A quick scroll through my targeted ads on social media makes me seem kind of crazy. Right now, there’s an ad for an off-the-shoulder lace bridesmaid dress that looks like it came out of an 80s prom movie, a 1920s art deco dress, and a set of dinosaur print pajamas.
I am not set to be a bridesmaid in any weddings, nor am I a flapper or a child in need of a new set of jammies. All I can figure is that I got on some list of millennial women and from there, advertisers just threw everything they had at me to see if anything would stick.
In a world where 74% of consumers (including me) are now willing to give up personal data for a more personalized ad experience, why am I being chased around the internet with T-rex pjs? It’s no wonder 69% of marketers rate their AI vendor’s performance as poor. There’s got to be some sort of problem in the pipeline between user data and AI targeting.
Here are a few examples of innovative companies who use AI to create messaging that matters.
Beyond standard segmentation
Traditional methods of segmentation are pretty rudimentary. Knowing that a user is a woman between the ages of 30 and 40 can only get messaging so far, since that group contains a diverse population from many different walks of life. Better AI is revolutionizing the ways we break down our audiences, using information based on browsing behavior, past purchases, comments, and likes in order to create better experiences for users.
For example, athletic wear brand Under Armour recently partnered with IBM’s Watson to create personalized training plans for its app users. The brand understood that a 32-year-old woman training for a marathon would probably need a different training regimen and meal plan than a 20-year-old man interested in weight lifting. The app is a great example of the ways AI can break down audiences beyond standard segmentation and offer personalized options for individual users.
Personalized product recommendations
And speaking of product recommendations, the woman training for a marathon is probably looking for a different kind of workout clothes than a woman of the same age who religiously attends barre classes. So it doesn’t make a lot of sense to target them with the same ads just because, in the most basic segments, they look the same.
Fashion retailers are leading the charge of AI-based product recommendations. For example, Syte.ai allows users to upload a picture of an outfit they like and then the AI-powered recommendation tool searches a retailer’s inventory for similar styles. UK-based clothing retailer Boohoo recently claimed that integrating Syte doubled revenue and increased conversions 100% among users who opted in.
And those numbers aren’t unusual among businesses who become early adopters of AI technology for better audience segmentation and product recommendation. Audiences are tired of being chased around the internet with images of products they don’t want and need just because they fall into some broad demographic.
Now can someone please recommend some better-looking pajamas? I really do need new ones.
Ready to learn more about integrating AI into your marketing strategy?
Check out our webinar from Nov 7 focusing on how you can use AI to bring better consumer personalization to your marketing strategy. The webinar covers:
- Segmenting audiences beyond age and gender
- Finding the right customer on the right channel at the right time
- Customized product recommendations based on individual preferences
AI isn’t going away anytime soon — and it’s early adopters who will see the most benefits. Are you ready to start incorporating it into your marketing strategy?
The post AI is better than ever, so why is our messaging so far behind? appeared first on ClickZ.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is seeking to get a better understanding of permissionless blockchains, but Bitcoin does not appear to be invited to the party.
To achieve this enhanced insight into blockchain technology, the US Department of Defense agency has sent out a request for information (RFI) on permissionless distributed consensus protocols, specifically touching on aspects that have been inadequately explored.
One area DARPA is seeking to get a better handle of is how permissionless blockchains can function in the absence of monetary incentives. With permissionless distributed protocols such as Bitcoin offering compensation to participants (miners) in the form of newly-created coins for their work in adding blocks and ensuring the security of the network, DARPA is interested in alternative methods that can be employed.
For the agency, it is mandatory that these techniques do not offer participants incentives in monetary form, cryptocurrency or otherwise. However, other transfers of value can be considered, such as offering participants access to computing resources.
Economic-Driven Security Model
From the RFI, DARPA is also seeking deeper insight into the idea that participants in permissionless distributed protocols behave with their economic interests at heart. In this regard, the DoD agency is interested in “methods that leverage rigorous economic notions to advance theories of security for distributed, permissionless computation protocols.”
