Building an Online Marketplace Strategy


Driven by the search for more options at better prices, consumers are bypassing retail websites and shopping at marketplaces. 97% of consumers who shop online do so at online marketplaces such as Amazon, Walmart, and eBay.

To maintain their advantage, brands are leveraging marketplaces to build their reach, drives sales, and access new customer segments. We examined the key areas companies should consider when building their marketplace strategy:


With marketplaces offering endless virtual produce aisles, you need to optimize the following for a streamlined customer experience.

 Paid Advertising: Make the most of available marketplace advertising opportunities to attract consumers at various stages of the buying journey. Just be sure to start small and promote your fastest moving products. Allow your campaigns to build traction and gauge your ROI before increasing spend.

Optimized Product Content: To raise your listing to the top of search results, optimize your product content. A few best practices: include search-friendly titles, strong calls to action, accurate descriptions, and high-quality images. If product content delivery isn’t feasible in-house, consider outsourcing your efforts to an agency.

 Customer Reviews: Product reviews build trust, allow consumers to make informed buying decisions, and increase conversion. Encourage shoppers to leave product reviews by sending them emails or using feedback tools. Before soliciting any feedback, however, ensure your delivery and customer experience have minimal potholes.


Price remains the most significant factor when purchasing goods. 65% of customers ranked better prices as the main reason for marketplace purchases. Strategic pricing will prevent product erosion and help your brand remain in good standing with your audience. A few applicable strategies to consider:

Automate Repricing and Monitoring Your Competition: Automatically reprice your products to suit market demand and remain competitive. Use a rule-based platform that notifies marketing team members of increases, automatically adjusts pricing, and aligns competitive prices across channels. In addition, choose an analytics tool that benchmarks your prices against the competition and grants visibility to historical trends.

Leverage Promotions: Marketplace promotions can increase sales and draw attention to your value proposition and other offerings.

Test out these approaches to find out what works best for your business, and continuously monitor marketplace pricing to remain compliant and competitive.


For the US, Asia, Canada, and Mexico, the major draw of many marketplaces is free and discounted shipping. When building an online strategy, fast and affordable are the two magic words. Below are three options to consider:

Self-Fulfillment: With this strategy, sellers are responsible for order fulfillment. This approach gives you total control over the delivery process and allows for quick response to demand. To ship items quickly and affordably, set up automated fulfillment centers in urban areas and consider utilizing retail outposts with store-like layouts to fulfill online orders. Allowing consumers to track their packages and notifying them of delays are musts in today’s retail climate.

Marketplace Fulfillment: Here, the marketplaces themselves are responsible for delivery, and as a bonus, using this option can help your brand gain visibility. Sellers who use Fulfillment by Amazon, for instance, are eligible for Prime, exposing their company and products to over 100 million consumers.

Third Party Logistics (3PLs): If you want to reduce costs and save time, outsourcing your fulfillment to a 3PL such as DHL or UPS may be your best option. Select a carrier with a proven process, the right resources to meet changing consumer demands, and the ability to integrate with your systems.

Vet these three options against your business needs and choose an affordable fulfillment model that also provides flexible shipping options.

Brand Protection

Online marketplaces are fertile ground for fraudsters selling cheap counterfeit products. In fact, 70% of counterfeit products are purchased from online marketplaces. Not only do counterfeits erode prices, they can also destroy your brand reputation and damage customer relationships. Take the following proactive measures to protect your brand on marketplaces:

Educate Your Customers: Create a program to educate consumers about counterfeit goods and inform them of outlets where your products are available. Teach them how to distinguish between original and fakes and provide tools—like a specific email address—so customers can report counterfeits.

Invest in Monitoring Tools: Invest in monitoring software to detect counterfeits on marketplaces. Find a tool that can locate counterfeit products based on photos, and screen all platforms that post ads for your company’s products.

