All posts by Randi Priluck, Ph.D.

About Randi Priluck, Ph.D.

Dr. Randi Priluck is Professor of Marketing at Pace University and Author of Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy from Oxford University Press.

The Applied Data Sciences and Networking Lab at Pace University

The Seidenberg School at Pace University has opened the Applied Data Sciences and Networking Lab on the New York City Campus.  I visited yesterday and met with students who will give me a background in Cyber Security on my next visit.  Lubin’s Social Media & Mobile Marketing students will use the lab to build their digital skill sets.  Thank you Dean Hill, Dr. Gabberty and students for your hospitality.

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Here are some of the modules that students and faculty can access:

  1. Database and Big Data coding:  Learn how to build databases, tables, clever queries, professional-looking menus and screen forms following our hands-on instruction manual.  Bring your external USB device b/c you’ll want to take what you’ve learned during the day in the lab and continue building it when you go home.
  1. Cyber Security:  Are you interested in learning how to find a job in the cyber security field, and don’t know where to begin?  We have over 140 lab exercises for you to work with that will seriously develop your hacking skills and prepare you for numerous certifications that employers like to see on your resumes.  Even more, we have a target range of available machines for you to practice against to build your nmap, wireshark, and metasploit skills!
  1. Telecommunication & Networking:  Are you interested in learning more about networking and have been unable to hone your skillset because you lack the $ to buy the necessary Routers and Switches used in industry to develop your IOS skills with?  No problem!  We have state-of-the-art Cisco equipment available for you to work with as assisted by our in-house CCNA certified student assistant.

More information at Applied Data Sciences Lab.



The Future of Everything Festival AI Track



The Future of Everything Festival

From the Wall Street Journal

May 8th, 2018

Artificial Intelligence Session

Today I attended the #wsjfuturefest at Spring Studios in Tribeca.  The session covered all things AI and included discussions from a number of NYU faculty members and AI experts. Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 2.03.24 PM

The people who spoke in the track sessions I attended included:

  • Gary Marcus – Professor of Psychology and Neural Science, NYU
  • Garry Kasparov – Author, “Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins”; former World Chess Champion
  • Amy Webb – Founder, Future Today Institute; Professor, NYU Stern School of Business
  • Nicole Eegan – CEO Darktrace
  • Sean Gorley – CEO Primer
  • Kate Crawford – Co-Founder, AI Now Institute; Distinguished Research Professor, NYU


Here are some of the key takeaways from the sessions:

AI is not the scary big brother that some believe, rather right now it is a pretty limited tool.  It’s great when there is a tremendous amount of data to show a particular specific thing, but doesn’t work the minute it gets complicated.

We want a Rosie from the Jetsons and instead get Roomba, which doesn’t seem to know when it is spreading poop all over the house.

AI can do recognition tasks and classification.  Specifically, we already have speech image and natural language recognition.  AI can play board games and do advertising targeting.  It is not good with small data problems.  If we want better AI, we should start studying small people.  They are good problem solvers.

Right now particular firms are largely responsible for AI. They are Baidu, Tencent & Alibaba from China and the US entities of Amazon, Google, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook and Apple.  Whereas the US is great at algorithms and hardware, we are not as proficient as the Chinese in data – and they have much much more of it given their government and huge population.  They will eat our lunch in tech in the future.  China is fast building as the US is retreating.

Their more advanced systems are now being used to control people.  For example, China has a social ranking system of points that can be used to put people on a no fly list or no school entry designation based on their behavior that is continuously monitored.

What will the future look like?  It looks like the end of smartphones as we move to personal systems with interaction via voice.  We should think of ourselves as data or oil as data are the new oil.  We will have less autonomy and control of our information with an increasing number of devices.

Most panelists agreed that we have little security, but few supported the GDPR.  There was concern both about regulation and lack of regulation.

The CEO of Darktrace talked about cyber security and how certain bad actors seek to invade networks.  For example, there was an Internet attack on cappuccino makers in train stations connected to the train network.  Another entity used the fish tank at a particular casino to obtain network entry through the automated thermostat system.

AI uses generative adversarial networks, which are two neural nets competing against each other. There is a generator and discriminator from two networks that work together to solve the problem.  However, there are means of protection. Specifically, AI can also be used to detect attacks.  One method involves a data set of all prior attacks that is used to categorize and predict future attacks with supervised machine learning. Also, self learning of unsupervised data can find new threats modeled after human body immune response.