Additionally, DARPA is also seeking the means by which the unintended or intended centralization of a distributed consensus protocol can be analyzed and/or addressed. This is in recognition of the fact that permissionless distributed protocols may have certain aspects which are centralized and this may impact the security of the protocol, regardless of the theoretical guarantees.
According to DARPA, the information provided by responders could potentially inform a future program of the agency:
“For the purpose of this RFI, DARPA is solely interested in permissionless distributed consensus protocols … While there is a substantial amount of publically and privately supported research and development in distributed consensus protocols, DARPA seeks information along several, less-explored avenues of permissionless distributed consensus protocols. Such information could help inform a future DARPA program.”
Blockchain-based Messaging Platform
Despite being a military agency which maintains a high level of secrecy in certain projects, this is not the first time that DARPA has publicly demonstrated interest in blockchain technology. Two years ago, CCN reported that DARPA was working on a communications platform where messages would be transferred on a secure decentralized protocol.
At the time, DARPA indicated that the messaging platform would be used in conveying troop movements, especially in denied communication environments. As the DoD agency said at the time, such a blockchain messaging system would need to be resilient during cyber-attacks, possess self-destruct features for messages, and be capable of providing deniability or repudiation, if and when necessary.
Featured Image from Shutterstock
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The South Korean arm of the Tezos Foundation has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Yonsei University for the development of unique talents and expertise in blockchain technology, according to a press release published by Tezos.
The release reads:
“Through this agreement, both sides will strengthen the expertise of the blockchain and education expertise, and discuss various cooperation opportunities to lead the blockchain field.”
The new agreement, which is between the Seoul-based Digital Society Research Center at Yonsei University and the Tezos Korea Foundation, will look into providing “blockchain cooperation, education, training of Objective Calm and experts in the development of smart contracts.”
The Tezos Foundation, earlier this year, announced a call for grant proposals before subsequently, providing aid to four separate institutions for the development of blockchain technology and smart contracts. Three other recipients were given grants for the development of tools and apps for the stability of the blockchain ecosystem last month. The recipients are Papers and Ackee and active contributor and developer Luiz Milfont.
Ackee will help to develop a Tezos development kit for the iOS platform, while Papers a crypto wallet, will use the grant money to develop an open-source library that will also be available for use as a dev toolkit.
Milfont, a Brazilian IT developer, was also selected for his contributions to the blockchain ecosystem. He developed the TezosJ SDK library, which makes it easy for Android developers to create Android apps that work well with their Tezos blockchain. He is expected to create more libraries that will help ensure a more seamless use of Tezos as a tool for software and platform development.
The Foundations also signed up one of the four biggest providers of professional services PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to conduct an external audit of its finances.
Earlier this week, Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui (SMBC), in conjunction with the University of Tokyo, and the Ethereum Foundation, launched an educational course called “the Blockchain Innovation Donation Course,” to be taught at the graduate school of Engineering in the university. The duration of the course is three years and it has been designed to help students who will like to start blockchain-based businesses.
Featured image from Sh
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In the last 24 hours, the valuation of the crypto market increased from $137 billion to $140 billion after a minor recovery of around 2 percent.
Both major cryptocurrencies and small market cap tokens have ended the day with relatively minor losses in the range of 1 to 3 percent.
Is Bottom Near For Bitcoin?
The volume of Bitcoin (BTC) has dropped from $5.5 billion back to $4 billion over the past several days, by more than 27 percent. Given that the value of BTC has not fallen substantially during the time wherein its volume fell, a case can be made that the sell-pressure on the dominant cryptocurrency has subsided.
A cryptocurrency trader and economist Alex Krüger explained:
“Yesterday, BTC triggered my main oversold signal on the daily. This signal printed only once before: Jan/17/2015. Very close to a bottom that held for eight months, and was breached only once ever after, briefly, during the Aug/18/2015 flash crash.”
Generally, after a 30 to 40 percent drop, major cryptocurrencies tend to recover in the mid-term, as seen in the case of Ripple (XRP). A similar trend could be portrayed by BTC in the upcoming weeks if the asset could begin demonstrating stability at its low price range.
