Siri, what movies are playing?
Siri, did the Spartans win?
Siri, what's the square root of 64?
Siri, can you call my husband?
If you're an Apple aficionado, all of the above should sound familiar. Every month, Siri gets an average of 10 billion requests, and if food scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst are successful, you'll soon be able to ask one more.
Siri, will that food make me sick?
According to NPR, researchers are eager to develop a smartphone device that will identify harmful bacteria like E. coli and salmonella — both of which can cause foodborne illness.
The problem? Currently, testing takes at least 24 hours and some serious technology. Scientists obtain samples from things like raw spinach and chicken skin by rinsing the food and collecting the water. Then, to get a big enough sample, they wait for the bacteria to multiply.
The solution? Experts in Massachusetts are experimenting with a $30 microscope attachment that would reveal substances in 30 minutes. The safe, simple process would be as follows:
The team is determined to make it easy, as an undergraduate student participating in the project said, "I think the average consumer will be able to figure it out without much trouble."
They're also determined to make it benefit almost everyone, especially those using it home kitchens and during natural disasters (to test drinking water).
While this technology is very preliminary and still "several years from market," it's based on the overarching goal of making safety more accessible. And who can't appreciate that?
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As we near the end of the year, we begin to question the year to come. What is next? What can we do to prepare? Specifically, where is media going in 2019?
For a while there, users were engaging in shared experiences, and while that is still very accurate, media consumption is shifting into more curated and connected content for consumers. Ever notice the "Recommended For You" feature on Instagram...their algorithms understand our every move, like, share, view and want to provide more carefully selected content like that to us.
So, what is next for media consumption in 2019? Let's take a look:
What else can marketers expect from 2019? Read up on the latest in:
YouTube's algorithm invites you to keep on watching and watching... It starts with a simple ask, a clip from a talk show you missed or maybe a tutorial to get that beachy wave look. Before long, you've consumed dozens of cat videos and lost track of your original intentions. You're not alone, according to a recent survey by Pew Research Center. Some 35 percent of U.S. adults tune in to YouTube videos for instruction on how to perform tasks and 13 percent of find YouTube helpful in understanding world events.
+It's by design. The researchers also found that YouTube's recommendation algorithm "encourages users to watch progressively longer and more popular content." 81 percent of YouTube users watch the recommended videos at least occasionally; that includes 15 percent who do so regularly. Kids are watching too. YouTube says it's not kid-friendly, but 81 percent of parents with children 11 years old or younger have allowed their children to watch YouTube content.
Droid's New Following
Android users connect with businesses using Google Maps app. A recently launched "follow" feature on the Google Maps mobile app allows Android users to stay current with their favorite IRL stores, restaurants and other businesses and discover places that are opening soon (TheVerge.com, 25 October 2018). It works a lot like Facebook Pages.
+The Google Maps for Android app now lets consumers follow businesses, much the way they follow friends on social media. After tapping the follow button to track a business, the app's users receive news of events, offers and other information from that business in the app's For You tab. Profiles of places that are about to open also appear on the app, with the projected opening date in orange. Businesses set to open within three months can create a free Business Profile to be included.
More App'd to Deceive
Ads in apps relentlessly target the youngest consumers. Children's mobile apps are crawling with advertising, much of which is distracting and/or deceptive, according to a study by University of Michigan researchers. The study focused on the most-downloaded paid and free apps for kids under 5 years old—south of kindergarten.
+Of the 135 apps the team reviewed, 95 percent contained at least one kind of ad. 42 percent of the ads featured commercial characters, like Strawberry Shortcake; 46 percent were teasers to upgrade to a full app; and 30 percent promoted in-app purchases. Others were advertising videos that interrupted the child's play; nudgy ads to rate the app or share about it on social media; and distracting ads, including banners and ads camouflaged as gameplay items. Based on the research, 22 consumer and children's advocacy groups sent a letter to the FTC requesting an investigation into the practice of using in-app ads to target young children (NYTimes.com, 30 October 2018).
New to Insta
8 Instagram Updates your brand should know about. A lot can change in a year. Perhaps you cut your hair? Changed jobs? Bought a house? Did something arts and crafty? Did you post your updates to Instagram? And did you notice their new features? Let's break it down.
Who's the most popular girl at the tech party? How can you reduce your bounce rate? Are Facebook support groups okay? Find the answers here, as well as what marketers can expect in 2019 for Health and Wellness, Cause Marketing and Technology.
Vitamin B & P
What marketers can expect in 2019: Health and Wellness. What was hot in health and well-known in wellness for 2018 might not carry into the new year. As 2019 approaches, brands should reflect on the messages to bring with them. And those to leave behind. Here's a look at the top consumer health and wellness trends for 2019.
