Observations on media, marketing, technology, and their convergence—online and off—from Collin Canright.
May 12th, 2013 by Collin Canright
April 10th, 2012 by Collin Canright
Today’s cool new social technologies are once again discovering that nothing gets attention like plain-old email. As social and media aggregation technologies evolve into powerful tools of personal news delivery, email remains one of the most effective means of personal delivery.
PandoDaily did an article on retiring RSS feeds as Google retires Reader, the RSS reader that Google will discontinue on July 1. The author, Mike Tatum, quit using RSS readers and decided to look at alternatives. His article lists several, one of which is Pulse, which currently is my favorite way of reading news. Tatum complains, rightly in my view, that Pulse does not feel comprehensive, with its push methodology. You can add almost anything to Pulse; I find it awkward—but not so awkward that I’m currently looking for an alternative.
Tatum realized that the best alternative he’s found to RSS is plain old email: he’s reading more more email newsletters.
Tatum is not the only one. This week, Wired writer Ryan Tate published, “Why Email Newsletter Won’t Die,” which features the social media aggregation tool RebelMouse. RebelMouse provides a service that aggregates all of your social media activity, especially the links you share, into a single page.
I’ve been experimenting with the service on and off since it launched nearly a year ago, and it’s sweet. My tweets are automatically posted, including a picture. The idea behind the service is to provide “a social media front page,” a term they use that I like. Here’s my page:
I use RebelMouse’s Embed function to feature my RebelMouse feed at the top part of my personal blog. This screenshot from my blog shows how it looks on the post, in contrast to the native RebelMouse page above. Contrast the posts from RebelMouse on the left to my complete native Twitter feed on the left to see its appeal.
Now the company has launched “RebelAlerts,” which works over plain-old email. The service allows people to sign up for a daily newsletter feed. As of this week, you can integrate with MailChimp. And I’ll bet that future email-list integration options are in the works.
I am very likely to use this version, though I don’t use MailChimp, because, as Tate quoted Jake Levine, general manager at Digg, the news aggregation service that recently launched a daily email service: “If something is important to you, e-mail products are the one reliable way to make sure you’ll see it.”
Finally, Matthew Ingram, media writer at GigaOm, reported last week about LinkedIn’s evolution as a media entity. In the last few months, LinkedIn launched LinkedIn Today, which posts news updates on profiles. Last week, LinkedIn refreshed LinkedIn Today by launching “content channels” that individuals can subscribe to, sending an aggregated feed from multiple publications.
Along with LinkedIn’s purchase of Pulse, it’s part of the company’s strategy to become a media company. LinkedIn’s new magazine-style custom news channels, as Ingram writes, “has the potential to become a real competitor to other news aggregators and providers.”
And, yes, LinkedIn sends LinkedIn Today updates using plain-old email.
Every now and then, a piece will appear on the death of email, a more than 40-year-old technology. It hasn’t happened yet and is not likely to disappear anytime soon. Email remains the best way to put content in front of a potential reader, whether that content originates from an individual, a brand, or a media outlet—and whether it’s distributed through a website, social media channel, or individual.
Read our past posts on email delivery and marketing:
Email Powers Wires the Social Media Buzz (ebook)
Email: Content Marketing’s Workhorse
November 17th, 2011 by Canright Communications
You get ideas through friends on social media and then go to Google to validate.
Not social only. Not paid search only. It all needs to work together.
Starts with who you audience is. How consume content? What content? What device? What sharing preferences?
Think about who that end audience is and what you want them to do, the business outcomes you want.
What can we do to inspire our audience to take the action we want them to take: purchase, share, word of mouth?
Look at optimization holistically and what your hub and spoke strategy look like. What at hub and what spokes.
In B2B marketing, some 50-70% of customers are pulling themselves through the sales process by finding information online.
Hub and spoke publishing model: One central repository of information (blog) with distribution spokes (social channels)
That results in shorter sales cycles and prospects.
A ranking is not a business outcome. It’s a stepping stone mechanism for what we really want.
Great content isn’t great until someone shares and reads it.
March 29th, 2011 by Collin Canright
March 24th, 2011 by Collin Canright
March 14th, 2011 by Collin Canright
In the last week or so Google has announced changes to its search algorithm that is designed to favor “fresh” content over old, stale items. The change is designed to “make sure you get the most up to the minute answers,” according to a post on Google’s blog.
