.”ASK YOURSELF?: As we increasingly become addicted to convenience, productivity and ‘near me” - should we be personally concerned about how much power we’re handing over to foreign product manufacturing via Amazon?

[Building A Marketing Strategy for the 4th Industrial Revolution]

Omni-channel customers spend 4% more in store and 10% more online than single-channel customers. For every additional channel they use, customers spend more money. *Harvard Business Review

👉Ditching omni-channel for a new 'harmonic' model? Link by Pamela N. Danziger @Forbes. SO WHAT?: says Pam,Retailers are still trying to force the customer into channels, be they physical or digital, so that the retailer can manage them…the idea of omni channel retail still forces the customer along predetermined paths to purchase that are aligned with the organizational structure in order that results can be measured and quantified. The solution? Become D2C, right?! ‘Harmonic sure sounds like ‘becoming D2C’. ASK YOURSELF: can we merge our omni channel KPIs together so it becomes one KPI – the lifetime customer value.

👉The Instagram Aesthetic is Over? Link by @TaylorLorenz. SO WHAT?: While on Facebook we all put on the best to ‘beat’ the Jones’ next door, on Instagram “everyone is trying to be more authentic,” says Lexie Carbone, a content marketer at Later, a social-media marketing firm. ASK YOURSELF: How can I be more authentic on IG?

👉Why Marketers should focus on the “Near Me” Generation. Link, by Amit Sharma SO WHAT?: As consumer increasingly use their cellphones as remote controls that makes their lives more convenient, they’re expecting that a retailer will provide service to wherever they are [kind of like when you’re walking alone in the park and you so want to ask Alexa what’s the temperature]…..meaning their ‘home’ is wherever they are with their phone. He notes that Google searches for “Near Me” and “Can I buy….” have skyrocketed 500%. ASK YOURSELF: How could I ever implement this if I wasn’t working with Amazon/AWS?

[🧬 Surveillance Advertising]

76% of consumers think companies should understand their expectations and needs. *Salesforce

👉Promote Mode: the machine behind Twitter’s strangest promoted tweets. Link by Sophie Kleeman. SO WHAT?: At its core, Promote Mode, which launched in 2017, is simple: Users pay to have their tweets automatically beamed into people’s timelines. Twitter calls it an “automated, always-on advertising solution,” intended for people who don’t have the money or time to devise an ad campaign but who want to build their brand or their company’s brand. In practice, this means paying $99 per month to send your first 10 tweets of the day to an audience that matches certain interests or locations. (Quote tweets, replies, or retweets aren’t included, and selected tweets must adhere to Twitter’s quality filter.) ASK YOURSELF: Do I need Promote Mode, or should I remain an ‘old-school’ influencer?

[🇨🇳 The China BAT: Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent]

China has not only successfully isolated its billions of citizens from the rest of the internet behind the Great Firewall—it has also built its own parallel tech industry. It has its own Google (Baidu), its own Twitter (Weibo), its own Amazon (Alibaba), and its own Facebook (Tencent).

👉 Alibaba’s world domination playbook. Link & Link by TechNode. SO WHAT?: Alibaba’s “new retail” wants to use data and technology to transform retail, including offline retail, which accounts for 82% of the total. New retail is Alibaba’s strategy to redefine commerce by enabling seamless engagement between the online and offline world. It’s not about converting online users to offline customers or vice versa. It’s about building a retail ecosystem that blends online and offline channels in a unified way that features the consumer at the center, often in new and unexpected ways. ASK YOURSELF? Time to call AWS?

👉Global Data Harvesting: Is TikTok a Cambridge Analytica data bomb ready to explode? Link. SO WHAT?: Nick Frisch, a fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project, warned of China’s newest growth export: the surveillance state. He said we should be concerned by these “illiberal innovations,” and included the lip-sync social media sensation in his inventory of reasons to be more skeptical of the “Made in China” tech movement. ASK YOURSELF? do we feel comfortable that the hottest algorithmic driven app in the iTunes app store today collecting data on U.S. users and stored in China? Would we feel comfortable if China were building a huge database profiles of all Americans for as yet undisclosed intensions?

