Thinks 1067

The Atlantic: “[Airlines] turned frequent-flier systems into the sprawling points systems they are today. And they turned airlines into something more like financial institutions that happen to fly planes on the side. Here’s how the system works now: Airlines create points out of nothing and sell them for real money to banks with co-branded credit cards. The banks award points to cardholders for spending, and both the banks and credit-card companies make money off the swipe fees from the use of the card. Cardholders can redeem points for flights, as well as other goods and services sold through the airlines’ proprietary e-commerce portals. For the airlines, this is a great deal. They incur no costs from points until they are redeemed—or ever, if the points are forgotten. This setup has made loyalty programs highly lucrative. Consumers now charge nearly 1 percent of U.S. GDP to Delta’s American Express credit cards alone. A 2020 analysis by the Financial Times found that Wall Street lenders valued the major airlines’ mileage programs more highly than the airlines themselves. United’s MileagePlus program, for example, was valued at $22 billion, while the company’s market cap at the time was only $10.6 billion.”

Katharina Pistor: “Finance used to be a means to an end, not an end in itself. From food and housing to family vacations, everything in our daily lives must be paid for one way or another. If we don’t have cash on hand, we turn to a lender for a credit line. Companies do the same. They routinely finance their operations by borrowing or issuing equity stakes to investors, who will part with their money in the expectation of future returns. By bringing these counterparties together, capital markets play a crucial role in the economy. So far so good. But finance is no longer just an intermediary that channels money from savers to borrowers. No longer are its functions confined to putting money in the hands of people who will pledge to pay back the principal, plus interest, in the future. On the contrary, finance is now in the driver’s seat, setting the agenda for others, including governments. There are two big problems with this: finance is both dumb and dangerous.”

40 global technology companies beating their Western rivals. (From Rest of World). “Some of them won by market combat: Years of bruising competition led to lucrative acquisitions by their Western rivals, or acquisitions of the Westerner’s local assets. A few just dominate their sector outright. Others beat the West by paying attention. They saw what foreign entrants missed, and tailored their products and platforms to local user needs with surgical precision. Or they proved a certain model could work in developing economies written off by outsiders.”

Suyash Rai reviews the Make in India initiative, concluding: “It is important to remember that it is very difficult to get industrial policy right, especially in a moderate-capacity state like India. This calls for care and caution. Any strategy of industrial policy implies a particular theory of change, which is underpinned by a view on what objective is worth pursuing, a perspective on how the world works, and assumptions about how policies will be implemented. The theory can be wrong on any of these counts, but the sunk cost fallacy is quite common in such matters, especially in a context where there is a large community of narrative-shapers who are willing to claim success too easily. Therefore, only careful analysis can help the government realize the need for timely course corrections.”

Profipoly: Marketing’s Fourth Wave and Final Frontier (Part 13)

Ideas and Innovations: Progency, Earned Growth

11. Progency

A Progency (product-led agency) melds product offerings with a streamlined layer of agency services, anchored around the product itself, and adopting a performance-driven pricing model. Operating as an extended and integral arm of the marketing team, a progency doesn’t just deliver results; it thrives on them. Its compensation is tied to performance, transitioning it from a simple service provider to a genuine business ally. In essence, a progency encapsulates the concept of a “profits agency” – a technological ally that collaborates with brands to both guarantee and partake in profit generation.

This product-led agency will combine content and creative skill sets with number-crunching and software capabilities to build on top of a proprietary full-stack martech platform to deliver the outcomes marketers want with a performance (success-based) model. The progency will help marketing teams outsource the outcomes they want – just like is being done with adtech agencies that generate leads, app installs or new customers and are paid based on results.

The progency will be different because for the first time an agency will build solutions on top of its own product. In the past, agencies have not focused on having their own internal products. Adtech agencies have used products provided by Google and Facebook, and then overlaid their creative and analytical skills to deliver results. The progency will be tech-first, owning a martech platform. Ownership is important because only the developers will fully understand the power of what their platform is capable of. This is what will provide a sustainable competitive advantage to the progency – and ultimately benefit brands.

