Archive for Strategy

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2016 Super Bowl Advertising Commercials Wrap Up

IQ Wrap Up of Super Bowl Commercials

Some IQers watch the Super Bowl just for the commercials. Here are some of our favorite and not-so-favorite commercials from this year’s “big game.”

The Good:

Audi – This is exactly the kind of emotionally driven commercials auto companies need to run with right now to get consumers to buy cars that aren’t just your basic vanilla get you from point A to point B types.  Basically, if you want someone to buy your super expensive sports car – you need emotion.  If you want someone to buy your poorly built and will likely break down piece of junk – you need emotion.

 ACURA NSX – David Lee Roth was the perfect voice for their target audience. I have listened to my husband play that exact track of David Lee Roth’s isolated voice repeatedly for years. He was very inspired by it. I’m so glad it now serves a more useful purpose. 😉

Doritos – Some people were offended by this spot but it was my favorite of the night – the only one I literally LOL’ed at.  It was the epitome of a “WTH” moment and whether people loved or hated it, it’s getting the most coverage and attention.

Amazon Echo – I’m a fan of the product anyway but I like that they featured the product more than just making it all about the celebrities (My husband and I tested it and we got the same answers she gave in the commercial).  Also smart marketing strategy to have the Twitter promoted trend the day after the ad ran for additional context.

Budweiser/Helen Mirran drunk driving – An important message delivered in a way that makes you want to be responsible. Less memorable is who sponsored the commercial.

The Bad:

MINI Cooper – Being different.  It made me feel like they wanted to be just like every other company that wants to “be different.”  MINI has such an amazing story and sadly no one will ever hear it because they never talk about it.  Disappointed.

Social Finance AKA “SoFi” – The worst commercial. For the amount of money spent to run the ad, they skimped on the creative process and made a forgettable, bland bank ad. Something you’d 100% skip in YouTube pre-roll.

Split decision:

PUPPY/MONKEY/BABY

“I hated and loved it at the same time. So obnoxious. I can’t get it out of my head.” – Carol

“No.  Just…no.  It came on TV, I screamed and I’ve never seen my fiancé run so fast into the living room because he thought I had fallen and likely broke something.” – Emily

“I loved Puppy/Monkey/Baby so much it’s my new ringtone.  Not only was it hysterically entertaining, we’re all talking about it today! It also reminded me of the 2004 Quizno’s commercial featuring singing rats. Yeah, I loved that one too.” – Russ

You can watch every 2016 Super Bowl commercial online here.

What can IQ research for you?

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IQ’s Favorite Apps and Services of 2015

Why Context Matters For Media Strategies

IQ Spotlight: Megan Hawkins, Strategist

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  • 01.25.16

Decoding Modern Marketing Series Overview

We have recently begun a new series, Decoding Modern Marketing. The full overview article by IQ CEO Tony Quin is here. We’ll have Part 1 here for you next month.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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Why Context Matters For Media Strategies

IQ’s Favorite Apps and Services of 2015

7 Questions for your 2016 Marketing Plan

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Decoding Modern Marketing – A new series

DecodingMM

Midsize companies are waking up to new dangers.

During the recession, while consumers sharpened their digital buying skills and the Fortune 100 raced ahead, many midsize companies took advantage of the competitive lull and avoided the investments necessary to keep up with the digitally empowered consumer.

Cut to 2016: Consumers, both B2C and B2B, have become sophisticated buyers. They have the tools to make smart, fully informed buying decisions every time. They are demanding, digitally savvy and unforgiving of brands that do not serve them well, especially on social media. They expect easy, enjoyable experiences in store, online, and with the products and services they buy.

In a nutshell, they want it good, fast, and cheap, and if they don’t get it from you, they’ll find it somewhere else.

At the same time, competition is brewing even in the sleepiest of verticals. Companies are realizing that if they don’t superserve their consumers, one of their competitors will or already is. And the quality of such an experience has been set not by the sleepy competition, but by the world’s top brands, so the bar is very high.