 Join Marketplace Anti-Counterfeit Programs: Stop criminals from hijacking your brand by joining anti-counterfeiting programs designed to detect fake products. Alibaba’s AI-powered program detects anomalies in customer reviews, product listings, and specs.

Leverage Marketplace Momentum

Online marketplaces are a great channel to expand your reach and access new markets. While there is no one trick that will ensure success, a great strategy is to hold a designated team responsible for marketplace sales. Choose representatives from your digital, eCommerce and wholesale departments to

measure performance KPIs like average order value, Net Promoter Score, and total activity cost. Eventually, once you’ve conquered one marketplace, diversify your sales and stay competitive by joining other marketplaces.


Customer marketing challenges and opportunities

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What Scarcity in Gaming Can Teach Marketers About Retention


In the beginning, there was Mario, and everybody was happy. Then inflation came along, and while everything from a loaf of bread to a Hyundai increased in price, video games stayed relatively stagnant—thanks to consumers’ expectation that the latest game will cost as much as the previous one and the one before that—costing between $50-$60. The cost of producing these video games, however, skyrocketed.

Gaming tech advanced, development teams grew, demand and marketing costs went up, and what was once a somewhat fringe pastime became a dominant form of media (heck, there are college classes devoted to studying the art of video games).

All this is great for the consumer, but it’s less ideal for the bottom line. So how did these companies begin to make money even if they charged the same amount per game?

Game Developers Explored Their Options

Gaming companies tried everything to increase revenue. For a while, it was cutting-edge to offer massive multiplayer games with monthly fees, but this was largely chalked up as a failure—too much competition and too many games without monthly fees that sucked players in and kept them playing for years.

What about DLC (downloadable content), aka when gaming companies offer new pieces of content for a not-insignificant fraction of the game’s purchase price? This is great in theory (and is still very much a part of the gaming world), but ultimately you’re running into the same problem—it takes a ton of work to create an extra chapter in a video game, and if you don’t sell a lot of units, you don’t get a return.

Around that same time in late 2010, smartphones started flooding the market, and a few companies took advantage and thought of a new approach: microtransactions.

Reduce Cost Barriers to Increase Revenue

Microtransactions are when games are distributed for free or at low cost, followed by in-game purchase offerings at a low price. Mobile games are notorious for this, and for good reason—most consumers balk at paying more than $5 up front for a quality mobile game. So instead, companies offer cosmetic changes—the ability to customize your character’s outfits/armor, or use different weapons and items—in the game for a price.

Microtransactions work on a simple principle: people tend to dismiss large up-front costs, but will often pay more if the costs are spread out over time (this is why DLC remains a popular strategy). If your customers are balking at your up-front pricing, it’s time to get clever. How can you reduce those costs and tack them on somewhere in the backend? The video game series Destiny did exactly this. Rather than releasing new games every so often, the creators initially released quarterly DLCs.
Over time, they released the equivalent of a whole new game. If you bought every piece of DLC when it was released, however, you paid much more than you would for new game—typically double the price. Now why would anyone pay double the cost of a new game for the same amount of content? Was it really just a matter of reducing up-front costs?

No. It was something smarter: it was scarcity.

Reduced Up-Front Costs + Scarcity = Profit

Scarcity in gaming comes in many forms. One form of scarcity is completely psychological and often goes by the term FOMO (fear of missing out).

It looks something like this:

1. The new DLC just dropped
2. It costs too much. I’ll just wait until the price goes down to buy it
3. But all my friends bought the DLC and they’re all playing without me!
4. Oh well… I’m frugal and intelligent and not easily tricked by marketing tactics. I’ll just wait until…
5. What’s that? All the events happening now in the DLC are only available for a limited time? If I wait, I’ll never get to experience them with my friends
6. Guess I’d better go buy it. At least it’s only $30…

And there’s your sale.

The gamer saw that if she wanted to get a piece of that fun before it disappeared, she had to buy now. Otherwise, she’d miss the boat. But there’s another method of doing this that’s even smarter.

