“All businesses are media businesses.”

That axiom sure sounds believable in 2017. Being a media company means you have the ability to create and distribute your message directly to any audience, without having to pay a toll to intermediaries.

By Rex Hammock
Founder and CEO

Earlier this week, I heard Cisco Systems Chairman and former CEO John Chambers speak to 700 social marketers who work at some of the nation’s savviest and most successful brands. After hearing Chambers share Cisco’s approach to marketing, these all-star marketers were buzzing in the hallways about how far their companies need to go to truly transform their customer relationships.

By Rex Hammock
Founder and CEO

Earlier this week, I spent several hours in one-on-one discussions with engineers and product managers who head up various research and development innovations for Intuit. Their work covers all of the current buzzwords: machine learning, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, big data, speech recognition, blockchain technology and more.

In some cases, the work of these talented experts is already making its way into the platforms on which millions of individuals and small businesses manage their finances (e.g., Mint, TurboTax, QuickBooks, etc.). However, most of their work is about understanding the impact of next-generation technology on their future customers.

In an Idea Email sent in 2013, we suggested that a möobius strip, or infinity loop, is the best graphical representation of the customer journey, or the “customer life cycle.” We like the möobius metaphor because it demonstrates there are two distinct states of being a customer:

By Rex Hammock
Founder and CEO

I used to hear adults complain about the way teenagers’ symbol-laden language was taking over communication. I don’t hear that complaint anymore. Those adults now text me complaints. 😉

I am fascinated with the evolution of the symbolic text we are using @ 🏠  & @ 🛠. Of course, emojis are the most pervasive examples of symbols replacing letters, words, and phrases. But I’m more interested in the evolution of what I describe as business and professional “font icons.”

By Rex Hammock
Founder and CEO

Earlier this week, the craft and handmade marketplace Etsy announced that, in April, it will be launching a new B2B marketplace to expand the services the company provides to its maker/sellers. In addition to its current emphasis on helping members sell their products, the new Etsy Studio will provide members easy, direct access to vendors they use to create their crafts and other products.

By Rex Hammock
Founder and CEO

About 20 years ago, a Hammock editor made a witty observation that instantly became one of our company’s long-running inside jokes. During a conversation about some wonkish technology trend, the staffer said with a great deal of faux seriousness, “I know I’m going out on a limb here, but I predict that computers will keep getting smaller, and the internet will keep getting faster.” In many subsequent tech discussions, we ask that “futurist,” now the company’s president and COO, to remind us of his tongue-in-cheek prediction.

Funny thing, he was right.

 

In two days, leadership of the world’s most powerful economy and military will transition from one president to another. Since the Civil War, this tradition of transition has been marked by peacefulness, but not always without acrimony. We have changed presidencies in the midst of great philosophical differences, world wars, economic crises and disagreements over the direction and policies of the nation.

 

In its “5 Questions Marketers Should Ask in 2017,” Google challenges marketers to ask themselves, “Do I have a portfolio of customer media and marketing content assets that appeal to both the immediate and longer-term needs of my customers?”

 

By Rex Hammock

Since this is the last Idea Email of 2016 (we will be back on Thursday, January 5), I decided to save you some time by suggesting these four New Year’s resolutions for managers and marketers.