Thinks 761

Economist on the city grid: “The oldest form of city planning is falling out of fashion…Should construction one day take off again though, the grid might make a return. The important thing is to get them right. As Jane Jacobs, an influential early critic of the car-centric replanning of cities, argued in “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, what matters most is that the blocks are short, and the roads not too wide. Short blocks are easy to walk through, and create plenty of space for different businesses. Long blocks, designed to reduce the number of times cars have to stop at traffic lights, “thwart the potential advantages that cities offer”, and turn streets into sewers for vehicles. Bear that in mind, and the oldest form of city planning remains as valuable as ever.

Chad White imagines an Amazon email client: “While there have been several new email inbox apps since Gmail launched nearly two decades ago in 2004, these apps have generally had very narrow appeal around niche concerns…Prime Mail would be used to provide extra benefits and raise awareness, in addition to being a Prime benefit itself. For example, Prime Mail users who are Prime members could be given early access to Prime Day deals; early access to or discounts on the latest Echo, Fire, and other Amazon products; and other perks that would provide one of the chief financial motivations for consumers to use a Prime Mail account. Amazon’s promotional emails could also feature exclusive deals and featured content using dynamic content modules that only appear for Prime Mail users. In addition to helping them promote their own products and events.”

Naushad Forbes: “Where is the economy headed? In 2019, we set a goal of being a $5-trillion economy by 2024. The lost Covid years (net growth of 1.5 per cent over two years) sets our $5-trillion goal back to 2026. That means growing 9 per cent each of the next four years. We should grow between 6 and 7 per cent this year; projections for next year are lower. The $5-trillion target is for GDP growth by 2026; $5 trillion eventually is meaningless. In 1980, China and India were equally poor. China is now five times richer than we are, a result of growing 9 per cent, compared with our 6 per cent for 40 years. We need to catch up. It is not enough to be “the world’s fastest-growing large economy”. We are too poor a country for growth of 5 or 6 per cent, and must grow at 8-10 per cent annually for the next few decades.”

Michael Munger writes about the distinction between “forklift” and “microphone” technologies: “Traditional manufacturing is highly productive, and machines make it more productive. One person with a forklift can do the work of dozens of people carrying things on their backs. Still, given the current technology, increases in output require more- or-less-linear increases in labor. If a lumberyard wants to double the amount of bundled timber it handles per day, it has to double the number of forklifts, and the number of forklift operators. These “good jobs” seem to be the gold standard of Progressive politicians, who constantly reminisce about the good old days when jobs were about making physical things using big strong tools. A microphone is also productive, in the sense that it records, and either amplifies or transmits the data it captures. A microphone in a theater can reach 100 people; a microphone on a television set, a music studio, or political event can reach 100 million people. The digital recording of the data, whether characters, sound, or video, can be stored and used again as if it were brand new. The problem, and the great benefit, of microphone-type technologies is that doubling the “amount” of the product requires no more than burning a CD, or transmitting digital information over wires or 5G connections. Once the data are produced and recorded, the marginal cost of increasing the audience is very nearly zero. So, forklifts are very nearly linear, and microphones “want” to be giants, with costs so low that forklift technologies cannot compete.”

Rahul Matthan: “Over the course of my career, I have come across entrepreneurs of all hues. Some are bubbling with inspiration, constantly finding solutions to the problems around them. They have an almost inexhaustible supply of ideas and the energy and inclination to worry away at a problem till they’ve figured out how to solve it. They love to mend what’s broken in the world—the problems no one else has been able to solve. And once they’re done, they can’t wait to move on to the next thing that needs fixing. I call these people Idea Factories—individuals who generate a stream of ideas with such predictable regularity that it feels as if there is an assembly line churning away inside their heads. The trouble is that more often than not, that constant stream of ideas comes in their own way…The second category of entrepreneurs is of the opposite disposition. Not only do they not have a fountain of business ideas to choose from, they are lucky if they come up with even one over the course of their career. Their skill lies in taking the germ of an idea and transforming it into a venture, building a product team, sales force and the whole operational machinery needed to transform a concept into a self-sustaining, revenue-generating business. I call this type of entrepreneur a Factory for Ideas—an individual who has what it takes to transform an idea into a revenue stream.”

