The Innovator's Playground

Posted by Lauren Cohen on Thu, Oct 27, 2016

By John Marshall, Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer at Lippincott, a creative consultancy.

 

Today, now, at this very moment, is the slowest pace of change you will experience in the rest of your life.
Reading the headlines, it’s clear an unsettlingly different world is emerging. Amazon is working on a version of its Alexa assistant that can understand emotions. A machine is predicted to join a corporate board of directors within 10 years. Children born today will very probably not learn to drive, nor visit a physician for a checkup when they are 20.

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Topics: marketing, design, Innovation, data, technology

Surviving Our Faster Future

Posted by Lauren Cohen on Tue, Oct 11, 2016

Written by Brigid Sweeney, Manager, Global Agency Marketing & Business Development at Racepoint Global (and MITX FLG alumnus)

On September 21st, I attended MITX’s FutureM conference, where I was witness to inspiring conversations and breakthrough ideas from C-level executives and other industry professionals. I am no stranger to MITX – I have been attending MITX events and workshops throughout my professional career and just last year, was selected to join their Future Leaders Group (FLG). During my time in the FLG, I was lucky enough to work with seven other young professionals who were elected into the program based on leadership skills, entrepreneurial spirit, and early impact on the Massachusetts innovation ecosystem. The FLG offers young professionals the opportunity to network and meet with esteemed industry leaders such as Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, and Diane Hessan, former President & CEO of C Space. Although I’ve since graduated from the FLG, I was able to return for their 2016 FutureM conference and sit in on Joi Ito’s Inspire Talk.

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Topics: marketing, social, digital marketing, FutureM, content, MITX, technology, social media

Art and Science: Get Your Tech Team to Embrace Design Thinking

Posted by Lauren Cohen on Wed, Sep 28, 2016

Written by Keith LaFerriere, Verndale

Since the term was coined in 2008, "design thinking" has gone from a novel concept to a requirement for any successful marketing team -- but getting both creative and tech on the same page can be a bigger challenge than many executives anticipate.

A recent 2015 CMO Digital Benchmark study confirmed that the vast majority of creative and tech team members speak different languages: only 30 percent of marketers and 13 percent of IT executives say that the relationships between the two are collaborative and productive.

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Topics: marketing, Boston, design, technology, creativity

Re-inventing Marketing for the Modern Day Consumer

Posted by Lauren Cohen on Wed, Sep 28, 2016

Written by Kayla Niedziejko

Re-inventing Marketing for the Modern Day Consumer 

Last week, I attended day 2 of MITX’s FutureM conference, and left with a completely new perspective of marketing in today’s society. As a recent graduate of business school, I was shocked to learn just how fast the industry has changed since earning my degree in 2015. Forget the 4 P’s—marketing in today’s world is about meeting people where they need to be met.

When I say today’s world, I’m not talking about “The Digital Age”—a jargon term that marketers love to use. If I wasn’t already aware, this conference solidified the idea that the digital age doesn’t exist as a separate entity. We are LIVING the digital age. It is ingrained in everything we do; from the moment we wake up in the morning to the second our head hits the pillow at night. The issue with marketing in a digitally savvy industry is understanding the consumer. How do we do that? Simply meet consumers, when and where they want to be met. However, that is easier said than done when the industry and technology is continuously changing.

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Topics: marketing, branding, digital marketing, customer experience, FutureM, technology

Culture of Innovation

Posted by Lauren Cohen on Thu, Aug 25, 2016

Innovation is having a moment. Brands, products and individuals are all striving to be and say that they are innovative. But unpacking this word has lead me to some bigger questions… what does it really mean to be truly innovative? How can you foster a culture of innovation within a company? How do you find and attract innovative people?  I had the opportunity to get more insight into my questions when attending a panel hosted by MITX called “Disruptive Innovators Series: The Anatomy of an Innovator.

