Thinks 814

WaPo: “It’s hard to think of another country as big and important as Indonesia that is so completely ignored by the American public. With a population of 274 million, it is the fourth-largest country in the world, the third-most populous democracy, and the most populous Muslim-majority country. (It has seven times as many Muslims as Saudi Arabia.) It is the world’s largest producer of nickel and could become the second-largest producer of cobalt — two of the minerals needed for making electric vehicle batteries. It dominates one of the world’s most strategically important waterways — the Straits of Malacca, linking the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Most of China’s energy supplies pass through the Straits. Little wonder that Indonesia has become a fulcrum of U.S.-China competition.”

Tim Martinez: “The one word I consistently wrote down in my notepad as I heard each person speak was “conviction”. The common thread amongst them all was the belief that they would make it eventually if they just stayed focused and kept grinding. And sure enough their dedication and commitment paid off. It was their conviction that helped them push through the tough times and served as a north star throughout their journey. When the going gets tough we have two choices – quit or stay the course. Our level of conviction determines which route we go.”

Evan Armstrong: “When AI automates content creation costs to zero, the effects will be far-reaching. More and more power will accrue in those companies that have novel acquisition methods that do no rely on any gatekeeper. In previous editions of this column, I’ve argued that “addiction will be the blood sacrifice required of consumers for businesses to win.” These tools will only exacerbate that dynamic. “

Nicholas de Monchaux: “If today’s designers are reaching further downstream from delineation through prototyping and direct fabrication, we would also gain much by asking design to travel further upstream, as it were. This means the focus groups and surveys involved in product creation, the legal and development decisions involved in building, the resources and decisions on which a designed world depends. From the continuous reuse of materials in a “circular” economy, through a shift in architecture’s focus to adaptive reuse, to the redesign of food away from an unsustainable focus on meat, we must reshape not just objects but also the culture and institutions that create them. Not incidentally, such work recaptures dē-signo in its original sense: not just the search for a more beautiful shape, but the shaping of a more beautiful and sustainable world.” More on design thinking: “Key to design thinking’s spread was its replicable aesthetic, represented by the Post-it note: a humble square that anyone can use in infinite ways. Not too precious, not too permanent, the ubiquitous Post-it promises a fast-moving, cooperative, egalitarian process for getting things done. When Cornforth arrived at IDEO for a workshop, “it was Post-its everywhere, prototypes everywhere,” she says. “What I really liked was that they offered a framework for collaboration and creation.””

Spencer Stuart has some questions for CEOs: “Have you created an environment where your team and employees are readily giving you feedback and sharing news that you may not want to hear? Are you thinking beyond the near term and preparing the organization for potential difficulties without creating fear and panic? How effectively are you using your internal and external sounding boards (including your fiduciary or advisory boards) to pressure test your insights and the actions you plan on taking? If a slowdown does happen, do you have the talent (breadth and depth), strategies, etc., in place to minimize exposure or even to expand your reach and create new market opportunities?”

ProfitXL: Supersize Profits with the SHUVAM Framework (Part 7)


The fifth and final step in the ProfitXL journey is measurement. While profits are the ultimate metric, there are many components which are not in the marketer’s control. What they can do is to focus on three numbers: AdWaste, Martech Spend Ratio (MSR) and Earned Growth.

AdWaste can actually be measured. It comprises wrong acquisition and reacquisition. Marketers need to dig into their databases and see what percentage of acquired customers are still active after a specified period of time (say, three months). The rest, especially those who left without making a purchase, can be construed as wrong acquisitions. Reacquisition can be identified by checking if a newly acquired customer was a previous customer by checking the identifiers. Getting a handle on AdWaste is important because this is the budget that can be made available for the ProfitXL program.