Martech in 2023 will be the Year of 4PO (Part 11)


Omnichannel is the future of marketing. Mckinsey offers an explainer:

The prefix “omni” means “all,” and “channel” is a reference to the many ways customers might interact with a company—in physical stores, by surfing the web, on social media, and in emails, apps, SMS, and other digital spaces. And this omnichannel approach can be a powerful way to meet your customers where they are, providing them good service in line with their preferences and needs. (Note that, in this article, we use the terms “customers,” “consumers,” and “shoppers” interchangeably in referring to omnichannel marketing in both B2B and B2C contexts.)

More and more, customers move across all channels—in person, online, and beyond—to get what they want. But not every customer is looking for the same thing, and omnichannel marketing acknowledges that. Some people want more services for certain transactions; others prefer low-touch, 24/7 interactions. Effective omnichannel marketing, then, happens when companies provide a set of seamlessly integrated channels, catering to customer preferences, and steer them to the most efficient solutions.

So why is omnichannel marketing important? Research on the omnichannel experience shows more than half of B2C customers engage with three to five channels each time they make a purchase or resolve a request. And the average customer looking to make a single reservation for accommodations (like a hotel room) online switched nearly six times between websites and mobile channels. If these customers encounter inconsistent information or can’t get what they need, they may lose interest in a brand’s products or services.

And this can translate into business outcomes. Omnichannel customers shop 1.7 times more than shoppers who use a single channel. They also spend more.

Here is a graphic from Netcore which explains the shift from multi-channel to omnichannel:

A Netcore explainer shows the differences between multi-channel, cross-channel and omnichannel marketing:

From Netcore: “Omnichannel marketing creates the brand’s presence across all channels–seamlessly tied to show the same or similar products across channels. With each interaction, the user proceeds towards a specific goal via your defined user flow. This is a compelling way to nurture leads across different channels and create an excellent customer experience instead of showing the same advertisement via different channels and leaving it to the users to define their journey. Omnichannel marketing solutions collect and process customer data from various channels allowing the brand to re-target customers with relevant, engaging, and contextual content. This kind of content builds a strong personal relationship with the prospects and eventually increases customer loyalty.”

Among the new channels which will come to the fore in 2023 are Email 2.0 and WhatsApp. Both can serve as alternatives to the brand’s website and app, and bring the conversion funnel closer to the user. For the marketer, the advantage of these two push channels is that marketers can now get greater control on initiating customer journeys in an extremely customer-friendly way.


Omnichannel, combined with profitability, personalisation, predictions and progency, completes the 4PO framework – giving marketers the right saber to win the Customer Wars!

As an aside, here is my take on new titles for the Star Wars movies to bring to life the marketer’s new universe:

  • The Phantom AdWaste Menace
  • Attack of the Clones Martech
  • Revenge of the Sith Big Adtech
  • A New Hope Stack
  • The Empire Marketer Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi Profits
  • The Force Loyalty Awakens
  • The Last Jedi Marketer
  • The Rise of Skywalker Profipoly

May the Force Customer (always) be with you!

Thinks 760

Kyle Harrison: “In The Founders, Mike Moritz was on the board of PayPal from Sequoia, and has a great quote about Elon Musk: “Elon, as the world knows today, is a very gifted storyteller. And some of the stories even come true.” I may touch more on my reflections on Elon Musk in some future writing, but I see this as one of his greatest skills: being able to paint a vivid picture of the future. In a similar vein, in The Ride of a Lifetime, Bob Iger said to his board about Disney, “As Animation goes, so goes the company,” while they were considering the acquisition of Pixar. You can abstract that to storytelling being the lifeblood of a company like Disney. I would argue that is true of almost any company. “Tell me your story, and I’ll tell you how successful you’ll be.”