[Source: Progency for Martech: The Missing Link]

12. Earned Growth

Fred Reichheld, a prominent thought leader in loyalty and business growth, introduced many foundational concepts that reshaped our understanding of customer loyalty, most notably the Net Promoter Score (NPS). One of the new ideas associated with his work is the concept of “earned growth.”

Earned growth refers to the organic growth a company experiences due to the actions and recommendations of its loyal customers. In other words, it’s the growth a business achieves not through traditional marketing or sales efforts, but because of both organic growth and revenues generated via referrals and word-of-mouth growth. It is an idea that thus combines the power of retention and referrals.

Earned Growth is mathematically represented as Net Revenue Retention + Earned New Customers (ENC) – 100. Reichheld, Darnell and Burns discuss this in an article in Harvard Business Review: “Once you have organized revenues by customer, you can determine your NRR. Simply tally this year’s revenues from customers who were with you last year, divide that amount by last year’s total revenues, and express that figure as a percentage. ENC is the percentage of spending from new customers you’ve earned through referrals (as opposed to bought through promotional channels).” They offer an example: “Company A’s revenues grew from $100 in 2020 to $130 during 2021, or 30%. In 2021 customers who were on the books in 2020 accounted for $85 of revenues. Some of them expanded their purchases by a total of $5, but that growth was more than offset by other customers who reduced purchases by a total of $20, resulting in an NRR of 85%. New customers accounted for $45 in revenues—$25 from earned new customers (referrals) and $20 from bought new customers. Adding the NRR (85%) and ENC (25%) and then subtracting 100% results in a 10% earned growth rate.”

In essence, Reichheld’s concept of earned growth underscores the importance of customer loyalty and the immense value of turning customers into active promoters. It’s a reminder that, in the age of connected consumers and easy access to peer reviews and recommendations, the most potent growth strategy a company can employ is to genuinely satisfy its customers.


These then are the ideas and innovations that are the foundations for profipoly marketing.

  1. Unistack
  2. Large Customer Model
  3. Digital Twins
  4. Velvet Rope Marketing
  5. Catalog and Customer Data
  6. AI-enabled Catalog Enrichment
  7. Unichannel
  8. Email 2.0 powering Inbox Commerce
  9. Atomic Rewards
  10. Action Ads
  11. Progency
  12. Earned Growth

These twelve cornerstone concepts serve as the bedrock for profipoly marketing, sculpting a future where brands go beyond acquisition and retention to maximise customer lifetime value of the category’s Best customers organically and via referrals. They constitute the “poly” in profipoly: the many ideas and innovation that come together in unison to ensure exponential forever profitable growth.

Thinks 1066

Ruchir Sharma: “If you look at the data, you will see that there is a very clear shift which is going on in the supply chains around the world. But India is not the only beneficiary. India is one of the beneficiaries. (There is) Vietnam, Indonesia, Mexico, in terms of being very close to what’s happening to the US, and then in Eastern Europe, (there are) countries like Poland. We have to be careful in India of a couple of things — we are not the only country; there are options people have, markets like Indonesia, Mexico, Vietnam and others. The policy on the ground and the macro numbers look good. If you look at the FDI numbers in India, those have really fallen off quite significantly. Why is that happening? We need more FDI to come. Why is private capex in India not picking up more in the way it should be? These are some of the answers that I hope our policymakers also think about rather than take it for granted… The data on the ground today shows that yes, India is benefiting from the ‘China plus one’ strategy but it’s not just India, there are other countries too which are trying to pick up the pieces and do this… some doing it more quietly, some with more fanfare.”

FT: “[LinkedIn], once a home purely to job hunting and networking, has become overrun with many of its 930mn users sharing career-focused, often aspirational content, in the hope of building substantial followings. Initially the realm of select business magnates such as Richard Branson, lesser-known marketers, tech entrepreneurs and even creatives such as US rapper Snoop Dogg are now trying to leverage the platform. Their success at attracting large followings has caught the attention of some high-profile chief executives, who are also now attempting to build personal brands on the platform and boost the profile of their businesses.”