MSR is the percentage of marketing spend on martech (existing customers) from the overall budget. In most brands, the MSR is about 10-15%, meaning that 85-90% of the budget is being spent on (B)adtech for new customer acquisition. The goal for marketers should be to shift the budget from adtech to martech, and get MSR to greater than 50. This is a huge pivot – from making new customers as the growth engine to leveraging the power and potential of existing customers. For this, marketers will need to invest more in martech platforms rather than directing budgets to the likes of Google and Meta. It is this monetary shift that MSR helps track.

The third metric is Earned Growth. Devised by Fred Reichheld, the creator of Net Promoter Score (NPS), Earned Growth measures revenue increases from existing customers (NRR, or net revenue retention) and new organic additions via referrals (as opposed to paid channels), termed as ENC, or earned new customers. Earned Growth = NRR + ENC – 100. This metric is probably zero or negative for many brands. Marketers must aim to get Earned Growth to 50 or higher.

These three measures – AdWaste, MSR and Earned Growth – will guide marketers in their ProfitXL voyage. Among these, marketers should make Earned Growth as the North Star Metric, and keep a tab not just on revenue growth but overall business profitability.


Done right, the SHUVAM framework unlocks the key to supersizing profits – and helps marketers reclaim control of their destiny which they have mortgaged to Badtech for many years. It will help them drive not just growth, but profitable growth. Happy customers will make that exponential and forever, thus laying the foundation for early adopters to build a firewall of profits in the category. By ensuring a “profits monopoly”, a profipoly can build longevity for itself. While not permanent (because innovators will always work to chip away), it can give incumbents a significant advantage against startups. In the tech world, Microsoft’s Windows and Office, Google’s Search, Apple’s high-margin iPhones all created profipolies which have helped them invest in new businesses. Modern marketers can do the same in hypercompetitive businesses. And the starting point needs to shift from LossXL to ProfitXL.

Thinks 813

Bessemer: “Generative AI is in the limelight as technologists take stock of the machine learning models released in the last year, including ChatGPT, Stable Diffusion, Dreamfusion, and soon to be GPT-4, among others. The trajectory and power of these large models is inspiring a new wave of startups. Bessemer had early conviction in the potential for large models to usher in a new era in technology. Today, we have conviction that AI models will also usher in a new era for search. By search we don’t just mean public internet search like Google. We think of search as the ability to query information and ultimately synthesize and draw conclusions from it. This definition encompasses everything from enterprise document search to conversational consumer products. Search is a trillion dollar opportunity that spans consumer, enterprise, and developer ecosystems—and with our AI-powered search market landscape, we explore what’s catalyzing these advancements.” More.

FT: “Apple has captured Gen Z in the US so thoroughly that younger consumers fear being socially ostracised for not having an iPhone, a trend that will allow the tech giant to gain market share across multiple product categories. Gen Z users — those born after 1996 — make up 34 per cent of all iPhone owners in the US, versus 10 per cent for Samsung, according to new data from Attain, an adtech data platform. The figure helps to explain how the iPhone grew its overall market share of actual phone usage from 35 per cent in 2019 to 50 per cent last year, according to Counterpoint, enabling Apple to grow its profits even as the broader market stagnates.”

Gulzar: “Contrary to logic, it’s very difficult impossible for a full government program, even a critical feature of a program, to be canned just because some evidence has emerged about its ineffectiveness. There are at least three reasons. One, the emergent evidence will always be rationalised away as either being not credible, or by pointing to unique contextual factors, or due to some confounding factor. Two, the absence of impact will be rationalised away as being a temporary phenomenon (say, once teachers and students learn how to use technology Edtech will start showing results). Three, there are only so many ways in which you can do the fundamental things in education, health, skilling, agriculture etc, which are captured in these programs and therefore canning them does not arise as a possibility.”

Ajit Ranade: “There are more than 65 million enterprises in India, perhaps 99% of them small or tiny. They typically employ less than 5 people and have a turnover under ₹20 lakh. Only 10 million have bothered to register on the Udyam portal set up by the central government. A large number of them operate in the shadows of informality. This is of course changing for the better, as they step into the goods and services tax (GST) net. Despite many committees and attempts at finding a solution, the problem of funding MSMEs or reducing their burden of high receivables just won’t go away, and is resistant to legal solutions or reform…Receivables are the biggest burden on small businesses.”

