Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Why is Square Distruptive innovation?

Recently, I had to visit a chiropractor, and he had a set up at home. After he finished the treatment, he took out his iPhone with a white strip on top and proudly claimed that he accepted credit card. He has been using Square to accept the credit card. According to him, his business has grown 30% since he started using Square. That is disruptive.

Square is a revolutionary service that enables anyone to accept credit cards anywhere. Square offers an easy to use, free credit card reader that plugs into a phone or iPad. It’s simple to sign up. There are no extra equipment, complicated contracts, monthly fees or merchant account required.

How does it work? The Square reader converts a credit card’s magnetic stripe into audio pulses, which are then transmitted via the iPhone’s headphone audio connector and cellular network to Square. That is a truly innovative approach.

Also it has disrupted the process – When you signed up for a Square account, you became a credit-card accepting merchant within minutes. previously it took weeks and it was a tedious and costly process.

Square has grown from $1 billion in payments processed annually to $8 billion. The company has closed a $200 million round of funding, which reportedly values the mobile payments company at $3.25 billion.

FastCompany named Square number one
Innovation company of financial industry in 2012. When Square launched in October 2010, it was a mere dongle that plugged into iPhones, enabling anyone--especially small businesses--to accept credit card payments. No more. Square has since set out to transform the entire payments process, launching an iPad app designed to replace the cash register and point of sale credit card equipment and processing and its Card Case app brings the future of the digital wallet to smartphones today without having to wait for a tap-and-pay system of embedded chips and readers.

If you would like to read more about the company @


Small Business Saturday: From Nothing to a Nationally Renowned Day

One of my best friends from college helps to lead the Small Business Saturday program pioneered by American Express. After witnessing her in action, I can certainly appreciate how much work and planning goes into the seemingly organic drive to support small businesses the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This past Small Business Saturday exceeded expectations with consumers spending around $5.5 billion compared to the $5.3 billion estimated total. Furthermore, American Express confirmed the consumer turnout among AmEx cardholders at small businesses rose by nearly 21 percent versus last year’s event. (Source: PRWeb)
Several elements of digital marketing (among others) helped to make SBS a huge success:


Class Flash Mob

What's the best way to be in a class mob without learning out to dance?

Know exactly when and where it is... that's what I did!

And now I get all the glory, but without the embarrasment!

Thanks camera person...


Monday, December 10, 2012

Big data @ FourSquare

I have attended a meetup sometime back at FourSquare location regarding their big data usage. If you want to know what technology they use, this blog is for you.

This is talk given by Blake Shaw - data scientist and Joe Crobak -engineer from foursquare

FourSquare has 20m+ users and it records 1500 actions per second. Blake talked about mining signals from check-ins and build social recommendation engine on top it ( they called it Explorer).

He talked about the place. The place is not only a physical entity but also a place where people meet and interact in a certain timeframe.

Blake showed one of the map created by million of people who checkin at one location. It was the map of central park created by checkin!!!

They collect, analyze and report on time signature for places.

By mining the check-in data, they can discover the correlation between event and sale. For example - hot weather is correlated with the high checkin near ice cream shops. They can recommend people place to go based on weather pattern.

They also analyze the sentiment data - called happiness on foursquare. They analyze the comments people are making during their checkin and discover the negative or positive sentiments.

Blake uses algorithms of finding similar items -Critical for their recommendation engine. Large sparse k-nearest Neighbors is one of the main algorithm.

He is also computing venue similarity for the recommendation purposes.

Blake also showed the excellent visualization of historical checkin on the world map at different times. He used Matlab to create that visualization.

Joe Crobak talked about the hadoop infrastructure in details -

Th infrastructure handles ~1.5B log events per week

Infrastructure components -

Cloudera CDH3u3
12 node Hadoop cluster in EC2
Google spreadsheet -automated reporting
Scoobi - hadoop MR connector for Scala

They started with elastic map reduce (EMR) and faced few limitations and moved to their own Hadoop cluster in AWS. One of the limitation was that people are running Hive query very frequently, so they need a Hadoop cluster that is running all the time.