WSJ: “Unlike some of the more speculative AI visions put forth by nearly every company in tech, Adobe benefits from some of the clearest use cases that could prove especially popular with its user base. The Firefly image generation tool that was just put into beta trials earlier this year is now on its second generation, with new versions announced this week for audio, video and 3-D image creation. New AI features in Photoshop are designed to cut hours from the editing process. And the company now even offers a “conversational” version of its Acrobat software, which can read, analyze and create PDF documents. Mark Moerdler of Bernstein noted that Adobe’s AI tools should result in users “saving hours of repetitive and mundane work.” The trick now is getting enough customers to pay for it—while also not eroding Adobe’s profit margins, which are among the highest in software.”

Matt Abrahams: “Two structures work really well when you are trying to convince or influence somebody. One is intuitive. Many people have used it already. It’s simply problem-solution-benefit. If you’re trying to pitch something to someone, then you can frame the current situation as a problem. You offer your solution, and you explain the benefits of enacting your solution to address the problem. I can frame any issue in the problem-solution-benefit structure and get a pretty good result. There’s a second structure for immediate, imminent, short-form persuasion. It’s the what-if-you-could structure. Imagine you’re in an elevator and someone says, “Tell me about your product. Tell me about your service.” These four sentence starters could help when you don’t have a lot of time. If you finish each of these sentences, you have a really effective pitch. The first part, or the first step, is to think, “What if you could?” Follow up “What if you could?” with “so that.” “So that” invokes the relevance and the reason it is important. “For example” allows you to tell a quick story to reinforce the meaning. The last piece is “And that’s not all.” This lets you paint a picture of what’s possible in the future.”

Profipoly: Marketing’s Fourth Wave and Final Frontier (Part 12)

Ideas and Innovations: Atomic Rewards, Action Ads

9. Atomic Rewards

Attention and engagement are upstream of transactions. Brands have focused on rewarding transactions either through loyalty programs of their own or partnerships with credit card companies. But what has been missed (or ignored) is what comes before the transaction – our attention. This is where “Atomic Rewards” can be the game changer as the solution to attention recession.

Atomic Rewards work across brands because no single brand engagement will offer enough incentives to become an independent program. These rewards are not linked with transactions. They come in the form of points (Mu) and are thus non-financial. The points aggregated across multiple brand engagements can be redeemed at the Mu Shop.

There are many uses of Atomic Rewards:

  • Email Actions: Atomic Rewards within Email 2.0 incentivise customers to engage with emails, which can be an effective method for reactivating dormant users. Customers could earn rewards for actions such as opening emails, clicking links, or making purchases, thereby increasing their engagement and likelihood of reactivation.
  • Progressive Profiling: By incentivising collection of zero-party data in the email itself (as part of the Engaging Footer), Email 2.0 allows for progressive profiling. What better way to know a customer than to ask directly? An ‘atomic reward” can facilitate this exchange by creating a “double thank you” moment.
  • Referrals incentivised by Atomic Rewards: Brands can leverage Atomic Rewards to incentivise existing customers (especially the most valuable) to refer their friends and family, effectively turning satisfied customers into brand ambassadors.
  • Atomic Rewards to power Email ID collection and gamification: To close the identity gap and encourage anonymous shoppers to provide their personal information, brands can leverage Atomic Rewards as a universal brand currency.

[Sources: Atomic Rewards: The Solution to Attention Recession and Email 2.0: The Fulcrum for Fixing Five Funnel Frictions]

10. Action Ads

We have always thought of ads as being associated with non-PII information (cookies rather than identities), on pull pages directed by user actions (websites and apps), and clickthroughs to landing pages. What if all of these assumptions were to change? Imagine “Action Ads” inside Email 2.0 messages – ads which can be associated with a PII, on pages pushed by brands, and where the actions are in-place without the need for a redirect?

In the dynamic realm of digital advertising, we’ve become accustomed to certain norms. Ads, as we know them, tend to follow a path influenced by non-PII information, typically relying on cookies and user-driven actions on websites and apps. The end goal? Get the user to click through to a landing page, thereby driving traffic and potentially, conversion. However, the world of advertising is on the brink of a transformative shift, with the introduction of “Action Ads”.