Economist: “Can “Altasia” steal China’s thunder?…No single country offers China’s vast manufacturing base. Yet taken together, a patchwork of economies across Asia presents a formidable alternative. It stretches in a crescent from Hokkaido, in northern Japan, through South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh, all the way to Gujarat, in north-western India. Its members have distinct strengths, from Japan’s high skills and deep pockets to India’s low wages. On paper, this is an opportunity for a useful division of labour, with some countries making sophisticated components and others assembling them into finished gadgets. Whether it can work in practice is a big test of the nascent geopolitical order.”

ProfitXL: Supersize Profits with the SHUVAM Framework (Part 6)


Acquisition of new customers remains the primary focus of most marketers today – at the cost of enhancing relationships and revenues from existing customers. With hotlines, unistack and VRM, marketers can flip the funnel – putting existing customers at the top. New customer acquisition will remain an important growth driver, but it needs to be done differently by making “near zero CAC” as the objective. There are three ways to sharply reduce CAC: referrals, reactivation, and BCG-influenced acquisition.

Referrals are where existing customers bring in new customers – based on word-of-mouth or via social networks. Marketers have to pay very little for such acquisition – hence the CAC is close to zero. If the referrals come from Best customers, it is even better – because Best are likely to beget  Best. A simple technique that marketers can use is to add a field to the sign-up form on who the referrer was for a new customer, and give a micro incentive to both. A good referral program augmented with authentic ratings and reviews can go a long way in increasing profitability.

Reactivation is another strategy to reduce CAC – because the alternative could end up being expensive reacquisition! Existing customers (especially the Test ones) end up becoming dormant for a variety of reasons: they did not find what they were looking for, their interests changed, or the brand communications were not engaging enough. Some in the inactive category could also have churned away to a different brand. The key to note is that there was a relationship once – which means the brand has some identity information (mobile number, email address) to reopen a conversation. Informative content which is helpful and not pushy can be a good way to ‘awaken’ the inactive base. AMP and Atomic Rewards can be useful aids for reactivation.

The third low-cost acquisition strategy is to use data about Best customers to target look-alikes. Most brands tend to either use the data of all customers which just leads to a lot of wrong customers being acquired who bounce from the website or uninstall the app shortly after installing it. Attributes and commonalities among Best customers can help sharpen targeting of new customers. Also, profiling tools could help identify the likelihood of the person being a future Best customer from the pool of Next customers. If that is the case, then marketers can ensure a superior experience in the early days to increase the chance of a longer and mutually beneficial relationship.

Once the revenue engine from existing customers starts flowing and growing, there is much less pressure on marketers to deliver on growth targets. They can thus be more judicious with the spending on new acquisition, especially with CAC rising 40-50% year-on-year. Reducing the ad spends (with concomitant AdWaste) and redirecting some of it to existing customers is the way marketers can grow the profits and play their part as Chief Profitability Officers.

Thinks 812

strategy+business: “Companies in every industry are investing to improve the experience they deliver to customers, and for good reason. PwC research has found that a great customer experience can justify a price premium of 16%. Being customer-centric sounds easy but is tough to execute well. Success requires knowing your customers and what they really want, and then activating your culture so that it supports employees’ daily behaviors—the hundreds of small decisions that make up their workday—to consistently deliver the customer experience you want…There’s clear value in improving the customer experience, but companies can’t do that solely by looking outward. Instead, they need to look inward and make some intentional choices about what kind of experience their culture can support among the five models we’ve identified. Equally important, they need to align their company culture toward that objective, starting with employee behaviors. When all those elements are in harmony, that’s when companies become truly customer-centric.”