Overall, they have been using big data to drive insight from petabyte of data successfully.


Is Daily Deal business dead ?

Despite all the down days, we just had on the wall street, It has actually been a pretty good year. S&P 500 is still up almost 10% for 2012. So, you can't blame economy for what is happening with the daily deal pioneer website Groupon. It's stock is down more than p80% since it went public year ago.

Is Daily Deal dead? Analysts say that It is not dead but little tired. Consumers have been running daily deal fatigue. The business was good when one of the spa deal landed in your mailbox once a day. But now, it is not unusual to have 4 or 5 deals in a day. After a while it become too much. Sometime, there are same coupons for same local spa and restaurants. Groupon and others are running out of streams to discover new business model.

On the other side, the marchants are also cooling off , after loosing money on step discounts and not able to convert those consumers as repeat customers.

But, Saving money never get old. Deals and offers never go out of fashion. What we have now is massive correction in the daily deal market. Meanwhile, to stay alive, Groupon and other daily deal companies are moving beyond the daily deal. Groupon and livingSocial both are selling products such as electronic items, Jewelry etc at discount as well as selling marketing service to small businesses to market their businesses.


Visual Recognition for Instagram

An early stage startup has developed image recognition software that can recognize brand logos from user Instagram photos. The startup, known as GazeMetrix, can identify photos with branded items such as Starbucks coffee cups or coke bottles. This is considered a valuable feature for brands who are interested in how consumers interact with their brands. GazeMetrix also provides analytics to brands such as how often they are featured in photos. Of the 25 brands that GazeMetrix tracks, Starbucks appears most often in photos followed by Coca-Cola, BMW, Monster Energy, Google, and Corona.

Learn more about GazeMetrix here:



Technology behind Kinect...

We saw in class how amazing thing Kinect can do? If you are curious about the technology behind it, this blog for you.

PrimeSense is the company who invented the technology behind the Kinect and licensed to Microsoft. PrimeSenae developed the method and core software that camera/controller uses to read human bodies and gestures.

Before PrimeSense's technology, most gestural control systems were based on a "time-of-flight" method -- infrared light (or the equivalent: invisible frequencies of light) were sent out into a 3D space, and then the time and wavelengths of light that returned to the specially-tuned cameras would be able to figure out what the space looked like from that. But PrimeSense's method actually encodes information in light patterns as it goes out, and the deformation of those patterns is what the camera looks for.

Once the camera recieves the IR light back, it gets an image similar to the one above -- you can see me sitting with a notepad on the left, and a few other people from PrimeSense around the small room on the right. The computer builds a basic shape of the room it sees through the camera and the people in it, and then the real processing starts.

PrimeSense actually developed a chip that sits right in the camera device, and that's where the camera starts deciphering the image. It looks for any shapes that appear to be a human body (a head, torso, and two legs and arms), and then starts calculating things like how those arms and legs are moving, where they can move (your arms probably can't fold backwards at the elbow, for example), and where they'll be in a few microseconds.

They have been revolutionized the way we interact with machine. It is just starting.
There is more to come.....


Google map with live traffic updates in India

Now you have turn-by-turn navigation and live traffic updates in India if you use Android smartphones.

The user can simply type or speak one's destination address and voice-enabled directions will guide one to one's destination. India is the latest addition to the list of countries where Google offers these features.

Google has also launched live traffic updates within maps for Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune but, surprisingly, not Kolkata. Red is the colour indicating heavy traffic, while green indicates free flow, and yellow is somewhere in between.

How do Google get this information? Google anonymously combine speed and location information of GPS-enabled devices currently traveling on the road. This, combined with historic traffic data, helps them determine the traffic time estimate. IF you’d like to help make Google estimates better through crowdsourcing and have a GPS-enabled phone, try using Google Maps for mobile the next time you’re in traffic.