[🤖 Our Automation Nation & Your Job]

63% of Millennials start their customer service interactions online. *Microsoft

👉Should We Be Worried About AI? - Link, by @JorgeGregorio SO WHAT?: Nice infographic at this link to visually show how while AI certainly is advancing past humans in marketing decision making, humans are still going to be ‘brothers in arms’ with AI. #stayhuman

👉How Marketers Need to Evolve to Embrace AI. Link, by Seema Gupta. SO WHAT?: AI can be used in marketing in all the three layers of the pyramid – Bidding, Targeting and Messaging. 

👉Martech is evolving more rapidly than marketers use of it. Link, Jack Loecher, @mp_research. CMOs need to spend less on Martech and more on training for Martech. Link by Ray Schultz. SO WHAT?: Those martech certifications may become more valuable than an MBA?

[🦄 Unicorn Life]

👉Are you taking chatbots seriously yet? Link, by Phani Marupaka. SO WHAT?: Prediction: in five years your company website will be a giant chatbot.

👉Pooling User Data: My 2020 Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp strategy just became more clear! Link, by Daniyal Malik. SO WHAT?: Facebook is now looking at your brand and the customers who interact with your brand from a holistic cross platform perspective across FB, IG and Whatsapp.

[🤡  What’s On my Amazon Wishlist?]

👉The Age of Continuous Connection - received an advanced copy from Norbert Beatty and just read their cover story in the HBR. To be honest the book is really about taking what Facebook does for a brand in its walled garden platform and showing companies how they could apply that same approach to its other channels. Well done, was wondering when someone would articulate the secret of Facebook for the rest of digital marketing channels.

[🎧 Got Your Brandhacker Story?]

👉We need your marketing insights. Visit Brandhacker Stories and provide your perspectives. We’re launching carpool karaoke type resource of marketing influencers, like you. Care to be in the spotlight? Our podcast is work in progress (iTunes, Stitcher, Google, Overcast).

[🎙️ Got News? What Are You Working On?]

👉Got Feedback or news? Hey. Thank you for reading. Fancy sending us some feedback? I’m honored that you’re reading, and delighted that I am learning from you all.  Now, tell me what you’re working on.

Have a great week - Robb

👨I’m @robbhecht - your host and Get Customer Productive modern marketing coach

PS. While this version will stay open for all, please support my work by recommending Get Customer Productive to your network as a resource. Send some ❤️ & simply retweet this if you’re on Twitter. Thanks!

Episode 6:🔮 D2C brand values

Data+AI+5G+AR+IOT+D2C+Alexa= the Get Customer Productive Formula

🔥 🏄‍♂️ D2C brand values, 🚴‍♂️ The Peloton Effect, 📴 Instagram eComm, 🏋️ A.I. Trans; 🇨🇳 China/Facebook; 🙌 Stay human

[👀 The Week’s RoundUp Trends & Insights]

👉Hello automated marketer. From the Peloton effect of innovation, to D2C being much more than just a marketing label, but actually an ‘operating system and set of aesthetic beliefs’ that startups are applying to take marketshare from legacy brands through ‘admirable front-end branding, vertical integration and high customer retention’. It all goes back to that first party data at the center of the D2C business model. And while we continue to cover the D2C movement here in the States, its increasingly being played out first in China. China as a data & AI ‘first’ nation is beginning to lead digitally (note: world’s most innovative company, taking the lead in scientific research from the U.S., now a creative superpower, global large tech giants, launching global viral algorithm driven apps like TikTok that ‘learn you’). But while we in democratic/capitalist countries may have been led to the water by Facebook innovations, our representative are now buckling down on Big Tech. While we need certain privacy approaches reworked, it’s still as Mark Zuckerberg said - that if Congress buckles down too harshly, we stifle innovation and basically hand digital ‘leadership’ to China. China, a mobile first country, is taking dramatic new approaches to marketing to its citizens. The implications are real that as it continues to build relationships with the ‘developing’ world and Africa (also mobile first countries) - via Facebook & One Belt Road, we’ll see the ‘Chinese marketing model’ flourish in those countries (stay tuned for next issue). Net: let’s monitor marketing trends coming out of China. For, it’s likely those trends will be applied to the rest of the world. In which case, we got some schoolin’ to do (read constant connection strategies via the BAT). - Stay human 🙌 (by going to sit at Starbucks versus sitting alone at home with your headphones on).