Gulzar: “Sustained high growth rates demand that there is adequate supply and demand-sides to support it. Both are not as easy to expand rapidly as imagined. For example, in construction, it would mean upstream capacity expansion in cement, steel, and bitumen (and the risk capital to make the investments; incremental credit expansion by lenders); ancillary requirements like sand mining, metal crushers, ready mix concrete plants, centering materials supply etc; local factors like skilled labour of lathe operators, road-benders, masons, and so on; regulatory system which can expedite clearances and permissions; demand-side for private construction (like residential housing and commercial property); and the fiscal strength to support public investments. A too rapid growth will invariably drive up signatures of overheating – high inflation, property bubbles and land valuations, spike in wages, environmental damage, clogged infrastructure like traffic congestions and water scarcity etc. The same applies to other sectors too.  So what should economic policy making in India target? India should strive to maintain macroeconomic stability so that it can target a baseline growth of 5-6% for the next three decades, and grab emergent opportunities, especially ride global tailwinds, to episodically increment growth by 1-2 percentage points. We should simultaneously use the growth to build the capital foundations – increase domestic savings, deepen financial inclusion, develop robust financial intermediation systems, expand physical infrastructure, prioritise human capacity development, and develop and strengthen state capabilities.” More: “I can think of at least two broad requirements to avoid [the] dual-economy trap. One, the economic growth going forward has to become more broad-based and inclusive, and policies will therefore have to target the quality of economic growth. In particular, we have to prioritise good jobs creation (say, focus on components and ancillaries to large scale manufacturing more than even getting the big contract manufacturers). Two, this would require the state to enhance its capabilities to improve the quality of delivery of public goods and services that are critical to also enable access to opportunities.”

FT spoke to outgoing AP Møller-Maersk chief Søren Skou: ““We have benefited from globalisation. But we have been one of the drivers of globalisation,” he said. He pointed out that it cost about $2,000 to transport a container from Shanghai to Rotterdam that could contain about 8,000 pairs of trainers. “That’s why they’re making the sneakers in Asia. The transportation cost is not material,” he said. Skou conceded that container shipping’s golden days — when it grew up to 10 per cent a year from his start in 1983 until the global financial crisis in 2008 — were over as trade liberalisation had come to an end, to be replaced by trade wars between the US and China in particular. “Pretty much all the manufacturing that could move to Asia has done,” he said. “Trade liberalisation has come to a stop and in some years it has gone backwards . . . Maybe we will see more regionalisation, which isn’t bad for our business. Globalisation has matured.””

Tomer Cohen, LinkedIn’s chief product officer: “When I joined, Jeff Winter was the CEO. This is something that was an extremely big part of how we operated and thought at LinkedIn. Jeff codified the vision as being the dream. Ultimately, if you’re successful, what change are you making in the world? The mission was more of that tangible aspect that you can almost start measuring on a daily basis. Then we go all the way to values, by the way. We call this the “vision to values” process.” The flowchart.

Economist: “Silicon Valley may be coming down to earth. Not so tech’s big thinkers…“The tech industry has always told these grand stories about itself,” says Adrian Daub of Stanford University and author of the book, “What Tech Calls Thinking”. Mr Daub sees it as a way of convincing recruits and investors to bet on their risky projects. “It’s incredibly convenient for their business models.” Yet the impact could ultimately be positive. Frustrations with a sluggish society have encouraged them to put their money and brains to work on problems from science funding and the redistribution of wealth to entirely new universities. Their exaltation of science may encourage a greater focus on hard tech, rather than internet apps. If they can inspire future entrepreneurs to engage in the hard slog of building tomorrow’s trillion-dollar firms, their lofty theorising will have been worth it.”

Martech in 2023 will be the Year of 4PO (Part 10)


Even as AI transforms marketing and martech products become even more all-encompassing, the need for humans will not go away. Professionals will augment the power Martech 2.0 stacks bring to the table. This will require a new generation agency – what I have termed as “Progency” (product-led agency). As I wrote in Progency for Martech: The Missing Link:

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.

… The progency can be seen as the services arm of the martech companies. But it is not a classical people-led services business. The progency is actually a very scalable tech powerhouse with the full stack martech platform as the machine. Brands can either buy the machine itself (in effect, rent a version of it, since it’s all delivered from the cloud) or hire the machine developer to deliver the outcomes.

… Its pitch is simple: we will deliver the outcomes you need, we will get the job done for you. We have the machine and the operators. No one knows the machine better than we do. We constantly make the machine better. You don’t need to worry how it works. (No marketer knows how the targeting machines of Google and Facebook work.) You can of course buy the drill, but we are here to give you the hole that you really desire. You pay based on the performance, so we are on the same side.