Nokia's augment reality play

Nokia’s new Lumia phones built in the augmented reality in the core that provides on-screen information about the handset’s surroundings.
Here’s how Nokia describes the software:
“Nokia City Lens is Nokia’s location-based augmented reality application. Using the phone’s camera viewfinder, Nokia City Lens provides an augmented reality overlay view of buildings and instantly highlights places of interest.
It basically turns sight into the next interface for searching the world around you. The app then provides information about each building or landmark in the area giving the user an at-a-glance understanding of what restaurants, museums, shops and others places of interest are nearby.”

As we learned in class, we've seen these types of augmented reality apps before, such as Yelp’s monocle feature and the Layar browser, but a few things stand out when I look at City Lens. Firstly, Nokia is going where only third-party developers have tread before. I can’t think of another handset maker that is putting this type of technology front and center by creating its own app.
Second, Nokia didn’t just build an AR app. Instead, it has integrated the software heavily with the hardware on its new Lumia 920 and then made it available on the older handsets.
To use these types of apps, you need a solid camera system and Nokia surely has that in its Lumia line. The new Lumias use Nokia’s PureView technology, but even the older Lumia devices have very capable sensors. Navigation functionality is important as well and as can you see in the video demo, the City Lens software takes advantage of Nokia’s expertise here. Finally, tying the application to the Lumia’s accelerometer doesn’t just change the display orientation
of the app; it actually dictates which functionality you get from the software.


Privacy concerns for childrens' mobile use

In this adage article we learn that many mobile apps targeting children do not have the proper privacy precautions in place. Many of these apps collect user data and do not disclose what data is being collected. It is expected that stricter regulations will be enacted to ensure childrens' privacy while using mobile apps. This could have interesting implications for brands and app developers. Although targeting is helpful to marketers this brings up the issue of where to draw the line. Should targeting children be illegal? It will be interesting to see how this plays out over time.



Pay for complete views of video ads

In this article, Adweek describes how one company is changing video advertising payment structure. If a video ad is 30 seconds or shorter the advertiser will only pay when the viewer completes the entire video. This is similar to YouTube's TrueView plan in which users have to option to skip ads, and advertisers only pay for ads that are not skipped. However, this is the first time I've heard of users having to watch the entire video. Although ensuring this engagement is likely valuable to advertisers, I question if getting to second 30 is really that much more effective than watching through second 27.



Amazon Releases Updates to Its “Flow” AR Tool

I have been using a barcode scanner to check on product information and pricing. However, even as a loyal Amazon customer addicted to Prime, I didn’t know that Amazon had its own augmented reality (AR) tool to check on product details, related items, and pricing for goods. Amazon just recently updated the tool to offer other helpful functionality, such as text searches or URLs. So, you can quickly click through to get more details and also have access to a phone number when applicable. However, the application, while free, is only available on Android. I am guessing that’s due to Apple…not to Amazon. It will be interesting to see what other interactive capabilities Amazon introduces with the tool, as it could be a major traffic driver to its site for users vs. bargain shopping across the web. (Site here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.a9.flow&hl=en)

-Rebecca Canan


The White House Getting Personal on Pinterest

Last week I posted about the Pope signing up for a Twitter account. Another big personality has now embraced social media in a personal way – the White House! This morning the executive branch expanded its social media presence by getting involved on the photo-based sharing site, Pinterest. As we discussed in class, Pinterest is a primarily female (~80%) website that enables users to “pin” images into collections and lists of favorites and aspirational dream boards. Kind of like scrapbooking online with a bit of a commercial edge in many cases.