While the big companies have used the recession years to shift their focus to connect with the modern consumer, midsize companies are only now waking up to the need to get their marketing and consumer experience up to speed. But time is running out. Nimble new brands are finding ways to disrupt almost every industry with product innovation and better consumer experiences, and big companies, like Amazon, are spreading their enormous wings with even more innovation, making it ever harder for laggards to get into the game.

With a relatively stable economy under our feet, we have entered the fat part of the snake, where many midsize companies are ready to catch up. That means acting now to shift to a consumer-centric orientation in which everything that touches consumers is designed with them in mind.

Midsize companies that have managed to slide by without more sophisticated marketing and just manufacture and distribute will have to become marketing companies now, which is a daunting prospect for many. But the alternative is worse. As a big-box retailer recently said to a longtime brand on its shelves: “What I want from you is a brand, and that means you have to get good at marketing. If I want a product, I’ll make it myself.”

The good news is that even though time is short, you can quickly build a modern marketing machine that will superserve your consumers and future-proof your brand. That’s what IQ’s forthcoming 10-part series, “Decoding Modern Marketing,” sets out to do. This monthly series is an executive guide for midsize brands ready to usher their marketing into the digital age. That said, “Decoding Modern Marketing” is applicable to brands of all sizes, large, midsize, and small.

View the overview of Decoding Modern Marketing here. We’ll be back with Part 1 next month.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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IQ Spotlight: Megan Hawkins, Strategist

IQ Strategist Megan Hawkins

IQ is made up of a bunch of rockstars that make incredible work for our clients everyday. We want to give you a glimpse of what it’s like to work in IQ, so once a month we’re going to interview an IQ-er and let you get to know them better.

For the official record, what is your name and your title at IQ?

My name is Megan Hawkins and I’m a Strategist at IQ.

What is one thing you never leave the house without?

It’s so cliché, but my phone. My iPhone has everything I need on it. I wish I had a cooler answer, but I always leave home with lip balm and my phone.

Tell me about the moment you knew this was the direction you wanted to pursue professionally.

This isn’t at all what I went to school for. I went to school for Sports Broadcasting, and then realized pretty quickly freshman year that me being in front of a camera is just kind of a bad idea, I like being behind the scenes more. In my first job out of college I really loved the research, planning and strategy work I did. I also found out that I really work well in an agency environment. I enjoy the culture, the people and the smart work that goes on in an agency.

What does “Creative Intelligence” mean to you?

It’s the ability to produce work that not only is designed well and looks great, but is also supported with strategic planning and research.

What are you most passionate about in your life, and why?

I am most passionate about my family! I have a husband and a dog. My dog is a Lab-Australian Shepherd mix and we go on long walks through our neighborhood every morning. My husband and I have owned our home for a little over a year now, so we’re still exploring the adventures of renovation and home repairs. I also really like to cook and bake, and I’m saving up for a camera so I can start a food blog.

Quickfire:

Pirates or Ninjas?

Pirates with ninja-like skills.

Pie: Apple or Pumpkin?

Apple. With ice cream.

Bright or Neutral Colors?

Neutral.

Math or English?

English.

Board games or video games?

Board games.

Now you know a little more about Megan Hawkins!

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IQ Spotlight: T.R. Wilhoit, Brand Strategist

IQ’s Favorite Apps and Services of 2015

Why Context Matters For Media Strategies

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How Much Should you Budget for Marketing – what other companies will spend in 2016

How much to budget for 2016 Marketing

Having worked on both client side and agency side, I’ve experienced the end of year budgeting season from two perspectives. On the agency side, we work with clients to set goals for 2016 and then back out of that tactically to estimate (in terms of cost) what it’s going to take to reach those goals. In an agency, we get to dream about all the exciting things we could do to help move our clients’ businesses forward. We get to brainstorm and collaborate then present exciting ideas to our clients. But what many on our side don’t know is what you (our clients) go through during the final few months of the year – the planning, negotiating, revising, justifying, compromising, etc. Often it requires internal campaigning with adjacent departments to partner on initiatives so that budget can be shared. It’s a draining process and any data that might support your proposal for an increase in budget helps.

