I’ve just added a page to my site which will be solely dedicated to all the certifications I receive in this graduate program! Check them out!
April Fools’ Day is an annual custom on April 1 consisting of practical jokes and hoaxes. Jokesters often expose their actions by shouting “April Fools!” at the recipient. Many brands also tend to get involved online to play pranks on their customers, which may be revealed as such the following day.
On this day, brands can really get creative with their marketing strategy whether that be announcing a new product, a new service or modify their brands image in any absurd way that they can think of.
Over the years, brands big and small have used this day to their digital marketing advantage and here are just a few of my favorite examples:
Over the past two years, the hard seltzer trend has been booming and with that lots of flavors have been introduced to the market. This year, Bud Light announced their new flavor for summer; Pizza – pepperoni, cheese, veggies and anchovies. Yuk!LEGO also participated this year by announcing their new ‘Smart Bricks’, a new line of LEGO that would sense a person approaching and automatically remove themselves from the unsuspecting walker’s path. If you have ever stepped on a piece of LEGO, then you would know of the excruciating pain that follows. I’m sure this product is every parent’s dream.
With Easter right around the corner, Green Giant marketed a new collaboration line with Peeps. The new Peep would be made of cauliflower for a healthier candy alternative. This might not be a terrible idea for those fussy children.Finally, Velvetta, the iconic Mac and Cheese brand we all know, and love launched their new ‘creamy’ skin care line, and by creamy, I mean cheesy!! The company went as far as to give the product line a name; VbyVelvetta and prices for each product including a daily moisturizer ($35), night cream ($50) and a serum ($40). I have to say, this mac and cheese company know how to make packaging look sleek.With all the madness that we have had to endure this past year, April Fools Day gives us a reason to giggle a little and remind us as individuals, as well as major corporations that you don’t always have to take life too seriously. What April Fools Day pranks have you seen that you think are impressive? Do you think brands benefit from this marketing strategy?
This month (Feb’21), Brightloom, a restaurant tech company, has announced the first of its kind Customer Growth Platform (CGP). Led by its new CEO Adam Brotman, former Digital Chief Officer of Starbucks, Brightloom has recently undergone a major rebrand and now with the help of Starbucks unveils “a high-performance customer engagement solution built around customer transaction data and powered by measurement and predictive modeling.” 
During a Yahoo Finance interview, Brotman said they chose to focus on personalization using data because “it’s the biggest and most difficult problem” in the restaurant industry today.  The new platform offers a SaaS approach with the help of AI helping with its unique predictive personalization. Adam Brotman also wanted to ensure that this beneficial marketing program was available to retailers, restaurants and consumer brands of all sizes and not just large scale brands who can afford to build out large tech teams. 
With the major disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and the use of e-commerce sites soaring, the share of online food service orders reached 28 percent in 2020 up from 10 percent before the pandemic, according to collated research from The Boston Consulting Group. This means that companies are sitting on tons of customer data without knowing what to do with it or how to put it to good use! 
Brightloom state that their platform is ready to use in 3 easy steps. First of all, a company such as “Jane’s Coffee Bar”, would need to connect ANY data they have. Brightloom will ingest transactional data from Jane’s digital customers and Jane’s product catalog and/or menu data. Secondly, the Customer Growth Platform’s proprietary ML models generate personalized product recommendations and promotions for each customer, then groups similar customers into SmartSegments. Finally, export the segments into Jane’s campaign management system, or Brightloom can execute Jane’s campaigns on the companies behalf. Then access reporting to compare results across treatment and control groups, and Jane’s Coffee Bar can see how CGP-generated-messages are impacting revenue, frequency and average spend. 
Essentially, companies that decide to use Brightloom can avoid the one-size-fits-all emails and push out personalized content based on the data that is being curated and therefore maintaining a strong relationship between company and customer.
In 2020, Brightloom decided to trial there service through an invite-only beta program in 2020, now supports more than 25 consumer brands including Evergreens, Jamba®, and Kickee, analyzing data for millions of unique customer records.