Combining Microtransactions with Scarcity

Charging money for cosmetic changes in a game is not the best profit-generating strategy. The reason is simple—no one needs this crap. You don’t need to have zebra stripes on your BFG-9000. But what if you could buy something you need to win the game? What if you couldn’t advance without making a purchase?

Some companies have attempted this profit model, but their execution was so poor that they mostly just angered customers and ended up with bad reviews. When there’s no other option but to pay money to access the next level, people get angry. They feel taken advantage of. They’ve worked hard to get to this point, and now there’s suddenly a monetary charge?
There’s a simple fix though: introduce the illusion of fairness. To make the whole thing seem fair, make that content accessible through hard work. Here’s how. Let’s say you need a certain number of in-game items to advance to the next level (let’s call it coin to keep it simple). You need 100 coins to advance. Now previously, coin was not something you could earn—you had to buy it with cash. You play the game for three hours, only to find out you must pay to advance.

This is where people rage-quit and trash you on social media. But let’s say you now make coin into a rare resource that can be earned. Some people (who were never going to spend money anyway) will spend many, many hours earning that coin.

But others will look at this and say “OK, well I could go earn the coin if I wanted to, but that will take a lot of time, so I’ll just buy it.”
And suddenly, a customer made a purchase they wouldn’t have made otherwise.

What Does This Teach the Retention Marketer?

Retention isn’t just about reducing churn—it’s about increasing customer lifetime value (CLV).

Existing customers are always more profitable than new customers. They are more willing to absorb price increases, more willing to make additional purchases, and are generally more trusting than the new, skeptical gamer who still thinks you’re out to steal his grandma’s pies off the windowsill.

Microtransactions are a superb way to get existing customers to spend more money. This works in basically any industry. Offer a much lower cost product/service (which must be purchased at higher frequencies than your flagship product/service) to boost sales and CLV. Combine those microtransactions with scarcity. Limit the time that they’re available. Limit the production of a much lower cost product. Limit the number of customers who can sign up for your new service.

Do this, and you’ll find that your existing customers are spending more, your flagship product/service doesn’t have as much weight resting on it, and the business as a whole profits.

So get out there and apply some scarcity to your life—and while you’re at it, check out Aaron Orendorff’s article on why most eCommerce blogs fail.

And good luck out there, marketer.

Guide to reengaging churned customers

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A Look At Path LMS From Blue Sky eLearn


Every so often, I get a call from a vendor asking me to take a look at their webinar software. So I wasn’t too surprised when I answered the phone and found myself talking to Jodi Ray, the Senior Business Development Manager at Blue Sky eLearn, who had a similar request.

My initial reaction was curiosity… Why hadn’t I heard of this product already? I thought I was pretty good at staying on top of offerings in our industry. Jodi quickly explained that Blue Sky is not a webinar/webcast vendor. Instead, they offer a platform that works with several of the big name webinar products to provide complementary functionality. I was intrigued and thought I would share my findings with you.



I need to start with the fact that Blue Sky eLearn is primarily a Learning Management System (or LMS) vendor. Their Path LMS platform is built to do much more than just act as a wrapper for simple one-off webinars. It handles all the things that professional online educational systems need to encompass… Testing, assessments, certification, SCORM content, course definitions with prerequisites and linear progression through multiple classes, and all the rest. That’s not my bailiwick, and I am not the right person to evaluate or comment on LMS functionality. So I won’t.

Instead, I focused on how Path and its component utilities could benefit more straightforward webinar use cases. Jodi steered me towards some capabilities that sounded exciting. The ability to create a community of users with access to live webinars and recorded content. The ability to collect admission fees for viewing live or recorded webinars. The ability to create blocks of individual content pieces under an “umbrella access” to let people navigate through related materials. And the ability to take over the registration and reporting process to offer convenience that your webinar vendor might not provide.