Heartbeat takes health tech from wearable to useful. We love wearable technology. But who's willing to crunch the numbers, study the patterns and analyze the results? This high-tech, high-touch cardiologic care provider is disrupting healthcare by meeting consumers before they have heart disease.
What marketers can expect in 2019: Technology. Alexa became the most popular girl at the tech party in 2018. What's ahead for the Internet of Things (IoT) in 2019 and what are the key marketing challenges and opps?
What marketers can expect in 2019: Cause marketing. From #MeToo to the Times Up movement, March for Our Lives to the #NeverAgain campaign, causes and cause marketing became a huge focus for brands and consumers in 2018. Marketers can expect more of the same in 2019.
'Facebook (is) the only way': the perils – and promise – of Facebook's emotional support groups. It's becoming increasingly common for patients with rare diseases or cancer gene mutations to turn to Facebook for emotional support. But these groups often face privacy and financial concerns.
10 ways to reduce your website bounce rate infographic. Simple, concise and on target.
Looking to market to all generations but don't have the budget? Not a problem. There's one common denominator across each audience. Can you guess what it is? Download our free guide, How to market healthcare to all generations, to learn more.
Consumers' use of digital technologies has plateaued. The growth of U.S. consumers using cellphones, smartphones, social media, the internet and computers has stalled, according to Pew (PewResearch.org, 28 September 2018). Between 2016 and 2018 there was zero growth of cellphone (95%) and smartphone ownership (77%) and social media use (69%). Internet use grew just slightly, from 88% to 89%, and desktop/laptop ownership dropped from 78% to 73%.
+The slowdown is related to near-saturation levels — especially for cellphones, smartphones and internet use — in groups that include college graduates, consumers age 18 to 49 and consumers with household income of at least $75,000. Cellphone ownership in these three groups, respectively, is 97%.
Millennials don't hit their "financial awakening" until age 33. Millennials are notorious for delaying major life milestones like marriage and kids. True to form, their "financial awakening" is also behind schedule: age 33, on average, according to an Ally Financial survey (NYPost.com, 5 November 2018). This surprises no one. It's been tough for consumers born in the '80s to accumulate wealth, because Great Recession.
+Millennials' monthly expenditures on everything from basics (rent and utilities) to student loans, medical costs, entertainment and travel add up to a hefty $2,165/month or $25,980/year. That means the average Millennial must make about $53,000 just to be comfortable — a figure still out of reach for many. Millennials might do better if they were more financially savvy. Just 35% feel confident about doing their own retirement planning, investing and taxes. 55% could use some help, and half fear they'll never be able to retire.
Banked and Mobile
The ranks of unbanked consumers are shrinking, while mobile banking rises.In 2017, the number of U.S. households without a savings or checking account fell to 6.5%, 0.5% lower than 2015 and the lowest level since 2009, according to an FDIC survey (Pymnts.com, 24 October 2018). While that may be bad news for tech expansionists, it's good news for the U.S. economy.
+"This decline can be attributed almost entirely to improvements in the economic circumstances of U.S. households," the study authors write. 34% of consumers who remain unbanked cite lack of funds as the primary reason for their status, while 12.6% simply don't trust banks and 8.6% balk at hefty bank fees. And 18.7% of households are in the underbanked gray zone; they have at least one traditional bank account but also get other financial services outside the banking system. While the ranks of unbanked consumers are shrinking, the number of Americans using mobile banking continues to rise, from 23.2% in 2013 to 40.4% in 2017.
What marketers can expect in 2019: Health and Wellness. What was hot in health and well-known in wellness for 2018 might not carry into the new year. As 2019 approaches, brands should reflect on the messages they want to bring with them. And those to leave behind.
Heartbeat takes health tech from wearable to useful. Wearable tech. We take it to the gym, out for a run. We swim with it, bike with it, walk the dog with it. We take it to work, disguised as a tasteful accessory. We even sleep with it. Why? Because we're obsessed with data—and there's no data more fascinating to us than our own personal health information.
We love wearable health technology.
We take it to the gym, out for a run. We swim with it, bike with it, walk the dog with it. We take it to work, disguised as a tasteful accessory. We even sleep with it. Why? Because we're obsessed with data—and there's no data more fascinating to us than our own personal health information.
But unless you're a serious athlete, you're probably not doing much with all that information. Apart from keeping track of steps per day, minutes slept and calories burned, you consult your wearable for little else. Maybe the time.
That sparkly wrist candy is so much deeper than that. The data collected by wearables can inform more productive workouts, disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment options. Your wearable may contain critical insights that complement or enhance standard lab tests. But who's willing to crunch the numbers, study the patterns and analyze the results?