Realizing that people are eager for a more personal look into the White House and the holidays are a popularly trending topic on Pinterest, the White House kicked off its Pinterest boards with a photo of Bo, the family dog. More to come… :)

For the Pinterest account: http://pinterest.com/whitehouse44/


Make a Facebook Page More Effective

Nowadays many companies are engaging Facebook Pages but there seems to be some lack of understanding in what can be done and how it should be done. The Facebook page needs to be attractive and at the same time should make the users to get engaged. How can we more effectively manage Facebook pages? Furthermore, how can we measure the impact of our social media efforts?

From the article “Survey Reveals Statistics to Make a Facebook Page More Effective” we can find out how to make the Facebook page for the brand more effective. ODigMa unveiled a study which shares statistics to make Facebook pages more effective. It has studied the Facebook pages of over 400 brands for the several months and arrived at statistics which can make the Facebook page for a brand more effective. The key findings of the study are as follows.

Key findings:
  • ·       Surprisingly weekdays are the best to get likes on your page
  • ·       Maximum: 6-7:30 PM on weekdays
  • ·       Minimum Likes between: 9AM  – 11 AM
  • ·       Even for shares 3:30-5 PM on weekdays is when one sees maximum traction
  • ·       Minimum Shares between: 2 PM – 4 PM
  • ·       Pictures clearly speak louder than words. A post with a photo gets twice the number     of Likes as compared to a text post; and about 8 times more as compared to a post which is just a link
  • ·       But, here is the clincher, a text post gets more Comments (about 1.5 times more) as  compared to a post with pictures
  • ·       Weekends are the best to have Interactions with users. Thursday is the worst day
  • ·       Ensure that your posts have less than 20 characters, to get maximum Likes
  • ·       Ensure that your posts have more than 400 characters to get maximum Shares


A Grocery Store with No Groceries

I was reading a really interesting article about experiments using entirely virtual department and grocery stores. I’d heard about one of these, which was based in a train station in Asia, last year in my Emerging Media class. However, it sounds like there is increasingly more experimentation with these virtual, pop-up stores. If you haven’t heard about them, here is how it works. A small store, wall, or kiosk has images (many of them touchscreen) where you can peruse merchandise, such as a grocery items or laptops. If you see something you like, you can scan it with your phone, check out at the end, and then the goods are delivered to your address.

A recent pilot test of this concept happened at Gatwick Airport’s North Terminal this past August. Tesco set up a virtual store where passersby consumers could scan merchandise on a screen. They could elect to have their groceries delivered fresh when they arrived home from their trip. Results of the trial are still pending as of this article in MarketingWeek. 

For a retailer, it makes a lot of sense…you carry virtually no inventory; the real estate costs are much less; and you can position yourself in high traffic areas like airports, train stations, subway or bus stops. For consumers, you get the benefit of the browsing/shopping experience; you can buy things when you’re out conveniently out running errands, and it’s simple. However, it’s TBD on whether this idea will really take off or if it’s a glorified huge laptop that would be more convenient to be using while on your couch at home. I kind of see this moving in a hybrid retail/billboard space where you can purchase items immediately that are displayed virtually on screens and posters. What do you guys think?

 -Rebecca Canan


Papa John’s Teaches Us to Use Caution in Mobile Marketing

The pizza company with the garlic dipping sauce is in a bit of trouble for some activity related to mobile marketing. Papa John’s is facing a $250 million lawsuit for sending out over 500,000 SMS text messages in early 2010. The company is arguing that the texts were sent through a third party and the company is not responsible. The customers are arguing that Papa John’s sent them sometimes up to 15-16 messages at a time, sometimes in the middle of the night. The allegations are having a real effect – since the plaintiffs were permitted to team up, shares of PZZA have fallen by 2%.

A recent article in Forbes covered the story and gave some tips for marketers who want to use mobile to communicate with customers, summarized below:
  1. Design & build a mobile experience.  So, it’s not just about a one-off text, but engaging with the customer on their terms and when it makes sense for them.
  2. Ask for permission, confirm and approve. Enough said.
  3. Grow engagement & conversion. Be uber targeted about your interaction when you decide to use mobile; aggregate CRM, opt-in survey information, and any other insights you may have about the customer.
  4. Timing is everything.  Probably not a text about pizza specials in the middle of the night?
  5. Make technology your friend and build a dialog/create loyalty.  Think about your strategy, then the technology.