  • A Paradigm Shift to Push Pages: Traditional ads wait for users to arrive at a certain page, be it through search or direct navigation. Action Ads invert this formula. They reside inside Email 2.0 messages. Instead of the conventional pull mechanism, these ads are pushed to the user, making them proactive marketing tools.
  • Personalised Interaction with Identified Users: One of the chief attributes of Action Ads is their capability to be linked with Personally Identifiable Information (PII). This means ads are not just directed towards vague, cookie-defined personas but are aimed at identified individuals. The advantage? Tailored ads that resonate with users’ preferences, behaviours, and historical interactions, leading to much higher engagement rates.
  • Eliminating the Clickthrough Bottleneck: One of the perennial challenges of traditional advertising is the clickthrough rate — only a fraction of users who see an ad will actually click on it. Action Ads break this chain. They permit in-situ interactions, allowing users to perform actions like lead generation or shopping right within the email. The immediate environment keeps the user engaged and eliminates the cumbersome step of redirecting them to a different landing page.
  • Enhanced Relevancy and Responsiveness: Knowing a user’s email ID and profile paves the way for personalized marketing. Action Ads, residing in the email, can be curated to cater to the exact preferences of the user, making them more responsive and relevant. This also ensures a reduction in ad fatigue, a common outcome of seeing too many irrelevant ads.
  • Seamless User Experience: Action Ads make the user’s journey seamless. From seeing the ad to taking the desired action, everything happens in one place, the email. This continuity enhances user experience, making it smoother and more intuitive.
  • Revenue Generation: The transformative nature of Action Ads within Email 2.0 extends to direct monetisation. Brands can now generate revenue from their emails, thus enabling higher profits.

In essence, Action Ads stand at the forefront of a digital advertising evolution. Rather than simply serving as channels for passive engagement, these ads actively drive revenue by enabling in-email transactions. Alongside the incorporation of PII, Action Ads accentuate the personal touch in advertising, tailoring each interaction to the specific needs and preferences of the recipient. Their potential to both engage the user and directly boost revenue signifies a two-fold win for brands.

Thinks 1065

NYTimes: “Fifty isn’t the end of youth or the beginning of old age; it’s just the front porch — the threshold, outside and inside, the adolescence of adulthood…By the time you arrive, your foundation is solid and your pillars are strong. You’ve polished your sense of humor and your imagination — that ageless coat of armor, impervious to sagging, fading, bloating and weird hairs. The light here is gentle. You might be invisible to some people, but not to the ones who matter. You understand that your future is likely to be shorter than your past, and you appreciate a certain perspective on both.”

Peter Gray and others: “Our thesis is that a primary cause of the rise in mental disorders is a decline over decades in opportunities for children and teens to play, roam, and engage in other activities independent of direct oversight and control by adults.” [via Arnold Kling]

William Baumol: “Yet there are substantial reasons to conclude that the patently extraordinary growth record of the free-enterprise form of economic organization is hardly accidental, and that it is in large part attributable to the pressures of the free market upon the business firm, which force it to spend liberally and continually on the innovative process and to make innovations available to others if those others are willing to pay an attractive price.” [via CafeHayek]

Fortune: “One of the most important parts of exercise programming…is proper resistance training to build muscle strength. Some amount of age-related loss of muscle function is normal and inevitable. But by incorporating resistance training that is appropriate and safe at any ability level, you can slow down the rate of decline and even prevent some loss of muscle function. The medical term for a condition that involves age-related loss of muscle function and mass is sarcopenia. Sarcopenia can begin as early as age 40, but it tends to be more common in adults age 60 and older. Sarcopenia is associated with a number of health issues such as increased risk of falling, cardiovascular disease and metabolic disease, among others…So the question is, what can be done to reverse this decline? Recent evidence suggests that one of the key factors leading to sarcopenia is low muscle strength. In other words, combating or reversing sarcopenia, or both, may be best done with a proper resistance-training program that prioritizes improving strength. In fact, the decline in muscle strength seems to occur at a much faster rate than the decline in muscle size, underscoring the importance of proper strength training as people age.”

HBR: “Hard work comes in two equally important forms: effort to perform and effort to improve. But too often, we only focus on the first part and become trapped in lengthy to-do lists. The author calls this the “performance zone.” When we switch our lens to include efforts to improve, entering what he calls the “learning zone,” we can get things done in ways that make us more effective. Not only does this result in better outcomes, it makes our journeys more interesting, enjoyable, and fulfilling. We’re taught from an early age that hard work is important. What we’re not taught is that hard work comes in two equally important forms: effort to perform and effort to improve.”

