Marketing

Why Super Bowl ads still matter in the streaming age

As the former editor of AdAge, a marketing industry trade magazine, I still get a twitch in my eye the week before the Super Bowl. The NFL’s championship game has long been considered the biggest event on the U.S. advertising calendar by broadcasters, marketers, and the ad agencies who make spots. But is it still true? Last year’s Super Bowl saw the lowest viewership in 11 years. The lower viewership was linked to a variety of factors: It was “so boring” said USA Today. Boycotts due to officiating issues played a part, said the New York Times. Or, as The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson wrote last year, the game faces the dual threats of a population less interested in football and an “advertising culture that jeopardizes the Super Bowl’s identity.” But despite the lower ratings, it still c...

Revenue train kept rolling all year long for Salesforce

Salesforce turned 20 this year, and the most successful pure enterprise SaaS company ever showed no signs of slowing down. Consider that the company finished the year on an $18 billion run rate, rushing toward its 2022 revenue goal of $20 billion. Oh, and it also spent a tidy $15.7 billion to buy Tableau this year in the most high-profile and expensive acquisition it’s ever made. Co-founder, chairman and CEO Marc Benioff published a book called Trailblazer about running a socially responsible company, and made the rounds promoting it. In fact, he even stopped by TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco in September, telling the audience that capitalism as we know it is dead. Still, the company announced it was building two more towers in Sydney and Dublin. It also promoted Bret Taylor jus...

How startups close their first big sales

Joe Procopio Contributor Share on Twitter Joe Procopio is a multi-exit, multi-failure entrepreneur. Joe is currently building Spiffy, and previously sold Automated Insights, sold ExitEvent and built Intrepid Media. More posts by this contributor When to ditch that nightmare customer (before they kill your startup) No matter what your startup sells or who you’re selling it to, companies that survive — and grow — need big customers and lots of them. But how do you land million-dollar deals with limited resources and no credibility? In more than 20 years of building companies and products, I’ve learned that in the grand scheme of the startup lifecycle, while you scale your way through growth to eventual sustainability and success, acquiring your first customer is relatively easy. Any good sal...

Brand power vs. product power

David Friend Contributor Share on Twitter David Friend is the CEO of cloud storage company Wasabi, and co-founder of cyber security company Carbonite, recently bought for $1.4 billion. Wasabi is his sixth startup. More posts by this contributor The herd sours on unprofitable unicorns again Most tech companies — particularly B2B companies — either don’t understand the power of a brand, or do a really poor job of creating one. An informal survey of a dozen of my young CEO friends showed that, given the choice, 10 out of 12 — 83% — would rather spend an extra dollar on product development than brand-building. It is dangerous (or at least foolish) to assume that the ROI on product development is greater than the ROI on brand building. As a serial entrepreneur and CEO, I have had to make this c...

Will the 2020s be online advertising’s holistic decade?

Todd Dipaola Contributor Share on Twitter Todd Dipaola founded inMarket to bring the performance and accountability of digital advertising to offline brands. With less than two months left in the decade, advertising is again entering a new phase of rapid expansion with customer experience front and center. The explosion of data and identity management, combined with technical advancements in real-time signal detection and machine learning, present new opportunities to respond to consumers, but mastering this ability enables marketers to create “magic moments” — instances of hyper-relevant content, delivered at the perfect time and place.  We’ll see evolutions on the back end in terms of delivery and measurement — as well as on the consumer-facing end — through new creative deployments that...

Vistaprint left a customer service database unprotected, exposing calls, chats and emails

A security researcher has found an exposed database on the internet belonging to online printing giant Vistaprint. Security researcher Oliver Hough discovered the unencrypted database last week. There was no password on the database, allowing anyone to access the data inside. The database was first detected by exposed device and database search engine Shodan on November 5, but it may have been exposed for longer. Hough tweeted to warn the company of the security lapse, but has not heard back. Vistaprint, owned by Netherlands-based parent Cimpress, quietly took the database offline after TechCrunch reached out but did not comment by our deadline. Robert Crosland, a spokesperson for Vistaprint, said in a statement after we published that the exposure affected customers in the U.S., the U.K. ...