-Rebecca Canan


E-Commerce Service Shoedazzle Leaves Subscription Model

In the last year year, ShoeDazzle, the Kardashian-endorsed shoe-of-the-month-club company, has grown from three million users to ten million. The company’s subscription model has become the poster child for hot commerce startups. However, despite gangbusters growth, ShoeDazzle is throwing that model out the window. Subscribers to the $39.95 monthly shoe deal can continue to use the plan, but as of today, those of us with small closets and tamer spending habits can shop the site without committing to a year’s worth of stilettos. But is it right decision? Here's an relevant article about this.

E-Commerce Service Shoedazzle Leaves Subscription Model, Regrets Move

 In her post titled “Subscription e-commerce starts to go out of style” Upstart Business Journal writer Amora McDaniel suggests that with Shoedazzle’s decline, the strength of the entire e-commerce model is now in question. But Ms. McDaniel’s post is lacking in context-- both of the greater e-commerce world and the story of Shoedazzle.

The fact of the matter is that e-commerce subscription businesses are on the rise, not on the decline, as more and more companies are entering the market. There are now subscription nutrition supplements, condoms, razors, diapers, and heck, even Walmart has entered the fray.

The collapse of Shoedazzle-- a business so well-respected that it sparked a dozen copy-cats-- can be attributed in part to former CEO Bill Strauss’s decision to end the subscription service earlier this year.

Earlier this year, the Kim Kardashian-backed venture changed from providing a monthly curated subscription shoe service for $40 a package changed over to a single-purchase transaction model at the behest of now former CEO Bill Strauss.

As early as April, smoke was beginning to rise from Shoedazzle and warning bells were ringing. In a post on her blog, Denise Lee Yohn asked the question Has Shoedazzle lost its dazzle? She argued that the company, which had pioneered the shoes-as-a-subscription service, was making the fatal mistake of changing its business model and becoming a plain vanilla e-commerce player that sold shoes.

Without the built-in relationship that subscriptions provide, Shoedazzle languished in the single-transaction market. Customers could (and did) walk away. Then in September, GigaOm announced that Strauss had been replaced as CEO. Now founder Brian Lee has returned to Shoedazzle, hoping to right the ship. But perhaps the most damning aspect of the GigaOm piece was an angry customer’s complaint with the move: “Effectively, I was saying: Please! Keep taking my money every month forever! And Strauss was saying, ‘No thanks, I’m going to stop auto-charging you and focus on these people who might want to give us money once or twice.’”

The obvious question on everyone’s mind is: why did they move away from the subscription model to begin with? The company has essentially lost what made it unique, and now has to compete with other online shoe retailers-- like Amazon, Zappos, Spartoo, etc. The online retail word is especially competitive. Now as Shoedazzle wrestles with its soul (sole?), perhaps the best option is to offer the best of both worlds-- a curated subscription service and an online retailer. That way, customers who want the convenience of subscription shoes can have that, and those who just want a $40 pair of shoes without a long-term relationship can do that as well.

Customers like these, who want the convenience and curation of a subscription e-commerce business, are growing in number. And unless Shoedazzle can repair the frayed relationships with these customers, they’ll go to one of many competing (and successful) subscription e-commerce companies.