While the process will always be messy, taking a look at what others are doing helps provide context. Each year CMO Survey publishes a report with what companies spend in marketing and the percentage of revenue and the overall company budget that the marketing budget represents.

First the big numbers. Marketing budgets represent 11% of overall company budgets. This is further broken down by the type of company with B2C product (vs. service) companies getting the most budget at 17.5% and B2B product companies getting the least at 10.1%. Interestingly, the trend is on the upswing, with companies investing more on marketing than any report since 2012.

CMO Marketing Budget Report

While marketing budgets continue to take a larger percentage of overall company budgets, the net investment, however, continues to decrease as company budgets overall continue to decrease. On average, marketing departments intend to invest 6.6% of company revenue, down from 8.3% in 2015. Again, B2C product companies are leading overall spend with 10.4% with B2C services companies taking the bottom at 5.3%.

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It should be noted that these numbers are inclusive of all marketing department efforts including operations – that’s everything from the costs associated with your brand advertising campaigns to the salaries of all of your marketing employees. Looking at total budgets then might be of little value to those of you who are creating budgets that get submitted to a CMO for inclusion in the overall budget, so let’s break it down a bit to see where companies are investing.

One of the biggest gains for 2016 will continue to be in digital marketing spend with a 12.2% increase year over year. B2C services companies, who we saw previously were getting the least amount of marketing budget as a percentage of revenue, will have an average 20% increase in their digital marketing budget, while B2C product companies will see a 14% increase.. On the other hand, traditional advertising spend for 2016 will be down 2.1% marking a significant swing toward digital.

Mobile marketing is another large focus for companies. In the next 3 years, companies say they will increase mobile marketing spend by 15.6%.

Investment in CRM also continues to be prioritized, with an 8% increase in marketing spend in 2016. Brand building will see a 5.5% increase. New product introductions will see 8.3% increase. And new service introductions will see a 4% increase.

Gone are the days when companies could do the minimum and hope to slide by without seeing any impact on the bottom line, and this latest data underscores what it takes to compete in today’s increasingly active, competitive marketplace. While this won’t make your job over the next month or two any easier, hopefully it validates what you’re asking for. Here’s to a successful 2016!

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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Why Context Matters for Media Strategies

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Why Context Matters for Media Strategies

Strategy Perception - Context

If you’re paying attention to the ad industry at all, you’re probably aware of the ‘attention’ media buyers have received by their clients. The kind of attention that costs thousands or millions to resolve.

Though you should always be assessing media spends and evaluating effectiveness, its come to our attention at IQ that many marketers today neglect a seemingly obvious and important piece of media effectiveness — context.

It’s important to seek 3rd party research for a number of applications in marketing. But think for a minute about your own consumption patterns.

Have I ever purchased directly after clicking a banner ad?

or,

Have I ever purchased a product from preroll video advertising?

or even,

When’s the last time I purchased a new product based on TV ads?

You’ve likely completed a purchase from a form of display advertising (loosely defined). Now think of your answers to these types of questions in the context of your consumption —“What else was I doing during this time?” Your answers will vary here.

Maybe you were checking email, and clicked a link to an article. Maybe you were attempting to watch your favorite show on Hulu. But definitely, you were checking messages on your phone, your Apple Watch, your Fitbit, or corralling the kid(s).

We live in an era of multitasked, multiscreen, low attention span consumption habits. In this case, we must consider the context for which an ad of any sort is seen by the consumer to develop a style of ad that will grab attention when we need it to.

To make the best ads possible, marketers must consider context along with attention and strategy to determine the right approach.

Below is a brief framework for creating more effective ads:

1.  Context

Where will the consumer be when viewing the ads? 

– What platform will the ads be viewed on? 

– What will the consumer (likely) be doing when viewing the ads? (i.e. multitasking) 

2. Attention

How attentive will the audience be on this platform? 

– Which screen will their attention be driven to?

What type of content will surround the ad? 

3. Strategy

Based on context and attention level, should the ad promote engagement or persuade the consumer? 