The first thing I verified was which webinar products offered tight integration with Path LMS. Adobe Connect, Zoom, and LogMeIn’s GoToMeeting/GoToWebinar are the first ones Blue Sky has connected. Cisco Webex has been announced and should be available later this year. If you use any of those platforms as your webinar provider, you can use the Blue Sky eLearn package to manage registration and reporting, charge for admission, and auto-schedule new live webinars.

There is no open interface or API to connect other webinar platforms. In those cases, manual intervention is needed. For instance, you can accept registration through your Path system, download a list of registrants, and upload them to your webinar system. Or you can record a webinar, save it as a video file, and upload the video to your Path account to offer as a piece of on-demand content.



The Path LMS platform includes various modules to accomplish different tasks. For instance, Path eReg is the utility that manages webinar registration and communications with registrants (it can also manage registration for in-person events if your company hosts conferences or local training sessions). Path eLibrary is the portal system that makes recorded content available for viewing on demand. Although customers can technically license the subsystems without the rest of the full LMS functionality, I found that I wanted the broader capabilities of the full package turned on in order to get access to additional flexibility and control.

I quickly realized that Blue Sky eLearn is not going after Mom & Pop micro-businesses or casual one-time users as its target customer base. The software has a serious learning curve. Blue Sky supports new customers with training, setup assistance, and on-call support – but that comes at a price. This is not the package for you if you’re pinching every penny. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that payment processing for fee-based events or recordings is included in the basic licensing cost… Blue Sky does not take a cut of your revenue as most other vendors do.

When I started experimenting with the software, I had to adjust my perceptions… I tend to think in terms of making live and recorded webinars quickly and easily available to everyone for public consumption. Upload a recording to YouTube or Vimeo and everyone in the world can see it. Post a registration page for an upcoming webinar, and anybody can sign up. While it is possible for the Blue Sky software to operate in those terms, that’s not it’s strong suit. Path eLibrary isn’t trying to be a YouTube competitor… That would be insane.

Instead, the software works best when you encourage people to sign up as registered consumers of your company’s content. Then they can come back time and again to your portal and get fast access to relevant content pieces. Once they have logged in, the Path system knows who they are, so they don’t have to go through manual registration for new webinars. And the system can track their viewing behaviors for recorded content, allowing you to get insights from performance reports across your library and user base. It can even guide them through a linear progression of content pieces, knowing what they viewed last and what the next recommended recording is.

Part of your setup and configuration process is to identify different roles or types of user. Then you can make the system behave differently for each viewer based on their category. Maybe you run an association with Standard Members, Gold Members, and Non-Members. You could make certain content discoverable to members, but keep it hidden from non-members. Or you could charge different fees to the different categories. You can create a fall-through category for “anonymous” or unregistered visitors, so that one-time visitors can still get access without going through the process of setting up a login with you, but they lose the ability to come back for quick and easy viewing of additional content.



That covers the basics of what the registration and library content components are designed to accomplish. As you might expect from enterprise-level software, there are a lot of specifics. I can’t do them all justice here, so I’ll just list some quick highlights from my investigation:

  • Path operates in five languages and offers full keyboard-only operation for ADA compliance with people who cannot operate a mouse.
  • Account branding for your portal is Do-It-Yourself and can be changed at any time.
  • I tested integration with GoToWebinar. Establishing the link with my hosted GoToWebinar account was easy. After that, I could create a new upcoming webinar event in Path and it instantly showed up as a corresponding event in GoToWebinar.
  • Playback of content through the Path eLibrary module is not restricted to simple webinar video recordings. Their player allows you to show users PDF files, HTML pages, SRT files (that is the designation for time-synchronized subtitles on videos), and even separately recorded audio and video synchronized for simultaneous playback.
  • There is an option that enables companies to show ads (which can be monetized) during playback of content if desired.
  • You can pause a recording while watching it and type a note into an online input box. The note is saved and synchronized with the corresponding time in the playback. You can go back later and click on a note, jumping to the exact point in the recording it applies to. I LOVED THIS!!!
  • Hosts can turn on the ability for viewers to carry on conversations about content pieces through Disqus threaded comment streams. Comments can be moderated (private until the host publishes them) or immediately displayed for everyone.
  • If you enable the full Path LMS functionality you get the ability to add surveys, questionnaires, scored or unscored tests, and certification. These can be included in the registration process, before or after viewing an individual piece of content, or after viewing a set of content pieces grouped as a course.
  • Fee-based “admissions” can be set to expire a certain number of days after purchase. This combats the possibility of someone making one purchase and then letting friends and coworkers use their access forever more.
  • Emails allow extensive customization of all content rather than just letting you insert some custom text into an existing hard-coded template.
  • Registration fields include the smartest “State/Province” field I’ve ever seen. It reconfigures choices based on the country selected above it, with choices listed for countries you would never think of. An incredible achievement for global inclusivity, when most such fields are limited to US states (and sometimes Canadian provinces).