What TCS, Infosys, Wipro and other IT services companies did for global customers with their outsourcing people-led solutions, the progency can do in marketing – but with one big difference. The Indian IT services firms did not build their own products and IP (with some exceptions like Finacle from Infosys). The progency will be a product-first company – building on a modern Martech 2.0 stack to deliver performance outcomes in marketing by leveraging the skills of professionals who know how to make the best use of the machine (the tech stack and utilities). With an explosion of data and AI models, marketing will need expertise of a much higher level – with the prize being a 50% reduction in AdWaste and a path to sustainable profitable growth.

India can be the progency operator for the world. There are many India-domiciled martech companies, with Netcore being one of them. There are very few martech services companies – the focus is almost entirely on adtech given the huge spends. But as MSR (martech spend ratio) increases, this will start changing and the demand for services will rise. A progency with its own product can deliver efficiencies and margins like software product companies.

2023 will see the rise of the first progency entities. The complexity of martech will be absorbed in the combination of product and professional services to create a unique model that will transform marketing’s measurability and efficiency in the future by making it performance-based (like in adtech). The future of marketing is about one marketer, one stack and one progency.

Thinks 759

Telegraph UK: “The critical lesson that has been indelibly absorbed by people in power, and those who advise them, is that fear works. There is, it turns out, almost nothing that a population (even one as brave and insouciant as Britain’s) will not give up if they are systematically, relentlessly frightened. The Covid phenomenon has provided an invaluable training session in public mind-control techniques: the formula was refined – with the assistance of sophisticated advertising and opinion-forming advice – to an astonishingly successful blend of mass anxiety (your life is in danger) and moral coercion (you are putting other people’s lives in danger). But it was not just the endless repetition of that message that accomplished the almost universal, and quite unexpected, compliance. It was the comprehensive suppression of dissent even when it came from expert sources – and the prohibition on argument even when it was accompanied by counter-evidence – that really did the trick. Now the prescription is readily available for any governing elite hoping to initiate a policy likely to meet with strong public resistance. First tell people that they, or their children and grandchildren, will die if they do not comply. Then prohibit any mitigating argument or critique of this prediction.”

Arnold Kling writes about the Dunbar number (150): “Think of small organizations as sub-Dunbar, and large organizations as super-Dunbar. My claim is that sub-Dunbar organizations operate informally, while super-Dunbar organizations rely on formal bureaucratic structure. Super-Dunbar organizations tend to require decisions to be recorded in writing. In ancient times, the invention of writing probably did a great deal to allow groups to expand beyond the Dunbar number. Empires and religions could now be organized as hierarchies. Rules could be codified. Super-Dunbar organizations tend to have organization charts. When you want a new marketing brochure in a sub-Dunbar organization, you either write it yourself or just “call Jane.” In a super-Dunbar organization, you have to make a request to the marketing department…Formal hierarchies, rules, and procedures are appealing to some people and appalling to others. Some people who perform well in a small organization are dysfunctional in a large institution, and conversely.”

strategy+business: “When companies need to make transformational changes to their business operations, the first move is frequently for the CEO to bring everyone together and announce a sharp, swift change of direction. This approach is jarring. It scares people. For many middle and lower managers and highly valued individual contributors, the announcement of transformational change is often perceived as placing jobs at risk. But there is an alternative. Companies can still get the type of disruptive innovation they need to survive and create lasting change, without moving fast and breaking things. This can be achieved by building momentum for change incrementally. It’s not a new approach, but it can get overlooked when a sense of urgency arises and appears to dictate swift action.”

Via Tyler Cowen (from a deleted set of tweets): “AGI and Fusion are what matter.  Fusion accelerates AGI, since AGI is just exaflops spent on training. GPT 3.5 (ChatGPT) is civilization-altering.  GPT-4, which is 10x better, will be launched in the second quarter of next year. Google is worried, but Microsoft is all-in, and is building many more data centers to lead the charge.  Bing search is getting GPT integration next year. Model configuration and training parameters don’t matter.  Intelligence is just GPU exaflops spent on training. If #4 is true, civilization becomes a decentralized crypto network, where computers are contributed for training and earning tokens.  Querying the model costs tokens.”