– Should the ad inform or entertain primarily?

– How critical is attention on first touch? (considering multi-channel ad campaigns)

The history of advertising leans heavily on persuasion. Shopping used to be fairly linear in that you might see an ad on TV or in a magazine and head directly in-store for more information. Advertisers had to persuade you enough to get you to physically try or buy.

But as the internet expanded in popularity, so did ad channels, creating a new ad content approach: engagement. Consider social media advertising. Attention spans will be remarkably low due to the amount of content. For this platform, its critical to get attention fast through entertaining content. This is why context matters first and foremost.

The next time you’re planning for new ad campaigns, try using this framework to right size your spend by platform and create content that’s appropriate for the context. If anything, you’ll likely have well grounded creative ideas and maybe even happier customers over time.

Want to know more about IQ? Contact Us

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Twitter: Now With Ocean-Breeze Long Form!

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Twitter: Now With Ocean-Breeze Long Form!

Twitter's Long Form Announcement

According to Recode Twitter is releasing a new product that will allow users and brands to publish content that exceed the current 140 character limit of the native Twitter timeline.

Most of the Internet including yours truly originally took this news to mean the Twitter timeline we love would become a bloated mess. And from a user perspective we expected this feature would drive us away. The current Twitter timeline isn’t built or designed for long form. It would take forever to scroll through someone’s late-night alcohol-fueled post-breakup novella. Let alone a verbose poorly written brand statement about their most recent social media gaff.

But this is not the case according to that article. This will be a new product possibly akin to the recently released Moments. We are betting this new feature, like Moments, will be accessible via Twitter’s mobile apps and desktop.

But long form on Twitter is exciting to think about from a marketing point of view. When your strategic research is founded in proven best practices, long form Twitter could be a marketer’s and brand’s dream come true. We will have a new and exciting way to reach users, fans, and followers that is less limiting; allowing us to craft more engaging stories and inspire deeper consumer actions.

You might be asking, “But why is Twitter doing this?”

The 1985 Global System for Mobile Communication set the character limits on text messages at 160 characters. When Twitter launched in 2006, they set the limit at 140 leaving 20 characters for the username. This allowed the tweet to be delivered in one complete text message rather than multiple messages.

But the mobile technology we use every day has evolved far past those early days and Twitter needs to grow to help people (and advertisers) tell their story and share more information. For example, Twitter made a play on native texting earlier this year when they removed the character limitations in Direct Messages.

At the end of the day Twitter is a publically traded company with shareholders to please. Twitter has a highly vested interest in making its platforms and products are more engaging to stimulate its lagging growth and increase use to turn a profit for their investors.

So here is the 140 million dollar question. Will long form Twitter increase engagement and the user base? Probably. At least when the feature is first launched. But we have to also remember that other social platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn have had the long form corner of the social web locked up for a long time.

Need help with your social strategy? Let us know how IQ can help you!

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Robots Just Stole Half Your Media Buy

IQ CEO Tony Quin interviewed in Cannes

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Robots just Stole Half your Media Buy

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In the past 5 years, if you’ve been part of a media planning discussion, you’ve probably heard the term “programmatic buying.” Prior to programmatic media buying, an advertiser would need to research and identify specific sites that were a fit for a brand and then negotiate the rate, placement, etc. This not only took time, but it limited the reach of your audience taking some of the potential power away from digital. Programmatic buying on the other hand, offers a wide reach across thousands of sites enabled by technology that allows you to target a specific user profile in real-time.

For example, a typical programmatic transaction would involve a user clicking on a website where their IP location and browsing history would then be packaged up and provided to an auction site, at that point the technology mentioned earlier would comb through their profile and determine whether to place an ad next to the article they’re about to read based on the stats (traffic, demographics, content) of that particular site. Using this approach, a brand could theoretically ensure that its ads were being placed in the right place, at the right time, and in front of the right person.

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However, with so many sites now available in real-time, it’s impossible to actually know where your ads are running – especially before you’ve already run them. There’s obvious danger around putting blind faith in an automated system, and that danger was recently realized in the form of a research report by the Association of National Advertisers titled, “The Bot Baseline: Fraud in Digital Advertising.”