In the casino fish tank with internet connected thermostat, the system looked for the key term “high rollers.” The internal controls found the thermostat using too much data and shut it down.

AI can be used to video potential employees during hiring to record each movement and tick of a person. The goal would be to match the patterns to the people who are already in the organization and performing well to reduce turnover and poor performance.



How to Teach Social Media Marketing – Legal

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This “How to Teach Social Media Marketing” post has some excerpts from the Massachusetts laws on privacy.

There are a few federal laws associated with social media marketing and some states have their own laws that protect consumers. If one State has a law to which firms must adhere, it increases the likelihood that more people will be protected.

The textbook Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy from Oxford University Press has a whole chapter on legal matters that apply to social media marketing.

Massachusetts 201 CMR 17.00 

Purpose. Establishes minimum standards to be met in connection with the safeguarding of personal information contained in both paper and electronic records.
The objectives of 201 CMR 17.00 is to insure the security and confidentiality of customer information in a manner fully consistent with industry standards; protect against anticipated threats or hazards to the security or integrity of such information; and protect against unauthorized access to or use of such information that may result in substantial harm or
inconvenience to any consumer.
201 CMR 17.00 applies to all persons that own or license personal information about a resident of the Commonwealth.

Mobile Innovation Summit: Friends With Holograms

Last week I attended an interesting session at the Mobile Marketing Summit on augmented reality.

Courtney Harding from Friends with Holograms presented the latest on AR.  Here are some of the highlights:

What is Augmented Reality? 

It’s digital layered on top of the real world

Some common use cases are finding restaurants around town, foreign language translation and locating bathrooms near you.

The key required technology is simply a mobile phone or smart glasses and game and AR engines.

AR adds data to the real world captured thru a camera and analyzed.

Soon AR will be available for delivery through a mobile browser with technology from Friends with Holograms.

AR makes the real world interactive and takes it from limited spaces to any space such as a floor, wall or chair and offers interaction that users want.

You can gamify or add information to the world. For example, maps are flat and hard to read, but an AR map is edited into the world on a three-dimensional plane that is easier to navigate.

The message from Friends with Holograms: “Don’t wait till the glasses come out.”

Though not at scale for customers, smart glasses adoption in the industrial realm is growing. There are industrial use cases that are economical in a way that’s not true for consumers.


Let customers answer their own questions. Sales reps who are stuck repeating answers to familiar questions rather than selling can be freed with AR. Marketers can use AR to make it fun for customers to get answers themselves.

AR could help people scan items and get information from a hologram or determine if two items go together, such as a charger and a phone. It could be used to hover a phone over a particular place to win a prize.

Marketers could drive audience response with an interactive game. For example, hiding a mascot in locations and get people exploring and then ending in a desired place. It’s a scavenger hunt and people really find it fun. It also gets people out and about and moving in the real world.

How can AR reduce post purchase friction?

One big problem for appliance sellers is when the couch arrives at the apartment building or hose and it doesn’t fit.  An Appliance seller could use AR to determine if the unit fits in all places for delivery.

What’s Next? 

Now, you have to leave a website to download an app in the store. In the future developers  will add a plug in for browsers to use the AR engine to engage camera and track surfaces through a web browser.

AR is more practical than VR, which requires more information.  To be ready for the growth of AR, it helps to have a library of digital assets that can be used to represent various elements of the brand experience.

Live from the Mobile Innovation Summit


mobile innovation summit

Today I am live posting from the Mobile Innovation Summit.

Verizon’s Rohan Gandhi presented: Breaking the Golden Rules: How Unconventional Decisions Drive Results in Digital.

What makes for a good mobile experience? Go ahead and break the rules. Followed to a fault, rules result in a sub-optimal customer experience.

People’s expectations have changed and it’s hard to predict what they want.  Often, they can’t even articulate their needs and desires.

When there is change people seek comfort. There are numerous psychological biases and everyone’s brain is stuck with these biases. We make silly proclamations such as:

Email is dead.

The Skin email digest raised significant rounds of money, built on email.

Brick and mortar retail is dead.

Bonobos, Amazon and Warby Parker now have stores. Verizon was founded in retail, so it has to reformat.

Here are three myths that Verizon busted in mobile:

1.The fewer steps, the better

If fewer steps are best then zero steps would lead to 100% conversion. But that’s not so.

Customers expect a human experience. Marketers should ask “how does the customer perceive the complexity of the purchase?”  Customers want to buy a phone from a person rather than online. If taxes were done in 1 step, people wouldn’t trust it. 70% of Verizon customers start on web and end in store, so Verizon added steps in the process to make people more comfortable.