Profipoly: Marketing’s Fourth Wave and Final Frontier (Part 11)

Ideas and Innovations: Unichannel, Email 2.0 powering Inbox Commerce

7. Unichannel

Unichannel can be viewed as a subtle yet significant refinement of the omnichannel concept. While it’s true that customers crave a seamless experience across channels, it’s challenging for marketers to deliver this, as they often work with multiple vendors for various channels. Consequently, customers could be bombarded with an email, SMS, WhatsApp message, and a push notification – all conveying the same message. This redundancy can become extremely irritating, leading some customers to opt out of receiving brand messages. Unichannel rectifies this by (a) identifying each customer’s preferred channel and (b) implementing a journey overlay for message delivery. This means that if I receive a push notification and respond to it, no additional messages with the same theme will be sent to me. If I don’t respond within a specified time, an email can be triggered, and so forth with follow-ups on other channels as needed. Unichannel essentially adheres to the “One Customer, One Message” principle. It is designed to fix another commonly broken customer experience – the repetition of identical offers or alerts.

[Source: Martech 2.0: A New Profits Paradigm for Marketers and Vendors]

8. Email 2.0 powering Inbox Commerce

Unless ecommerce businesses have established a strong brand recall or have become indispensable fixtures in the lives of their customers, push messages are the only tool to entice shoppers to their properties (website and app) completing transactions. Push channels available to marketers are email, SMS, RCS, app notifications, and in some countries, WhatsApp. Each of the channels has their pros and cons, but what’s common is the low clickthrough rate: typically 1%, or 1 in 100. This constitutes a significant friction fraction.

For ecommerce companies, the solution is Inbox Commerce. It is about bringing the conversion funnel closer to the customer – from the website/app to the inbox. It seeks to consolidate the customer’s journey from awareness to purchase within the inbox itself, effectively acting as a micro-ecosystem. This is particularly powerful in an era of overwhelming digital noise, as it provides a streamlined, focused, and more personalised user experience.

Email has emerged as the most promising channel for this strategy due to its widespread use and acceptance, especially in developed markets, where it can account for 20-40% of revenue. I explored the idea of Email Shops in a recent essay: “The transformative solution in eCommerce is to think of websites and apps inside emails – where the entire journey from search and browse to purchase can be completed right inside the inbox. AMP makes this possible. These “email shops” are the next storefronts – and one which marketers can control because they can “push” these messages to their customers rather than relying on them to remember to visit their properties. Combined with Atomic Rewards to incentivise opens and other non-transactional actions, email shops have the potential to increase conversions exponentially, thus reducing the need for expensive and continuous new acquisitions to drive revenue growth. Email shops can thus become the profitability drivers for brands.”

Email 2.0 (powered by AMP in email) can harness data to deliver highly unique content and offers to each subscriber based on their behaviour and preferences – all in the sanctuary of the inbox. It thus has the potential to stand as the fulcrum for resolving all five friction points: Inbox Commerce, Green Journeys, Reactivation Progency, Near Zero Acquisition Cost, and Anon-to-Known.

[Sources: ProfitXL to Profipoly: Solving the Four Funnel Frictions and Email 2.0: The Fulcrum for Fixing Five Funnel Frictions]

Thinks 1064

National Review: “Central planning didn’t make China richer…“China became an economic powerhouse by opening its markets, recognizing the nonstate sector, and allowing individuals to lift themselves out of poverty. Attempts at industrial policy under the SASAC failed,” Dorn writes. “The lesson for China is to continue on the path of marketization and liberalization, not to revert to destructive state control and repression.” If China wants to ignore that lesson and persist on its return to state-run economic planning, the U.S. shouldn’t get in the way. And hopefully someday the communist regime will fall, and Chinese people will be able to prosper as much as they could if only they lived under the rule of law with property rights and free markets.”