In the study, the ANA claims that they had expected to find bot-focused websiteswith nothing but a bot audience, but out of nearly three million websites covered in the study, only a few thousand were completely built for bots. Most of the bots visited real websites run by real companies with real human visitors. Those bots inflated the monetized audiences at those sites by 5 to 50 percent.

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Anyone who has placed a buy using programmatic advertising knows that following along with the placements and results is complex and specifics are hard to nail down. In fact, some brands that participated in the report said that when they had asked for itemized bills from the various agencies and data companies hired, they all refused. In fact, it may be that this frustration has helped fuel the unprecedented number of media agency reviews in the past year.

Shockingly, what the ANA research proved is that digital ad viewers are increasingly not human. When reviewing data for a video that Chrysler ran last year they found that only 2% of the views were from actual people. A more egregious example is one that was detailed in a Business Week article that highlighted how two placeholder videos shown within a Myspace custom ad unit have become some of the most watched videos in internet history. One of which, you have absolutely never seen, yet it has 1.5 billion views making it bigger than any video currently on YouTube.

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The problem is that traffic numbers and impressions sell ad space and ad dollars are the goal, so with many competing sites to run your ads in and the prominence of programmatic, low-involvement auctions, fake traffic has become a commodity. It’s so blatant that there are actually active posts on LinkedIn where you can buy traffic. And publishers are not likely to inform their advertisers when they’re buying traffic for obvious reasons.

Hopefully, this information will shine enough light on these practices that they change. However, to be sure that you’re actually getting what you pay for in your media plan, the ANA offers some advice (an extended list is available within the report):

  • Work closely with your agency to mitigate, and hopefully, eliminate ad fraud. Chances are your media agency is not scamming you. If you’re getting fooled, so is your media buying agency – work together to create a plan.
  • Insist on learning more about the third-party companies running your programmatic buy. Find out how they reduce fraud on their end, how is traffic verified, search for any associated reviews and fraud reports online.
  • Authorize and approve third-party traffic validation technology.To effectively combat bots in their media buys, advertisers must be able to deploy monitoring tools – if your agency or media partners don’t allow that, consider looking elsewhere.
  • Apply day-parting when you can. Bot fraud represents a higher proportion of traffic between midnight and 7 am – reduce bots by concentrating your spend during ‘waking hours’.
  • Consider reducing buys for older browsers. A large number of bots exist that were created claiming to use IE6 or IE7, excluding these browsers from your targeting will help reduce a large portion of bot traffic.

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  • 09.29.15

IQ CEO Tony Quin interviewed in Cannes

Recently IQ CEO Tony Quin made a pilgrimage to the Cannes Lions festival, representing both the agency and the Society of Digital Agencies (SoDA) as the Chairman. While at the festival he participated in the Executive Perspectives interview series and shared his thoughts on advertising trends, the benefits of having talented, driven employees and how data drives strategy and creative to produce exceptional work at IQ.

Here are a few notable excerpts from the interview:

KR: How would you define success in your role?

TQ: The most important job that I have as CEO is to have a sense of where we need to be as an agency 24 months from now so that I can be making sure that the agency is moving toward that. That’s the most important. Because if you don’t get that right, you’re not in business.

KR: What do you do to help your team be successful and help keep them in line with your goals for the company?

TQ: My job is to make sure that I have the smartest people on the bus, and not necessarily in the right seats, and listen to them and empower them. What I’ve learned is that if you just collect really smart people who have the right character for the work, then they are going to tell you the right place to go.

KR: In a world so driven by data today, why do you think creative still matters?

TQ: Creative is the business of connecting emotionally to people. Creative is not about data. Creative itself is really not measurable. Data helps to tell you where to point creative. The strategy that comes out of data – because data itself means nothing; it produces insights and strategy – tells you how to pick the places where you want to spend your money and those places are where you’re going to apply your creative. That last mile is informed by data but it’s always takes some magic which is inspiration and an understanding of the psychology of the people. It’s really hard to make that a science.

