Monthly Archives: December 2015

Travel Marketing: 5 Steps to Seed the Micro-Moments That Drive Decisions

Google calls the act of pulling out our phones and searching for videos, photos, or articles about a destination a “micro-moment.” It is the moment when a traveler is actively seeking, planning and dreaming about traveling. And for a tourism company to have their message show up on a Google search, in a video or an Instagram photo at these moments is powerfully persuasive.

According to Google, “69 percent of leisure travelers who are smartphone users search for travel ideas during spare moments, like when they’re standing in line or waiting for the subway. Nearly half of those travelers go on to book their choices through an entirely separate channel.”

Travel marketing relies on optimizing the micro moment

Google’s research highlights the circuitous route that vacationers take to the booking button. It is not linear or confined to one device. And it is driven more by the vacationer’s psychology rather than any static process.

The “micro” qualifier refers to the short bursts of time we spend browsing our phone, leaving marketers with sometimes only seconds to make an impression. Research from Kleiner Caufield Perkins & Byers shows that the average consumer checks his phone 150 times a day (this is not a typo), but only spends 177 minutes per day on their phone – meaning that the average smartphone session lasts only 1 minute and 10 seconds.

But micro-moments are also defined by three attributes – they combine intent, immediacy, and context. Vacationers are searching for something (intent), they want it at their fingertips (immediacy), and they want it to be relevant to their planning (context).

Travel marketing’s three motivators: Go, Do, Buy

Here is a tour through the steps vacationers take as they go from someone with a casual interest in a destination to a vacationer booking a trip, and how marketers and travel companies can get travelers’ attention during each step of the process.

  • I Want to Know

It might be spurred by a conversation with a friend or a stunning photo on social media, but most travel trips start with one simple thought – I want to know.

I want to know more about that small beach town in Mexico that my co-worker just raved about. I want to know about the most family-friendly Hawaiian Island.

These “I want to know” moments send us to our smartphones where we search the photos, articles, and videos that inform us about a destination.

Screen Shot 2015 12 21 at 2.08.13 PM Travel Marketing: 5 Steps to Seed the Micro Moments That Drive Decisions

Suppose you want to know when is the best time of year to visit Fiji? This website is nicely optimized to answer that question and take the buyer to the next step. Image Source:

Each tactic has its advantage. Paid search assures your message shows up in front of the right person at the right time, but the message stays there only as long as you continue to pay for that placement. Organic SEO, driven by well-written content and meta data, and earned media (through public relations and video campaigns), has a longer life span and a more authentic, unbiased appeal to travelers. 

  • I Want to Go

The first decision has been made. After learning more about a destination, this prospective traveler wants to go. This is a big first step, but it is only the first in a string of very important decisions that make up vacation planning. Intent has turned into desire. The first hurdle has been crossed. If you are a destination marketing organization your job is partially done. Through compelling content available to the traveler at the right time, you have made the traveler choose your destination. If you are a lodging property, tour operator or restaurant, you now have a great opportunity to make your case.

Anticipation is a big part of success at this “micro-moment” stage. Understanding an audience and personalizing messages will earn you a click, a read, and ultimately a purchase decision.

At this stage of the process, it is a competition: the company that serves the most relevant content at the most opportune time will likely win the traveler.

According to a Google and Ipsos survey one in three smartphone users have purchased from a company other than the one they intended to – because the brand they finally picked delivered them relevant information at the moment they needed it.

Think of “I want to go” moments not only as opportunities to influence vacationers in the planning stages, but also in the moment. While lodging may be booked months in advance, targeted location-based mobile ads can inspire travelers to visit restaurants, take tours, and add unplanned events at the last minute mid-vacation.

  • I Want to Do

Travelers often book a trip to try new things – new foods, new experiences, new adventures.

But doing new things requires some forethought and research, and much of that is now done on mobile devices. Useful web content that explains, educates, and inspires seals the deal for most travelers. Web traffic trends confirm this growing demand for educational content. YouTube searches for “how to” content is increasing 70 percent year over year, according to Google.