In “Giving you fresher, more recent search results” Google Fellow Amit Singhal says that some 35% of searches will be affected, especially those that focus on:
- Recent events or hot topics
- Regularly recurring events
- Frequent updates
The change has significant and positive implications for marketers using content on their websites to improve search rankings. How? Ben Wallis, writing in the Marketing Pilgrim blog, says that it “comes down to having new content.”
As it happens, I am reading one of the best books on creating new content for business marketing I have read in a long time. Michael A. Stelzner’s latest book, Launch: How to Quickly Propel your Business Beyond the Competition, provides a start-to-finish plan for using content as the primary means of marketing your business. With Google’s new search algorithm favoring the new over the old, Stelzner’s advice is all the more relevant.
What gives the book its power is the credibility Stelzner brings. He practices what he preaches; many of the book’s examples are drawn from his own business, SocialMediaExaminer.com, a website that provides educational content, written in magazine style, to marketers.
I am a bend-the-page reader, and I’ve bent an awful lot of pages I want to go back to in Launch. Here are a few:
The Elevation Principle (p. 7)
“The elevation principle says that great content plus other people minus marketing messages results in growth.” The examples of audience identification and how the principle works at Hubspot and the SocialMediaExaminer.com are compelling.
The Three Gift Circles (p. 88)
Stelzner takes this idea of friends and family, current clients, and your prospect base from Seth Godin and shows how to give (or not give) appropriate gifts of content to each.
Creating an Editorial Guide (p. 119)
Stelzner explains how magazines use editorial calendars. But he doesn’t stop there. He provides an example of SocialMediaExaminer.com’s editorial guidelines and content calendar.
Creating and Using Primary Fuel (p. 127)
This chapter describes the primary types of articles a business can write and how to write them, with examples of each.
Seldom do I finish a book without having a few critiques. The rocket ship metaphor used throughout the book seems strained at times, though it works perfectly to demonstrate how content can propel a business into the stratosphere. By the end of the book, I also thought it somewhat misnamed.
If I were to glance at the book in passing at the bookstore, I might think it’s about starting a company in general and not about basing a business marketing strategy on the key activity of generating content to propel the business forward.
Readers of Launch who can put Stelzner’s advice into practice should find it even more effective as a result of Google’s recent commitment to fresh content over stale content. Launch is an eminently practical manifesto and manual to building a business based on publishing great content, attracting interested readers, and converting them—gently and conversationally—into long-term paying customers and raving fans.
December 20th, 2010 by Collin Canright
Mobile commerce is still an emerging market in search of itself, with both the boosters and skeptics commenting in recent weeks. The swirl of news and surveys illustrates the tensions between tradition and innovation that mark the new-technology dance of entrepreneur demand creation and consumer desire fulfillment.
A Big, Fat Cloud
In a study that articulates demand for mobile phone payments, Accenture says that 45% of the most active mobile device users would pay for goods and services using their mobile phone. “Mobile commerce—which encompasses mobile banking, such as checking balances or paying bills over a mobile phone, plus coupons, promotions, redeemable gift cards, loyalty points, and more—is poised to drive huge changes in the way we shop and pay for goods and services,” said Andy Zimmerman, Global Managing Director, Accenture Mobility.
At the same time, 73% of the active mobile device users surveyed “expressed significant privacy and identity theft concerns,” according to Zimmerman. Accenture put a good face on the consumer counterpoint of desire and fear, as Zimmerman continued that “While the survey indicates there are issues to address in terms of privacy and security, these findings are good news for mobile network operators because consumers have requirements they look to operators, technology vendors, or financial institutions to address.”
The commercial conundrum within the counterpoint of desire and fear is nicely articulated by Yankee Group analyst Nick Holland, “Every silver lining comes with a big, fat cloud, and the much-hyped and even more anticipated mobile transactions explosion is much the same.” Although usage of mobile devices for payment, commerce, banking, and couponing transactions is increasing, “when consumers are asked to pay for such services, the answer is still a resounding no.”
Upper and Emerging Market Appeals
It appears that mobile banking and payments markets will develop to serve both sides of such oppositions. Mobile banking and digital banking and payments will appeal to both the upper-end U.S. consumer and unbanked emerging-market customer, predicted Citi Chairman Vikram Pandit, speaking at the Feb. 17 meeting of The Executives’ Club of Chicago.
For emerging and unbanked markets, “Mobile banking is a way to address ‘financial exclusion’ and provide greater access to banking to a broader number of people at reduced costs,” Pandit said. For the upper-end consumer, mobile banking provides additional convenience and efficiency to busy lifestyles.