[👯 Spotlight:this Week’s Influencers👯]

@JimStengel, @P&G, @mediapost @LaiNikhil, @fastcompany @LizSegran, @mp_joemandese, @TheEconomist, @msuster, @Dezeen, @DragonSocial, @jenvidetta, @mikemallazzo, @GaryEllis  @teamremesh, @Adweek , @CNBC, @arjunkharpal, @sarafischer @axios, @LSudakov, @NYTimes @superwuster, @TimWu, @Digiday @shareenpathak, @Forbes, @michelleruiz, @Bloomberg @KyleStock, @BrandonVerblow, @BretEastonEllis, @Natalie_Berg & /@mazzaknights, @profgalloway 

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[🛍️  How to be D2C & Subscription First]

The D2C insurgents...each build a brand from within and often from a place of empathy and personal pain. Around this personality they assemble a tribe, united in their belief in how the product or service connects them to their individual lives and communities - @JimStengel @P&G

👉The true value of D2C brands. Link via @mediapost @LaiNikhil Net: Instagram-hued aesthetics, topical brand narratives, and personal relationships with customers based on first-party data. Effectively, the D2C label signals admirable front-end branding, vertical integration and high customer retention.  “D2C,” however, is more than a label.  It’s an operating system and set of aesthetic beliefs. #D2C  

👉This startup built its brand on Facebook: now it can never leave. Link via @fastcompany @LizSegran. Net: Facebook gave Quip great bang for its buck - but little data on the consumers it targeted. With a Facebook backlash brewing, how will small [D2C] advertisers fare? Do you want this to be you? #D2C #Facebook #Quip

👉Challenger brands are shaking up product marketing: by actually listening to consumer needs. Net: that first party data you capture in social platforms (if Facebook shares it with you) tells you a lot about your customers, doesn’t it? Link via @Adweek by Leonid Sudakov @LSudakov #challengerbrand #D2C

👉Why do D2C brands watch Casper so closely? Link via @Digiday @shareenpathak Net: Casper embodies what you could call the 1.0 model of the DNVB industry, which saw the 1) playbook of launching a brand online, 2) selling primarily through e-commerce, then 3) going fast, and quick into a physical retail expansion. #D2C #Casper #DNVB #eCommerce

👉 D2C brand growth will boost paid social. Link via @Forbes Brandon Verblow @BrandonVerblow. Net: Forrester forecasts that online spend by D2C enthusiasts will grow at a compound annual rate of 18% from 2018 to 2022. #D2C #paidsocial #challengerbrand

👉The Peloton Effect. Link. Via @michelleruiz. Net: CEO John Foley told Strategy+Business that Peloton is neither an indoor bike nor a treadmill company, but an “innovation company.” As such, it’s part of the historical tradition of an “evolution in media technology pushing fitness forward”. #Peloton #innovation

👉The shift toward handheld retailing. Link via @Bloomberg @KyleStock. Net: the future of retail isn’t e-commerce or omni-channel or pop-up shops or geo-fenced flash sales. The future of retail is palm-sized. As social media consumerism cultivates a growing crop of scrappy brands, retail entrepreneurs are skipping the computer altogether (let alone brick-and-mortar shops), instead displaying and selling products exclusively via smartphone. And the phenomenon is accelerating. #mobilecommerce #socialcommerce #mobilefirst

[🧬 Improving AI, Marketing Automation & the Engineered Algorithms Incentivizing Us]

Salesforce.com says 5 percent of digital retail traffic now flows through social channels -Bloomberg

👉4 ways AI can improve your marketing strategy. Link @business2community. Net: think deep customer understanding, optimized content creation, more efficient customer service, improved ad performance. #AI #Artificialintelligence

👉Did Capitalism betray privacy? Link via @NYTimes @superwuster @TimWu; Net: At the rate we’re going - in the future the wealthy may have private/protected data with personalized content experiences; while the poor may be an open market of surveillance capitalism. #surveillanceadvertising

👉13 ways AI will be transforming your agency business. Link via @Forbes. Net: AI as lead force generator, creative amplifier, intelligence chatbot interface, providing personalized content, automation, data organization, website automation, paid social optimization. You get the picture! #AI #artificialintelligence

[ 🦁 eComm Everywhere: Amazon Prime, Alexa, Shopify]

