Why love isn’t enough for brands this Valentine’s Day- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

Valentine’s Day; it’s a time for love, loyalty, a vague sense of guilt, and the hope that small gestures will inject a spark into a long-term partnership.
Now now, I’m not talking about your significant other. I’m talking about brands.
Mid February is peak season for cringe-inducing emails from companies with whom you once did business. But it’s no good trying to woo customers (or your other half) on just one day of the year. Getting your customers to love you – and translating that into sales – is an all-year-round task.
The death of Mothercare came in 2019 and with it, decades of high street history came to an end. Beales the department store chain has been the first victim of 2020, collapsing into administration, closing stores and threatening jobs.
The way we shop is changing. Direct to consumer brands are increasing in popularity and more people are using subscription services for everyday goods. The most convenient option (convenience being one of the biggest drivers of loyalty) is often no longer the high street, big name, widely known brands. For better or worse, Amazon has a role in this deprioritisation of big name goods – even venturing into manufacturing its own, lightly branded products.
According to Foresight Factory research, 17% of consumers would be happy for a smart home assistant to automatically make basic household purchases for them. They also predict that by 2025, 11% of global consumers will rely on algorithms to automatically choose and switch financial products on their behalf.
It’s clearly time for everyone to up their game. So let’s look at the methods that are working for brands in 2020.
1. Managed scarcity
Limited editions, invitation-only access and even the famous ‘middle aisle’ at Lidl. These are all ways of generating ‘managed scarcity’, where customers have to get in quick, or miss out.
Whether you want the latest Nikes or a half price pressure washer, this strategy means you’re offering something unique and of democratic value to your customers.
This strategy can be great for creating buzz and positive PR. Kim Kardashian’s SKIM’s is a great example – limited runs, small amounts of stock released at a time, calendar specific releases (like the imminent ‘pink’ Valentine’s collection) all lead to fans clamouring to get their hands on products.
2. Latchkey loyalty
AKA loyalty for the fickle. ‘Latchkey loyalty’ – another level up from the mass exclusivity membership system of yesteryear – asks customers to subscribe to something and offers benefits for doing so. But crucially, doesn’t tie them in.
Subscription models of this type now allow much greater flexibility, allowing customers to skip, cancel and amend their choices with freedom. Though it might seem counterintuitive to offer customers an easy ‘out’, it’s crucial that loyalty feels like a choice for modern subscription models to work.
Take Bulb, an energy company taking on the big six that lets customers come and go as they please. As an added bonus, they pay exit fees to lenders who aren’t nearly so forthcoming with letting customers switch out of a deal that’s over the odds.
Consumers also appear happy to relinquish ownership over possessions in favour of services that enable short-term renting. According to Foresight Factory, in 2019 51% of adults claimed to have used, or be interested in using an app that enables them to rent a car from a nearby location at short notice and for a short period of time.
3. Peer Power
Moving past the ‘mass exclusivity’ trend of 2018/19, just building a membership platform isn’t enough. Instead of focusing purely on the tangible rewards you can offer to loyal customers, think about emotional benefits too.
Fans want peer-to-peer interaction where they can connect with like-minded people in a safe space. Brands should work hard to build a solid community where their consumers can talk to one another, strengthening their loyalty and appreciation of the brand. This works particularly well when the brand plays an active role in the community it has built, keeping in regular dialogue with fans, offering responses, collating feedback and reporting back with updates. It breaks down barriers, moving the conversation on from ‘us and them’ to ‘we’.
Sephora make customers feel connected with their online community Beauty Talk – a forum where users can ask questions, share ideas, and have their beauty questions solved by other makeup enthusiasts. Their Beauty Board offers a unique way to engage with the products and the community. Users can upload pictures of themselves wearing Sephora products and the photos then link to the product pages of all the items used, creating a full purchase cycle without having to leave the platform. Sephora have cracked the code when it comes to fulfilling the needs of their passionate fans, and other brands would be wise to follow suit.
The question of how many consumers truly ‘love’ brands is one for another day – is love just nostalgia or convenience wrapped up with a bow on it? But what brands really need is to find new ways to make their customers’ lives happier, easier, more exciting and surprising all year round. In the end, that’s what all good relationships are built on.
Tom Poynter, CEO at Southpaw.