Varun Gandhi: “India’s cities are facing a number of challenges related to urban planning and the impact of climate change. Mumbai and Gurugram, for example, sink from annual flooding due to heavy monsoonal rains. Bengaluru and Hyderabad are facing the issue of vanishing local lakes and Delhi is witnessing rising encroachment of the Yamuna floodplain areas due to increased infrastructure projects. With the increasing frequency of high intensity rainfall, Indian cities will continue to be affected. Bad urban planning, combined with climate change, will mean that Indian cities are perennially besieged. To address these issues, a different model of urbanization is needed. India needs to prioritize economic integration within its cities, improve transportation options, and shift towards affordable housing. Currently, the focus has been on providing high-end housing neglecting the needs of the urban poor. In addition, there is a need for better access to quality education and healthcare, and for cities to become safer for everyone, particularly women.”

Vaclav Smil: “Between 1993 (Pentium) and 2013 (the AMD 608), the highest single-processor transistor count went from 3.1 million to 105.9 million, a bit higher than prescribed by Moore’s law. But since then, progress has slowed. In 2008 the Xeon had 1.9 billion transistors, and a decade later the GC2 packed in 23.6 billion, whereas a doubling every two years should have brought the total to about 60 billion. As a result, the growth of the best processor performance has slowed from 52% a year between 1986 and 2003, to 23% a year between 2003 and 2011, to less than 4% between 2015 and 2018. For computers, as for every other technology before, the period of rapid exponential growth will soon become history.”

15 reflections on martech and more from 15 years of writing: by Scott Brinker. More: “The current generation of martech products have largely been borne on the back of three major technology S-curves: SaaS. The move from on-premise software to services offered in the cloud, Social Media. Sharing and consuming content from networks of friends and colleagues: Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok, Mobile. Designer computers carried in our pockets, connected everywhere we go, with ecosystems of millions of apps. These three S-curves have delivered massive changes to the world, the tech industry, and the marketing profession. They made “martech” a thing. And in the process, hundreds of martech companies have made billions of dollars riding the exponential upward growth of these S’s. But all three of these S-curves are plateauing. Think about it: there haven’t been any real earth-shattering changes to SaaS, social media, or mobile over the past five years.”

FT on CEO whisperers: “Crises and firefighting are all in a day’s work for the average CEO. So too is the receipt of professional advice. Senior executives can call on any number of experts and consultants, yet finding a confidant is not always easy. Who is that person the boss can be certain has their back? Who is always there to act as a sounding board when times are tough? And who can hold up a mirror and ask the questions that no one else will?”

ProfitXL: Supersize Profits with the SHUVAM Framework (Part 5)

Velvet Rope Marketing

VRM is at the centre of SHUVAM and one of the most important drivers for ProfitXL. It can be called by various names – customer-centricity in Wharton professor Peter Fader’s books, red carpet marketing as some have termed it, or simply loyalty marketing. The big idea behind VRM: that a small fraction of customers account for an outsized chunk of revenues and more than 100% of profits. (The latter happens because the long tail is lossy thanks to acquisition and servicing costs.) And yet, most marketers treat all customers the same. We have all been at the receiving end of such undifferentiated ‘equalising’ experiences! Little wonder then that brand loyalty appears a thing of the past – which in turn pushes marketers back into the embrace of Badtech in the eternal quest for more revenues.

An effective VRM program needs three elements: a customer-base audit to better understand buying behaviour of existing customers with a systematic review of transactions, the twin combo of customer lifetime value (CLV) and Best Customer Genome (BCG) to identify the most valuable customers and their characteristics, and the creation of a separate business unit to provide differentiated experiences for the Best customers.