Amazon now takes $.40 of every $1 spent online. - @Natalie_Berg & /@mazzaknights in “Amazon, how the world’s most relentless retailer will continue to revolutionize commerce” #socialcommerce #ecommerce #amazon

👉eCommerce is upending Madison Avenue. Link via @sarafischer @axios Net: mobile eCommerce is colliding with digital advertising and forcing traditional ad agencies to embrace data and distribution around specific platforms like Amazon and Google. #ecommerce #datastrategy #amazon

👉How AI powers Amazon. Link via @economist Net: It’s more than you know. #ai, #amazon #economist

👉Amazon marketplace closes down in China. Link via @CNBC @arjunkharpal. Net: with a marketshare falling to 1% via Alibaba, Taobao and JD, customers turned away. Why? Reportedly because these Chinese competitors have more items. They also do huge promotions around Chinese Singles Day. #amazon #china #chinafail #amazonfail

[Building A Marketing Strategy for the 4th Industrial Revolution]

In January, TikTok was the most downloaded app in the Android and iPhone stores, according to research firm Sensor Tower Inc. - Bloomberg

👉Marketing technologies capture 29% of CMOs budgets. Link via MarTech Today. Jennifer Videtta @jenvidetta. Net: human employees < robots. #riseoftherobots #stayhuman #CMO #martech

👉No longer in control, CMO's must think differently. Link via @Mediapost. Net: P&G has created 130 internal startup teams organized around three or four people who “[fall] in love with [a consumer] problem and make things happen,” says Chief Brand Officer Marc Pritchard, noting P&G’s creative brief process is to form a “constant connection with consumers.” #customerconnection #P&G #innovation #CMO

👉How will branding survive when ads disappear? Link via @adexchanger @GaryEllis  @teamremesh Net: Procter & Gamble chief brand officer Marc Pritchard has shared his prediction that [due to the rise of technology] we’re evolving into a "world without ads." The key will be to translate traditional advertising insight into new engagement tactics so advertisers can fit themselves organically into their customer’s experience, rather than disrupting a customer’s experience. #nondisruption #brandutility #P&G

[🧬 Surveillance Advertising]

Huawei spends more on R&D than Apple - Johan Nylander - Author, Shenzhen Superstars

👉Mad Men or Math Men? Omnicom is now the outlier in Madison Avenue’s ‘big data transformation’. Link. Via Joe Mandese  @mp_joemandese Net: Omnicom says wait a a minute, we’re betting big on people-based insights (vs. more data-based ones). #stayhuman #omnicom #bigdata

👉The shameful state of online advertising? Link via @mikemallazzo Net: Is advertising effectively supposed to be a tax that we all pay to enjoy free services -that have no business being free? #surveillanceadvertising

[🇨🇳 China BAT Innovation: Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu]

Today there are twice as many Starbucks shops is Shanghai than in NYC - Johan Nylander - Author, Shenzhen Superstars

👉How Meituan Dianping became the world’s most innovative company. Link Via @DragonSocial Net: FastCompany recently named Meituan Dianping, one of China’s shining stars, as the world’s most innovative company. #meituandianping #innovation

👉China is becoming a creative superpower in design says Marcus Fairs, chief editor of Dezeen. Link via @Dezeen #creativity #innovation

👉Mapping China’s tech giants. Link via Australia Strategic Policy Institute. Net: “The CCP (Communist Party of China) has made no secret about its intentions to export its vision for the global internet. Officials from the Cyber Administration of China have written about the need to develop controls so that ‘the party’s ideas always become the strongest voice in cyberspace.’1 This includes enhancing the ‘global influence of internet companies like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu [and] Huawei’ and striving ‘to push China’s proposition of internet governance toward becoming an international consensus’. Also: Digital authoritarianism is being promoted as a way for governments to control their citizens through technology, inverting the concept of the internet as an engine of human liberation. #China2025 #taketechseriously

👉TikTok: An algorithm that ‘learns’ you. Link. Via @bloomberg David Ramli and Shelly Banjo. Net: a MUST READ: The video-sharing app by the Chinese-owned Bytedance, the world’s most valuable startup, has a younger audience than Facebook, an algorithm that learns you, and different ideas about free speech. Awesome; but wait: a massively fun and popular Chinese app taking over the world by storm with a super powerful algorithm? OK - if Facebook and Google aren’t allowed in China, still curious why does America let this app freely ‘learn’ from American citizen data? #TikTok #China2025 #taketechseriously #algorithmarketing

👉China’s internet model gaining global acceptance. Link via @GlobalTimes. @AiJun. If targeting Beijing's internet regulation is the new US strategy to wrestle with China in an imaginary cold war, Washington will be disappointed. Because China's continuously improving management over the internet is becoming a trend in other countries and regions. 