Even if BTC falls below the $4,000 mark prior to engaging in a corrective rally, which is a possibility given that the $4,000 support level was tested twice in the past five days, stability in the range of $3,800 to $4,200 could allow BTC to establish roots in the $4,000 region and signal a bottom.
“Some nice buyback wicks showing up, but don’t think we’re out of the woods until a daily close above green,” noted Hsaka, a cryptocurrency technical analyst.
Bitcoin is still only down 78 percent from its all-time high, which is relatively low when compared to the average drop in the price of BTC from its all-time high in previous major corrections. In 2011, 2013, and 2015, BTC recorded an average drop of over 85 percent in every major correction it experienced.
Tokens are in Trouble
In the past 12 hours, Augur dropped by 10 percent and Maker recorded a decline of 7 percent, deleting their weekly gains.
From their all-time highs, most tokens, even those that have performed well against BTC and the US dollar in early 2017, are averaging a drop of around 98 percent.
With increasing pressure from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and dozens of pending cases against initial coin offering (ICO) projects being evaluated by local authorities, the price of tokens is expected to drop substantially in the weeks to come.
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As an alternative store of value, cryptocurrencies are considered as viable long-term investments, especially by millennials, in a period of global financial market instability and volatility. However, recent weeks have shown that cryptocurrencies are still vulnerable to the weakening global economy and the asset class is not able to perform as a hedge against uncertainties in the market.
Global Markets Crash
A lack of correlation is not equivalent to an inverse correlation. Merely because an asset is not affected by a certain catalyst, which in the case of crypto could be the instability of the global market, it does not mean that the asset increases in value as a result.
Historically, the crypto market has demonstrated a lack of correlation with the global stock market and traditional markets like equities. It has consistently recorded independent price movements regardless of how the financial market performs.
Over the past several weeks, as investors began to head towards the exit of stock markets fearing a further drop in U.S. stocks, the price of major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) plunged by more than 35 percent.
The U.S. stock market is experiencing one of its worst sell-offs in history and the trade war between the U.S. and China has led to a decline in the valuation of the Chinese stock market. Overnight, Shenzhen Composite fell 3.3 percent and Shanghai Composite dropped 2.5 percent.
The weakening U.S. and Chinese markets directly affected the economy of South Korea, which was already in decline due to the country’s struggling growth rate. The Kospi fell by 1.2 percent in the past two days and investors generally expect the instability of U.S. and Chinese markets to be sustained.
Alvin Cheung, associate director for Prudential Brokerage, told SCMP:
“There is a lot of negative news about the US criticising China before Trump and Xi meet next week, and that has dented sentiment. The mixed messages could be the US trying to win some bargaining chips for the upcoming meeting. Investors are on the sidelines, closely watching to see if the meeting will yield any concrete results.”
The trend of the global market is gearing towards the elimination of high-risk stocks, equities, bonds, and assets, which includes crypto. The short-term price drop of the market was triggered by the in-fighting of Bitcoin Cash and Bitcoin Cash SV, but the crippling global economy is said to be one of the major catalysts of the declining momentum of cryptocurrencies.
When Will Crypto Demonstrate Inverse Correlation?
Crypto could become a store of value, like gold, that is used by investors to hedge against the global economy. However, due to a lack of liquidity and infrastructure for retail traders, cryptocurrencies are not capable of operating as a hedging tool for large-scale investors.
As the market develops and the industry grows, better liquidity products will become available for both institutional and retail investors. Only then, crypto could potentially work as an inversely correlated asset to the global financial market.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Crypto investor Mike Novogratz has expressed dissatisfaction with the level of difficulty involved in trying to build a cryptocurrency business amidst a persistent bear market, even as he remains bullish on the prospects of his company and the wider crypto space in the long term.
Speaking to the Financial Times, the former Goldman Sachs partner and founder of Galaxy Digital revealed that the company, which was set up to act as a crypto merchant bank has to contend with a unique set of challenges when compared to traditional merchant banking.
Launched in 2017, Galaxy Digital received some $302 million in investment from Novogratz and it currently manages about $460 million in assets across three offices in London, Hong Kong and Tokyo. After setting up a trading arm recently, the company is also looking to raise funding and improve its profile with a dual listing in Frankfurt.
