Category Archives: Society & Culture

Can we do it in the dark?

pool_picLet’s face it, some things are just better in the dark (or at least dim lighting), and while at the gym last week that became all too clear.  I’ve been recovering from an injury so the pool has been my best friend. When I arrived at the gym I found that it was closed for its spring cleaning. It was night and all the lights were off outside, but I saw the jacuzzi was still open and available. This turned out to be one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve had in quite some time. There were a couple of other people in the jacuzzi with me, but since it was dark, I didn’t really eve notice them. I was able to enjoy my solitude even with others around me.

When I think about this, it relates quite a bit to how many of use live our lives these days with many of our social interactions losing their face to face quality as we move through life watching others on Facebook and Twitter. We know those people are there, we can see them, but we don’t have to look them in the eye. We have the ability to live in our own little world where we can interact, ignore, like and dislike without every leaving the safety of our quite secluded darkness.

So I returned to the gym this week intent to have my relaxing solitude experience once again only to face a stark reality. The pool wasn’t closed for spring cleaning anymore and all the lights were on. I got into the jacuzzi and found myself in a circle of people I did not know with all of us simply staring at each other. No one spoke and it brought me right back to what I had been thinking about our lack of real human interaction. Eventually my old non-digital ways resurfaced from somewhere deep inside my subconscious and I struck up a conversation with another woman in the jacuzzi. Turned out our kids had gone to the same pre-school and we knew a number of the same people. We ended our conversation with plans to have coffee next week.

Just goes to show that sometimes shining a little light on things can change your whole perspective.

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Pop Quiz – Are you a Jay Prichett dealership or a Phil Dunphy dealership?

That’s the question your dealership needs to answer after Wednesday’s episode of ABC’s Modern Family that took on the (seemingly) arduous task of buying a car. Phil Dunphy, notorious nice guy, researched, planned and decided on the perfect car for his daughter all before he ever hit the Dealer’s lot. When it came time to sign on the dotted line, Jay, Phil’s ornery father-in-law, jumped in as the old pro in negotiating to save Phil from making a huge mistake by trusting the dealer and his price. Turns out, the dealer was a straight-forward, honest guy who gave Phil the best price on the car. We find this out as Jay insists they “walk away,” thinking the dealer will stop them to negotiate further, which does not happen. Jay then convinces Phil to jump to another dealer in town with the assurance they would give them a better deal. Sadly for Jay, but great for the reputation of dealers, the offer from the other dealer was the real deal, and couldn’t be beat. The dealer wasn’t looking to “sucker” Phil, but looked at him as the new type of shopper who has done the research, knows what the car’s worth and expects a fair price without a hard sell.

See the full article here

Putting our “real voice” out there

Ricky Gervais wants you to talk to him, well, maybe he wants you to listen to him, I can’t really tell! I have been doing some social tech analysis with some of the latest apps, and was surprised that the latest trend is voice. With cat videos taking up so much of YouTube, maybe people are ready for a change. With voice you are able to take on another persona, and some of the apps like Dubbler, even let you change how you sound.justsayin

I’m not really sure where I stand on this as a trend yet, but as a marketer, it’s definitely intriguing. Here is a great article that asks the question is Voice the Next Frontier in Social Media.

I downloaded several of the “just released” apps mentioned in the article and found myself seeing how this could be a great tool for “real-time” testimonials for service companies (like the one I work for), or let’s say you are a restaurant, before sending the first meal out, the chef could take a quick picture and give a quick voice over to that nights special. Three minutes later, you have updated all of your social channels letting followers know “what’s for dinner”. So many quick and inexpensive ways to communicate to the masses!

I played around with a number of these apps and after listening to Tommy Lee scream or say “what’s up” over and over again, I decided the most interesting thing about Just Sayin’ is Ricky himself. His Derek posts are priceless! Dubbler is a tool that’s a little more sophisticated (well, except for the option to turn your voice into a “cat” voice…what is it with cats?!) and I can see using it for story telling, like taking a picture of me with a client and having the client voice over talking about our partnership and what it means to their business. The jury is still out, but I plan on trying these tools out for some low-tech live blogging and just see what happens…stay tuned!

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I Know What You Did Yesterday

i-know-what-you-did-last-summerWhen I Know What You Did Last Summer came out it gave pause to many a teenager (and gown up) that had ever done something wrong (of course not to the extent of the characters in the movie, but still). The idea that someone may know what you’ve done and be able to track you down can be a chilling idea, but for marketers it is the holy grail. I’ve talked about the idea of targeting people when and where they are, especially as it relates to how I want to be targeted, on my terms. I’ve always loved the idea of being able to walk into a store and get a text message saying, “hey we see you are looking at those new shoes, how about we offer you 20% off if you buy those size 7s right now.” I remember working on similar initiatives back in the 90’s with context sensitive selling, which has now become marketplace, but it’s still pretty generic, but that’s all starting to change.

With augmented reality becoming more commonplace and companies focusing on distilling unstructured, big data, down to things marketers can use, my hopes aren’t too far out there. And now I’m looking at companies like PlaceIQ that are taking all that unstructured data about people and what they are doing and turning it into info that marketers can use to determine the best way to target people and market products. And now we are seeing companies like Apple realizing how to get into this game. With their purchase of WifiSlam, Apple is betting that they will be able to work with big data companies to be able to track people inside stores and venues and sell to them on the spot.

As we go further and further into this brave new world, we will really realize that marketers will always know what we did yesterday, today and even the possibility of our plans for tomorrow.

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The Discount War: Are Shoppers Really Looking for Just One Price, No Gimmicks?

There has been a lot of talk recently about how consumers are starting to opt-out of loyalty programs due to lack of true value. I have to say, I have been a little annoyed myself at how some retailers can’t give me the same experience whether I am in the store, or buying online. Why do I continue to keep giving them the same information, and why are they only offering me deals on items I have never bought, nor do I intend to? This doesn’t mean I haven’t found myself purchasing a new brand, a color I don’t really like, or a size that doesn’t really fit, just because I couldn’t pass up the deal. I mean, who doesn’t like a great bargain?

54% of consumers polled feel that programs lack personalized messaging and valuable rewards. — Consumer Insights

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Patient Safety: Going Well Beyond a Checklist

With National Patient Safety Awareness Week coming to a close, we thought we would give some attention to this important topic.

In following this week’s articles, blog posts and tweets, much of the discussion about patient safety has centered on the treatment a patient receives during a procedure or hospital stay, so we asked Dr. Gary Ferguson, one of TIBCO’s Chief Healthcare Strategists, for his perspective. In his words he feels strongly that: “Many of these approaches are treating the symptoms, and not the cause.”

This is a good point. Take for example the case of hospital readmissions. It’s well known that CMS will begin penalizing hospitals if their readmission rate exceeds standards.

So what should caregivers be focused on in order to achieve patient safety, and how does technology fit into the overall goals?

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What Do Bananas and Social Computing Have in Common?

This past year’s TUCON had some amazing Keynotes; some inspirational, others educational, and of course there where those that were entertaining. But when Chris Robinson, CIO of KPMG Australia, came out on stage holding a large banana, I realized this was going to be all of the above. He related the story of a client who threw something of a curve ball at the firm. The client, who’s in the fruit smoothie business, asked KPMG to help solve a vexing problem: “How to automate the task of peeling lots of bananas quickly and cheaply?” Employing humans to do this would cost too much, while machines tend to smash the fruit, since bananas come in all shapes and sizes. Even for a consultancy that boasts all kinds of experts in retail, manufacturing and technology, KPMG was stumped.

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