Lots of coverage of the new Amazon store which — finally — opened to the public, after being restricted to Amazon employees for a while. Generally we have been underwhelmed by instore tech, but it looks like Amazon have moved the game forward. Wired summarise the tech but no one knows how it really works and, crucially, whether Amazon will share this with other retailers.
With Amazon Web Services world class tech is democratised by being available to anyone and you just buy what you need. A great business for Amazon and good for everyone else. But Stratechery thinks this model for Go is unlikely; by keeping it to itself Amazon can undercut other retailers who still need to hire cashiers etc. With the Go trademark registered in the UK, I think we can expect the concept here soon.
There has never been a better time to get good retail premises with so much churn on the high street, though the problems with firms like ToysrUs and others who, ironically, have had their customers lured online by Amazon.
One of the firms getting a boost from Amazon is Instacart and they have bought a company that helps traditional retailers do better with digital — through apps and mobile sites. Our friends at EagleEye are also active in a similar space — helping with retailers develop a real time connection to their customers — and are doing well
We think too many people obsess about Amazon and online, when real opportunity for high street stores is the Uberfication of their business;
Tinder is still about dating, but the phone dramatically improves it
Just Eat is still about a Takeaway but the phone dramatically improves it
Uber is still about a cab ride but the phone dramatically improves it
We’re spending more and more time looking at how the phone can dramatically improve retail on the high street. Come and talk if that’s of interest.
Any remaining doubts that AI isn’t that important melted away when the Google CEO claimed its more profound that Electricity or Fire. With all the heat on GAFA it’s reassuring that one of the architects of the Google Deep Mind team, leading AI thinking at Google, isn’t an Ayn Rand type. Mustafa Suleyman is bracketed as a liberal activist in this profile
Facebook have hired the head of Eurosport to lead their efforts in sports content — conveniently just before the deadline for bids for the Premier League matches available in 2019 to 2022. At Eurosport Hutton led their audacious coup winning the European rights for the Olympics and before that worked for the new owner of Leeds United, when he ran the leading Sports Rights firm MP&Silva.
A real statement of intent from Facebook
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting piece on the internal strife at Publicis as they attempt to get the old guard more involved with the new opportunities.
I think many Fix readers will recognise some of these situations. Whilst we are all future focused, the friction from the laggards and luddites can still be a major barrier.
An Economist article make more gloomy reading for agencies, looking at a theory that stock market prices imply advertising will almost double to be 1.8% of the US economy from 1% today. So a slow down is possible and all the pitches being announced at the moment are likely to contribute to the agency pain, as revenues tend to get cut in reviews. And P&G want to trim their spend by another $400m, reducing their agency roster by 50% and taking some media in house.
But as some smart people on Twitter pointed out there are lots of small businesses spending with GAFA that have huge potential for growth. There are perhaps 30k — 50k (?) businesses that can afford a holding company agency. Yet Facebook has 5 million customers and there are around 20 million SME businesses in the US. As the barriers to entry and the friction reduces, could these replace the lost big brand money?
Servicing these smaller companies requires a rethink from most parts of the marketing stack.
One area worth watching is how new tech like blockchain and cryptocurrency might influence the market and the Brave browser we have mentioned before is embracing both.
Their own coin will be used to reward users for viewing ads — and required to buy ads. This feels very left field now, but we have long predicted that Vendor Relationship Management — where people control their own data — will eventually get traction. Could Brave make it happen? With GDPR certain to reset the market for data and disrupt adtech, new approaches that respect users could have a good chance of adoption. The new German investigation into how Facebook use data shows how the regulators are getting more active.
Orange launch a banking service in France. Before GAFA, banks used to worry about the Telecom firms and whilst they have done well with Money in emerging markets ( with MPesa etc) , this is one of the first in the West.
Whilst the ability to personalise ads is positive for both brands and people the ability to personalise news has pros and cons. And how Netflix personalises the artwork on the title pages — highlight actors or scenes that will appeal to you.
Netflix now has 117m subscribers — up by over 8 million in Q4 last year and expect to increase marketing spend to $2bn — an increase of over 50%
Brands and publishers are trying to hack the changes to the Newsfeed on Facebook. We have seen the FT going back to the future with ads encouraging people to like their page, and hence see more stories.
Finally….a must read Harvard Business review piece on why people buy from sites. Really good thinking on user experience
Whats cooking at The Media Kitchen?
New business conversations ooop north and across London and our US team collected their Social Agency of the Year award from Mediapost.
If you find the topics we cover in Fix resonate with you we should be talking. Are you having problems with any part of your customer acquisition or retention? Need an impartial POV on your tech? Want to drive more store traffic? Whatever your marketing stack I feel sure we could probably add value. Cup of tea?
Fix is my thinking rather than that of MediaKitchen. We now have over 5500 subscribers across Google, Facebook, Snap, Yahoo etc as well as many VCs, Brands and Agencies.