A look below the surface, however, reveals an altogether different reality, with the company’s shares having dropped a massive 37 percent since its August debut on the Toronto Venture Exchange in a listing that raised $242 million. It also recorded losses of $134 million in Q1 2018 due to unrealised losses of $85 million on digital assets and trading losses of $13.5 million.
Q2 did, however, produce better results, with $35 million in net income driven by $44.8 million in unrealised gains from principal investments. It also managed to cut its trading losses down to $1.4 million.
Speaking to FT about his thoughts on the situation, Novogratz said:
“2017 was just fun, it was almost stupid. [But] this year has been challenging. It sucks to build a business in a bear market…[Staff] anxiety levels go up when crypto goes down…In most traditional business, [such as] Goldman Sachs, you don’t worry. There’s not an existential threat out there.””
Trouble for Novogratz and Galaxy Digital
Known for making consistently bullish predictions about the price of bitcoin, Novogratz is reportedly navigating a mini-crisis at Galaxy Digital which earlier this month announced the departure of company president Richard Tavoso and co-head of trading David Namdar., citing a pivot away from consulting for smaller startups to working with large institutional clients.
FT sources claim that the company’s advisory business has received a subpoena from U.S. regulators, but this has not been confirmed by Galaxy.
On his part, Novogratz continues to make bold predictions about the future of cryptocurrencies, predicting that 2019 will see institutional investors move away from investing in crypto funds to crypto assets directly before the end of Q1.
Featured image from Youtube.
On October 30, Mastercard released its financial results of the third quarter of 2018. Year-to-date, the credit card company has processed around $4.4 trillion. On a daily basis, Mastercard has settled nearly $12 billion per day.
Bitcoin, the most valuable cryptocurrency in the global market, has been processing just over $8 billion every day. According to a chart published by Trustnodes, BTC has been able to clear 272,000 transactions per day valued at $8.14 billion.
Mastercard and other credit card networks like Visa primarily handle payments made to merchants in both online and offline ecosystems. Hence, comparing the entire transaction volume of BTC to Mastercard’s volume can be considered as inaccurate.
A more accurate comparison of Bitcoin’s volume would be against the volume of the offshore banking sector as both target individual and institutional investors that process large cross-border payments.
Simply put, the $8 billion daily volume of BTC is a combination of exchange transfers, cross-border payments, and merchant transactions, while Mastercard only represents the transfer of cash to and from merchants.
However, as a minor currency with a total market capitalization of less than $100 billion, nearing the volume of a leading credit card network is a major milestone for Bitcoin.
The data shows that currently, cryptocurrencies are mainly used as a store of value and as a means to transfer large sums of money. In fact, large cross-border payments rremainas the only advantageous feature of cryptocurrencies over legacy systems in terms of efficiency and practicality.
Earlier this week, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, sent $600 million with a $7 fee. To send a $1 million through a bank in an international wire transfer, it could cost institutions nearly $10,000 in fees. To send $600 million, a rigorous verification phase, approval period, and significant paperwork is required.
Merchant Adoption Will Materialize
Eventually, as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin become adopted as a legitimate alternative to fiat currencies, more merchants will adopt the digital asset. Then, it would be possible to compare merchant transactions through crypto with the volume of major credit card networks.
In late 2017, the awareness of cryptocurrencies increased exponentially as BTC achieved an all-time high at around $19,500. Still, merchant adoption remains relatively low and it is difficult to utilize cryptocurrencies at offline shops.
In the long-term, strictly regulated organizations like Bakkt that are supported by leading financial institutions in the likes of ICE, Microsoft, and Starbucks could drastically improve merchant adoption by providing an easy method for merchants to deal with cryptocurrency payments with sufficient liquidity.
In consideration of the fact that the total volume of Mastercard addresses the volume of every local currency the credit card network supports and the comparison between BTC and Mastercard only takes the volume of BTC into account, BTC nearing the volume of Mastercard is still an important achievement for the asset class.