I found some of the Path terminology and setup initially confusing, but I did not go through the new customer onboarding and training that Blue Sky typically provides. Make sure your hosts or administrators take advantage of this to make their early experience with the system as smooth as possible. Your account representative can even change many of the displayed terms to match your preferred verbiage.

There are a few places where the focus on Learning Management Systems peeks through in ways that don’t make sense for simple webinar recordings. For instance, the system mandates start and end dates attached to on-demand content and content sections require a “Presented On” date. I suggested to the company that these be made optional for webinar use cases where you don’t want to advertise the age of the recording.

A few places in the interface had inconsistent formatting. For example, some input fields included sample text while others did not. Sometimes the text would be “real” and selectable, and in other cases it was just a virtual example that disappeared when I began typing.



Every webinar product on the market has the ability to accept registrations for upcoming events and to play back recorded webinars. You don’t need Blue Sky eLearn for that. The software really comes into its own with the ability to create a custom experience for different members of your target audience.

Because of its “Register Once, View Many” operation, the Path portal software may encourage more visits to your library of live and recorded events. Categorizing users into population segments lets you adjust pricing and availability of content as appropriate for different groups.

The software allows the benefits of content organization and multimedia access that comes from an LMS perspective on guided learning. Being able to step users through a suggested path of content consumption is a nice capability.

Perhaps the greatest advantage as an add-on to existing webinar functionality is the ability to charge for live and recorded content. The fact that payment comes to you in full, with no skim fee, is a fantastic inclusion in the basic licensing cost.

Managing user roles, content, navigation paths, and new events is a serious job. In larger companies, non-profits, or professional associations I see this as a dedicated job responsibility (along with other event management tasks). Don’t just fob it off on a random employee to take care of in their spare time. Proper training and ongoing attention to detail will pay off for your organization.

By now, you should have an idea of whether the software is appropriate for your organization. If the needs are there, Blue Sky eLearn is a serious contender for addressing them!


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The Modern CMO as Personified by These Famous TV Characters


The modern CMO is a perfect recipe of equal parts leader, flawless communicator, and data analyst. Add three tablespoons of business savvy, a hearty serving of empathy, and one box of storyteller’s creativity. These qualities on their own do not constitute the head of marketing, but when combined, they result in a successful CMO. We took the best traits from our favorite TV characters and mixed them together. Meet the modern CMO:

More from PostFunnel on marketing leadership:

What is a Chief Digital Officer – And Does Your Company Need One?
A Song of Fire and Leads: How our Favorite GOT Characters Would Rule Their Marketing Team
5 Ways to Transition Your Employees into Devoted Brand Ambassadors

The Fearless Leader

There’ll be inner departmental conflicts along the way, but an effective CMO is—among other things—a master ‘peer-mediator,’ who knows how to bridge together his/her teams, from growth to design. Though disagreements may stir up discontent, the leader keeps everyone aligned and focused on the main goals. And when team members’ energy wanes, they’ll raise morale and empower each employee to control their own domain.