Noema: “Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) means many different things to different people, but the most important parts of it have already been achieved by the current generation of advanced AI large language models such as ChatGPT, Bard, LLaMA and Claude. These “frontier models” have many flaws: They hallucinate scholarly citations and court cases, perpetuate biases from their training data and make simple arithmetic mistakes. Fixing every flaw (including those often exhibited by humans) would involve building an artificial superintelligence, which is a whole other project. Nevertheless, today’s frontier models perform competently even on novel tasks they were not trained for, crossing a threshold that previous generations of AI and supervised deep learning systems never managed. Decades from now, they will be recognized as the first true examples of AGI, just as the 1945 ENIAC is now recognized as the first true general-purpose electronic computer.”

WSJ: “Workers around the world are adopting artificial intelligence to streamline tasks ranging from email writing to product development. Now companies have begun using AI to root out another workplace inefficiency: meetings. Across the U.S., some workers are using tools that record, analyze and summarize what has been said, allowing them to skip gatherings entirely and skim the highlights. The AI also acts as a kind of virtual Miss Manners, reminding people to share the mic and to modulate their speaking pace, and advising them how to avoid verbal flubs.”

Ninan: “The overall picture of the [Indian] economy is, therefore, painted in broadly optimistic hues, with some contrapuntal colours a part of the mosaic. The economy is, therefore, chugging along at the “new-old normal” growth rate of 6-plus per cent. That’s great, given the global context, but there’s no near-term prospect of acceleration.”

Ashu Garg: “As we enter 2024, founders will need to balance ambition and caution. Startups with proven PMF and sound unit economics should lean into capturing market share, but prepare to tap the brakes if economic conditions deteriorate…Founders have learned hard-won lessons from the ups and downs of the past few years. Now is the time to apply them: remain vigilant about cash runway, concentrate resources on proven areas of strength, and optimize GTM efforts. For all its uncertainty, 2024 holds ample opportunities for startups that can embrace efficiency without sacrificing ambition.”

Profipoly: Marketing’s Fourth Wave and Final Frontier (Part 10)

Ideas and Innovations: Catalog and Customer Data, AI-enabled Catalog Enrichment

5. Catalog and Customer Data

Every eCommerce site is about two elements: the product catalog and the customer’s interactions with the catalog. Search and product discovery is about matching customers to the right products in the catalog. What is needed is a tech stack that combines the inputs from both.

A successful eCommerce platform essentially revolves around two core components: the product catalog and the customer’s interactions with the catalog. Let’s delve deeper into the significance of each and their symbiotic relationship:

  • The Product Catalog: This isn’t just a list of available products. It’s a dynamic and comprehensive representation of a brand’s offerings. Each product entry is often laden with metadata – descriptions, specifications, images, reviews, and more. This metadata isn’t just informative; it’s crucial for search algorithms to understand the product’s context, relevance, and value proposition.
  • Customer Interactions: Every click, search query, and purchase made by a customer is a data point. This data, when aggregated and analysed, provides invaluable insights into customer preferences, behaviours, and buying patterns. It sheds light on what customers value, how they navigate the site, and where they face challenges or drop-offs.

The magic lies in the confluence of these two streams. When we speak of search and product discovery, we’re essentially talking about a sophisticated matchmaking process. Customers arrive with specific needs, intentions, or sometimes just vague curiosities. The platform’s role is to guide them, using data-driven insights, to products that best align with their desires, thereby facilitating a potential purchase.

This is where the tech stack plays a pivotal role. A robust tech stack doesn’t just operate these two elements in isolation; it intertwines them. It utilises customer interaction data to continuously refine and tailor the product catalog’s presentation. Moreover, this union of catalog and customer data can drive other functionalities like personalised recommendations, targeted marketing campaigns, and predictive stocking. If the system identifies a rising trend in, based on search and interaction data, it can promote such products more prominently, recommend them to relevant user segments, and even advise the inventory team to stock up based on projected demand.

In essence, the fusion of catalog and customer data, facilitated by a powerful tech stack, is what propels e-commerce platforms from being mere digital storefronts to intelligent, responsive, and highly efficient marketplaces. By understanding both what they have to offer (catalog) and what their users are seeking (interactions), e-commerce platforms can perfect the art of delivering the right product to the right customer at the right time.