👉China is using Facebook to build a huge audience around the world. Link via @TheEconomist. Net: Or you can look at it this way: Facebook is letting China use it to spread propaganda to the third world while economically re-building it. Stat 1: China now runs five of the six media outlets with the biggest Facebook followings in the world. Stat 2: If their current growth rates continue, by 2022 China Daily and CGTN will overtake the page of Cristiano Ronaldo, a footballer, who is Facebook’s most followed celebrity. Need any more? #Facebook #China2025 #globalpropaganda #developingworldrecruitment #mobilefirst

👉Why should the U.S. be concerned about China’s embrace of AI?. Link Via Fortune @JonathanVanian. Net: in China, grade school children are taught #AI fundamentals. Wait, a massive population being educated ‘at birth’ to empower AI? #taketechseriously #innovation #china2025 #embraceAI

👉U.S. has surrendered to China on scientific research. Link via By Ezekiel EmanuelAmy Gadsden and Scott Moore - Summary: America’s lead in science and technology have been significantly eroded since the curbing of Cold War threat. Meanwhile China opened 1,800 universities and has produced 10X more science & technology graduates than the U.S. #taketechseriously #digitalauthoritarianism

[🤖 Our Automation Nation]

👉Artificial intelligence and the future of marketing and advertising jobs. Link

[🦄 Unicorn Life]

👉The truth about the Scooter Economy. Link via @msuster BothSidesofthetable Net: Insights on the story arc of the electric scooter market that took the world by storm in 2018, was second-guessed late in the year and has quietly re-emerged as a powerful force of growth.

[🤡  What’s On my Amazon Wishlist?]

👉FOUR, by Scott Galloway. @profgalloway Link Net: “The Four is an essential, wide-ranging powerhouse of a book that, like Scott Gal­loway himself, marries equal parts incisive, entertaining, and biting. As in his leg­endary MBA lectures, Galloway tells it like it is, sparing no business titan and no juggernaut corporation from well-deserved criticism. A must read.” —Adam Alter, author of Drunk Tank Pink   

👉WHITE, by Brett Easton Ellis. Link @BretEastonEllis. Net: Book review description: Combining personal reflection and social observation, Bret Easton Ellis's first work of nonfiction is an incendiary polemic about this young century's failings, e-driven and otherwise, and at once an example, definition, and defense of what "freedom of speech" truly means.

👉AMAZON, by @Natalie_Berg & /@mazzaknights. Link. Net: How the world’s most relentless retailer will continue to revolutionize commerce

[🎧🐱‍💻 Got a Brandhacker Story?🚕]

👉Do you have a developing D2C Brandhacker Story? We want to hear it. Submit Your Story Now @brandhackers. Brandhacker Stories is a launching carpool karaoke type resource of marketing influencers. Care to be in the spotlight? Our podcast is work in progress (iTunes, Stitcher, Google, Overcast).

[🤙🏻 Who The Heck Am I & How Do I Help?]

👨I’m @robbhecht - your host and Get Customer Productive modern marketing coach -I’ll chronicle, curate and explore our new consumer technology driven marketing 4th Industrial Revolution we’re experiencing on business, consumer and government policy levels...developing insights with the goal of helping you navigate the connected future so you can get your customers successfully productive. For your brand, for your customers, for your career - for our society, hey gang - we can keep it whimsical - but our challenge is: it’s time we get Get Customer Productive.

[🎙️ Got News? What Are You Working On?]

👉Got Feedback or news? Hey. Thank you for reading. Fancy sending us some feedback? I’m honored that you’re reading, and delighted that I am learning from you all.  Now, tell me what you’re working on! Please get in touch. Have a great week! Robb

PS. While this version will stay open for all, please support my work by recommending Get Customer Productive to your network as a resource. Send some ❤️ & simply retweet this if you’re on Twitter. Thanks!