TriNet sent remote workers an email that some thought was a phishing attack

It was the one of the best phishing emails we’ve seen… that wasn’t. Phishing remains one of the most popular attack choices for scammers. Phishing emails are designed to impersonate companies or executives to trick users into turning over sensitive information, typically usernames and passwords, so that scammers can log into online services and steal money or data. But detecting and preventing phishing isn’t just a user problem — it’s a corporate problem too, especially when companies don’t take basic cybersecurity precautions and best practices to hinder scammers from ever getting into a user’s inbox. Enter TriNet, a human resources giant, which this week became the poster child for how how to make a genuine email to its customers look inadvertent...

Banning digital political ads gives extremists a distinct advantage

Jessica Alter Contributor Share on Twitter Jessica Alter is co-founder and chairman of Tech for Campaigns, an organization building the lasting tech and digital arm for Democrats and has helped over 200 campaigns on this front since 2017. Jack Dorsey’s announcement that Twitter will no longer run political ads because “political messages reach should be earned, not bought” has been welcomed as a thoughtful and statesmanlike contrast to Mark Zuckerberg’s and Facebook’s greedy acceptance of “political ads that lie.” While the 240-character policy sounds compelling, it’s both flawed in principle and, I fear, counterproductive in practice.  First: like it or hate it, the U.S. political system is drowning in money. In 2018, a non-presidential year, it is estimated that over $9B was spent on the...

Helping banks refine sales pitches and customer service, Minneapolis-based Total Expert raises $52 million

It’s no secret that the art of customer service in the modern era is something that banks desperately need help with. One of the reasons why challenger banks have been able to find acceptance, new customers and — well — the ability to challenge existing banking companies is the mistreatment customers receive from their existing money holders. That’s why tools designed to help marketing and customer engagement are a big business and why the Minneapolis-based Total Expert has been able to raise $52 million in its latest round of financing. The new round brings the company’s total haul to $86 million thanks to capital investments from Georgian Partners, Emergence, and Rally Ventures (all veteran software as a service investors). “We are incredibly excited about T...

Veteran enterprise exec Bob Stutz is heading back to SAP

Bob Stutz has had a storied career with enterprise software companies including stints at Siebel Systems, SAP, Microsoft and Salesforce. He announced on Facebook last week that he’s leaving his job as head of the Salesforce Marketing Cloud and heading back to SAP as president of customer experience. Bob Stutz Facebook announcement Constellation Research founder and principal analyst Ray Wang says that Stutz has a reputation for taking companies to the next level. He helped put Microsoft CRM on the map (although it still had just 2.7% marketshare in 2018, according to Gartner) and he helped move the needle at Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Bob Stutz, SAP’s new president of customer experience. Photo: Salesforce “Stutz was the reason Salesforce could grow in the Marketing Clou...

The Knight Foundation launches $750,000 initiative for immersive technology for the arts

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is looking for pitches on how to enhance and augment traditional creative arts through immersive technologies. Through a partnership with Microsoft the foundation is offering a share of a $750,00 pool of cash and the option of technical support from Microsoft, including mentoring in mixed-reality technologies and access to the company’s suite of mixed reality technologies. “We’ve seen how immersive technologies can reach new audiences and engage existing audiences in new ways,” said Chris Barr, director for arts and technology innovation at Knight Foundation, in a statement. “But arts institutions need more knowledge to move beyond just experimenting with these technologies to becoming proficient in leveraging their full potential.” Specific...

How to go to market in middle America

Deborah Eisenberg Contributor Share on Twitter Deborah Eisenberg is the founder of TechStarts PR, where she helps technology companies both big and small hone their message and reach their audience. There comes a time for many startup companies where they either realize they need to do a nationwide roll-out, or they need to actively target buyers in the middle of the country. If you are a startup on either the east or the west coasts, it’s worth thinking about how this market might present its own set of unique challenges, and how you plan to overcome them. There are a lot of misconceptions about what some people call “flyover country”, and as a San Francisco native who spent two decades in NY, DC, and Boston before moving to Pittsburgh, I can assure you they are almost all wrong. Wi...

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