Things I’ve Learned from Lately #48

“Things I’ve Learned from Lately” is a regular compilation of articles that have made me a smarter marketer. Hopefully, they’ll help you, too.

The Internet of Things Roadblock ReadWriteWeb’s Brian Proffitt points out that the Internet of Things is a long ways off, and we have some big hurdles to overcome before it becomes a reality. The biggest hurdle is devices don’t speak the same language, and there’s no protocol to unite them. This has led to a patchwork of some devices talking to others, while others are connected to a different system. We’ve created a system of silos. The article points out that if we want devices to speak the same language, financial incentives will be required for businesses to make it happen.

Key Takeaway: The Internet of Things may not live up to the dream, not because it’s impossible but because we’re too far down the path we’re on of creating an Internet of Silos, and there’s no incentive to change direction.

The Story of Coke and Mynamar - NPR’s Planet Money team profiled Coke’s recent introduction into Myanmar. That’s right, Coke was not in Myanmar (officially) prior to this, and the company had a lot of challenges to overcome. There it was sold underground for high prices, so it was viewed as a product for the rich, and because of this, not many had tasted Coke. Coke’s marketing team had some work to do.

Key Takeaway: Every market is different, and Coke knew it couldn’t assume that just because it dominates most markets, Myanmar would be the same. It took the time to understand the market, the consumers and the mindset. From there, it was able to develop the right tactics to solve for the market’s unique challenges. (BTW – Planet Money is an excellent podcast, whether you’re an economics junkie or a novice. Check it out.)

Making the Non-Social Social - Wired captures the shift of businesses’ focus on gaining likes and followers to sending them back to brand websites where marketers have more control over the experience and the data. Still, brands are making their sites a social experience by pulling in content that can also be found on the brand’s social platforms.

Key Takeaway: Being social or not being social isn’t an either/or proposition. Brands can syndicate their social content and the content of consumers to make what would be an otherwise non-social experience more interactive and engaging.

The Secret War – In this second piece from Wired, James Bamford outlines how General Keith Alexander led the NSA to where it is today, an incredibly powerful organization fighting what Alexander seems to believe is the most important front in modern warfare. The story breaks down Alexander’s career and how it led to what we know as the NSA today.

Key Takeaway: Technology has changed literally everything. That should almost go without saying, but often marketers get stuck in a bubble of just how technology relates to marketing. This shows how its changed the state of warfare forever and the steps the government is taking to prepare for the shift.