KR: Do you feel like creative always needs to be measured?

TQ: You can measure the end result of whether something happens or not. There is some testing you can do around creative. It’s the whole Steve Jobs approach to doing new things. You can’t base it on what’s happened in the past so at some point somebody is taking a leap of faith or just having a creative idea and you just have to go with it or not. You don’t really know what’s going to happen.

KR: How do you motivate your team on a day-to-day basis?

TQ: Every company, whether it’s a big company or a small company, has to have a vision of tomorrow. It’s kind of what we’re selling to our brands. Any kind of branding is a promise for tomorrow. That promise is, in some way, “tomorrow is going to be better.” It’s the same thing with a team. The reason you’re doing this work, other than getting a paycheck, is to create some better thing and you have to define that a little bit for people and make them excited.

KR: Can you describe the attributes of one of your top performers?

TQ: What I look for is people who are self-motivated, have an entrepreneurial spirit, are not about doing the mechanics of their job. They are about achieving the goals of their job. It’s not really about how they do it; it’s about how they get there, which is very entrepreneurial. I look for people who are sufficiently confident in themselves and aren’t afraid of taking risks.

KR: How would you describe the difference between an idea and a solution?

TQ: Ideas are bigger than solutions. Solutions, you have a problem and some parameters around a problem and you want to find something that solves that problem.  An idea can be much bigger than that. An idea might solve a problem but it might have many more ramifications to it. Ideas are about what capture the imagination of people. They can drive companies. They can change the marketplace. They can create movements. Whereas a solution is just, “I’m really glad we solved that problem.”

KR: What are you looking to take away from Cannes?

TQ: I wear two hats. I have my agency, IQ, and it’s always interesting to hear what’s going on and I always get ideas. With my primary job being what’s going to happen 18 to 24 months in the future and “are we on the right path for that?”, it’s great to come to these places where people are talking about those things, about what’s next. The other hat I wear is as the founder and chairman of the board of SoDA. SoDA is a wonderful organization where I get a chance to give back to my community and to have great relationships with people who are in the same boat that I’m in, running agencies around the world, so that’s very fulfilling.

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HAL in your pocket – Artificial Intelligence is here

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One of the most important things brands expect from their agencies, according to a recent survey in the SoDA Report, are insights on what’s coming next. No sooner do we get comfortable than technology has a nasty habit of changing things up.

At the SoDA annual meeting of the leaders of 100 of the world’s top digital agencies last week, I listened to the always brilliant technologist Rick Barraza from Microsoft, as he painted an exciting, if somewhat dystopian, picture of the fairly immediate future.

While we all think we know Moore’s law, Rick reminded us that while we had hit 5mm transistors on a single chip in 1995, IBM managed to get 7BN on a single chip this year. If Moore’s law continues, and it hasn’t failed yet, that’s 14BN coming next year. According to Rick this kind of computing power is making the fantasies of artificial intelligence come true already.  For example using 100 “likes” as data points, AI can predict what someone will choose better than their parents. With 200 “likes” AI makes better predictions than someone’s spouse, and no one knows you better than your spouse.

Rick described a rapidly approaching world in which our AI driven devices become primarily digital assistants. Siri is just the beginning.  Imagine computers so powerful that you don’t need to fiddle with a screen, your assistant just takes care of whatever it is. This will become even more powerful when your assistant is connected to micro devices all around you with the “Internet of Things”.  He went on to describe the next paradigm as one where “visuals under glass” is no longer the experience model and these mobile HALs take over.

While exciting (boy, do I need a good assistant), it’s also a bit scary. As a marketer I wonder what this might mean for how we serve customers and prospects. What will a brand need to do to be valuable? As an individual I wonder about the sanctity and privacy of my personality. If machines know me better than anyone, do I lose control of who I am? I am not the only one worried about this as the giants of today’s technology from Bill Gates to Elon Musk have raised their hands to voice serious concerns about unchecked AI. Despite those concerns technological change keeps pouring out of Pandora’s box and we are unlikely to be able to control it.

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