Neeraj Kaushal: “India gets a smaller bang for its economy for each additional Indian than does China for each additional Chinese person for two reasons: (1)
Labour force participation: The share of population that works in India is severely below China’s. India has a labour force participation (LFP) rate of 45% against China’s 68% (share of the 15-year-old-plus population working or looking for work). Which means, of the 160 million additional Indians born in the past decade, only 72 million will join the workforce. In the case of China, population growth of the past decade would yield an additional 54 million Chinese workers. India’s advantage drops from 80 million more Indians to just 18 million more workers. (2) Quality of workers: Quality is difficult to measure. One marker commonly used to measure quality is education. Here, China has a distinct advantage: 15% of the Chinese population has a college degree, while in India that number is 11%. Given the gap in their LFP rates, the numbers with college degrees that will join the labour force in the two countries would probably not be much different.”

Martech in 2023 will be the Year of 4PO (Part 9)


2022 has been the year AI came to the fore. In an article entitled “From Prediction to Transformation” in Harvard Business Review, Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans and Avi Goldfarb write:

In some cases, AI simply concentrates decision-making without changing who has control. Look at the hiring process, which in most large organizations is managed by the human resources department. Traditionally, hiring has involved a great many HR people who make a lot of small decisions, especially about screening applicants, which can require teams of people looking through hundreds of résumés in order to identify promising candidates to interview. Thanks to AI, one HR executive can decide what criteria to use to decide who gets an interview. The basic process and the key decision-maker remain the same, but fewer people are needed.

In other cases, AI radically centralizes decision-making, completely changing how and where it happens. Credit card verification is a case in point. Before the rollout of connected devices that automatically validate cards, merchants would make their own judgments about whether to accept someone’s card. They could reject it if they suspected fraud—for instance, if someone’s signature didn’t match the one on the card or a customer didn’t have supporting ID. And they could readily accept cards from regular customers. But systems driven first by crude database checks and now by AI prediction have automated the process. Credit card purchases are approved according to rules set by a small group of people, most likely a committee, which creates the risk parameters embedded in the programs that run verification devices.

In marketing, AI has already started having an impact – predicting segments to send campaigns, predicting churn, predicting next best actions for customers, helping with subject line optimization and send-time optimisation (for emails). Generative AI is already helping marketers create content and images.

So far, marketers have worked largely on first-party data. With zero-party data, the data models can get even stronger, and help marketers address the most important problem of the next best action for customers. We are delighted when we get an email recommendation or see a product that preempts and piques our interest – the next book to buy, the next web series to watch, the next dress to check out, the next destination to vacation in. Marketers have so far relied on signals from user actions (search terms, links clicked). Once this can be augmented by zero-party data where customers can tell them what they are looking for in natural language or even interactively via a chatbot conversation, the accuracy of predictions can be multiplied – thus creating more transactions and loyalty.

In 2022, we have seen what GPT3 can do. Rob Toews outlines in Forbes what its successor will be capable of: “It is possible that GPT-4 will be multimodal: that is, that it will be able to work with images, videos and other data modalities in addition to text. This would mean, for example, that it could take a text prompt as input and produce an image (like DALL-E does); or take a video as input and answer questions about it via text. A multimodal GPT-4 would be a bombshell. More likely, however, GPT-4 will be a text-only model (like the previous GPT models) whose performance on language tasks will redefine the state of the art. What will this look like, specifically? Two language areas in which GPT-4 may demonstrate astonishing leaps in performance are memory (the ability to retain and refer back to information from previous conversations) and summarization (the ability to distill a large body of text to its essential elements).”

Predictions follow naturally from implementing a Martech 2.0 unified stack and aggregating zero- and first-party data in a single customer data platform. Think of the memorable experiences we have had where an intelligent salesperson in a store guides us to exactly the product we want. Tomorrow’s AI-powered virtual agents will have a “digital twin” for each of us, and software agents will engage us in conversation, predict our next actions, and end us just-in-time alerts. Powered by rapidly improving AI engines, 2023 will be the year this new customer-centric world will start coming to life all around us.