Business is an image in the mind of the entrepreneur. To start or expand a business we must imagine what it will become. We will begin to see the image of the journey ahead — inside our minds. Without being about to harness the power of your imagination, you wouldn’t be an entrepreneur.
We see the future in our mind’s eye.
The mind’s eye is a powerful thing. It is entirely separate from the physical eye, in that it sees things that the real eye cannot. Take this Shakespeare quote :
My father! – methinks I see my father.
Where, my lord?
In my mind’s eye, Horatio.
Hamlet is imagining that he sees his father — which we find may encourage or discourage his subsequent actions. Indeed, our experiences in early (and later) life will influence the way we see the world.
The strong influences in the decisions we make.
People often quote things they’ve heard influential people say to them throughout their journeys. These influencers can be parents, teachers, famous business leaders, iconic entrepreneurs — or other relevant people being encountered. Negative experiences can prevent the imagination from running free and act as filters to free thinking.
The famous philosopher Hannah Arendt said that we should “train the imagination to go visiting” and learn to “think without banisters.”
Your power to imagine opportunity in things you see and how they can be developed could well be the key to your future success. I believe fear is a powerful deterrent to imagination and to succeed I think we must think and imagine without fear. How often have you heard it said that “that will never catch on?”
Successful entrepreneurs are optimists — what they imagine, they believe will happen. Then, they make it happen.
Walt Disney had such a creative mind that he employed Imagineers in the making of DisneyWorld in Florida. The current Disney jobs site says that “Imagineering” combines imagination with engineering. Building upon the legacy of Walt Disney, Imagineers bring art and science together to turn fantasy into reality and dreams into magic.
What image of your business do you have in your mind’s eye? What Imagineering are you doing?
When you think of your market, what image springs to mind? What does it look like? Where is it? This is crucial to the subsequent actions you will take. Many people only have an image of the town or city they live in.
What do your customers look like? Can you imagine what it is like to be one of your customers? Are they old, young, middle aged, American, European, Asian, African? These choices are only limited by what your imagination is bringing to you from what your mind has become. Of course, your choice images are not static. Your image and your business will change with discovery. These concepts may be difficult to grasp, upon first viewing — but they are crucial to the path you will undertake. It is your imagination that rules the direction you will follow.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating.
Your image will change with experience and become more connected to the real world. One of the greatest satisfactions I get from business is the successful realizations that my imaginings have brought out and made viable for me. When you are correct, the connection between what you imagine, and what you make real makes all the difference (after a few false starts, it is important to say). The customers buy the product. My business model worked.
Are you making a movie?
Piero Morosini, the author of “Seven Keys to Imagination: Creating the future by imagining the unthinkable and delivering it” (Marshall Cavendish, April 2011) says that changing the future of a small business is like making a movie. You just have to imagine or embrace a great story and write a fantastic script. Everything else — the actors, set, editing, distribution, and production, and even the direction — can and should be done by other people. Your job is to find, inspire and orchestrate all these extra people (your employees).
What is the future you imagine?
Morosino also says that the future is what you imagine, not what others tell you. Avoid blindly following other people’s analysis of the future. Recent history shows that the likelihood they are right is less than two percent. Look around and trust your observations. Use your imagination to build the future rather than studying other people’s unlikely predictions.
Go out and find out whether your imagination is valid.
Sarvathy et al in Effectual Entrepreneurship (2012) details the process of discovery and confirmation through action. In other words, your imaginings can be tested in the real world and refined through experience. You are going to get things wrong, but the testing is the important part. Find out whether your imagination had the correct picture of the market, marketplace and the customer. Is this image valid and real at this time?
Be a dreamer and a doer. For example, this advice holds true throughout the entire business process. Being a dreamer and a doer, and testing the market even holds true in areas such as product development and advertising.
Large corporations often struggle to keep imagination alive as they mature.
These larger businesses have players who get immersed in the practical “now” at the expense of the future. Imagination can be crushed. Indeed directors of disruption are now being hired to stop companies falling into the trap of “this is always the way we do things around here.”
The Red Queen in Alice in Wonderland famously said that “sometimes I believe in six impossible things before breakfast.”