2. Design alone can’t get you results

Some people think that if you don’t fix the whole thing, you shouldn’t do it. Though one has to look at the metrics, design can add a lot. Use the data and embrace constraints. Verizon hasd too much support documentation to focus on relevant topics. So, they designed a miniguide and trafficked them to users based on funnel information. This was a 100% design driven strategy

3. User experience is only about usefulness

We don’t do enough brand experience planning. Brand essence happens in little moments that add up.

Verizon spends time on motion and clean design. For example, when a customer buys a certain service, the mobile site unleashes confetti. It’s fun, but hard to measure.

These kinds of experiences make the brand accessible to customers.

How to Teach Social Media Marketing: Global

Most summers I am traveling and I always assess the digital capabilities in the countries I visit. Here in Armenia the population is well connected via cell phone and many people use smart phones. I have heard that the country is seeking to become a tech hub as it is landlocked and surrounded by some less than friendly neighbors. 

How to Teach Social Media Marketing: Integrating Traditional and Digital Media

These slides cover integrated marketing communications for traditional and digital media. The opening case study discusses the example of P&G reducing paid media spending online.  This issue highlights the crisis of mistrust facing online publishers.  In addition the lesson includes:

  • budgeting for traditional and digital media
  • media spending
  • cost per thousand for various forms of media including online
  • cross media processing
  • brand lift and ad effectiveness

There are video case studies that show brands that effectively integrate media for the following brands:

  • Go Pro Cameras
  • King Video Games
  • L’Oreal Clay Mask


Link to the slides click here: Integrating Media

These slides accompany Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy from Oxford University Press.

How to Teach Social Media Marketing: Strategy Execution

These slides help professors teaching social media marketing cover strategy execution.  The topics covered here include:

  • Paid, owned, earned and social media
  • Programmatic buying
  • Real time bidding
  • Native advertising
  • Trust in advertising

The slides accompany Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy from Oxford University Press.   There are a number of exercises embedded in the slides to help students demonstrate skills in social media.

Is Alexa Making us Stupid?

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How smart is Alexa? Not very. In fact she might be helping to dumb down an entire generation.

Alexa’s main source of information is Wikipedia. As a college professor I caution my students to check their sources. Wikipedia may be a useful starting  point for information, but it is often not accurate, shows only certain sides of an issue and does not cover all topics well. Students are not permitted to cite Wiki as their main source in may college courses.

Is Alexa smart? I asked her a few questions as a test.

Alexa, can you access Google Scholar?

  • “Go to the help and feedback section of the Alexa app.”

Alexa, what is the first article title in the latest issue of the Journal of Marketing?

  • Alexa makes a short tone only

Alexa, what is the impact of global warming on the state of Florida?

  • Here’s something I found on Wikipedia…

Alexa, what are the last 10 questions that someone asked you.

  • Sorry, I don’t know that one

Alexa, what are your terms and conditions of usage?

  • Sorry, I don’t know that one.

Alexa, can you explain the meaning of the song “Hotel California?”

  • Sorry, I don’t know that one.

The only saving grace at this point is that Alexa provides the source of her “knowledge.” However as we well know, the terms and conditions of service change per the whim of the company providing services. Ultimately if Amazon no longer feels that sourcing data is helpful to the business model it can stop at anytime. There are absolutely no protections for users by the government.  As such, giving up privacy for a device that plays you songs may not be a great bargain.

This blog covers how to teach social media marketing and accompanies the text “Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy from Oxford University Press.

How to teach social media marketing strategy planning


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These slides focus on the social media marketing strategy planning process with an emphasis on content marketing. Did you know that there is a process to optimize the content you publish?  You want to understand your customers, examine your competitors, develop thoughtful strong content and leverage that content across your channels.  Great content can establish your expertise, engage your clients and operate as a data collection tool.  People will give you email addresses to get your content.  Once you have their email addresses you can access Facebook Look Alike audiences and really find the people with whom you want to interact.

Generally speaking a good content marketing strategy and plan can boost your sales leads and improve the bottom line.  Embedded in this presentation are videos with case studies and the results of a recent Content Marketing Institute study of B2B and B2C content strategies.

Click on the link here for the SLIDES from Slideshare.

These slides accompany Social Media & Mobile Marketing Strategy by Randi Priluck from Oxford University Press.  These are a social media teaching resource for faculty looking to add digital media to the classroom.