While the “I want to go” searcher may only visit a location once, the “I want to do” searcher has a high probability of becoming a lifelong consumer. Capturing the attention of that person wanting to experience a new sport, a new activity, or a new skill may become one of the coveted brand loyalists that deliver long-running “lifetime value” to a brand. Whether you are a ski destination, a mountain biking mecca, or a golfing paradise, capturing the imagination and loyalty of a traveler discovering your destination and a new activity or sport at the same time is one way to tap into the lifetime value of a repeat visitor or a brand loyalist.

  • I Want to Buy

Causing a customer to click the booking button typically requires connection across multiple devices at multiple points in time. Consumers do more research, more thoroughly, than ever before.

When the momentous booking moment arrives, all of those “I want to know,” “I want to go” and “I want to do” micro-moments that preceded the booking decision matter. If your destination, travel company, or hotel served up useful information on things to do and things to see, the traveler is more likely to book with your company. Remember that Google/Ipsos study that showed a third of consumers will change allegiance and buy from a brand that served them up that relevant content at the moment they wanted it.

Connecting with prospective travelers throughout the research process also gives brands the data to connect and re-connect to the most relevant customers during these micro-moments. Using that data, brands can establish more personalized relationships with customers, making sure that they understand what their customers want in those valuable moments when they are seeking information and inspiration for their next vacation.

Take a video tour of Act-On’s Content Catalog, to explore our content solutions for the travel, hospitality and leisure industry.

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Act-On Marketing Blog

Apple Sets Up New Lab In Taiwan For Display Technology Research

Apple has established a new production lab in Taiwan which focuses on the research and development of new display technologies.

The new lab is reportedly located in the building where Qualcomm developed its Mirasol display technology.

So far, Apple has reportedly hired at least 50 employees to develop a thinner, brighter, and more efficient LCD screen. In addition, Apple reportedly poached Taiwanese local employees from Qualcomm and AU Optronics Corporation.

Apple also hopes to enter the OLED display technology sector. Apple Watch is the company’s first product using an OLED display, while other products still primarily rely on LCD displays.

An OLED display does not need a backlight, so it allows the screen to be thinner compared with LCDs and more easily bent.

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Understanding the Duplicate Detection View

Have you ever run a duplicate detection job and wished you could change the view columns to help when you’re comparing potential duplicates? The good news is you can! But it’s not as straightforward as changing other views in the system. The key is to understand how the duplicate detection

 Understanding the Duplicate Detection View

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

IBM Watson APIs hold key to broader cognitive computing use

One of IBM’s chief goals in 2015 was to make more of a market for its Watson cognitive computing system. While new machine learning technologies are spurring a resurgence of artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities in general, Watson seems somewhat alone as a cognitive champion. It still faces hurdles, but the company made some advances on its cognitive strategy during the course of the year — and an  expanded set of IBM Watson APIs were central to that process.

The year has seen a parade of new Watson undertakings, ranging from early plans to connect Watson healthcare systems to iPhone users to last week’s announcement of a Watson-driven online shopping and product recommendation engine by outdoor clothing maker The North Face. But further progress in selling Watson to the corporate masses rides, in part, on IBM’s efforts to simplify the task of programming the system, in order to help take it out of the ranks of supercomputers and turn it into a more accessible platform.

Those efforts have centered on moving Watson to the cloud and connecting it to IBM’s Bluemix platform as a service (PaaS) environment for development. Turning Watson into an a la carte menu of accessible cloud services in effect reduces the large set of Watson application capabilities into bite-size portions for both customers and business partners.

Watson has been used in applications ranging from medical purposes, such as improving cancer diagnoses, to automating customer service processes to various kinds of research initiatives, according to Dave Schubmehl , an analyst at IT market research company IDC. Still, he continued, people need an easy entry to Watson.

“People don’t necessarily want to buy a million-dollar system to run Watson,” Schubmehl said. “But PaaS is well-suited for cognitive platforms. People can use Bluemix services and start working with one or two APIs, rather than use the whole system.”