A customer-base audit helps marketers understand how customers differ in their buying behavior and how their buying behaviour evolves over time. As Peter Fader, Bruce G.S. Hardie and Michael Ross explain: “The starting point is a list of transactions for each customer (date, time, products purchased, total spend, etc.)…Traditional reports will summarize performance by product. Think of an Excel worksheet where the rows correspond to individual products and the columns correspond to time (e.g., quarter). Now, imagine an alternative summary table — again, think of an Excel worksheet — where the rows now correspond to individual customers and the columns correspond to time (e.g., quarter). The entries in the table report each customer’s total spend with the firm in that particular time period. Another table tells us how many transactions each customer made with the firm. (For most firms, these tables will contain lots of zeros.) If you’re lucky, you’ll also have an equivalent table that summarizes the profit associated with each customer in each period.”

The next step is to calculate forward-looking CLV based on data from the audit. This will help in segmenting customers into Best, Rest and Test. The 20% Best customers are the most valuable, while the Test customers are least important. And in the middle are the Rest, who could go into either one of the other segments based on their experiences with the brand. Once the Best customers are identified, the next step is to understand what’s common to them and their buying behaviour (customer journey) – this is the BCG.

Armed with a knowledge of the Best customers at an individual level, marketers need to craft unique experiences for them to ensure they achieve their CLV threshold. An XRT (eXtreme Retention Token) can help identify Best customers when they enter an offline store. Exclusivity, ease and access are three dimensions for enthralling such customers – like airlines do for their first- and business-class customers. An SBU for Best customers is what marketers need to create to ensure that their Best customers are treated like royalty, rather than numbers in a loyalty program.

A good VRM program will go a long way in ensuring consistent revenue growth. Best customers, nurtured through differentiated experiences, can also help get others like them from their network. That’s the next step in the ProfitXL journey.

Thinks 811

Ruchin: “Across the Generative AI stack, there are four key levels we’ve seen emerge: The silicon – The Nvidias and Tensors of the world. The shovel sellers in the gold rush. The cloud – The AWS, GCP and Azures of the world that expose the silicon to developers. The gold – Open and closed-source models like GPT-3, Stable Diffusion. The magic – Apps that expose the magic to the average B2B or B2C user. Think Jasper,, Writesonic, or Murf.”

William Dalrymple: “After Nadir Shah’s invasion, the Mughal empire was shattered. There was no money for governance or to pay the army. The empire fragments from a single unitary state with a million men under control to a situation where every small town was self-governing, say Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur, Tanjore, Hyderabad… all become independent States. That is what anarchy is, the idea of moving from a centralised state to a decentralised one. This is the world the East India Company managed to take over. The extraordinary thing is, it managed to do so using Indian troops and Indian money. At the time of the Battle of Plassey, there were only 200 white employees in India and 35 in the head office in England. It used the money of Indian bankers like the Jagat Seths. Like how some corporations have enormous influence over the government today, those days, the East India Company was able to set town against town, and using local capital and local manpower, it was able to take over the whole country. It is extraordinary.”

WSJ: “Today…AI’s biggest impact comes from changing the jobs rather than replacing them. “I don’t see a job apocalypse being imminent. I do see a massive restructuring and reorganization—and job quality is an issue,” said Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. McKinsey estimates 60% of the 800 occupations listed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics could see a third of their activities automated over the coming decades. For workers, the technology promises to eliminate the drudgery of dull, repetitive tasks such as data processing and password resets, while synthesizing huge amounts of information that can be accessed instantly. But when AI handles the simple stuff, say labor experts, academics and workers, humans are often left with more complex, intense workloads.”

Shankkar Aiyar: “It is estimated that[India’s] general government– centre plus the states – will borrow around Rs 23.5 lakh crore this year or roughly Rs 6400 crore a day. The cost of borrowings is bound to rise as the RBI pushes further rate hikes to contain inflation – and will inform and influence the ability of governments to borrow. India remains the fastest-growing large economy. However in order to preserve its position it would need to crowd in private investment, create incomes and propel growth. This is challenged by the spectre of inflation, level of general government deficit and cost of money. The circumstance calls for refocus of attention on policies – asset monetization and disinvestment for instance – to harness resources and leverage its demography. India can scarcely afford daily political distractions which detain action and popular aspirations.