One banker’s predictions for the future of digital media

The digital media sector is finally maturing. Dan Ramsden, founder of CoRise, predicts some of the forms that that maturation will take.
  • With maturation in the underlying assets, look for maturation in the way these are funded. As we climb up from small and early venture equity to mid-stage to late-stage to growth equity, buyout finance, and even debt capital, look for all of these follow-on pieces to increase in prominence and traffic
  • Look for greater business emphasis on volume, capabilities and capitalization.
  • In the strategic community, look for M&A activity to take place based on the integration of disparate parts. We have already observed the confluence of media and commerce, of finance and technology, of media and finance, and obviously media and technology. Look for these combinations to continue and for strategic directions to be set on an increasingly integrated field, where the distinctions will be blurrier between retailer and media outlet, between hardware and software company, and, most notably, between information and money flows
  • Look for hardware to assume a more central place in the imagination of founders and the strike zones of buyers and investors
  • Look for traditional media to garner increased attention from new media. As the breathlessness for novelty subsides and competition for market share and revenue intensifies, traditional media will be revisited and its audience and communities recognized for untapped value.

More on topic:


Europe wants to smash ‘barriers’ to digital health

As the rise in mobile, connected health management services creates an ehealth boom in the US, Europe launches a strategy to upgrade health systems it concedes are stuck in the 20th century.

European Commission has drawn up an “action plan” to improve prospects by 2020, to:

  • specify the structure of patient record data that can be exchanged across borders
  • improved patients’ digital health literacy
  • develop a mobile health green paper by 2014
  • improved the market conditions for ehealth entrepreneurs, and more

More on the topic:



Nike-backed accelerator to support a new wave of digital fitness startups

On Monday, Nike announced the launch of a new Nike+ Accelerator, powered by TechStars. Through the program, ten startups that use Nike+ technology will receive mentorship, coaching, office space and other benefits. Given the momentum behind quantified self fitness and health tracking gadgets and software, Nike’s interest in supporting sports and fitness innovation makes plenty of sense. In addition to Nike’s technology, companies like Fitbit, Striiv and Jawbone help people monitor their physical activity. By supporting startups in digital health and fitness, Nike can stay ahead of the curve and encourage more fitness-focused companies to use Nike technologies.




Online job boards don’t work – how big data can fix the problem

Despite high joblessness in the country, many companies have job openings but lack qualified applicants. Steve Goodman, of Bright, says big data and data science can help fix that problem.

Human resource experts will tell you that for any one job posting, they receive hundreds, if not thousands, of resumes. As a result, they’re able to spend just six seconds evaluating each resume, typically scanning only the candidate’s education and their last job.

Big data can help recruiters find the right candidates to interview by cutting through the noise created by the chaos of the current job search process. Big data tools such as modern distributed file systems and map/reduce/clustering techniques make large data sets accessible and more easily analyzed. Big data allows for a multi-faceted statistical approach to the filtering process at the first level, and thus helps identify better candidates from a deeper pool.

More on the topic:



Google Gets In The Festivus Spirit With Its Latest Holiday Easter Egg

LINK: http://techcrunch.com/2012/12/10/google-gets-in-the-festivus-spirit-with-its-latest-holiday-easter-egg/

"A Festivus for the rest of us!" (Yay, Seinfeld!). The above link references another "Easter Egg" from Google -- when someone searches for "Festivus," the results appear with a "Festivus pole" to the left of the search results.

This article is essentially another instance in a long line of "Easter Eggs" which Google has hidden into its search results. The entire (?) list can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Google%27s_hoaxes_and_easter_eggs

I thought this would be an interesting blog post because it is another unique/quirky way which Google differentiates itself from other search engines (which we did not cover in class).

Check out the Wikipedia article above and try them for yourself -- enjoy!


The Future: Marketing & Mobile Payments

Everyone is talking about mobile payments. There's a race for the unknown start-ups in the space and many of the big names in finance as they race to find the right balance between the technology, acceptance and customer experience.

I worked this summer at American Express on a new product in the space called Bluebird (https://bluebird.com) which got me thinking about where the opportunity lies for marketers in this space. As a brand, Starbucks has made a huge push in trying to brand their own mobile payments experience. They've invested $25M in mobile payment acceptance technology, Square, and they've also worked hard to make their customer loyalty program mobile as well. (http://adage.com/article/digital/starbucks-invests-25-million-mobile-payment-provider-square/236587/).