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Automation isn’t wiping out jobs. It’s that our engine of growth is winding down | Aaron Benanav | Opinion – Blog – 10 minute

An army of robots now scrub floors, grow microgreens and flip burgers. Due to advances in artificial intelligence, computers will supposedly take over much more of the service sector in the coming decade, including jobs in law, finance and medicine that require years of education and training.

Will automation-induced job loss tear society apart? The question has even influenced the US presidential race. Candidate Andrew Yang blames automation for a long-simmering crisis of underemployment. He plans to hand out free money to every American citizen in the form of a monthly “dividend” of $1,000.
Poor job quality and stagnant wages are major problems in America and across much of the world, but it is wrong to blame these problems on an accelerating pace of automation, which is hardly in evidence.
Automation Cassandras often point to the manufacturing sector as the precedent for what will happen to the rest of the economy. It is true that, for the manufacturing industry, a jobs apocalypse has already taken place.
And this process is occurring across the world: according to the UN, the share of all workers employed in manufacturing is falling globally, even as industrial production per person continues to rise. This is the case in wealthy and poor countries. Yet it is hasty to ascribe these trends to accelerating automation.
While machines now make everything from shoes and shirts to cars and computers, there has been no significant uptick in the pace of labor-saving productivity growth in industry in recent decades.
On the contrary, industrial efficiency has been improving at a sluggish pace for decades, leading the Nobel-prize-winning economist Robert Solow to quip, in 1987: “We see the computer age everywhere except in the productivity statistics.”
Our collective sense that the pace of labor-saving technological change is accelerating is an illusion. It’s like the feeling you get when looking out of the window of a train car as it slows down at a station: passing cars on the other side of the tracks appear to speed up. Labor-saving technical change appears to be happening at a faster pace than before only when viewed from across the tracks – that is, from the standpoint of our ever more slow-growing economies.
That is the real problem: a pervasive and increasingly global economic stagnation – affecting industry especially – that is marked by low rates of investment, low rates of economic growth and hence low rates of job creation.
In the context of economic stagnation, even small increases in productivity are enough to destroy more manufacturing jobs than are created.

Countries with high levels of robotization are not necessarily the ones that have lost the most industrial jobs

The best explanation for this worsening economic stagnation is that, since the 1970s, more and more countries adopted export-led growth strategies, built up manufacturing sectors and began to compete in global markets.
That led in turn to heightened competition, making fast-paced industrial expansion – and fast-paced economic growth – much more difficult to achieve.
In this context, countries with high levels of robotization are not necessarily the ones that have lost the most industrial jobs. On the contrary, Germany, Japan and South Korea have some of the highest levels of robots per manufacturing worker but also boast higher manufacturing employment shares.
In Germany and Japan, automation helps firms preserve jobs in manufacturing in the face of intense international competition. Chinese firms have been investing heavily in robotics in the past few years, to preserve jobs as domestic wages rise and competition from even lower-cost countries intensifies.
Meanwhile, no other sector has replaced industry as a major economic growth engine. In country after country, slowing industrial expansion has been accompanied by falling rates of economic growth.
Some services like wholesale trade have seen spurts of rapid productivity growth, but these fail to coalesce into sustained, sector-wide efficiency gains like those endemic to manufacturing over the history of its development.
The wider environment of slowing growth explains the prevailing low labor demand largely by itself. Once again, the major problem in labor markets is a slowing pace of job creation, associated with this sluggish economic expansion, rather than an accelerating pace of automation-induced job destruction.