He added that IBM’s March 2015 purchase of AlchemyAPI — a deep-learning AI technology startup — was also notable, as it brought to Big Blue a popular set of developer APIs that can help Watson in areas beyond machine learning applications. “AlchemyAPI had developed a business running on Web services.  It really opened the door for IBM to start thinking about offering the rest of its services in the same way,” Schubmehl  said. The acquisition also has vastly increased the ranks of developers available to work with Watson, he noted.

Profiles in data via Watson analytics

Using the IBM Watson APIs, applications can be created in pretty quick order, according to Michael Hussey, CEO and founder of StatSocial Inc., an Internet services firm based in New York that provides social media data to companies looking to analytics on the demographics of followers and other people in their “social audience.”

Among other traits, Watson can take free-form text and analyze keyword phrases to gauge people’s sentiments — useful information to add to a customer profile, Hussey said. StatSocial maintains its own database of text from blogs, tweets and other social outlets. It passes that material to the Watson Personality Insights service in the Bluemix cloud via an embedded API, “then we get back scores on profile types for consumers,” he said.

Hussey said things were up and running in less than two months. He originally saw Watson cognitive computing as ”a concept or marketing vehicle” — but as he has gained familiarity with the system, he has also gained a better understanding of its applicability in analytics applications.

“I had no idea a year ago how this would apply to what we’re doing,” Hussey said. “But the notion of cognitive computing is similar to what we do with people’s social footprints. We organize unstructured data — their social footprints — into a structured taxonomy. ” In the same way, Watson applications — in one way or another — can bring structure to unstructured data, he added. “For us, it’s a whole new level of texture for the data.”

Taking the time to train Watson

The task of programming Watson wasn’t intimidating to Rainer Baumann, head of shared information services at reinsurer Swiss Re, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland. But in an email interview, Baumann said that what does take dedicated work is teaching the system. During that phase, the system is repeatedly fed information, and analytical algorithms and models are adjusted in an effort to achieve the most accurate results possible in terms of predicting insurance trends and risks.

“We need to train the machine for a specific domain use case by preparing a large data set that is applicable to that domain,” Baumann said. What then follows is ongoing interaction between Swiss Re data specialists and Watson. That work is needed in order for the system to learn and understand specific questions, and provide accurate, evidence-based answers, he said.

Such efforts are just fine with IBM, which is continually looking for customers that can help the company train Watson for applications in new industries. Overall, IBM has estimated that more than 77,000 developers have worked with its Watson Developer Cloud platform to pilot, test or deploy new business applications. Much of its effort in the year to come will focus on moving that effort into hyperdrive and further ramping up use of the IBM Watson APIs to help drive more sales of the system.

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SearchBusinessAnalytics: BI, CPM and analytics news, tips and resources

The Year in Review – Part 2

YIR2expanded 800x919 The Year in Review – Part 2
© Tom Tomorrow

Can we take any more of this presidential race? Can we survive another eleven months? Is there anything that can happen that hasn’t already happened?

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Political Irony

How to boost user engagement 300% (webinar)

Join two powerhouse models of user engagement — CBSi and Thrillist — in this live webinar as they reveal the mobile strategies they’ve used to catapult user engagement by 300%.

Register here for free.

The ultimate goal for any marketer is creating loyal customers hungering for more. To achieve this in today’s digital-driven world, you need to unravel the holy grail of engagement, otherwise your tech-savvy, mobile-obsessed audience will simply move on to the next site or app, which may very well be your competitor’s.

Here’s the thing: mobile technology has given marketers powerful new ways to engage directly with users — at any time and any place — but many are failing to leverage valuable data to increase their relevance and influence with consumers.

Sure, email, push notifications, and sales promos are great tactics, but if you’re not anticipating your customers’ needs and interests through business intelligence and machine learning, they’re only that: tactics. And you might end up doing more harm than good.

To share quintessential best practices on how to sharpen your engagement game, we’ve enlisted the help of two powerhouse exemplars: CBSi (CBS Interactive) and Thrillist.