The inevitable and much-needed hype warnings continued on March 1, as Art Gillis, an IT and security consultant specializing in banking, wrote in Bank Technology News:
“Mobile banking, in my opinion, is a little bit of a good thing. The press attention it has received is, in my opinion, over the top. Google Alerts sends me articles daily that were published all over the world with headlines that are hard to believe. Every investor I work for is aware of mobile banking as the hottest new technology, and investors expect it to be the proverbial shot in the arm for bank tech vendors. That’s a little bit like 10% ethanol in my gas tank will solve the global warming problem.”
Mobile is the shot in the arm for any number of organizations battling over ownership of the transactional turf. The Accenture survey, in keeping with its customer base, weighs in on the debate over which kind of organization will profit from mobile payments.
Reports an eMarketer article on the Yankee and Accenture surveys, “Respondents to the Accenture survey expected credit card companies to play a big role in facilitating mobile payments, at 59%. Nearly as many, 54%, thought mobile network operators would help enable mobile payments, and 52% thought software companies like Apple and Google would play a role.”
Apple and Google’s “Me Too” Strategy
I have heard it said, fervently yet naively, that banks and mobile operators ought to watch out for Google and Apple, as they move into payments, both on the web and through mobile access. This shows confusion about the payments mechanisms through the financial system and the payments process at the point of sale.
The artisans at Apple and engineers at Google both have been in the payments news lately, with their announcements of new content payments models. Apple’s has higher fees to content providers while Google’s is considered more of an open and equitable solution, as reported in Information Week.
Writing in the TechCrunch blog, Ohad Samet, payments fraud and risk management expert, provides a cogent commentary on the prospects of Google and Apple in the payments business and why any assumption of their massive success in payments does not take into account the nuances of the business. “Dominating payments requires much more than having the most users with credit cards or a huge take rate on digital content. . . . Creating yet another network based on existing methods is a ‘me too’ strategy that doesn’t provide real incentive for merchants to switch beyond the very specific uses Google and Apple provide today.”
Even so, the continuing focus on payments lies in the ongoing opportunities for innovation and disruption, which Citi’s Pandit believes lies in the vast international population of people without bank accounts and Samet believes lies in disruptive applications for payroll and short-term credit. The market for digital payments remains as vast as the number of traditional analog payments. As the Federal Reserve’s 2010 Payments Survey states, “With 27.5 billion checks still being written, almost half of which are consumer-to-business transactions, much opportunity lies ahead.”
This post was written for the Chicago Payments Information Exchange (CPIX), a group within the Built in Chicago community, serves as a focal point for payments-
related businesses in Chicago, with an emphasis on innovators, news, and trends in payments and banking.
The purpose of the group is to build on Chicago’s history of innovation in payments in order to create greater visibility for this financial-technology market in Chicago. CPIX is moderated by long-time treasury, banking, and payments writer and communications consultant Collin Canright.
Built in Chicago is fast-growing community that serves as a “resource for digital professionals working to build great web and mobile businesses.”
To join Built in Chicago, visit www.builtinchicago.org. For details, read this interview with founder Matt Moog: http://bit.ly/fWrnlp (links to Crain’s Chicago Business’ Enterprise City blog).
To view CPIX group content, visit www.builtinchicago.org/group/payments
December 13th, 2010 by Collin Canright
At the Sibos conference, the banks and software vendors show the latest and greatest technologies and techniques, while SWIFT’s two-year-old innovation initiative, Innotribe, brainstorms the future of finance. Sibos is the annual finance and banking conference sponsored by SWIFT, the Brussels-based organization that provides an international financial communications platform and messaging standards.
This year, the hottest new products and innovation initiatives focused on mobile banking and payments. Speaking at one of the sessions focusing on mobile payments, Diane Reyes, head of global payments for Citi, called mobile banking “one of the common denominators to link the global economy.”
Corporate treasures are interested in the speed of mobile banking, according to an Aite Group study sponsored by Fundtech, the international bank software developer. The study also shows that 65% of companies surveyed are interested in using basic corporate mobile banking services and more than half are interested in using advanced services. (See the full study at www.fundtech.com/mobile.)
Much of the formal discussions centered on how the banking, telecommunications, and funds transfer companies will carve up the market or partner to gain market share. The partnership view seemed to have won out. “My view on mobile payments is it’s an equal partnership with mobile operators, VCs, and technology providers,” Reyes said.
Consumers want fast, global payments that work anywhere and on any system, mobile enthusiasts agreed. “Mobile should be faster than cash,” said Gerhard Romen, director of strategic alliances for Nokia. It will be, but not yet. The frailties of technological development and its as-yet undeveloped international standards led to such ironies as credit and debit cards that would not work in Amsterdam transit ticket dispending machines, while cash Euros obtained from a nearby ATM did.