Thinks 758

Elections Science has an assessment of 6 single-winner voting methods: “Choose one candidate, the candidate with the most votes wins; Rank candidates, the candidate beating everyone head-to-head, inferred through these rankings, wins—if that candidate exists; Rank candidates, use rankings to simulate sequential runoffs across rounds until the winner has the majority of the remaining 1st-choice rankings; Range Voting (Score candidates, highest scored candidate wins); STAR Voting (Score candidates, use scores to simulate a runoff between the two top scoring candidates); Choose all approved candidates, the candidate with the most votes wins.” The winner: “Approval voting has the voter choose as many candidates as they approve of. That is, the voter would be satisfied with any of the candidates they chose. The candidate with the most votes (equivalent to the highest approval percentage) wins….Approval voting performs an exceptional balance of both selecting a strong winner and capturing each candidates’ support while at the same time being remarkably simple. That is an especially hard balance to reach, and no other voting comes nearly as close.” Approval Voting FAQs.

NYTimes: “Ten thousand years after our species began forming primitive agrarian societies, a panel of scientists on Saturday took a big step toward declaring a new interval of geologic time: the Anthropocene, the age of humans. Our current geologic epoch, the Holocene, began 11,700 years ago with the end of the last big ice age. The panel’s roughly three dozen scholars appear close to recommending that, actually, we have spent the past few decades in a brand-new time unit, one characterized by human-induced, planetary-scale changes that are unfinished but very much underway. “If you were around in 1920, your attitude would have been, ‘Nature’s too big for humans to influence,’” said Colin N. Waters, a geologist and chair of the Anthropocene Working Group, the panel that has been deliberating on the issue since 2009. The past century has upended that thinking, Dr. Waters said. “It’s been a shock event, a bit like an asteroid hitting the planet.””

FT in conversation with Nouriel Roubini: ““I was born in 1958 in Turkey, then moved to Tehran then to Israel, then Italy,” says Roubini. (His father imported Persian carpets to Milan; the whole family later moved to the US. Roubini sees himself as a citizen of the world.) “Did I ever worry about a war among great powers? No way. There was the detente in the 1970s, and Nixon went to China. The risk of nuclear war went to zero. Did I worry about climate change? Never even heard about climate change. Did I worry about global pandemics? The last one had been 1918. Did I worry about AI destroying most jobs? Did I worry about deglobalisation, trade wars? No way. Did I worry about populist parties of extreme right or left coming to power? We didn’t have the same polarisation we have today. Did I worry about major severe recession or great depression? Of course not. In the 1970s we had stagflation but then we had the great moderation. Did I worry about financial crisis? I never heard about financial crisis. This time is different, but it’s different relative to the last 75 years of relative peace, progress and prosperity, because before then the history of humanity was a history of famine, war, disease and genocides and so on. The last 75 years are an exception, they’re not the rule.”

New Yorker: “Classical computers speak in the language of bits, which take values of zero and one. Quantum computers, like the ones Google is building, use qubits, which can take a value of zero or one, and also a complex combination of zero and one at the same time. Qubits are thus exponentially more powerful than bits, able to perform calculations that normal bits can’t. But, because of this elemental change, everything must be redeveloped: the hardware, the software, the programming languages, and even programmers’ approach to problems…A full-scale quantum computer could crack our current encryption protocols, essentially breaking the Internet. Most online communications, including financial transactions and popular text-messaging platforms, are protected by cryptographic keys that would take a conventional computer millions of years to decipher. A working quantum computer could presumably crack one in less than a day. That is only the beginning. A quantum computer could open new frontiers in mathematics, revolutionizing our idea of what it means to “compute.” Its processing power could spur the development of new industrial chemicals, addressing the problems of climate change and food scarcity. And it could reconcile the elegant theories of Albert Einstein with the unruly microverse of particle physics, enabling discoveries about space and time.”

Yiren Lu writes about how to process negative feedback. Among the suggestions: “Ask for specific examples and feedback. Cross-check negative feedback against historical pieces of negative feedback that I’ve received. If multiple people have given me the same piece of negative feedback independent of each other, I’ll take it seriously. Put processes in place for improvement in the future and communicate that to the feedback giver. Separate out the feedback itself from the way it was delivered…Don’t procrastinate on addressing negative feedback. The longer I wait, the larger it looms in my head, when often it’s a relatively small thing.”

Martech in 2023 will be the Year of 4PO (Part 8)

Personalisation – 2

Zero-party data can improve personalisation which first-party data simply cannot.