From the 1970s, when industrial competition began to heat up and economic growth rates deteriorated, unemployment levels in many countries first rose and then stubbornly refused to fall. Politicians began to push for weakened job protections and scaled-back unemployment benefits.
Workfare came to serve as the main response to job loss. Outside of a few countries that still provide generous benefits to the unemployed, such as France, few workers can afford to remain unemployed for long. Job-losers tend to join young labour-market entrants in part-time, temporary or no-contract work.
In most countries, these “non-standard” workers have few legal protections and are economically precarious. They are forced to moderate their demands in slow-growing economies. Workers who are not protected by powerful unions or labor laws find it difficult to pressure employers to raise their wages or improve working conditions.
As long as underemployment persists, inequality is likely to intensify. An expanding gap between the growth of real wages and productivity levels has contributed to a 9% shift from labor income to capital income in the G20 countries over the past 50 years.
In sluggish economies periodically racked by economic crisis and austerity, it is easier to blame the resulting social deterioration on robots, or on vulnerable sections of the workforce such as immigrants, women, and racial or religious minorities, than to face its true causes.
Given the winding down of the industrial-growth engine – which has accompanied the spread of productive capacities around the world – restoring previously prevailing rates of economic growth will prove difficult if not impossible. Unless we find some way to share the work that remains, beggar-thy-neighbor politics really will tear our societies apart.

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NBN Co may need to prove it isn’t cross-subsidising enterprise play – Telco/ISP- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

NBN Co is facing calls to prove it is not using income from its regulated activities – supplying residential broadband – to subsidise its entry into the enterprise and government market.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said late last month that additional “reporting and transparency requirements” may be imposed on NBN Co to address cross-subsidisation concerns.
The ACCC noted NBN Co “has been increasingly expanding into the contestable enterprise market” and that this “expansion is likely to continue over the coming years.”
“The ACCC considers that NBN Co’s continued expansion into the enterprise services market may result in concerns about cross-subsidisation between products,” it said.
“This could in turn create a need for further transparency on costs and revenues of individual services in future.”
In the past, the ACCC said it had imposed similar transparency requirements on Telstra and Australia Post to better understand how they – as regulated entities – also operated in “contestable markets”.
The ACCC said it continued to watch NBN Co’s enterprise and government play closely for any signs that its presence is “distort[ing] competition”.
It said Telstra had specifically raised concerns with the ACCC over the potential for cross-subsidisation of enterprise and government connections.
“Telstra indicated that there is a lack of transparency around NBN Co’s costs and revenues and that cross subsidisation towards contestable areas such as enterprise services is a concern,” the ACCC said.
“It also highlighted the potential for a more detailed regulatory accounting framework to alleviate these concerns.”
In October last year, NBN Co was sanctioned by the ACCC over its behaviour in the enterprise and government market. 
As iTnews reported last month, considerable industry concerns remain that the sanctions have not had a material impact on curbing aspects of NBN Co’s approach to securing enterprise and government customers.
NBN Co continues to maintain it has addressed industry concerns and that the behaviours that drew regulatory and industry attention have been addressed.

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Customer success isn’t an add-on – Start early to win later – gpgmail


What comes first: Sales or Customer Success? Many growing startups pressure themselves to start selling as soon as there’s a viable product to sell. “Set up Customer Success functions” goes on the to-do list. After all, we don’t have to worry for another year, right?

Using the proprietary Scale Studio dataset of hundreds of SaaS startups, we’ll look at the metrics that venture investors use to link your company’s valuation to success in Customer Success — then dive into the tactics for adapting your CS program to your company’s high-touch or low-touch sales model

A year passes, and the company’s first renewals come due. Everyone from the CEO on down scrambles to do whatever it takes to make those charter customers happy and win contract extensions. After all, those customers aren’t just any customers — they’re the company’s first references, critical to landing new business and raising funds from investors. Every effort goes into making them happy.