GCP Episode 5: 🔮 Hello Brandhackers

AI+5G+AR+IOT= the Get Brand Productive Formula

🔥🤖 McDonalds goes AI, 🇨🇳 influencer costs, Adobe’s ‘discover, try, buy, use and renew’; the 📊 data/creative brief 🙌 stay human

[👀 The Week’s Insights]

👉Hello automated marketer. While we saw Accenture acquire Droga5 last week fusing strategy & creative, with Publicis’ acquisition of Epsilon this week, another major ad network buys into staying relevant, via data. It’s now very clear all the pieces are coming together for true User Journey Marketing - that mobile phone in your customers hand = a data treasure. Your customers usage of your Facebook ads = a data treasure. Current privacy issues aside, as the digital transformation of our economy comes to full fruition, there’s no doubt digital is happening, with data at the center of ‘the digital’ - as Shoshanna Zuboff in Surveillance Capitalism puts it. Now we add the layer of AI energizing that data and making our customer insights, our targeting, our programmatic serving of impressions, our retargeting - all more precise and personalized, and relevant. This AI impact will apparently increase the productivity of us marketers + of ‘the digital’, the data, eCommerce - and of the AI itself. We fear that AI a little bit, fearing job replacement. And know it’s important because we see how Beijing is centering everything around it. And we automated marketers - we realize we are marketers amongst the machines, seeing Martech machines replacing media vocations, with every powerful marketing decision mapping back to our DMP/CMP/Salesforce/Amazon dashboards. But it isn’t like we never based our decisions on data, right? All that ‘digital’ and brand qual/quant. But now the data is coming alive, it’s active. Our customers are moving and our marketing campaigns are moving with them, our behavioral observations producing personalized customer outcomes-focused marketing campaigns.  Welcome to Brand Productivity. But remember - Stay human 🙌

[👯 This Week’s Celebrity Appearances]

@NeilCHughes, @adexchanger@SarahSluis, @Jerry_Kaplan, @sbanjo, @sohaibology, @genemarks, @diamandakis, @tdav, @AlisonWeissbrot, @CMBethNegus, @adamsona, @ttaulli, @LaurenLeren, @ShivSingh, @DavidGoldmanCNN

[🤙🏻 Who Me?]

👨I’m @robbhecht - your host and #GetBrandProductive modern marketing coach ….I’ll explore this new technology driven marketing 4th Industrial Revolution we’re experiencing both on consumer and government policy levels... and help you navigate the future providing insights on how you can be successfully productive and “ethically D2C” at the same time - for your brands, for your customers, for your career - for our society. Hey gang - we can keep it whimsical - but our challenge is: it’s time we #GetBrandProductive

While this version will stay open for all, please support my work by recommending #GetBrandProductive to your network. Simply retweet this if you’re on Twitter. Thanks!

Give a gift subscription

[🛍️ How To Be D2C / Subscription Economy]

A recent Gartner survey suggests that in only two years, 81 percent [of business leaders] believe that they will be competing on the basis of customer experience (CX).

👉Adobe’s AI-powered features in its experience platform promise to make every moment personal and every experience shoppable - believing that the entire customer experience lifecycle can be managed across four simple steps: ‘Discover, try, buy, use and renew’. Link @NeilCHughes

👉D2C to TV? The Instagram-and-influencer marketing used by DTC brands only works to a point. Once they grow enough to start advertising on TV, they pay much more for media than a massive buyer like P&G would. In-house DTCs will get through this stage with fewer growing pains that a startup figuring out mass marketing for the first time. Link @adexchanger @SarahSluis

👉Data lessons from Walmart. Link @adexchanger

[🧬 The Engineered Algorithms Incentivizing Us]

👉The machines that will read your mind. (Yes, really.) Tracking thoughts; testing truthfulness, backing up our minds into the cloud. Link via WSJ @Jerry_Kaplan

👉How AI is affecting Unilever’s marketing. Link @seb_joseph

👉Have you read the Algorithm Accountability Act yet? Link via U.S. Congress

👉Google still collaborates with Huawei in spite of Trump’s trade war? Link @sbanjo

👉The 11 AI trends every business in 2019 must know. Link @sohaibology

👉Forty-two percent of marketers said they've shifted to an "always on" influencer marketing strategy from single tactical campaigns. Link (Robert Williams)

[ 🦁 Amazon Prime, Alexa & Social eCommerce Everywhere]