Heartbeat will do it.
The high-tech, high-touch cardiologic care provider is disrupting healthcare by meeting with consumers before they have heart disease. That includes consulting their Fitbit or Apple Watch for insights. The retail-based clinic wants to make it easy for consumers to know their heart, which is what their cardiologists say is the key to protecting it.
At the Heartbeat website, consumers can book in-clinic cardiology consultations and tests, including electrocardiograms, echocardiograms and cardio stress testing on a treadmill—without a referral. Also online, they can book an appointment to have the Heartbeat team prepare a personalized exercise and diet program or schedule a run in Central Park with a Heartbeat cardiologist. Consumers with a Fitbit or Apple Watch can also book an appointment to have the team analyze the data on their wearable.
The service seamlessly combines the human and technological aspects of preventive care while also providing cost transparency. In an online review of Heartbeat, one patient wrote: "All the prices are clearly spelled out in a menu of services on the website and are very reasonable ... Everything happens on a computer screen in real time and a follow-up report, summarizing and graphically representing all the major findings and recommendations, is e-mailed to the patient in the next few days."
Wearable healthcare tech is only getting more sophisticated and popular. It won't be long before the trend is the norm. Savvy healthcare practitioners will discover ways to maximize their patients' use of wearable tech to deepen their knowledge and counsel them to better health.
A slew of new technologies continued to hit the market in 2018, which has become more the rule than the exception in recent years. For marketers, the real shift is not so much with the technologies themselves, but with consumers' perception of them; these days, we're not so easily impressed. We don't want new technology for technology's sake anymore, we want it to make our lives easier. More and more, consumers have stopped asking, "What can it do?" and have shifted to, "What can it do for me?"
Now that more and more consumers are getting information through virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri, marketers need to determine how they can rise to the top in this new medium. According to a fascinating article in the Harvard Business Review, the rise of AI platforms may eventually make omni-channel marketing obsolete; everything will go through these platforms instead.
Not everyone has Alexa, but nearly everyone (77% of all Americans and a whopping 94% of those aged 18-29) has a smartphone. And they're increasingly relying on them, rather than computers, to access the internet. Having a smart mobile marketing strategy is more important than ever.
Marketers attempting to brand tech products and services must tout ease of use, convenience and practicality; consumers are no longer willing to try your new technology just because it's "cool." This applies to apps and websites as well.
Feels Like Happiness
Wealthier consumers find happiness in experiences, while less affluent prefer stuff. Experiential marketing is what Instagram Stories are made of. Look at me, I'm skydiving into a corn maze infested with zombies. Here I am doing yoga with rescued animals at a vegan, cage-free farm. Turns out, experience is also where happiness comes from—for those who can afford it anyhow Lower-income consumers get more bang for their buck when they buy actual stuff.
+"For lower-class consumers, spending money on concert tickets or a weekend trip might not result in greater happiness," explains Deborah Hall, whose research team published their findings in Psychological Science. "In fact, [they] were happiest from purchasing things, which makes sense given that material goods have practical benefit, resale value and [last longer]" (ScienceDaily.com, 3 October 2018). Perception also plays an interesting role here. When asked to imagine their income had decreased by 50%, study participants reported similar levels of happiness from material and experiential purchases. But experiences make people happier when they imagine their income had grown by 50 percent.
TV viewers can earn points for watching shows on WatchBack. It's a couch potato's dream come true. Thanks to the free WatchBack app from NBCUniversal, watching TV has grown from the lackadaisical to a potentially lucrative pastime. The app offers sweepstakes in which the app's users can win points redeemable for gift cards. Watching featured shows earns consumers entries in the sweepstakes (Variety.com, 5 October 2018). A sweepstakes winner could, for example, be awarded points worth $100 and then convert his or her winnings into a gift card from Amazon, Burger King, Starbucks, Target, Macy's or many other merchants.
+WatchBack offers consumers limited-time viewing of full-length episodes from shows on NBCUniversal's networks plus nonexclusive content from more than 60 partners, including PBS, Mashable, Refinery29, Adventure Sports Network and Newsy. The app also delivers video clips from NBCUniversal's cable networks, including Bravo, CNBC, USA Network and MSNBC and from its broadcast businesses, including NBC Entertainment, NBC News, NBC Sports and Telemundo.
The Collins Dictionary's Word of the Year says a mouthful about consumerism today. There are more than 4.5 billion-words in the English language, but only one can be selected to epitomize the state of our collective conscience. According to Collins lexicographers, that word is "single-use." Last year's Word of the Year was actually two words: "fake news."
