Digital Trends: 07.01.22

How should brands think about the connected car? Interesting question from an interesting guy – my friend Trevor from Sheeva.AI. He posed this question to me in an email, inviting me on as a guest for his new podcast on the future of mobility. I took the bait, and you can listen to our fun discussion here.

VOICE, SEARCH & DEAD RELATIVES

One of the topics Trevor and I discussed was the natural role of voice / audio as the primary input and output mediums for the connected car. New research shows that 92% of consumers use voice to search the web – 40% on a regular basis. And new advances in voice search are coming, including the ability for to recognize songs from humming and the ability for Alexa (gulp) to mimic the voice of a deceased relative. I miss my dad, but I don’t need to hear him tell me when an Amazon package has arrived. But if it was the AI-powered voice of Val “Iceman” Kilmer? Maybe.If you’re interested in exploring the fit of voice within the context of your marketing or customer experience plans, check out my post on “What Problems Can Voice Help Solve’”.

GENERATION Z, ANONYMITY & WORK

The marketing community has a new obsession: Gen Z (those born between 1997-2010). Poor Millennials have been pushed aside (I’ll save you a seat at the neglected Gen X table!) PR agency Edelman has recently hired a Gen Z cohort and appointed a gender fluid fashion designer as its ZEO. The agency founder has also hired his daughter as the Gen Z COO, proving nepotism crosses generational lines.For marketers without a ZEO, there is always – you know – customer research. New findings show that Gen Z is seeking more anonymity online, turned off by the complications of managing a personal brand. This is consistent with the 0.5 selfie trend – and taking social media / self-projection less seriously. Research also shows that Gen Z is the group that is driving the push back into the office, seeking more face-to-face interaction. Love the framing of this article on the topic – “Gen Z employees are not ‘going back’ to the office. They are discovering it.” Many haven't been - and need / seek mentorship and modeling of IRL office communication and behaviour. Maybe us slacker Gen X’ers might be able to help out after all.

CANNES, ADVERTISING & RETAIL MEDIA

If you have anyone in your social network that was at Cannes a few weeks ago, you’ll know that Cannes happened a few weeks ago. Here is a list of all of the 2022 Grand Prix Winners, as well as a new LION State of Creativity report that summarizes perspectives from marketing and creative leaders. Worth a skim.If you’re interested in what’s happening in retail media (retailers selling advertising on their owned channels), this McKinsey report is a must read. It highlights common myths / misconceptions and paints a convincing picture of how this area will continue to grow. An adjacent opportunity is what Simons is testing – allowing customers to search for any product from any retailer within their mall properties – through one interface (which can, presumably, be monetized as retail media).

GOOD, LONG READS

  • Spotify, Netflix, and Aggregation: New Ben Thompson piece on Aggregation business models, contrasting Netflix and Spotify. He dissects Spotify’s latest investor day presentation to highlight how it’s business model is evolving (and thankfully for my Spotify stocks) improving.
  • The Webpage: What does a modern, successful media company look like today? Are the days of the ungated SEO-optimized webpages numbered? Another smart read by Troy Young.
  • NYT Investor Presentation: Since I read the NYT’s Innovation Report in 2014 that went viral with digital strategy nerds like me, I’ve been keenly following their transformation journey. Their latest Investor Presentation is available – check out the section on Growth (page 132) to see how they think about (and present their strategy around) audience monetization.

FRESH RESEARCH & RESOURCES

  • Shopify Editions 2022: A great way to learn about the updated product ecosystem of Shopify, and trends in the D2C retail space in general.
  • The Behavioural Science Annual: A worthy download from Ogilvy with a collection of case studies on marketing programs focused on behaviour change.
  • ABCs of NFTs: A fun, clear read from Reddit on what NFTs are and how to launch them – using Reddit communities to do so. Best doc on the topic that I’ve seen.
  • State of eCommerce Advertising: A useful resource for media teams looking for benchmarks around ROAS and the use of Meta, Instagram, and PPC.

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