6. AI-enabled Catalog Enrichment

The vitality of product discovery hinges on the depth and accuracy of the data associated with each product in an eCommerce catalog. Traditional methods of product listing often include basic details – a standard description and a handful of keywords, usually inputted manually by merchandisers. While this baseline information might be accurate, it’s often not comprehensive enough to fully exploit the capabilities of advanced search algorithms. This is precisely where the power of AI can transform the game.

  • Deepening Descriptions: AI can delve into product details and, by analysing patterns from similar or related products, expand on the descriptions provided. It can include attributes that human merchandisers might overlook, such as subtle product features, associated uses, or even the contexts in which a product might be beneficial.
  • Keyword Augmentation: Beyond the basic keywords associated with a product, AI can generate a plethora of related terms, synonyms, or frequently searched phrases. Drawing from vast datasets and understanding user search behaviour, AI can predict and append keywords that potential customers might use, increasing the likelihood of a match.
  • Contextual Understanding: AI’s ability to comprehend context can be invaluable. Recognising that users might be searching for solutions rather than specific products, AI can associate products with needs.
  • Continuous Learning and Adaptation: One of the standout features of AI is its ability to learn continuously. As users interact with the platform, AI can understand which product descriptions and keywords resonate most with users, refining and optimizing the catalog in real-time.

The Hindi saying, “Jo Dikhta Hai, Woh Bikta Hai” beautifully encapsulates the essence of this AI-powered transformation. In the vast digital bazaar of eCommerce, visibility is currency. And by enriching product catalogs using AI, products don’t just wait to be found; they proactively reach out, ensuring they’re ‘seen’ by those who would most value them. In this dynamic landscape, AI isn’t just a tool; it’s a bridge, connecting products to their potential customers in meaningful and impactful ways.

[See Unbxd’s page for a glimpse of the possibilities.]

Thinks 1063

Donald Boudreaux: “The market is beautiful. It is that system through which each of us taps into the talents, knowledge, and material possessions of others in exchange only for our agreeing to allow these others the ability to tap into our own talents, knowledge, and material possessions. Each person is free to say ‘no’ to any offer, but is also free to make to any other person or persons peaceful offers – offers that the offerees may accept or to reject. This ability to say ‘no’ ensures that all exchanges are mutually beneficial.” More: “Free trade is simply a policy of allowing each individual to spend or invest his money in whatever peaceful ways he chooses regardless of the nationality or residence of any of his trading partners. With a policy of free trade, no one is prevented from dealing with any person, nor is any person forced to deal with any other person or persons. To claim that a government that eliminates tariffs ‘imposes’ on its citizens the freedom to trade makes no more sense than claiming that a kidnapper who releases his hostages ‘imposes’ on these hostages the freedom to return home. Pundits and politicians who describe free trade as an imposition are either hopelessly ignorant of the meaning of free trade, or they are intentionally portraying it in a false light in order to scare people.”

The Generalist: “A company that does not change will eventually die. How do you build a focused, stable organization while leaving room for experimentation? I’ve come to see The Generalist’s journey in phases of “exploration” and “exploitation” (a nasty word for a reasonable idea). Essentially, chapters that prioritize trying out new approaches or making the most of our best ones…Knowledge often takes the shape of an iceberg. What we appear to know is usually a fraction of our accumulated information and wisdom. How do you bring that intelligence into the open so others can benefit from it? Many of The Generalist’s series have been designed to unearth these strange information “surpluses” – with more to come.”

HBR: “Self-introductions are the most direct way to reinforce your desired personal brand. And they can be easy to do. The secret is using a simple framework: Present, past, and future…Start with a present-tense statement to introduce yourself…The second part of your introduction is past tense. This is where you can add two or three points that will provide people with relevant details about your background. It is also your opportunity to establish credibility. Consider your education and other credentials, past projects, employers, and accomplishments…The third and last part in this framework is future-oriented. This is your opportunity to demonstrate enthusiasm for what’s ahead. If you’re in a job interview, you could share your eagerness about opportunities at the firm. If you’re in a meeting, you could express interest in the meeting topic. If you’re kicking off a project with a new team, you could talk about how excited you are, or share your goals for the project.”