Ryan Holiday: “Once the mind has accepted a plausible explanation for something, it becomes a framework for all the information that is perceived after it. We’re drawn, subconsciously, to fit and contort all the subsequent knowledge we receive into our framework, whether it fits or not. Psychologists call this “cognitive rigidity”. The facts that built an original premise are gone, but the conclusion remains—the general feeling of our opinion floats over the collapsed foundation that established it. Information overload, “busyness,” speed, and emotion all exacerbate this phenomenon. They make it even harder to update our beliefs or remain open-minded. [via Shane Parrish]

ProfitXL: Supersize Profits with the SHUVAM Framework (Part 4)


Over the past few years, marketers have combined multiple point solutions to create their martech stack to collect data from websites and apps, automate customers, segment customers, and run push and personalisation cross-channel campaigns. The problem? The fragmentation of data caused by the use of multiple solutions and the inherent difficulties in integrating software from different vendors. While CDPs and APIs have tried to alleviate the problem to some extent, marketers are still unable to get a single unified view of their customers. Also, siloed databases limit the efficacy of AI-ML systems to push the next best actions. So, while the first-generation of martech solutions brought in much-needed digital aggregation and automation, it also created new headaches for marketers.

It is time for marketers to upgrade the martech stack with second-generation all-in-one solutions. This “Unistack” which combines customer data, engagement and experience management with complete channel control will enable marketers to dramatically improve the efficiency of their customer relationships and take big steps towards the nirvana of frictionless omnichannel personalisation.

The second big improvement in outcomes will come from improving the search experience for shoppers. Most marketers tend to use the default search software which comes with their ecommerce platform or pick up an open-source utility to keep the spend low. This is a big mistake. Search has been the most powerful application on the Internet. On websites, customers have been trained to use search as a last resort option because the results lack relevance; a product may be in the catalog but between the inability of the merchandising team to describe it right and the imprecision in using words to type in the search bar, the product is never shown and thus doesn’t get sold. A powerful site search engine can do wonders for revenue growth. AI engines can widen product descriptions beyond what humans can, and match products to a consumer’s intent ensuring a happier shopping experience.

The third solution lies in the creation of a “Progency” – a new-gen martech services entity where product (unistack) meets agency. A progency can work like a performance marketing entity taking on KPIs and delivering the outcomes marketers want. For this, a progency will need to combine software and analytical skills with traditional creative skills, uniting left-brain and right-brain resources. It can work as an extension of the marketing department taking on specific tasks with success-linked compensation.

The Unistack embedded with quality search and propelled by the progency is the second success pillar after Hotlines, delivering the personalisation that customers want to fast-track purchases of products they desire.

Thinks 810

Ezra Klein speaks to Tim Hwang: “A core focus of the show this year is going to be attention. But not your attention, not my attention, not attention as a capacity of the individual, where we give you hacks to grayscale your iPhone or meditate in the morning or eat better food. Our attention — attention is seen as a collective resource, as a public good. Attention is, in total, the depth of thought and consideration a society can bring to bear on itself, its problems, its opportunities — everything from how to find economic prosperity, to solving climate change, to strengthening our democracy, or for that matter, doing the reverse of any of those things. All of it depends on our capacity to pay attention, on the quality of the attention we pay, and on the condition we’re in when we pay attention. But like any collective resource, attention, it can be polluted, it can be exhausted. And I think to a large extent, it has been. And to see how and why, we have to get really deep into the business of attention. So today’s episode is part of that inquiry.”

Bent Flyvbjerg: “[Pixar has] had 20-plus blockbuster hits in a row. No Hollywood studio has ever done that. This is statistical evidence that something is going on that is not just chance. The way Pixar does it is by iterating over and over and over again. If you have an idea for a film, you write a few pages and that’s evaluated by your colleagues. Then you write a longer version and you get the feedback on that. Then you start doing storyboards, where you have an image for different things that are going to happen in the movie, and you get feedback on that. They go through eight or nine iterations where they have increasing amounts of feedback on larger and larger versions of the film. Once you bring in the real actors and the real computer animation, the costs go up many, many times. So Pixar squeezes as much as possible into that preparation stage, where you’re trying, you’re learning and then you do it again based on what you learn. You try to get higher and higher on the learning curve.”