As a foodie and customer to many restaurants myself, I am always hoping to receive an exclusive offer or order food/drinks quickly and easily. I find that when I use the Starbucks app, I return to past transactions and re-order within seconds. I sometimes receive points for ordering certain foods that I have already purchased within a certain time frame. This is just one example of how a brand can keep customers like myself, returning in the future, and I hope that Brightloom is the saviour for many smaller businesses in the near future.
 La Roche, J. (2021, February 15). Starbucks-backed Brightloom Launches product aimed at helping Restaurants personalize marketing. Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/other/starbucks-backed-brightloom-launches-product-aimed-at-helping-restaurants-personalize-marketing/ar-BB1dHMYH
 Brightloom unveils customer growth platform to deliver Data science-as-a-service for consumer brands of all sizes. (2021, February 02). Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/brightloom-unveils-customer-growth-platform-to-deliver-data-science-as-a-service-for-consumer-brands-of-all-sizes-301219534.html
 Brightloom.com. (n.d.). Retrieved February 15, 2021, from https://www.brightloom.com/platform
In a world of technology innovation, comes convenience and growth but also disruption for some. There are many industries that are yet to be affected by technology if they haven’t been so already, and one that is vulnerable to significant fragmentation is the retail industry.
In the last decade or so, there has been a dramatic incline in customer demand to shop online. Retail companies of all kinds are having to adapt to this more recent customer need and therefore modify their business trajectory to continue their success.
According to optinmonster.com, online shopping is growing so fast that the global online shopping market size is predicted to hit 4 trillion in 2020. And in the US alone, there is expected to be 300 million online shoppers in 2023. That’s about 91% of the entire country’s population. Internationally, eCommerce retail purchases are expected to rise from 14.1% to 22% in 2023 alone. With these predictions in place and the recent complications of COVID-19, it is important for retail companies to acknowledge how all this is affecting their high-street stores. The Business Insider recently posted an article stating that retailers have confirmed at least 7,500 US store closings for 2020. Big names like Stein Mart, Lord & Taylor, GNC, Microsoft, Nordstrom, JCPenney and Victoria Secret are among these retailers.
If you are someone who occasionally likes to go to the mall and shop in-store, you can probably recognize that these brands are among those that we would expect to see, but with more and more store closures, will the mall still be a place to visit in the future?
Amazon is a great example of a company to have had major success in this digital era. They sell all sorts of products through their website and digital app. They even offer Amazon Prime, which is a pay-per-month service for customers who want to get free next day shipping. They have even collaborated with Whole foods, so that customers can order groceries all in the same place.
With Christmas just around the corner, shoppers are expected to spend over $1 trillion in the United States and £2 billion in the UK (muchneeded.com). A majority of this spending will be online, not only because it’s convenient and crowds can be avoided, because of the current pandemic.
So how can retail companies adjust to this digital era, if they haven’t done so already? Firstly, they can upgrade their online platform and ensure attractive shipping methods. They can also improve their online user experience to ensure customers return to their site. In addition, they can contribute to online discount holidays, like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. On Cyber Monday, 53% of purchases came from a mobile device (optinmonster.com) and that’s from millennials alone and speaking of millennials, their preferred support channel is a ‘chatbot’, which some online retailers are providing, so that questions can be answered quickly and efficiently.
With a lack of income for smaller retailers that rely on in-store purchases to pay rent, it is only a matter of time before smaller businesses fail. Retailers who already have a name for themselves still have time to save themselves and appeal to a customer base online but is this enough?
Some individuals like myself, prefer to touch the clothes I am potentially going to buy in person before swiping that credit card, do you?
This is a sad reality for the retail industry but one I will continue to support. Will you?