TV character to emulate: Leroy Jethro Gibbs, leader of the NCIS Major Case Response Team, NCIS

While not the mushiest or verbal of bosses, Gibbs knows how to empower his team to get the job done. What he lacks in feedback, he excels in leading by example. He knows when to use tough love and when to congratulate them on a job well done, as evidenced (pun intended) by several of his rules:

  • Rule #15: always work as a team
  • Rule #28: your case, your lead
  • Rule #33: clean up the mess that you make

The Stellar Communicator

CMOs serve as the brand ambassador – both inwardly and outwardly – so they must effectively communicate with teams companywide. Whether it’s collaborating with product, R&D, or sales, they must be able to reach out for information and use the facts to create cohesive branding. CMOs can concisely communicate company values, propositions, story, culture, and products, to audiences of all types and sizes.

TV character to emulate: CJ Cregg, WH Press Secretary/WH Chief of Staff, The West Wing

CJ has a compelling (read: witty and straight-forward) method of delivering news, updates, and stories, using her intellect and honesty to communicate the administration’s position in a way that makes more friends than enemies. She’s humorous, stoic, and composed, depending on the message. CJ relies on her team to help unearth the facts, which is why she’s legendary in knowing how to gather information.

Passion for the Data

The modern CMO proves that the ‘expertise in data’ entry on their resume isn’t an afterthought. They understand the facts and figures needed for successful marketing. They’re data-driven, yet can explain the numbers in a way the rest of the team will understand. Adaptable in nature, they take the cues from the data, not just hunches.

TV character to emulate: Dana Katherine Scully, FBI Agent, The X-Files

Dana’s ability to read and understand the data without biases is an integral part of her team’s success. She’s interested in concrete proof, numbers, facts, and sound information; but she’s not married to her conclusions – she’ll adjust her mindset when confronted with other, stronger data. As a CMO, she’d make even the least ‘left-brained’ marketer excited about the numbers and inspire everyone to do a little digging of their own when solving problems.

The Industry Expert

This is a professional who loves their work and relishes learning industry ins and outs. While the rest of us are off scouring Amazon for that day’s deals or planning their next vacation—no judgement—this marketer spends their free time diving into marketing’s current trends and upcoming industry events. Their deep knowledge of the field powers their strong intuition of what will work, and what won’t.

TV character to emulate: Rachel Green, executive at Ralph Lauren, Friends

Regardless of whether you’re a fan or not, there wasn’t a time when Rachel didn’t know the latest fashion trends or wasn’t dedicated to her work. She read and subscribed to the latest catalogs and fashion magazines to stay up to date. Rachel succeeds in her various roles because as a genuine fashionista, she earns the respect of her boss and important industry players (such as her almost-employer at Louis Vuitton) by showing her expertise.

The Brilliant Business Mind

What good is any marketing effort if there’s no understanding of how it’ll impact the business? Modern CMOs can turn marketing KPIs into business objectives, meeting wider company goals. Great marketing leaders understand that every marketing operation should ultimately increase revenue.

TV character to emulate: Olivia Pope, head of crisis management firm, Olivia Pope and Associates, Scandal

We’re not saying you should run a team like her white hat operation, but Ms. Pope knows a thing or two about making her clients happy and keeping a business alive. The entrepreneur built her brand from the ground up, collecting an entire Rolodex of happy customers along the way. Olivia knows it’s not enough to be a fixer; she needs to be the best fixer in Washington. She works tirelessly to maintain her reputation for excellent service – shadiness aside.

The Empathetic One

An empathetic CMO is more likely to understand the importance of customer centricity and feel invested in who your customers are, what they like, how they see things, and their overall experience with your brand. These types are dedicated to serving their audience to their greatest ability.

Tv character to emulate: Randall Pearson, father, son, councilman, This Is Us

Randall became a politician to make his constituents’ community a better place. He’s warm-hearted, sensitive to the struggles of others, and demonstrates a real desire to help everyone around him, whether they’re blood related or not. His incredible capacity for emotion allows him to convince his wife, Beth, to adopt Deja and take in his birth father, William, who was suffering from stage IV cancer.