Tim Ringel (Clickz): “Zero-party data is information willingly or even proactively shared by consumers with the brand. It might be in the form of surveys, loyalty programs, and preferences. They share it because they perceive value in that sharing… With zero-party data, marketers can now get consumers’ explicit consent to use their data and continue to create individualized experiences without sacrificing privacy. This will build a stronger long-term stronger relationship with consumers. But only if you give them a reason to consent… Once marketers can provide a solid incentive for consumers to willingly share their data, consumers will regain trust and reclaim ownership of their experiences. If you have consistent customers who enjoy your offerings, they are more likely to share their information. Moreover, they’re also more likely to be ambassadors of your brand.”

Zack Hamilton (Fast Company): “Customer-permissioned zero-party data is the catalyst to balancing data acquisition needs. It will also meet the privacy and compliance demands. This new strategy will require organizations to elevate data as an experience. New stakeholders have to get engaged. Cross-functional relationships between marketing, data science, legal, privacy, and compliance will become critical… Zero-party data will enable brands to increase customer trust and loyalty. Hyper-personalization will have positive business impact, including reducing customer acquisition costs (CAC) and increasing average order values (AOV) and customer lifetime value (CLTV).”

Vlad Gozman (Forbes): One of the key benefits of zero-party data is that it’s more trustworthy than third-party data. Because customers share it willingly and know that it’s being used by the brand, they’re more likely to trust the brand with their personal information. Another benefit of zero-party data is that it’s more accurate. Because customers supply it directly, there’s less opportunity for errors or inaccuracies. And finally, zero-party data is more engaging. Brands that use it can create more personalized customer experiences, which leads to higher engagement rates and longer customer lifespans. As consumers become increasingly privacy-aware, brands will need to rely more on zero-party data to create trusted, personalized relationships with their customers. Further, Apple’s move to block cross-app tracking and the trend of browsers toward tracking prevention may make traditional tracking models obsolete.”

The key to unlocking personalisation powered by zero-party data is by leveraging E2L2 (Email 2.0 and Loyalty 2.0). Email 2.0 enables interactivity and Loyalty 2.0 adds micro-incentives (Atomic Rewards) for actions. As I wrote in Loyalty 2.0: How Brands can Tokenise Customer Attention and Data: “Every customer is different. While segmentation is better than mass communication, what’s even better is hyper-personalisation. For this, brands need to aggregate data and then use AI-ML to discern patterns to recommend the next best action to customers. Data today is collected from actions done by customers on the brand’s communications (push messages) and properties (website and app). A trick that marketers have missed is the simplest one: asking customers directly. To make the collection of zero-party data (data volunteered by customers), two building blocks are needed: a hotline to ensure customers are paying attention and not ignoring incoming brand messages, and incentivises which reward them for their data. Data-driven thus means incentive-driven, asking the user to self-reveal both because subsequent interactions will become more targeted and because of the rewards earned in return…While [marketers] can decode actions of individual customers on the website and app, the better approach is to simply ask customers and incentivise their actions (in this case, the data being provided voluntarily). How many brands ask us? How many brands offer us incentives for giving information about ourselves? In this case, the additional benefit is that we will also benefit from the personalisation in the offers that we receive. We want to be shown opportunities that interest us, that speak to us. Revealing ourselves is both an opportunity to earn points and to ensure future communications are targeted for our particular tastes.”

2023 will be the year when personalisation fulfils its true promise and potential – powered by zero-party data collection in interactive and incentivised emails.

Thinks 757

WaPo: “Book lovers are known to practice semi-hoardish and anthropomorphic tendencies. They keep too many books for too long, despite dust, dirt, mold, cracked spines, torn dust jackets, warped pages, coffee stains and the daunting reality that most will never be reread. Age rarely enriches a book.“Nobody likes to throw a book away. Nobody likes to see it go into a bin,” says Michael Powell of Powell’s Books in Portland, Ore…“We don’t want them to die. I love them. They’re a part of me,” says author and Georgetown linguistics professor Deborah Tannen, 77. She has books in almost every room of her Virginia home, long ago exhausting shelf space…“Books represent a significant investment of time and intellectual effort in our lives,” Powell says. “They’re more like friends than objects. You’ve had a lot of conversations with the book. You want to remember the experience. They’re echoes of what you’ve read.””