+The popularity of "single-use" has increased four-fold since 2013, prompted by news stories and documentary series raising public awareness of this environmental issue. Single-use "encompasses a global movement to kick our addiction to disposable products. From plastic bags, bottles and straws to washable nappies, we have become more conscious of how our habits and behaviours can impact the environment," Collins says.
How machine learning is changing the rules of marketing. "Machine learning" may not be as popular a term as "single-use" or "fake news," but the application is changing the way consumers search for information. If your first impulse is to ask Alexa what it is, you're among them.
Holiday marketing: How soon is too soon? Holiday marketing...while some advertisers started their campaigns halfway through October, most retailers officially kicked off the season November 1. Target, Anthropologie, the new Grinch movie and Amazon are some of the brands populating the marketplace early. Oh and Starbucks too! But are consumers ready?
"Machine learning" may not be a term you've heard before. But if your first impulse is to ask Alexa what it is, you're already using one application of it.
Machine learning is the practice of getting computers to learn autonomously, through the accumulation of data input. The more input, the more accurate the algorithms become. In other words, machine learning is getting computers to learn the way people do – through experience. It's a form of artificial intelligence.
Machine learning has a huge number of applications. Voice and facial recognition, analysis of healthcare data for research and diagnostics, detection of online fraud, even lunch ordering—a service called Forkable uses algorithms to predict what everyone in your office wants to eat, then delivers it. And if you've ever been served an ad on Facebook and thought, "How does Amazon know I need garbage bags?", then you've experienced the marketing side of machine learning.
Personalization. By collecting data on customers' behaviors, machine learning gets to "know" them, and can predict the kind of products or messages they're likely to respond to. So many companies use this kind of personalization that consumers have come to expect it. In the future, marketing messages that are clearly NOT personalized will stand out (and not in a good way).
Elements of personalization can include names, geographic location, driving and shopping habits, and more. The British company Bidooh, which sells digital outdoor advertising (such as large posters in shopping malls), uses facial recognition to choose which ad it serves to passersby.
Email segmentation and optimization. Instead of laboriously dividing email lists into preference groups, companies can use machine learning to help target more accurately according to behavioral patterns. Machine learning can help generate myriad combinations of subject lines and messages, then optimize for the ones that perform best; it can also optimize timing and frequency of when emails are sent. Some email services even use machine learning to generate the content of emails. One app, called Phrasee, claims that it "writes better-performing marketing copy than humans."
As a human writer who needs my paycheck, I'm not sure I like the sound of that. But some say it's the way of the future. According to a 2017 whitepaper by IDC Research, "Programmatic advertising has automated many of the transactional elements of the advertising supply chain, and IDC believes that the next bastion is the creative content and copy process."
Forecasting. With machine learning, you don't have to be a visionary to predict future demand or anticipate customer behaviors. For instance, real-time analysis of data can help pinpoint customers you may be about to lose, then deliver them a special message or offer to bring them back. It can also help determine the optimal media mix to reach your target audience in the months ahead.
Machine learning is a great tool. But beware of the "creep" factor. In a 2017 survey, 36% of consumers who chose not to buy a smart speaker (like Amazon Echo or Google Home) cited concerns about privacy as their reason. In October 2017, a glitch in the Google Home Mini caused the device to secretly record users without their knowledge, which did little to change skeptics' attitudes.
Likewise, marketing that oversteps its bounds by being a little too personalized can trigger the creep factor. Spotify pushed the boundaries in 2016 when it created posters that called out the actual listening behaviors of some of its customers. One headline read, "Dear person who listened to the ‘Forever Alone' playlist for 4 hours on Valentine's Day, you OK?" While this is a clever and amusing ad, if you were the person in question, it would be undeniably disturbing. Many people find the sort of ads that call out their current location ("We see you're shopping at Target!) unsettling as well.
Marketing technologies are developing so rapidly, learning to use them correctly is often a case of trial and error. Sometimes it's hard to know where the line should be drawn until you've already crossed it. But the possibilities are exciting.
Follow the Leader
Millennials and Boomers look for different values in cultural leaders. Young adults are inspired by leaders with talent and a solid social justice platform, like Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James and Steph Curry. Older consumers are more likely to follow those who command authority (FastCompany.com, 27 September 2018). These findings come from a survey conducted for ad agency Enso.
+Respondents ranked 100 influencers, from the Pope to US presidents. Many of the names were polarizing. Boomers gave Tom Brady and Tiger Woods much higher ratings than Millennials did. Mark Zuckerberg placed 31 spots lower with Millennials — his own generation — than with Boomers. The difference may be because internet-dependent Millennials feel betrayed by tech leaders on privacy issues. Older generations aren't as invested in the issue. Enso's founders see the list as proof of a changing worldview—from material to social virtues.