The Storyteller

No marketer gets anywhere without the ability to harness and display their creativity. CMOs develop a cohesive and memorable brand story for audiences. They know how to spin a narrative and share concepts, ideas, and products with consumers. They’re masters at projecting a certain image and weaving a tale that’ll captivate current and potential customers.

TV character to emulate: Hank Moody, novelist and freelance writer, Californication

Various shortcomings aside, Hank is an accomplished novelist who knows how to tell a tale – and award-winningly entertaining ones at that. When motivated, he’s an excellent storyteller with legions of fans, all who claim to understand him based on how much his words have touched them. The author takes pride in having a strong grasp of language, and although some would consider him a snob, he’s all about preserving the dignity of the written word.

Last week on…

Envisioning the modern CMO was a little like searching for the perfect brownie recipe. On their own, they may be quality ingredients, but ultimately, you can’t bake the perfect dessert from 3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped. Today’s Head of Marketing must have all of the above components to lead and inspire his team. We’re still waiting for TV networks to dream up a fictional-full packaged CMO who would lead their team to CRM greatness, but in the meantime, we’ll take our cues from our favorite characters.

Multi Channel Marketing E-book

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Simple Is Often Better Than Complex


Simple Is Often Better Than Complex. We live in a time where complexity is all around us. Simple solutions are frequently discounted due to the perception that something must be missing. I share this observation today after several conversations about yesterdays post that described a tool that increases views and leads to your website with one […]

The post Simple Is Often Better Than Complex appeared first on Fill the Funnel.


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NEWS // New Representation: Tea & Water Pictures


I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by Tea & Water Pictures in New York, London and Beijing. They are an exciting agency that have a some great production experience and a team with really diverse but complimentary backgrounds, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve together over the next few years!

They’ve also done a little interview with me which, if you’re interested, you can read here 

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How To Get 6 Months Of Marketing And Sales Execution Completed In Just 30 Days


New Agency Engagement Format Is Already Delivering Massive Results For Progressive Companies

Ready to change the trajectory of your business today?

Working with digital marketing, inbound, demand generation, revenue growth and sales execution agencies is an excellent idea when you lack the bandwidth or proficiency to drive lead generation, sales growth and overall revenue generation up and to the right.

Under the traditional agency model (practiced by 99% of all agencies today), the people assigned to work with you are also working with between four and 10 other clients. This means you only get their attention for part of the month. It means they’re being pulled in multiple directions by multiple clients and multiple projects.

In some cases, you might only have them for four to five hours a month, yet you’re paying thousands of dollars a month.

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Should Predictive Analytics Be Subject to Government Regulation?


To some modern day consumers, “Big Data” sounds a lot like “Big Brother.” Several companies have exacerbated these fears by prioritizing predictive accuracy over privacy. For example, in 2012, Target correctly predicted a teenage girl’s pregnancy before she told her father. Target had assessed the young woman’s purchase data and mailed her a range of baby product promotions—much to her father’s chagrin. While the product promos may seem innocuous, consumers were unnerved by Target’s tactics. In the years that followed, predictive analytics became subject to increased ethical scrutiny. In fact, major companies, including Google and Salesforce, have gone so far as to hire a “Chief Ethics Officer.”

This role may include ensuring regulatory compliance or even inspecting AI algorithms for bias. The rise of this job title signifies that companies, in addition to consumers, are taking data ethics seriously. But it’s important to also highlight the positive potential of predictive analytics. More than a dark twist in a sci-fi movie, it can help organizations detect fraud, optimize marketing, manage resources, and reduce risk. In some cases, it could even save lives. Government regulation might be able to assuage ethical concerns while helping predictive analytics along its trajectory.

More from PostFunnel on data analysis:
GDPR Six Months Later: What Have We Learned So Far?
Asking the Experts: 7 Insights on How to Harness Data Science
5 Things Data-Driven Marketers Do Every Day

What is Predictive Analytics?