NYTimes: “Many years ago, Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk and spiritual leader, posed a question to Marc Benioff, the co-founder and chief executive of Salesforce. “What is more important, being successful or being happy?” he asked. Mr. Benioff answered pretty much the way you would expect a Silicon Valley entrepreneur to answer. “Both,” he said. Thich Nhat Hanh cautioned that “if everything is important, nothing is important.””

Braff: “If you have a startup idea and want help turning it into a strong business plan, ChatGPT has answers. Start by giving it a prompt that sets out your business idea in a summary paragraph: I need help with a startup business. Here’s a summary of my business idea: [summary]. Having started the chat this way, I’ve found there are 10 questions where ChatGPT can provide helpful ideas.” Some of them: What are the 5 biggest weaknesses that you see in this idea? What are 10 free data sources that I can use to do market research to determine the size of these customer segments and total industry revenue? For each target customer segment that you named earlier, what are some ideas for advertising copy and slogans that I can use?”

Read: The Villa by Rachel Hawkins, and What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall

ProfitXL: Supersize Profits with the SHUVAM Framework (Part 3)


Marketers spend money acquiring customers, and then hope to monetise them on their properties (website and app). This is easier said than done because unless marketers are able to imprint their brand on the consumers subconscious, they face a continuous battle to bring them back for transactions. This is done through a process called engagement: messages pushed to our already flooded inboxes, along with nudges and recommendations when consumers clickthrough. The problem is that as consumers we are numb to all these exhortations and ignore the incoming offers. This “attention recession” has serious consequences for marketers – because if we don’t open and act on their emails, SMSes, and push notifications, they have little choice but to retarget us on the Badtech auction platforms spending even more money to reactivate their relationship with us.

For the past decade or so, almost nothing has changed in the push channels. And now, almost suddenly, a triad of innovations is creating excitement: emails can become interactive thanks to a technology called AMP, WhatsApp (popular in many countries) has allowed for brands to interact with customers, and Atomic Rewards can offer gamified micro-incentives to encourage attention and the sharing of personal information (also called zero-party data). AMP, WhatsApp and Atomic Rewards can thus drive inbox engagement and action funnels closer to consumers. AMP and WhatsApp can even replace apps – and combined with the advantage of ‘push’ give marketers control to initiate conversations which can lead to conversions.

AMP, because of its underlying email base, costs a fraction of that of WhatsApp (which is controlled by Meta). While still in its infancy in terms of use cases being deployed, AMP will enable what I call “All-in-Mails”. From filling forms to lead generation, from spinning wheels for offers to using calculators for answers, from getting additional product information to acting on abandoned shopping carts, from searching to paying – AMP is the future of email. Think of it as Email 2.0 – email without the need for clickthroughs and landing pages, a world without redirects.

Atomic Rewards is the icing on the cake. Instead of paying Badtech, brands can pay their customers. This is Loyalty 2.0, moving beyond the transaction to incentivising and gamifying the upstream (attention and data) and the downstream (ratings, reviews and referrals). This manifestation as Web3 tokens will ensure no single entity will be able to devalue the points earned. Atomic Rewards can drive a circular economy between brands and customers: more actions lead to more tokens for customers, which in turn makes brands value them even more. These rewards can then be exchanged for unique experiences or fiat currency.

AMP in email, WhatsApp and Atomic Rewards convert the unidirectional push channels into two-way rich interactive hotlines, thus finally enabling marketers to bridge the chasm between new customer acquisition and attracting traffic to their properties. Hotlines are thus the gateways to building deep and lasting relationships, a win-win for both brands and customers.