Economist: “Manuel Funke and Christoph Trebesch of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy and Moritz Schularick of the University of Bonn, look at over a century of data. They classify administrations as “populist” or “non-populist” (or what you might call sensible), based on whether the administration’s ideology has an “us-versus-them” flavour. This is inevitably an arbitrary exercise…Having identified 51 populist presidents and prime ministers from 1900 to 2020, the authors find striking results. For two to three years there is little difference in the path of real gdp between countries under populist and sensible leadership. For a time, it may seem as though it is possible to demonise your opponents and run roughshod over property rights without all that much consequence. Yet a gap eventually appears, perhaps as foreign investors start to look elsewhere. Fifteen years after a populist government has entered office, the authors find that gdp per person is a painful 10% lower than in the sensible counterfactual. Ratios of public debt to gdp are also higher, as is inflation. Populism, the authors firmly establish, is bad for the pocketbook.”

Fortune: “While walking has so much to offer regardless of the time of day, [Neil] Paulvin says there are a few specific wins when it comes to strolling at night. “In general, walking is great for longevity and helping you sleep,” says Paulvin. “Walking before bed will decrease stress and calm down the sympathetic nervous system to help you sleep,” he explains. Because melatonin—the sleep hormone—is stimulated by darkness, taking a walk away from screens and artificial lights will send the message to your body that it’s time to prepare for some much-needed R&R. Research shows that walking before bed may help you fall asleep faster and may even improve sleep quality and sleep efficiency (the amount of time you spend asleep in bed).”

Profipoly: Marketing’s Fourth Wave and Final Frontier (Part 9)

Ideas and Innovations: Digital Twins, Velvet Rope Marketing

3. Digital Twins

Imagine being able to use Generative AI to “copy” the behaviour of every consumer in the form of a “digital twin” and immerse a digital twin for every customer into a “mirror world.”

…These software models are personalised depictions of individual customers, amalgamating their demographic, psychographic, and behavioural data. The creation of these digital twins allows brands to tailor predictions for the next best action for each customer, offering personalised recommendations and services that significantly enhance their experience and increase conversion rates.

…The Digital Twin is built on a Large Customer Model. While LLMs anticipate the next words in a text sequence and LCMs predict the next actions in a customer journey…by analysing extensive datasets of customer interactions and behaviours. The aim is to recognise patterns and sequences leading to specific outcomes. A prime example would be a good recommendation engine, which predicts what product a customer is likely to be interested in next, based on their browsing history and past purchases.

[Source: iDarpan: How Mirror Worlds and Digital Twins will Revolutionise eCommerce

4. Velvet Rope Marketing (VRM)

Velvet Rope Marketing (VRM) is a potent strategy where marketers create a ‘VIP experience’ for their high-value customers based on their customer lifetime value (CLV). By identifying these key customers through data analytics and then treating them to exclusive, personalised experiences, we essentially give them the royal treatment, much like airlines do for business- and first-class passengers with the ‘velvet rope’ and red carpet providing the differentiation.

So, why is this important for B2C/D2C brands? Studies have shown that around 60% of your future revenue and more than 100% of profits will come from these 20% Best customers. (This occurs because the “long tail” customers typically yield losses due to acquisition and servicing expenses.) Yet, surprisingly, many marketers continue to provide a uniform approach to all customers…Investing in creating memorable experiences for the Best customers can significantly bolster profitability. In addition, by creating this ‘VRM experience’ (based on ease, exclusivity, and access), marketers are building strong, emotional connections with these key customers, driving higher customer loyalty and reducing the propensity for them to switch to a competitor.

An effective VRM program should incorporate three main components. First, a comprehensive audit of your customer base to gain insights into the buying behaviour of existing customers via a systematic transaction review. Second, the dual application of customer lifetime value (CLV) and Best Customer Genome (BCG) to identify your most valuable customers and understand their key attributes. Third, the establishment of a distinct business unit dedicated to delivering tailored experiences for your top customers. This three-pronged approach ensures that VRM is not just a marketing strategy, but an essential business philosophy.

[Sources: ProfitXL: Supersize Profits with the SHUVAM Framework and Martech 2.0: A New Profits Paradigm for Marketers and Vendors]