👉Merkle launches Amazon Advertising Strategy Guide. Link

👉McDonald's To Use AI For Your Next Drive-Thru Purchase. Link @genemarks

[Marketing Strategy in our 4th Industrial Revolution]

👉CMOs Should Help Creatives Get Comfortable With Data. Link via @diamandakis

👉AI is destroying traditional business thinking. The sheer market dominance of platform and AI powered organizations are fast becoming a threat to competitive capitalism, so much so that President Donald Trump—long known for advocating for more coal mining--finally agreed that AI needs to be a pillar of his economic policy to keep pace with China’s commitment to this reality. Link //via @Forbes Tom Davenport @tdav

👉Programmatic moves into the upfront of planning. If there’s anything the digital world has taught us over the last two years, it’s that context matters…..Can empathy give us a lens to evaluate the difference between a Facebook news feed ad and a streaming video ad? Context and content matter a hell of a lot more than we’ve given due. Link @AlisonWeissbrot

👉AI could drive double digit marketing growth. Link via Beth Negus Viveiros @CMBethNegus

👉Accenture & Droga 5: As the marketplace has become increasingly complex and competitive, marketing firms have increasingly had to take their marching orders from business strategy firms. [Agencies] are not as involved in setting a client’s strategic direction as they are in implementing it. More than this, while agencies may be able to win over potential client CMOs, they may not be in the best position to win over the CIOs and CTOs - who increasingly oversee customer experience initiatives. Accenture’s Droga5 acquisition meets this challenge. Link @adamsona (The Allen Adamson)

[🧬 Data, Media & Hyper Personalization]

👉AI will change B2B marketing forever. Rather than trying to understand the technology behind AI solutions, savvy marketers should focus instead on finding opportunities to use them. Link via @Forbes @ttaulli

[🇨🇳 Watching China: Baidu, Alibaba & Tencent]

👉The world is coming after Silicon Valley. Tech companies aren't evolving fast enough. Link via @DavidGoldmanCNN

👉How Chinese influencers calculate their fees. Link via @LaurenLeren

👉Chinese colleges include AI major to boost research. Link via Liu Caiyu

👉What marketers need to know about TikTok. Link via Mikey Dunn

[🤖 Automation Nation & Your Job]

The impact of AI technologies on business is projected to increase labor productivity by up to 40%” and “59% of hiring managers say the rise of AI will have a substantial or transformational impact on the types of skills their companies need. - Accenture/Salesforce.com

👉The future of work in the age of A.I. Link

[🦄 . Startups & Productivity]

👉Copper - a new CRM company which integrates with your gmail. Link

[🤡 FOMO: Videos, Books & Movies]

👉The Customer of the Future, by Blake Morgan. Link via Salesforce.com

👉Savvy: Navigating Fake Companies, Fake Leaders and Fake News in the Post-Trust Era, by @ShivSingh: Link / via Amazon

[👻 What Are You Up To?]

👉Got Feedback? Hey. You made it to the end. Now that you're here, fancy sending us some feedback? You can also follow me for more content and whimsy at @robbhecht - I’m honored that you’re reading, and delighted that I learn so much from you all.
👉Do you have a developing D2C Brandhacker Story? We want to hear it. Submit Your Story Now! @brandhackers

[🆘 How Can We Help?]

👉How can we help you? #GetBrandProductive is a weekly trends newsletter that helps brands and agencies + people like you learn, assess and activate emerging technologies like 5G+AI+IOT+AR - offering insights, strategies, inspiration, motivation and training to help keep you relevant, ahead and driving consumer behavior.

[👓 What is #GetBrandProductive?]

#GetBrandProductive will help you achieve stronger customer connections within our experiential 5G+AI+IOT+AR-driven contextual ‘eCommerce is everywhere economy’ driven by Amazon, D2C subscription-first models, AI transformation and China trends.

Do you have the new skills & more importantly the new mindsets needed to be a modern marketer and thrive in a customer productivity focused economy?

👉Is your brand prepared for the #BrandProductivity leap? 🦘

👉Are you asking the right questions of your customers?

👉Is your AI serving your customers ethically?

👉Do you grasp ‘actionable AI’ and how it can help you & your team?

👉Are you leveraging both your humans and your MarTech machines effectively?

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