The SWIFT innovation stream, Innotribe, produced
striking white board renderings from its
open brainstorming sessions throughout
the Sibos conference.
Practical corporate applications of mobile banking are in their initial stages. Daniel Marovitz, head of product management, Global Transaction Banking, Deutsche Bank, noted that his institution sees mobile banking efforts on supply chains where mobile payments are more efficient than physical cash or checks, such as restaurant delivery. “It’s absolutely ripe
for mobile payment and integration with a supply chain
product [because it’s a] more constrained ecosystem where buyer and seller know one another.”
Another banker mentioned that it has been asked to develop mobile payroll payments, while Fundtech demonstrated a mobile application that would allow corporate treasurers who work in the field to approve time-critical payments on their mobile devices in a secure manner. Although not specifically a mobile application, the winner of the SWIFT Innotribe innovation award went to MoneyScope, which received EUR 50,000 to fund development of a cloud-based application that would deliver real-time data to the corporate treasury.
September 7th, 2010 by Collin Canright
Standards for payments and reporting tend to ignite passions and controversy, and the Single European Payment Agreement (SEPA) proved the point at the Sibos 2010 conference, held in Amsterdam in late October. European banks, companies, and other interested organizations seek and end-date on SEPA adoption, which thus far has fallen far short of expectations.
While Europe struggles toward a unified payments system, the United States puts what it can into practice, building in compatibility with international standards. The Federal Reserve Banks, for instance, announced its new international ACH payments product and reported in a Sibos session on its initiative to provide extended remittance information in Fedwire transfers.
Implementation of extended remittance information has been delayed a year, to November 19, 2011, so that banks can make the systems changes needed to support the data. Fedwire’s new remittance information is structured using ISO 20022. “We thought the need was unique to the U.S. but are seeing worldwide need for more remittance data in payment structures,” said Lauren Hargraves, senior vice president at the Federal Reserve Banks.
Indeed, the drivers of payments standards and initiatives likely will be large corporations making payments to suppliers around the globe, noted Jeremy Kidd, IT and business manager in the global treasury and insurance section of Cargill, the international food and agricultural concern. Cargill structures its financial information using ISO 20022 so that all data can move through the entire financial chain, from the initial payment through bank account reconciliation.
This “superstructure of information,” as Kidd called it, allows each entity along the way to have access to whatever information it needs for automated processing, without requiring any one entity or supplier to process or accept anything unless they choose to. The exception, however, is that every entity in the financial supply chain must accept and pass through all of the formatted data, whether they need it.
“The biggest problem we face is that some links in the [payments] channel can’t handle all of the information we send,” Kidd said. “With payments to Europe, all of the XML information is lost in the clearing system, so it isn’t available [to receivers] on the other end of the pipe. . . . It only works to its full extent if everyone supports it, and if everyone doesn’t support it, it isn’t a standard.”
Michael Knoor, managing director at Citibank, agreed. “There needs to be structured information transported through a common channel.”
August 31st, 2010 by Collin Canright
“Our investment has created a home for thousands of new jobs and has helped shine a national spotlight on Chicago as a technology leader,” [Chicago Mayor Richard M.] Daley said. “The fast-growing technology field is an essential part of our plan to make Chicago the most competitive destination in the world for new businesses and new jobs.” Chicago on the tech move, from Brad Spirrison’s Chicago Sun-Times column
I’m living in the post-PC revolution. I’m in a desktopless world that is about feeds and profiles running in all my browsers and mobile devices, and interacting in exciting new ways. It doesn’t matter if I am in the office, at home, or at Starbucks—I am productive wherever I am. The enterprise is not just going to the cloud, it’s now going social, and it’s going mobile. Facebook and Twitter have shown us the way. Guest post on TechCrunch by Salesforce.com’s Marc Benioff.
Remember this, though. When you’re reading something here that’s getting you really riled up, stop. It may be that you really should be thinking the exact opposite of what you are. And if you find yourself floating through a post agreeing with all the subtle pandering, wake up! Michael Arrington from TechCrunch
Do we really desire Google to tell us what we should be doing next? I believe that we do, though with some rather complicated qualifiers. Science fiction never imagined Google, but it certainly imagined computers that would advise us what to do. HAL 9000, in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” will forever come to mind . . . William Gibson on Google and Google chief Eric Schmidt’s recent interview.