The panel featured three speakers including Anne Marie Dumais, Open Innovation Program Impact Leader at GE, Ace Moghimi, AVP & Head of Innovation at Lab Of Forward Thinking and Dan O’Malley, Chief Digital Officer at Eastern Bank.  All of these individuals have helped to create a seat at the table for innovation within large companies in order to make disruptive change.

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Topics: marketing, digital marketing, Boston, Innovation, technology

Stand Out By Blending In: Making Native Advertising Work on Mobile

Posted by Lauren Cohen on Tue, Aug 23, 2016

Our mobile devices have become an extension of ourselves. We sleep next to them and bring them everywhere. They are the last thing we check at night and the first thing we see in the morning. Brands and marketers, however, are still learning how to connect with their customers on smaller screens.

Native advertising (ads that are tailored to the look and feel of their surrounding content) is a popular solution, and sponsored stories, in-feed editorial units and News Feed ads, have found their way to smaller screens.

Suffice it to say, we have come a long way from the age of pop-ups and flashing banner ads. Over the past few years, brands and agencies have developed an expertise in selecting ad formats that deliver on tangible goals. Native advertising stood out as a top performer because it is non-interruptive and opt-in.

According to the Mobile Marketing Association, users spent 40 percent more time interacting with mobile native ads than with traditional ads on mobile, and average brand recall is twice as high with native ads.

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Topics: marketing, digital marketing, video, advertising, mobile

Burst the Filter Bubble

Posted by Katharine Panessidi on Tue, Aug 16, 2016


What is a filter bubble?

I am a fairly liberal individual. As far as political leanings I tend to be Democratic leaning, no surprises there. And the presidential elections like the one this year make it even easier to be democratic leaning for an individual like me.

But at the same time I do honestly believe that the true conservative viewpoints have a lot of value and have managed to push our country forward. At the very least, I like to read about these viewpoints, seemingly contrary viewpoints, to understand the philosophy that has contributed heavily to the success of our nation.

But lately with the abundance of information, I have noticed that I get my news feeds more from social media sites and digital news aggregators rather than the actual journalistic sources. As this phenomenon consumes our daily lives, I have noticed that a lot of the stories covering the contrary viewpoints have disappeared from my feeds. I have put myself in a bubble of information that supports my viewpoints, and as a result, rather than being more pragmatic by reading about all sides, I have started to become more ideological. This is called a filter bubble, a bubble created by the filters around the choices I make.

Why do filter bubbles exist?

Once we created the internet, the way we have, filter bubbles were inevitable. Most digital sites and social media sites only benefit from having greater number of eyeballs, meaning viewers of these sites. While the internet was created under the principles of democratizing information - creating greater and faster access to information, it never really solved the problem of how to manage this constant abundance of information.

The way it was resolved was through the creation of social media and aggregator sites (eg Huffington post), that can then use machines and algorithms to find the information best suited to an individual and as a result help us consume the most relevant information. How did we manage this before social media? We talked to our friends (real life friends as opposed to the 1000 facebook friends I mean), neighbors, other parents at kids’ schools, even water cooler conversations at work. So what has changed? None of these folks were getting paid for sharing information.

But social media or aggregators survive by commercializing their business through advertising. And they make more money when they can keep people on their sites longer, as opposed to provide unbiased information. To achieve this these sites use machine algorithms that figure out the most desirable stories, as opposed to the most informed stories. Commercial pressures to sustain their revenues through advertising have managed to create filter bubbles.

So what if filter bubbles exist

Some of the issues are obvious. Filter bubbles have made us even more seperated our ‘physical’ neighbors. We don’t discuss issues openly anymore in person. Its is far easier to discuss them online with like minded people. But as a result we have started segregating ourselves rather than learning to have a dialogue with contrary viewpoints and learning to co-exist.

This aspect has been discussed on TV and radio a lot especially in the backdrop of elections. But even more critical, we have now started finding physical neighbors based on like mindedness of social views. And as a result our neighbors in real life are people that we would want to connect with in the digital life. This has impacted in creating a more polarized nation, one of the reasons why only 7 states matter anymore in presidential elections.