The problem is, of course, that bringing in the CEO and CTO and VP of Sales on every renewal isn’t exactly a scalable process. Nor the basis for a long-term Customer Success strategy. 

Customer Success — a formal, process-driven, value-creating operational activity — needs to be structured to scale. And it needs to be top-of-mind from day one. Here is a look at the data and strategic rationale for launching CS early in a startup’s growth to avoid inefficiency and mistakes down the line. 

The case for customer success: Valuation

To venture investors, a well-run CS operation at an early-in-revenue startup communicates that your company has a sophisticated go-to-market strategy with a customer-centric foundation. This can translate into a valuation boost along two paths: accelerated revenue growth and increased predictability. And growth is a key driver for valuation with venture investors


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Twitter exec says edit button isn’t ‘anywhere near the top of our priorities’ – gpgmail


At a press event in San Francisco, Twitter Product Lead Kayvon Beykpour talked about a number of product changes coming to the company’s service, he also addressed the oft-memed user request for an edit button. Long story, short, you shouldn’t expect to see the button anytime soon.

“Honestly, it’s a feature that I think we should build at some point, but it’s not anywhere near the top of our priorities,” Beykpour said. “That’s the honest answer.”

The executive said that there were some obvious risk factors but that he felt the company would eventually be able to build a feature to address user needs like correcting a typo or clarifying what they meant to say.

Twitter announced earlier in the event that the company is testing the ability to let users follow topics the same way they would ordinarily follow accounts.


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Huawei’s new OS isn’t an Android replacement… yet – gpgmail


If making an Android alternative was easy, we’d have a lot more of them. Huawei’s HarmonyOS won’t be replacing the mobile operating system for the company any time soon, and Huawei has made it pretty clear that it would much rather go back to working with Google than go at it alone.

Of course, that might not be an option.

The truth is that Huawei and Google were actually getting pretty chummy. They’d worked together plenty, and according to recent rumors, were getting ready to release a smart speaker in a partnership akin to what Google’s been doing with Lenovo in recent years. That was, of course, before Huawei was added to a U.S. “entity list” that ground those plans to a halt.


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Our love for ‘Queer Eye’ isn’t quite as strong – gpgmail


It’s been barely more than a year since the “Queer Eye” revival premiered on Netflix, but the series is already back for its fourth season.

This time around, the Fab Five finds new makeover subjects in Kansas City (with a detour to Quincy, Illinois, where hairstylist Jonathan Van Ness grew up), offering their custom mix of lifestyle tips and intense emotional conversations. In many ways, the new season serves as a reminder that “Queer Eye” remains one of the most compelling titles in Netflix’s reality TV lineup.

At the same time, some of our excitement is wearing off. That’s not to say that the show is weaker, exactly — but the formula is becoming more familiar, and the contrivance of whirlwind life changes all taking place in a handful of days feels a little harder to swallow.

We also had reservations about Karamo’s big decision in “Disabled But Not Really,” where he asks the episode’s subject Wesley to meet with the man who shot and paralyzed him years earlier. It makes for suspenseful and moving TV, and Wesley seems to find the conversation rewarding, but we argued about whether the sequence felt more contrived and exploitative than helpful.

In addition to reviewing the latest season of “Queer Eye,” we also discussed our first impressions of the new Netflix science fiction series “Years and Years,” which Jordan was particularly excited about because it stars Katee Sackhoff of “Battlestar Galactica.” This, in turn, led to our thoughts on the new trailer for “Star Trek: Picard.”

You can listen in the player below, subscribe using Apple Podcasts or find us in your podcast player of choice. If you like the show, please let us know by leaving a review on Apple. You can also send us feedback directly. (Or suggest shows and movies for us to review!)

And if you’d like to skip ahead, here’s how the episode breaks down:
0:00 Intro
0:28 “Another Life” first impressions
17:32 “Queer Eye” season 4 review


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