The Dressler Blog

When you build digital stuff all day, you develop opinions. Lots of opinions.


Digital Trends

The Rise and Fall of Big Data The big data boom of the past few years is starting to go bust. Yes, data is still useful. But understanding, analyzing and drawing conclusions from all that data is harder than we initially imagined. Gradually, the enthusiasm for collecting any and all data has subsided and statisticians and database experts are starting to introduce the idea of collecting smarter data and parsing it strategically to draw conclusions. Successfully using analytics to understand the implications of your sales and marketing data requires objectivity, an awareness of statistical methods and a willingness to question your assumptions. In the article below, Bob Suh, CEO of analytics firm OnCorps, provides some useful advice into how to see data clearly and not use it to justify your own biases. Application to Marketing: Sorry to say this, but marketing is a discipline without expertise. Compare the specialization of marketing knowledge versus other corporate functions; we just don’t know that much that a reasonably intelligent fifteen year old couldn’t intuit. As a result, we have an unfortunate tendency to under-value expertise in related fields. Successful use of data requires a strategic plan and an experienced partner. Don’t try this at home. Availability: There are a range of analytics firms that can help marketers to understand and evaluate data. Some agencies have this function in-house. Many agencies claim such expertise. Caveat emptor. Read More Enough with the Coldplay A few months ago, I broke up with Pandora. We’d had a good run together, but Pandora was convinced that I enjoyed Coldplay. I do not. It didn’t matter how many times I clicked the thumbs-down button. Pandora’s algorithm knew I must love Coldplay and relentless hammered the band’s songs into my ears. In the article below, Will Knight of the MIT Technology Review examines Apple Music';s use of human DJ’s versus the algorithms used by Pandora, Spotify and Tidal. Apparently, musical discovery is more complicated than simply saying “like follows like.” Perhaps a future generation of music discovery algorithms will solve for these issues, but for now the reasons people love (or hate) music are more complicated than a series of characteristics in common. Application to Marketing: To be honest, the reason I was hating Coldplay is that I felt there was subtle condescension in the selections Pandora was playing me. “Here’s some soft, melodic pop music for your middle-aged enjoyment.” Piss off, Pandora. You don’t know me! In marketing, we have great faith in the power of algorithms to deliver a target audience. But an algorithm will lack the subtlety to consider human beings as something other than a series of classifications. If your algorithm is showing, you’re pissing people off. Availability: It’s worth following Apple’s lead and having human beings review and curate interactions with potential customers. Read More Cloudflare, Just Because My roommate in college has always been a step ahead of me when it comes to technology. I used to heap scorn on his enthusiasms, (“Internet? What the hell is that?”) but I have learned through repeated humiliation that he knows things I do not. A few years ago, he took a job at an obscure startup called Cloudflare that protects websites from Denial of Service attacks and offers general website security as a service. Not surprisingly, this “obscure startup” is now challenging the dominance of Amazon Web Services. Application to Marketing: If your website or your clients’ websites are mission critical to their business, you need to protect them from the increasingly sophisticated methods that hackers are using. Cloudflare is a necessary ingredient in that protection.It is irresponsible to have a site that isn’t protected in this way. Availability: You should have done this last week. Read More Content Doesn’t Get Blocked Ad blocking is in the news again. If your marketing depends on being interruptive, this is bad news for you. But if your marketing depends on sharing useful information that customers are looking for, all is well in your universe. Content marketing isn’t as simple as just throwing up a few articles or videos (or sending out a weekly “Digital Trends” email.) In the link below, you will find a huge amount of information on every aspect of content marketing. Click it. Learn it. Live it. Application to Marketing: This is the way of things. Useful, entertaining content is the future of marketing. Availability: Content marketing is already being done well. And badly. Read More Big Blue Wants the Healthcare Market IBM understands margins. While its closest competitors have atrophied and died over time, IBM has quietly focused on high margin categories and services. Not coincidentally, IBM has opened a massive new healthcare unit in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Everyone knows that healthcare is a high margin business that is ripe for disintermediation. But only IBM has been quietly forming the partnerships with established players and tech leaders to take on the industry. Using their somewhat-cuddlier Watson brand (of Jeopardy fame), IBM has partnered with Apple, Johnson & Johnson, MIT and Harvard, amongst others. Make no mistake healthcare industry, they have come for you. Application to Marketing: Well I, for one, welcome our new corporate overlords! But seriously, if I was in the healthcare marketing space, I would skedaddle over to Cambridge and start making friends. Availability: IBM plays a long game. Read More

Give us your email to sign up for our weekly Dressler Digital Trends. Stop trying to keep up and start getting ahead.