CBSi has masterfully transitioned from a traditional old school icon of news to become essential to its new mobile-first audience — a cross-over journey many companies have had to negotiate (and many are still struggling with). Thrillist, the media lifestyle company founded in 2004, came of age right alongside the massive move to mobile, and by harnessing the power of behavioral data to understand the individual interests of its male millennial audience, grew from a modest newsletter to a leading media outlet with over 15 million avid subscribers.

In this webinar, you’ll discover what they did to triple user engagement through mobile practices at scale. These are strategies that can be applied to any business — and with dedication, can be mastered surprisingly easily even if you’re not a huge, iconic brand. They’re also strategies no company should be without as we pass the halfway point in this decade.

Don’t miss out!
Register here for free.

By attending this webinar, you’ll:

  • Learn how to use machine learning against user profile data to increase user engagement.
  • Boost user engagement and retention by 300% through predictive technology applied against email, website and mobile deliverables.
  • Leverage identity to provide 1:1 relevant experience at scale for your users.
  • Get the scoop on how digital marketing is changing – and is no longer the same space as it was last year.


Michael Powers, Vice President of Product, CBSi

Ken Peltzer, Vice President of Technology, Thrillist Media Group


Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat

This webinar is sponsored by Boomtrain.

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VentureBeat » Big Data News | VentureBeat

Will Trump Destroy the GOP?

Eugene Robinson has an interesting opinion piece in WaPo titled “How Donald Trump destroyed the Republican Party in 2015”, as if it is a fait accompli. He does soften that, saying “An entity called the GOP will survive — but can never be the same.”

His point is that Trump has exploited the resentments and fears that have been so carefully cultivated and used by the Republican establishment to keep the base in line. However, the GOP action has never matched their rhetoric. Not on immigration, on abortion, on gay marriage, on terrorism, even on whether Obama was born on American soil. As Robinson puts it “Trump has given voice to the ugliness and anger that the party spent years encouraging and exploiting. He let the cat out of the bag, and it’s hungry.”

Bottom line? One of two things will happen:

The party might nominate Trump, in which case the establishment will have lost all control. Or party leaders might somehow find a way to defeat him, in which case they will have lost the allegiance of much of the base. In either event, the GOP we once knew is irredeemably a thing of the past.

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Political Irony

In-Depth Guide: Calculate Your Lead Generation Campaign ROI

Let’s put this into action. Going back to the cable provider example, we established that the CLV is $ 4,800 ($ 100 per month x 48 months). 10% of $ 4800 is $ 480, which is the amount of money the cable company can reasonably spend to acquire each new customer.

The 10% number is an average, and it’s common for many companies to go up to 15% to 20% (or more) when calculating their COCA. In fact, new companies will often “investment spend” at a much higher COCA to acquire new customers before eventually dropping down to around 10%.

Now that you know your CLV and the allowable cost of customer acquisition, let’s look at how you can use these numbers to calculate the ROI of your lead generation campaign.

Let’s go back to the cable provider example. Say the company typically spends $ 480,000 a year on their marketing efforts, with 10% of that allocated toward lead generation efforts. This means, they would have to acquire 100 or more new customers from their lead generation efforts in order to generate a positive ROI.

A little confused? Let’s break the math down:

  • Since the total marketing budget is $ 480,000, 10% – the portion of it allotted to lead gen – is $ 48,000.
  • We know our allowable cost of acquisition per customer is $ 480.
  • So, in order to break even, the campaign should generate at least $ 48,000 divided by $ 480, which gives us 100 new customers.

If the cable company is currently acquiring more than a 100 customers through their lead generation campaign, it is producing a positive ROI (and vice versa).

We’ve covered a number of concepts above, so here’s a quick recap and a step-by-guide for you to calculate the ROI of your next lead generation campaign. (Be sure to keep this list handy the next time you meet with your boss.):

Step 1: Calculate your CLV. Do this by multiplying the average revenue a customer brings in each year by the average number of years they’re engaged with your business. (Ex. $ 25 per customer for 10 = $ 250 CLV.)

