Enterprise hits and misses – marketing reckons with AI, hotels get Airbnb wake-up call


In this edition: marketing tech gets put to the AI field test, while hotels gear up for a pea-brained offensive against Airbnb. Plus: Slack gets called out, digital advertising gets exposed, and Delta forces United to move over in the fails race. Corporate creativity and low-code get a gut check. Your whiffs are bountiful, including – a whiff against myself?

Cheerful Chubby Man

diginomica hit: Marketing tech and AI – what’s next? by Barb Mosher Zinck

quotage: “Data continues to be a primary challenge for marketing intelligence and proper attribution. It’s about quality data, but also the collection of all the right data across all the touchpoints and technology in the marketing toolkit. But if we’re waiting for that to be perfect, we’re likely going to wait a very long time.”

myPOV: I count on Barb to put marketing tech through the field view grinder. When it comes to AI and marketing, we’ve heard lots of happy talk – but where are we? Reviewing her chat with Conversion Logic’s Brian Baumgart, Barb sees some immediate relevance for machine intelligence: advancing the problem of attribution. Attribution is a beast. We need better answers on which of our social media and content balloons are working – and which are hot air quickly dispersed.

How can machine learning help with attribution today? By analyzing reams of historical data a poor desk jockey sod human could never get through. But Barb sees something beyond attribution: she sees an “integrated intelligence layer” on the horizon.

That matters because as per the above quotage, slathering machine learning on top of the “martech” stack is a limited approach. She leaves us with a caution: “We can’t wait for the full, perfect package of intelligence to arrive. We have to take the time to get it right because it is so important to the best customer experience.”

Happy children eating applediginomica three – my top three stories on diginomica this week

Vendor analysis, diginomica style. Here’s my three top choices from our vendor coverage:

Jon’s grab bag –  For a media pro like Stuart, United’s self-inflicted buffoonery astonishing corporate arrogance bog pit is a PR mutton chop, one that can be repeatedly gnawed for juicy morsels, such as Sorry’s not such a hard word when your share price is in freefall – more comms lessons for United.

Stuart’s verdict comes in the follow-on which hits on Delta as well: “Delta’s Bastian showed considerable restraint in not exploiting United’s disaster, but then people, glasshouses, stones etc.” (Damn I wish I had written that). Then: “[This will] go down in the annals of digital marketing/PR and customer management as a seminal example of how not to handle a crisis.”

Two fine/forward-thinking pieces I didn’t get to: The next evolution of the call center – network judgment techniques for problem solving (Denis) and Creating a DevOps culture at Tickmaster to become truly cloud native (Derek). We wrap my diginomica picks with Den’s Culture begats creativity – a gapingvoid perspective, a critique of why creativity is a corporate problem – as is idealizing it as a solution.

Best of the rest

Waiter suggesting a bottle of wine to a customer Inside the Hotel Industry’s Plan to Combat Airbnb – by Katie Benner

quotage: “The main prongs of the association’s plan to constrain Airbnb include lobbying politicians and state attorneys general to reduce the number of Airbnb hosts, funding studies to show Airbnb is filled with people who are quietly running hotels out of residential buildings and highlighting how Airbnb hosts do not collect hotel taxes and are not subject to the same safety and security regulations that hotel operators must follow.”

myPOV: This article title made me think I’d be reading about all the clever and creative ways hotels plan on making their operations more accessible and mobile-friendly – or perhaps re-inventing lobbies into appealing common spaces like citizenM has done. Nope. It’s all about scavenging crusty laws and PR schmoes-for-hire to try to inject bedbugs flotsam FUD  corporate-bed-lust into the brains of Airbnb consumers.

These hotel operators come off like some of the embittered tax drivers I’ve had (long) rides with. I’m not a big Airbnb buff, but reading about this vacant, lobbying-heavy plan made me want to crash on a stranger’s couch like never before.

Other standouts

  • Automation will destroy, then save outsourcing: The industry has spoken – A tad melodratic? Yes, but give me outsourcing drama over BPM slide decks anyday. And no one paints a narrative of disruption-versus-status-quo like Phil Fersht of HfS Research. Fresh off an HfS event with outsourcing buyers, Fersht has some grim findings (“Buyers are backed into a corner with broken delusions of automation grandeur as their CoEs fail“), but also some silver linings for those who can find the fortitude/humility to “fix one broken process at a time” and “get stakeholders onside by demonstrating meaningful, impactful outcomes.” Caveat: “Without major resource investments.” Hmm – I think I’ll keep my day job.
  • Software developers: We’re on board with low-code (or even no-code) tools – Well, I’m not sure the developers on my Twitter feed are on board. Most of them seem to think “low code” is comical for enterprise-grade development projects (but could be fine for a quick app). Joe McKendrick mulls data indicating these tools be efficient and inclusive – without stopping a code maestro from doing the needful (ideally, such tools will also ease the mundane for the maestros). Also see: IBM Brings Low-Code App Development to Bluemix. Insular sidenote: finally met McKendrick last week after years of circling similar wagons.

Honorable mention


Overworked businessmanGobs and gobs of whiffery this week. A non-inclusive list of the carnage:

Back on the enterprise beat: The Bay of Pigs: Mitigating ERP Project Risk. I guess Upper Edge has figured out that ERP decision makers are military history buffs… Oh, and I don’t have time to skewer this tribute to private clouds yet, but maybe a reader would like to split the logical fallacies with me?

Meanwhile, dear readers, I’ve been grappling. Ever since last week when I mocked the impotence of social media to put a dent in a company like United Airlines, lo and behold, its stock price takes a decent hit, and for a hot desperate minute, it seemed like their CEO might have walk the plank.

To the best of my knowledge, United remains in a four point stock dive (other airlines had fallen but not nearly as much, last time I checked). And: both United and Delta increased their discretionary budget for getting passengers off planes to about $10,000 – including some policy rewrites for United. However, we get to the crux of the matter on Marketwatch, where we learn, that as of now, United has not suffered a decrease in ticket sales – yet.

Whether that’s a reflection of cost-is-everything consumers, or, as I prefer to see it, the limited airline choices in many hubs, if United doesn’t take a sales hit, their stock price is sure to recover. So, despite how it might please the throngs, I can’t hoist myself on the whiff petard just yet.

But I did get to thinking: what gave this incident so much power? Citizen cams. The jugular video of the abused passenger put the outrage over the top. This post by Kahuna’s Sameer Patel is titled The Consumer Revolution is Being Televised – exactly right. The question is: what kind of change do we want? And how would we forge vented spleen into hammers into policy? Because right now the social media spank tunnel feels more like a cul de sac.

For now, I’ll call it a half-whiff. Halfway up the petard will have to do.

Not a whiff

And before I leave ya, something that’s most definitely NOT a whiff:

Which #ensw pieces of merit did I miss? Let us know in the comments.

Most Enterprise hits and misses articles are selected from my curated @jonerpnewsfeed. ‘myPOV’ is borrowed with reluctant permission from the ubiquitous Ray Wang.

Image credit - Cheerful Chubby Man © RA Studio, Happy Children © Anna Omelchenko, Waiter Suggesting Bottle © Minerva Studiom, Overworked Businessman © Bloomua, King Checkmate © mystock88photo - all from Fotolia.com.

Disclosure - SAP, Oracle, Workday and Salesforce are diginomica premier partners as of this writing.