At an even more extreme, filter bubbles have helped consumers (of the internet) find a place to collect others with weird viewpoints, no matter how extreme or out of the commonly held believes folks have. As a result, we have helped these consumers of internet feel good about being weird, feel proud about being weird. This in my opinion will certainly help create more extremism in future generations.

How do we get out of these bubbles?

There are a few levels at which we can process this information to avoid such bubbles. At an individual level, it is important to make more attempts to include more contrary viewpoints in our life, be it around politics or dietary habits. Discussion alone will lead to the growth of our society.

But as a society we need to strive to create better internet. Hold aggregator sites and social media sites at higher standards. If they are going to be the standard bearers of news, they need to be held at certain standards. And this will allow for our society to progress in a more positive direction.

About the Author:
Amit Phansalkar is a Tech Entrepreneur, Data Scientist, and Evangelist. He is currently the Co Founder at Netra Systems Inc, Partner at sostec.io, and Co Chair, I-COM Data Science Board. Previously, he led data science, data strategy and vision for MassMutual Financial. He led the data venture for MassMutual to create a data ecosystem to help drive innovation in products and consumer engagement models. Mr. Phansalkar has more than 15 years of experience driving innovation and building products using big data and most recently served as the global head of data sciences and advanced analytics at Millward Brown Digital. Prior to that, he was a co-founder and VP analytics at Cognika, where he created predictive analytics products utilizing a combination of structured and unstructured data with applications in defense, ad-tech and healthcare industries. Amit is a data evangelist trying to solve complex challenges and representing complexity using disparate data sources.

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Topics: digital marketing, digital, targeting, social media, filter bubble, news

Taking Customer Experience beyond the Buzz

Posted by Katharine Panessidi on Mon, Jun 27, 2016

Walk into any retailer executive boardroom and you are bound to hear the buzzword: customer experience. As technology evolves and creates ever more ways for customers to shop and engage with brands, what defines a great customer experience also evolves. Here are a few of the biggest trends shaping the future of customer experience - and some thoughts on what it all means for you.

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Topics: seamless, customer experience, mcommerce, mobile, ecommerce

3 Reasons Video Ads & eCommerce Are a Perfect Match

Posted by Katharine Panessidi on Wed, Jun 22, 2016

eCommerce is a business that often centers around visuals. So it makes perfect sense that videos are emerging as a preferred way to market eCommerce in the digital world. 

Video ads are a smart, cost-effective, and efficient method to convey your message to potential customers. From the moment a video ad is viewed, research has shown a measurable lift in ad recall, brand awareness, and purchase consideration.

The same study even showed that people didn’t have to view the entire video to drive their purchase decision, though the longer that people watched the video ad, the greater lift in ad recall.


However, viewing a video ad in full was not required for deciding to commit.

The powers that be at Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, et al. did not create their empires by being oblivious to such trends. Almost one third of consumers are using social networks to research products.  This is why these platforms continue to innovate on ways to present advertisers an opportunity to place themselves in front of potential customers with video.

Here are three reasons why video can be a perfect match for your company:

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Topics: video, video ads, advertising, ecommerce

Creating a Seamless Customer Experience

Posted by Katharine Panessidi on Tue, Jun 21, 2016

This year’s MITX eCommerce Summit on July 25th is focused on understanding what customers want and delivering them a seamless shopping experience. Defining and delivering a seamless experience can differ by category, however, because the same customer will behave differently depending on what they are purchasing. Combine the complexity of shopper behavior with selling a big-ticket item online, like furniture, and it requires a unique approach. An approach that respects and builds on the importance of brick-and-mortar stores to customers in a retail segment where 96% of the purchases still happen in a store.

Here are some learnings in how we approach turning furniture shoppers into furniture customers:

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Topics: e-commerce, seamless, customer experience, omnichannel, path to purchase, content, brick and mortar, MITX, mobile, ecommerce, attribution, retail