Chaffey, D. (2019, October 25). The reasons why consumers shop online instead of in stores. Retrieved October, 2020, from https://www.smartinsights.com/ecommerce/ecommerce-strategy/the-reasons-why-consumers-shop-online-instead-of-in-stores/
Christmas Spending Statistics, Trends, and Fun Facts (US & UK). (2020, July 16). Retrieved October, 2020, from https://muchneeded.com/christmas-statistics/
Ouellette, C. (2020, January 03). Online Shopping Statistics You Need to Know in 2020. Retrieved October, 2020, from https://optinmonster.com/online-shopping-statistics/
Peterson, H. (2020, August 17). More than 7,500 stores are closing in 2020 as the retail apocalypse drags on. Here’s the full list. Retrieved October, 2020, from https://www.businessinsider.com/stores-closing-in-2020-list-2020-1
The World Wide Web is the most impressive tool of its time, but the internet can also be a scary and unsafe place for us all. Instead of using the internet’s tools, we instead have become the product. *Companies use data that they have collected about us to make us attractive to advertisers without a thought on if the type of marketing we receive is healthy or helpful. The Wall Street Journal recently wrote an article about social media platform TikTok questioning if they should be banned by the U.S. Government. Within this article, Bowdeya Tweh, a journalist for the WSJ, questioned the security concerns around TikTok and conveyed some surprising information. The social media platform, which is now the sixth most popular platform in the U.S., collects location data and the user’s internet address. It also stores a user’s browsing history, the type of device the application is being used on and retains private messages that are exchanged between users. With a majority of TikTok’s clientele being under the age of 25, it’s concerning that private data can be made public or be sold to third parties. Advertisers particularly can target individuals using algorithms.
“If you’re not paying for the product, then you are the product”
The internet is too advanced to be able to back track or shut down, and with that, too much of OUR information is up for grabs. Why? Because there is simply not enough regulation. Unfortunately, if you want a free service or product then you automatically have to give up your civil rights and expose your data to the many companies and organizations out there that can utilize it. What companies could do is have us give permission to use certain data. Data is a human right, which is being exploited, without our knowledge. Since there is almost no regulation around personal/private data, the internet seems to be spinning out of control. In recent years the government has called on these internet companies to testify in senate hearings to explain how they collect data, how they then use it, how they share it and how they plan on protecting the consumer, if at all. Unfortunately, there is still no legislation or law protecting our data and privacy.
With this being said it is clear that our private data has become a lucrative industry, if we were to consider its value, one could suggest that it even surpasses oil. Ringlead.com suggests that 97% of businesses use data to power their business opportunities and 76% of businesses use data as an integral part of forming a business strategy. Media Reports also states that in the case of market value, American tech company Apple has surpassed Saudi Arabian oil company Aramco. According to the new data, Apple’s market value is $184,000 million, while the market capital of Saudi Aramco is currently $176,000 million. This is only one of the many oil companies. Facebook and Google alone are worth $1.3 trillion versus the combined value of the top five non-chines oil companies, valued at $1.1 trillion.
When oil is drilled from the ground, it is not ready for use and instead needs to be refined and transported, and in doing so its value increases. Data, on the other hand is purely a collection of knowledge, studies and truths. Data can be used instantly adding to its value even more. In addition, any commodity including gold and silver, has limited supply available whereas data and the collection of it, is infinite.
So whats next? I think that oil industry is a dying one and eventually oil as a resource will become scarce. We will most likely be living on energy as a resource and using AI and data more than ever.
For a more in-depth understanding of data privacy and what’s to come, I recommend Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma. Professionals that have worked for Google, Facebook, Pinterest and other influential companies, give their explanation and thoughts towards social media, its capabilities and how data is consumed.
*Companies meaning Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Google etc.
Agrba, L. (2019). Consumer Data is More Valuable Than Oil. Do You Know Your Digital Worth? Retrieved October, 2020, from http://www.industryandbusiness.ca/technology/consumer-data-is-more-valuable-than-oil-do-you-know-your-digital-worth
Tweh, Bowdeya. “Is TikTok Getting Banned in the U.S.? It’s Complicated. Here’s Everything You Need to Know.” Wall Street Journal, Aug. 2020.
Orlowski, Jeff. The Social Dilemma. 9 Sept. 2020, www.netflix.com/watch/81254224?trackId=14170287.
Data Is the World’s Most Valuable Resource. (2019, September 04). Retrieved October, 2020, from https://www.ringlead.com/blog/data-is-the-worlds-most-valuable-resource/
Newdna. (2020, August 04). “Data is the new oil”, Apple surpasses Saudi Arabia’s Aramco. Retrieved October, 2020, from https://newsdna.in/data-is-new-oil-apple-surpasses-saudi-arabias-aramco/