What impossible things do you believe today?
Defined personas and established communication styles are the hallmarks of old-school marketing personalization techniques. Today, organizations of all kinds target specific groups of their audiences with segmented content. But where engagement is concerned, the most effective communication is enabled by letting audience members identify their own groups.
If you want to put a label on the strategy, try this: personalization 4.0.
As former Urban Outfitters marketing executive Dmitri Siegel put it, personalization helps us “stop marketing dresses to men.” Sure, that statement might have originally been aimed at brands selling products — but it’s applicable to employees as well. With the growing amount of information online, event marketers need to get on the personalization bandwagon and use that data to personalize the event experience, not just the customer experience.
Updating Your Personalization Strategy
So what’s the best way to spark this new personalization strategy? First off, marketers should let their users lead the way. Content users select can be used to generate an individualized profile that includes a score or rating for given areas of interest. In other words, users should be able to define what they’re interested in by visiting pages and interacting with content.
Typically, however, users have to actively identify content they deem relevant. Twenty-seven percent of content marketers have been relying on manual processes for content creation and personalization while just 5 percent rely on full automation. Using AI and IoT sensors can help marketing teams recognize users as they search the web or walk the floor of a conference, then make content recommendations based on past behavior. That’s the next step toward better personalization.
Cues from these sensors can help AI programs construct a user profile based on attention-based metrics, offering subtle, immersive content suggestions. And as a bonus? More accurate user profiles help marketers spend their time more wisely. Think back to that 27 percent versus 5 percent. Imagine the time marketers save when processes are automated!
How Can AI Help?
Fun fact: There’s more than one way to effectively apply AI in this context. The best solution for you depends on what you’re looking for. But defining categories — and some parameters within those categories — can help identify the kinds of content interest your users most.
When you group communities by interest, you can send group members recommended content based on the ways they’ve engaged with content. Let’s say 50 of your event attendees have watched one of your videos, read your e-book, and downloaded a whitepaper all on the same general topic. Our AI tool can help identify and group those users together and send them more related content or encourage those 50 users to network or interact on the basis of their shared interest.
Then, at the event itself, you can give participants smart badges that collect information about which sessions, booths, and experiences they visit. If there’s a correlation between those actions and the content they consumed before the conference, your AI tool can help you build models for the communities to which attendees belong. Think forums for like-minded people to talk about best practices in their fields, all based on the interests they shared online and in person.
AI-enhanced personalization techniques such as these smart badges ensure that customization doesn’t come with Big Brother-level strings; they primarily benefit the attendees receiving those tailored touchpoints rather than exclusively existing to serve event-owner metrics. Anticipating what people want at an event can be a gray area riddled with offhand opinions. By understanding exactly what they want according to their past choices, you can analyze the input that users are giving in real time. As AI and machine learning continue to mature, you’ll be able to dig up more granular information that will, in turn, become more meaningful for users.
Launching Personalization 4.0
Events have a shelf life, sure, but there’s at least three to four months of communication leading up to that event. Then there’s the week on-site and follow-up communication. The way your attendees engage with — or, let’s face it, don’t engage with — that pre-event content can inform the content you should serve them week-of and in the following weeks.
Collecting this information and driving interactions with AI ensure that you’ll be better able to pivot and talk to audience groups you might not have noticed before. The major benefit of the bottom-up approach instead of top-down persona categories is that you’ll be able to stay agile with communications on the basis of new information and to not work with false assumptions that, over the course of a live event, you have no way to confirm until well after the fact.
Personalization is a data-heavy topic, but it doesn’t have to be with AI. Plus, it’s as much of an emotional connection as a statistical one. For events, incorporating personal elements of recognition such as user-submitted photos into the experience is paramount. Tailoring communications to be efficient is one thing, but it’s just as important to emotionally connect with your users to keep everyone engaged.
The strategy of increasing personalization has been the norm for marketers for several years now, but it’s really only getting started. As AI and machine learning become more powerful, you will be able to harness their potential to create an immersive experience that will last long after your events — and that follow-up communication — have ended.