NYTimes picks the 4 best strategy board games of 2022: Root, Brass: Birmingham, Ark Nova, and Lost Ruins of Arnak. “Modern tabletop games are wonders of design and narrative, running the gamut from cooperative dice-rolling adventures to elaborate setups that allow for tense negotiation over resources. But sometimes you want to walk away from the table knowing that your carefully considered decisions (not fickle chance or fast-talking negotiation) are what led you to sweet victory (or, more often than I care to admit, crushing defeat). This is where strategy games shine.”

The Generalist: “Even excluding its aptitude for delivering insults, Twitter has begun to feel like an increasing mental strain. Though it is useful for The Generalist’s distribution, I don’t enjoy it. Indeed, usage seems to be negatively correlated with many qualities I’d like to cultivate over my life: focus, nuance, civility, equanimity, and depth. After observing and engaging on the platform for the past few years, I believe it primarily rewards facile controversy, reposted content, and the lowest-common-denominator thinking. Very rarely do conversations of any depth break out; if they do, it is by accident. John F. Kennedy once said, “Show me a man with a great golf game, and I’ll show you a man who has been neglecting something.” The modern adaptation of that sentiment might be, “Show me a person with a large Twitter following, and I’ll show you a person who has been neglecting something.””

Michael Tanner at Cato: “The U.S. welfare system is enormous, with roughly 134 different programs and costing more than $1.8 trillion per year. While it has done a reasonably good job of reducing material deprivation, in effect making poverty a little less miserable, it has done a remarkably poor job of equipping families to escape poverty altogether. Truly improving the lives of the poor is not a question of spending slightly more or less money, tinkering with the number of hours mandated under work requirements, or rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse. We need a new debate, one that moves beyond our current approach to fighting poverty to focus on what works rather than noble sentiments or good intentions—a system built on work, individual empowerment, and Americans’ philanthropic impulse. That would be a system that enables more low‐​income Americans to leave welfare for self‐​supporting work.”

Cato on Turkey: “…All the concerns about “illiberal democracy” [are] quite right. The latter is a simply electoral democracy that is devoid of political liberalism—with pillars such as freedom of speech, rule of law, and judicial independence. Without such guardrails, democracy can simply devolve into the tyranny of the majority, embodied in the whimsical rule of a strongman.”

Martech in 2023 will be the Year of 4PO (Part 7)

Personalisation – 1

As customers, we love content and experiences curated just for us.  And yet, there is a big gap in what brands offer. What’s missing is the data and analytics which are at the heart of crafting unique experiences for every customer.

Brian Carlson ( “Data-driven marketers will embrace data and analytics as a foundational step to identify opportunities and create operational efficiencies. They examine the full customer lifecycle, focusing on areas where the most value is found. Data-driven marketers also leverage customer segments and microsegments, and will factor in data like behavioral, transactional, and engagement trends into their strategy… Personalization-ready marketers will invest in technology solutions that have activation capabilities and advanced analytics. Data-driven marketers should plan to develop scalable content and AI-driven functionality so they can respond to customers’ needs in real time.”

Blake Morgan (Forbes): “The shopping experience of the future will be personalized and technology-driven. Customers will be able to see items instantly, try them on and test them virtually, and have them customized to their exact preferences. The shopping experience will seamlessly move between the physical and digital worlds to give customers exactly what they want when they want it… Technology will be everywhere and make it possible for companies to automate the mundane parts of customer experience while also increasing and scaling their personalization efforts. It will be a fine balance between the two sides: customers want technology to make the experience smoother and more convenient, but they also want personalization. Companies will have to find the balance between automating and innovating with technology like AI, VR and connected IoT devices while also adding a human touch.”

Esat Artug (Ninetailed): “Personalized experiences are becoming an important part of the customer journey in this fast-paced change. Brands that successfully meet personalization demands will be handsomely rewarded with increased loyalty and greater revenue in the years ahead. Because the more consumers interact with a company in a more personalized way, the more likely they are to buy from that company again…Investing in customer data and analytics foundations will give businesses the ability to collect, cleanse, and unify data from various sources. This will provide a complete view of the customer journey, which is essential for personalization. Additionally, businesses need to be able to quickly process this data and create actionable insights in order to make real-time decisions. Building up agile capabilities will allow businesses to move quickly and efficiently to implement these decisions.”

Data is central to personalisation. While much of the focus has been on what marketers can glean about their customers using first-party data, I think 2023 will herald a big shift towards zero-party data.