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Act-On Marketing Blog

Importing Created and Modified Values in CRM

When importing data into Dynamics CRM using SSIS, you also need to import your Created on/by and Modified on/by data. Previously, you could only import CreateOn fields by mapping the “overriddencreatedon” field with source data. We now have at least two supported options to update these fields, and in today’s

 Importing Created and Modified Values in CRM

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PowerObjects- Bringing Focus to Dynamics CRM

Executive Producer Will Packer To Receive ABFF Alumni Award At ABFF Honors!

Los Angeles, CA, December, 2016 — The American Black Film Festival (ABFF) Honors is proud to announce it will be presenting television and film producer Will Packer with the “Distinguished ABFF Alumni Award” at the 2016 ABFF Honors. The awards gala will be held February 21, 2016, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA.

ABFF Honors’ mission is to celebrate Black culture by honoring individuals, movies and television shows that have had a significant impact on American entertainment, as well as the people who are proponents of championing diversity and inclusion in Hollywood. This year’s event will be hosted by actor and comedian Mike Epps.

“We are very excited about ABFF Honors this year, and the opportunity to pay tribute to my friend Will, who got his start at the ABFF, and who continues to support the efforts and mission of the festival,” said Jeff Friday, President and CEO, ABFF Ventures.

Packer’s long-standing history and relationship with the American Black Film Festival began in 1999 when his independent film Trois premiered at the ABFF. It became the fastest African American distributed film to surpass $ 1 million in sales. Since then, Will Packer has premiered and screened six other films at the ABFF including This Christmas and Takers. Most recently, Think Like A Man Too opened the festival in 2014.

Producer Will Packer has established himself as one of Hollywood’s blockbuster hit makers. In 2014, he accomplished the rare feat of producing two of the top six films at the box office, and is one of the only African American producers to have seven films debut at number one during opening weekend.

In 2013, Packer signed first-look production deals with Universal Pictures and Universal Television. Under both deals he develops new projects for the studios under his Will Packer Productions company.

His most successful film to date is Ride Along, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart, that debuted number one at the box office in 2014, with record-breaking receipts totaling over $ 48 million during the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend opening of the film, making it one of the biggest January opening box office tallies of all time. The film also went on to be number one at the box office for three consecutive weeks and grossed over $ 154 million worldwide.  Packer also executive produced the box office hit Straight Outta Compton, which has grossed over $ 200 million to date and is the highest grossing music biopic on record.

Packer’s number one films also include No Good Deed (2014), Think Like A Man Too (2014), Think Like A Man (2012), Takers (2010), Obsessed (2008) and Stomp The Yard (2007). His most recent release this year, The Wedding Ringer, starring Kevin Hart and Josh Gad, holds the world record as the #1 R-rated comedy opening in January. His next film, Ride Along 2, will debut in theaters on January 15, 2016, followed by A Meyers Christmas, that hits theaters November 11, 2016.

Collectively, Packer’s films have grossed over $ 780 million, making him one of Hollywood’s most bankable producers.

Also making a major foray into prime time TV, Packer is the executive producer of two new comedies, Truth Be Told (NBC) that premiered in 2015 and Uncle Buck (ABC), that will debut in early 2016. Packer is also set to executive produce Roots, a remake of one of the most celebrated TV programs of all time as an event series that will air simultaneously on The History Channel, A&E and Lifetime networks in 2017.

ABFF Honors will be one of the highlights of the Hollywood Awards season and Black History Month. The event is produced by ABFF Ventures (a partnership between Film Life and Black Enterprise) in association with de Passe Jones Entertainment. The 2016 ABFF Honors sponsors are Cadillac (Presenting Sponsor) and Prudential (Gold Sponsor).

For more information about the 2016 ABFF Honors, log on to  Also, follow us on our social media platforms:





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WATCH: The New Red Band Trailer For ‘Deadpool’!
AT&T Settles Byron Allen Racial Discrimination Lawsuit Then Picks Up 7 Channels!

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The Humor Mill