Tag Archives: marketing

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 Digital Prerequisites for Social Media Marketing Strategies

Screen Shot 2017-11-04 at 3.57.20 PM

This set of slides helps professors teach an important aspect of social media marketing. Specifically, the important prerequisites that must be satisfied prior to planning for social media marketing.  This social media marketing teaching resource covers digital marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, email marketing, website design and mobile first design.  Marketers must have a strong product offering, a plan for customer service and crisis management along with a website that drive the desired response.  The slides contain videos and case studies related to digital marketing and media.

Digital Prerequisites for Social Media Marketing Slides

These slides accompany Social Media and Mobile Marketing Strategy from Oxford University press.


Glade to Disclose Chemicals in Products

In the past I have covered marketing and social media issues on the Glade brand of home fragrances. Specifically I visited their unique pop up store for the senses in the meat packing district in NYC and discussed how they attempted to build social media buzz.  However, total honesty with customers may be a better marketing strategy.  This week Glade announced that they would disclose the ingredients in some of their home fragrance products.  This is a welcomed change from the prior strategy of evasion.  The New York Times reported that Glade will list the ingredients in most products on the SC Johnson website.  The article can be accessed by clicking: Glade to Disclose Chemicals. glade pack

There is legitimate customer concern over common chemicals in our products and without clear disclosure people are unable to judge.  Unfortunately even with disclosure many of the common chemical and additive names are a mystery to non-chemists.  I would encourage companies to not only disclose the ingredients, but pledge to use only those additives that are proven safe.  This would be awesome marketing and has already been adopted by some firms.

Given a choice, I buy products that I believe have the least harmful ingredients and price isn’t always the indicator. For example, I use pure white vinegar to wash fruit and veggies and that’s cheaper than any commercial brand on the market.  Even if you buy the most expensive cosmetics you can’t be sure what is in them.

One option is to use the database Skin Deep. Here you can input many products to find out whether or not they are harmful to humans and exactly how they may be problematic. Warning:  It is a bit scary…..

When I visited the Glade pop up store I had a great time smelling the different rooms, but the chemicals in the products were a big turn off and I threw away the smelly samples the next day.

Glade… do not just report the chemicals, please use natural ingredients.  They are much nicer.

How to teach social media marketing

Marketing faculty members in business schools learned advertising and media under the old advertising model focused on creating and delivering messages to potential customers in a mass media environment. Yes, there was direct mail and it was very effective for reaching specific targets, but it was rarely the focus of a university advertising course.

In the late 1990’s and into the new millennium the web changed the way marketers taught aspects of marketing such as distribution and display advertising. With the advent of search marketing professors had to again alter their teaching to include key words and pay-per-click executions.

With social media and mobile penetration the advertising world has changed again. Digital advertising now commands the second highest level of ad spending in the US and the rules for advertising have also changed. Marketing faculty should not just add a discussion of digital advertising into their courses because for many brands digital is THE primary medium for communications. To teach digital, social media and mobile advertising effectively, professors have to approach the task with a new skill set.

The good news for business school faculty is that the business aspects of advertising are still key and can be used as a guide for mastering the new platforms. Marketing professors should continue to teach integrated marketing communications strategy.  Lessons can  focus on segmenting markets, setting strong and measurable goals and creating messages that can be delivered to targets to achieve business objectives.

Professors should not be teaching how to tweet, post, retweet, follow or pin. Students already know how to do those things. Instead faculty should teach the strategies for customer engagement, driving sales, reducing costs and building brands.

Emotional States of Internet Users: East vs. West

A study in the European Journal of Marketing categorized segments of consumers based on their emotional states of being. Some people experience more emotion in the real world, while others are equally emotional online as offline.  The study identified 6 groups of internet users:

  • Positive online affectivists feel anxiety and stress in offline situations in the real world, but exhibit happiness, confidence and imagination online.
  • Offline affectivists experience the most emotionally intense feelings offline in the real world.  Online they feel anonymous. 
  • On/Offline negative affectivists feel anxious and stressed both online and offline and experience higher levels of negative emotions in general. They feel anonymous online.
  • Online affectivists have intense emotional experiences online and are happiest operating on the internet.
  • Indistinguishable affectivists have neutral feelings about both the online and offline worlds.
  • Negative offline affectivists:  Feel anxious and stressed offline, but brave and powerful online.

The study is interesting in that some people are more comfortable in their online selves than in the real world and prefer to interact with others mediated by the internet.  They may be better targets for social media marketing efforts.

The study also examined people around the world and the clusters in which they fell.  Specifically, North Americans were more likely to be offline affectivists, while the Chinese respondents were more often positive online affectivists.  East Asians were heavily represented in the online affectivist category.  Offline affectivists and negative offline affectivists were found to be more female. 

An important finding for marketers is that those who experience positive online emotions are more likely to support brands’ online activities. 


Title: A typology of internet users based on comparative affective states: evidence from eight countries
by  Christodoulides, George; Michaelidou, Nina; Nikoletta Theofania Siamagka

European Journal of Marketing, 47, 2013