IRL Glasses shield consumers from screens' visual noise. Consumers craving a break from screens may find relief in screen-blocking sunglasses. The so-called IRL Glasses, which grabbed attention when the developers recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, use polarized optics technology.
+In the current, beta version of the glasses, polarized lenses have been rotated 90 degrees and flattened to block light from LCD and LED screens (Wired.com, 7 October 2018). So, when consumers don the glasses, most TVs appear to be off, even if they're not. The glasses also block some computer screens. The glasses' developers hope to eventually partner with optics-industry leaders on the development of glasses that block all screens.
Politically passionate consumers show bias toward news. Consumers with even the most extreme political views have at least one thing in common; they base the accuracy of news on their preferred sources (NYTimes.com, 26 September 2018). The Knight Foundation and Gallup created an experimental website to gather consumer reactions to news content. Participants rated the trustworthiness of content on a five-point scale.
+Articles on economics, politics and science were drawn from media outlets representing the political spectrum, including the New York Times and Vox on the left, and Fox News and Breitbart News on the right. According to the survey report, participants were less trusting of channels with source attribution: "The difference between no source and source conditions is statistically significant. This finding may suggest that source attribution lowers content trustworthiness by reminding users of personal preferences and biases toward particular sources."
I'll Drink to That
Why two Michigan breweries are joining forces to boost our local beer scene. While some businesses choose to cannibalize, two Michigan brewers are choosing to collaborate. The deal may be the first of its kind, and hopefully not the last.
Learning America's mindset on money and spending is critical for planning a 2019 marketing strategy, especially for banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions.
First, let's talk about 2018:
The Good News: Americans are working. In September, unemployment hit 3.7%, its lowest point since 1969. U.S. worker productivity continues to rise, which is helping out the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicts growth of 3.1% in the GDP for the year, up from 2.2% in 2017.
The Bad News: Housing demand fell in 2018, and in October, the mortgage rate rose to 5%, the highest in 7 years—an alarming trend for future home shoppers. In addition, banks got stingier with credit card lending. Luckily, consumers have become warier about buying on credit anyway.
Now, as the country's therapist might say (if we had one), "How do we FEEL about that?" Overall, the polarized political climate and general chaos has the country a little jittery. Businesses are on edge waiting for the latest political moves on trade. Trust in our institutions is at a low ebb — and that goes for financial institutions, too.
2019 for millennials and Gen Xers: With greater economic and political clout, these groups are going to start demanding change from the government and financial institutions. Americans owe more than $1.2 trillion (yes, trillion) in student loans, and most of it is owed by millennials. Aging Gen Xers are increasingly concerned with the rising costs of healthcare. And everyone wants more transparency in financial services.
Technology is key. Branch visits for millennials are generally reserved for big events like applying for a mortgage (and increasingly, even that is done online). If they have a question, they're going to look online first, so make sure it's easy for them to find the answers.
Apps for saving and investing, like Digit and Stash, mean that all tech-savvy customers have plenty of non-bank options. Banks or credit unions that don't have an easy-to-use app are at a distinct disadvantage.
Millennials still digging out from student loan debt are going to have a harder time buying their first home. Provide education on low- or no-down-payment programs like FHA or VA loans, and you could help get them in the door (and win their trust).
As a group, boomers are way behind on retirement saving. Worrying about what the government might do with Social Security and healthcare isn't helping matters. No wonder about 60% of boomers plan on working past 65.
Financial companies are aware of this, as evidenced by E*Trade's humorous TV ads in the 2018 SuperBowl:
But don't assume all working boomers want to retire but can't. Some continue working because they want to. And some retire from their first career, but move on to newer, more fulfilling work.
Offer options for last-minute retirement investing, but keep in mind that this group may also be in the market for help with long-delayed career dreams: owning their own small businesses, for example, or even going back to school. Life expectancy in the U.S. is 76 years for men and 81 for women, and you can only play so much golf.
The CBO predicts a slowdown in economic growth in 2019, so consumers of all ages will be more cautious with money. Plan your marketing strategy carefully to convince them you're worth the investment.
The weather may have been mostly grey, but the Seattle SHSMD conference illuminated us four Brogan healthcare marketers in so many ways! Here are our 9 key takeaways:
With all of the talks, the Museum of Pop Culture dinner event, and Seattle sightseeing, we left the conference feeling enlightened, entertained, educated and tired! These are just some of my key takeaways from the talks I attended, but please let us know what you liked best about SHSMD 2018.