Friday Must Reads Links – Welcome to December
Susan Esparza  /  
December 1, 2017

The final month of the year is upon us, and if you’re like me, you’re already convinced it’s practically January. But before we move into the new year, let’s take a look back at four articles from November that will make you a smarter, wiser person. In this edition: Honest data, Net Neutrality, the GDPR, and Customer Ecosystems.

 

Plus, a picture of a  cute dog.

 

1. Around here, we are passionate about “honest data” – that’s what we do after all – but honest data doesn’t not mean pristine data. In order to surface the truth, you need to apply human intelligence and understanding. At AdExchanger, Chris Dobson delves into why:

Machine learning is revolutionizing digital advertising, driving efficiency through advanced algorithmic decision-making, and could generate $42 billion in annual ad spend by 2021.

 

To get the best out of these technologies, however, marketers need to be aware of potential inaccuracies in the data they are using. They must also understand the limitations inherent in their data sources and figure out how to overcome them.

 

2. Currently a hot topic in the United States, the FCC is poised to repeal the Net Neutrality protections set in place.  Adweek looks at the possible effect on brands:

 

Marketers, for example, might have to pay more for quality bandwidth, or could be pressed into buying media from companies owned by ISPs. Challenger brands and media startups will have more trouble competing with big companies that can afford faster delivery and enterprise deals with ISPs.

 

3. 2018 will see the implementation of the General Data Privacy Regulation (GDPR), a measure in the European Union to help preserve customers’ right to privacy.

 

At the beginning of November, Hubspot broke down the GDPR and what it means for companies who do business in the UN. They estimate it will take you about ten minutes to read, but that’s worth it.

 

To start, we want to highlight research carried out by the HubSpot team, and unfortunately it’s not good news. Just 36% of marketers have heard of GDPR, while 15% of companies have done nothing, and are at risk of non-compliance. We would go as far to say there’s a worrying lack of action, and most companies are not ready for the GDPR. 

 

4.  You have customers and they have expectations. Not understanding those expectations is a good way to blunder straight into a massive mistake. When J.C. Penney ignored their customer data and tried an Apple-inspired approach, a mistake is exactly what ensued.

 

When J.C. Penney hired the wiz behind Apple retail stores’ success as its CEO, there were expectations that “what worked well there will do so here”. Pesky promotional discounts (600 per year) were discontinued in favor of coupon-free, discount-absent everyday-value pricing, along with a new “fair and square” logo and ads pitched by Ellen DeGeneres. The result: 33% drop in online revenue, 25% drop in comparable store revenue, and 5 percentage points lower gross margin, with quarterly losses increasing throughout 2012, totaling $985 million loss, and new debt and a new CEO in early 2013.