On the marketing side, Google also jumped into the mobile payments industry purely from the advertising and ownership perspective. They've been successful in showing Click-through rates and other analytics, but struggled to provide advertisers with a monetary value of their advertising capabilities. Owning a google transaction, would allow them to solve their attribution problem, connecting ad directly to sale.

PayPal owns the largest P2P (peer 2 peer) market, where users can accept and send payments to other users. Again, owning the transaction.

So where to do marketers fit in? And what opportunities should marketers be eyeing? Well, first is in-app ads. As consumers shift to mobile payments through apps, it's likely that these apps will own a significant time and eyeball share with consumers. The second, is creating in-app experiences by integrating their brands. Similar to the Starbucks' lead, a brand could create an API experience that overlays on the mobile payment processing and app, such as tailored deals, or rebates to drive sales performance. Another is utilizing customer loyalty channels in the mobile space. Apple Passbook is one example of this. United and Amex have created API experiences in the Passbook app, and there is opportunity to do this with other mobile payments processors as well. Finally, own the mobile payment. In the case of Bluebird, the product is a joint venture with Walmart, which further pushes what is traditionally a retailer into the consumer finance space.


"Facebook vs Google: The War of Ads"

Link: http://www.valuewalk.com/2012/05/facebook-inc-fb-vs-google-inc-goog-the-war-of-ads-infographic/

This is a pretty cool "report card" infographic which grades the advertising platforms from Facebook and Google along the following criteria:
1. Advertising reach
2. Revenues / Growth
3. Advertising Performance
4. Ad Targeting Options
5. Ad Formats

Interestingly, the author favors Google on EVERY criteria! Below the "report card" section, the infographic does a great job at providing the statistics/relevant information to justify each "grade."

I found this to be a very insightful and helpful page to learn about the differences and trends in display advertising on both platforms at a glance.


Marketing your Customer Service Digitally

This post is a little more traditionally marketing focused. A recent article in e-marketer reminded me that  there is a lot of opportunity in marketing some of your lesser known strengths like customer service. Best Buy has been hugely successful in branding their geek squad, and now Bonobos has followed suit with their Customer Service Ninjas. With customer service increasingly going digital with chat functionality, servicing on twitter or Facebook, there is an increasing opportunity to brand this effort. It's a great chance to capitalize on more innovative and digital techniques.


Also, here is a helpful guide from Mashable on ways to use digital technology to thrive in the customer service space - a huge marketing message and an overall brand differentiator.



Shorter Pants... Finally!

Finally!  Thank you Peter Manning for www.petermanningnyc.com.  You are the sole long-tail embracer in the entire men's clothing industry.  Sure, your market potential is smaller than the average retailer, but I see you have come to the same conclusion as me:  there are a lot of short guys out there!

Not sure why you're not marketing yourselves more effectively, but I encourage you to do so.  When I Google search for "Men's short jeans" or "Men's pants 28-inch inseam" you should be at the top of the organic and paid results.  The marketing payoff will be worth it.  Act soon.  Act now.  The big name retailers are slow moving, but they will catch on... they have to at some point!

-- Interested in talking about videos?
Contact Michael at Melmed Media 


Super Bowl Second Screen

The Super Bowl TV ads are usually pricey – but you can’t beat the cache and reach. The amount of replay the ads get on prime time TV and virally on the web may justify the high price tag. What’s crazy this year, is that “second screen” ads have nearly sold out as well. It’s becoming more and more difficult for marketers to play during blockbuster events. Only huge brands with huge pockets can afford airtime.

This year, CBS interactive is selling typical video ads during their live streaming online as well as ads that are placed around players while they are on the field. Another cool innovation in the ad space, I’ll be logging in during the game to check it out.