Predictive analytics uses historical data, algorithms, and machine learning to identify the likelihood of future outcomes. This is not a new technology—the U.S. Census Bureau has been using it for decades to uncover population data trends. But today, predictive analytics is becoming a modern business staple. Predictive analytics is already being used to aid marketers with lead generation and to predict the major life events of retail customers.

Beyond that, the technology has revolutionized industries such as banking, insurance, healthcare, and manufacturing. And we’ve only scratched the surface of its potential. In healthcare, for instance, it may soon be used to develop genetically-precise medicines. Predictive analytics may even have applications in social work and child welfare: it could save lives by reducing the time it takes to determine the need for an investigation.

The sheer complexity of predictive analytics presents inherent challenges. Large data pools are vulnerable to cyber-attacks. A lack of transparency could lead to algorithmic bias or discriminatory practices. Above all, consumer data must be protected to ensure privacy. Government regulation could effectively address these concerns, but would it stymie innovation in the process?

The Case for Government Regulation

Existing data regulations—including the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)—hinge upon the idea of consent. All companies and organizations with EU customers must notify their audience of their data collection and its use. Customers must then either provide consent, or opt out. Professor Dennis Hirsch, head of the Data and Governance program at Ohio State University, explained that the same framework can’t apply to predictive analytics. For example, people may not be aware when checking the box that gives their consent that their retail purchase history could be used to extrapolate sensitive personal information. Hirsch believes that predictive analytics ought to be regulated to protect privacy and discourage manipulation, bias, and procedural unfairness. In his view, regulation may even lead to a boon for consumers and organizations alike.

Regulation Protects Consumers

Merely asking for consent is not enough if consumers do not understand the conclusions that can be drawn from their data. Hirsch suggests that an “expert agency,” similar to the FDA, can evaluate these cases on behalf of consumers and design a framework to safeguard consumer data and ensure privacy. In addition to protecting the data itself, regulation could help eradicate manipulation and bias. If left unchecked, a biased algorithm could unfairly reject certain candidates for loans or insurance coverage. Such predatory behavior would cause grave social harm.

 Regulation Safeguards Brands & Institutions

Regulation isn’t just good for consumers—it could give brands a boost as well. A Deloitte study on consumer trust and data protection confirms that data privacy and security is more than an issue of risk management. In fact, it’s a potential source of competitive advantage that could encourage brand-building and improve business reputation. Regulation may validate brands and institutions that leverage predictive analytics, thus building trust with consumers.

Regulation Can Foster Innovation

Contrary to popular belief, regulation isn’t always the enemy of progress. By reframing predictive analytics as a legitimate and transparent business practice, regulation could actually encourage innovation. It would legitimize predictive analytics in consumers’ eyes, thereby opening new application avenues. We might even see more organizations offering predictive analytics as a service. Regulation could also necessitate new technologies for authentication, encryption and anti-artificial intelligent bots, which could be key to sustaining the digital ecosystem.

What the Future Holds

Data ethics, consumer data protection, and security regulations are here to stay. GDPR is in full effect, and similar legislation, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act passed in 2018. Predictive analytics will likely be subject to specific regulation in the near future. While regulation will inherently limit its scope, it will also help rewrite the narrative. The ultimate goal of predictive analytics is to help people—whether it’s used to share a relevant product catalog, qualify the right candidate for a loan, or predict who may be at risk for chronic disease. It follows that organizations should innovate while protecting the people they hope to serve. Ethical practices will aid the advancement of predictive analytics regardless of the regulations that follow.

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How To Get More Leads With One Small Tweak To Your Website


You’ve worked hard on your site. It seems good, provides valuable advice to your viewers and receives positive remarks and you don’t seem to find the company you had hoped for. One of the principal reasons for this is that people are leaving your site too soon. Even Google has recognized this difficulty […]
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