Welcome to Marketing Calls, your one-stop shop for the week’s top news for digital marketers. From new product releases to marketing facts to dogs in funny hats, it’s everything marketers need to wrap up the week and feel smart before/as the first drink of the weekend hits their lips.
This week, everyone in the marketing world and beyond has #DF18 on the brain as we dream of what Benioff & Co. have up their sleeves. Those of us who work and/or live in San Francisco are also wondering how we will negotiate the tech equivalent of Outside Lands taking over downtown, closing streets, snarling traffic, and unleashing tens of thousands of dazed and information-overloaded techies on the streets. Well, except me, because I will be on vacation, sooooo, y’all have fun with that! (And note that Marketing Calls will also be taking next Friday off.)
Salesforce Finds its Voice
The Dreamforce ‘18 teasers are pouring in, and this one is going to make a lot of noise — literally. Salesforce is bringing the smart voice assistant to a CRM near you with the launch of Einstein Voice. Surely to be a boon to hunting-and-pecking salespeople who dread typing and marketers who (surprise!) just have way too much to say to type it all out. The big question is if everyone else can expense fancy new noise-cancelling headphones to SFDC to drown out all the new chatter.
Adobe Doubles Down on Marketing with Marketo Acquisition
Yesterday Adobe confirmed that it will buy marketing automation pioneer Marketo for $4.75 billion — Adobe’s largest aqistion to date. Once known for desktop design and web development software that only your smart friends actually knew how to use, Adobe put its suite in the cloud years ago and began its expansion into digital marketing platforms. With its ever-expanding Adobe Experience Cloud, it is looking less like its design-rooted former self every day.
“Adding Marketo’s engagement platform to Adobe Experience Cloud will enable Adobe to offer an unrivaled set of solutions for delivering transformative customer experiences across industries and companies of all sizes,” Adobe said in a statement. Adobe, which has a market cap of $130 billion, has topped analysts’ profit and revenue estimates for the past eight quarters, and the acquisition of Marketo will only help further the company’s success and penetration of the martech market.
Did the Comcast Social Media Pizza Stunt go too Far?
If I said something snarky to Comcast on Twitter and they sent me 10 pizzas (I like Rafy’s, no pineapple, please) I would happily eat them, Tweet about it, and continue to use my independent ISP. But I don’t have any real conflict of interest and I absolutely cannot turn down free food. With about 48 Twitter followers this would never actually happen to me, but I digress. Comcast social media marketers actually sent a load of pies to what they likely saw as an “influencer” who made a smart-assed comment about them on the Twitters.
This influencer also happens to be a real-life journalist and writer for the Atlantic who frequently covers comms industry-related stories. As a former journalist, I can tell you that this is a big-ol-fat conflict of interest for the writer. While he did the right thing and donated the pizzas and told Comcast thanks but no thanks (and Comcast explicitly said it expected nothing in return), some are implying that Comcast crossed an ethical line of sorts. As delicious as this marketing stunt was, is it social media marketing gone too far when it starts to look like payola? Should Comcast even care? And when are they going to send me pizza?
You Might Not Understand the Kids, but This AI Does
We’re not talking teenagers here, nobody understands them, including robots. Just ask one, they’ll tell ya. I kinda remember being one and NOBODY understood me. Then again, robots were a lot less sophisticated back then, so who knows. Anyway, automatic speech recognition company Kadho launched its new technology, Kidsense Edge voice A.I. this week. The company claims its technology can better decode kids’ speech as it was built using speech data from 150,000 children’s voices. The COPPA-compliant solution, which is initially targeting the voice-enabled devices and voice-enabled toys market, is already being used by paying customers.
But last I checked, kids don’t seem to have any issues “accidentally” ordering themselves toys and piles of candy with Alexa, so I’m not 100 percent sure why we need this.