Good morning, Marketers, one step forward, and a tiny half a step forward.

In today’s newsletter, we carry a report of review site Yelp introducing a “Business Accused of Racist Behavior” alert. It’s regrettable that such a step is necessary, but given that is indeed necessary, Yelp should be lauded for taking it. As our story points out, there will be difficult cases and controversial cases; and it’s unfortunate that there’s not yet a clear appeals process.

But at least Yelp is trying to do the right thing. And so, in its own curious way, is Facebook. Back in 2018, Mark Zuckerberg took the position that Holocaust denial, much as he found it offensive, had a place on Facebook. Yesterday, Facebook changed course: “Facebook is banning posts that deny or distort the Holocaust and will start directing people to authoritative sources…”

I guess it took three years to carefully evaluate whether speech that has no First Amendment protections (FB is not the government), and is also false and harmful, is not worth hosting. Imagine a world — especially if you’re a marketer who values Facebook as a channel — in which a giant like Facebook was leading on these issues rather than lagging stubbornly behind. 

Kim Davis
Editorial Director, MarTech Today


Twilio’s acquisition of Segment will support collection of digital data

Communication APIs vendor Twilio has entered into an agreement to acquire Segment for $3.2 billion in an all stock deal. Segment is a customer data infrastructure vendor, although it categorizes itself as a CDP.

Twilio is a cloud-based provider of developer tools which allow phone and messaging channels to be embedded in apps. Last year, Twilio completed the acquisition of SendGrid, which provided similar technology for emails. Segment would add the ability to capture customer data across these channels and move it through pipelines to third party systems — analytics platforms, for example, or CRMs. 

“Essentially they are pipes for digital event data: they own the edge, capturing data and passing that data over to other channels,” said Tasso Argyros, founder and CEO of independent CDP ActionIQ. But given that Twilio’s main customer base is mid-market, said Argyros, much of its data will indeed come from digital sources — this makes Segment a useful complement to Twilio.

Read more here »


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Yelp introduces new ‘business accused of racist behavior’ consumer alert

Yelp has said it will place a new category of consumer alerts on the profile pages of local businesses that are accused of discrimination or racist behavior. The new “Business Accused of Racist Behavior” alert serves as a warning to consumers and reads, “Recently someone associated with this business was accused of racist behavior…” It also links to news reports documenting the alleged conduct or incident(s).

When the alert goes up, Yelp disables any new reviews for that business profile. There will be obvious cases and more difficult ones (e.g., the isolated employee who doesn’t represent the business owner’s values). Regardless, an “accused of racism alert” on your profile will have economic consequences.

Yelp said that while there was no formal appeal process, business owners who feel wrongfully branded could reach out to the user operations team.

Read more here »


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Marketing budget tips for 2021

As marketers prepare to do more with less in their 2021 budget planning, Michael Trapani, Senior Director of Product Marketing for marketing cloud Acoustic, shared some tips for the new fiscal reality at MarTech last week. 

“Be prepared to budget to operate in the new reality we live in, do not try to do the impossible,” he said. “Budget with the ability to reach your goals first and foremost, but make the necessary adjustments based on changes in staff, productivity, new products and shifting goals.” 

Trapani’s tips include:

– Have an emergency budget ready, even if you are not asked to do so;

– Produce three budgets — an emergency budget, a budget that is 5-10% higher than requested and be prepared to show ROI for the additional expense and a budget that is slightly lower than requested; and

– Increase automation by adopting project management and operational tools to make up for reduced staff and fewer personnel hours. 

The full presentation can be accessed by registered attendees here. 

Why we care. The final quarter of 2020 will be influenced by economic, political and social factors. The only certainty is uncertainty as we close out a turbulent year. 

Quote of the Day

“Three years ago, we started a journey to make our beauty aisle a place women can feel good about themselves. This fall we will hit 100% compliance for our Beauty Mark initiative – 1,000’s of images across 1,000’s of stores, sites, emails, etc will now either have unaltered images or tell the viewer the images have been altered.” Norman de Greve, CMO, CVS Health.