Archive for Neal Leavitt

Technology Transforming the Fashion Industry

Posted by Neal Leavitt on November 27th, 2014 at 5:28 pm

Last week after a nice lunch with my sister, niece, brother-in-law and cousin, I got corralled into following them into Nordstrom’s in downtown San Francisco. I quickly realized that with only two magazines, a book, and a smartphone, it would be a challenging afternoon.
And once my niece pulled about a half-dozen outfits off a rack and said “I just want to try on a few things,” the situation became untenable. Elevated heart rate. Accelerated pulse. Beads of sweat on forehead. If the store had started playing Slim Whitman songs, my head would have exploded, similar to what happened to the little green Martians in Tim Burton’s campy Mars Attacks.
Quickly gave everyone a hug and said I was dashing out to Ghirardelli’s for a sundae (dark chocolate hot fudge; medical studies have indicated dark chocolate’s good for you, ergo, Ghirardelli’s sundaes are healthy. Bit of twisted logic but effective for assuaging any guilt feelings).
But while scraping away the last nanometer of ice cream, it got me thinking about how technology has radically changed the fashion industry in just a few short years.
“Technology is now completely ingrained in our interaction and relationship with fashion retail,” said... Read more

2015 Just Around the Corner: So What’s the Skinny on Digital Marketing Trends?

Posted by Neal Leavitt on October 26th, 2014 at 4:37 pm

Quality content. Content marketing. Mobile-friendly content. Ad retargeting.
Scores of pundits and prognosticators awake and arise this time of year from their marketing crypts to make predictions, outline scenarios on what they see as hot digital marketing trends for the upcoming year. And we see a lot of those aforementioned terms – and others – you know what some of them are - year-after-year, being bandied about and re-purposed.
To use some pirate vernacular, “arrrggggghhhhhh!”
All good-intentioned, most impart a lot of useful info-nuggets but it’s easy to get lost in the morass.
So is there anything really interesting that might help drive awareness of products/services, and ultimately sales next year?
Yup.
Internet Retailer recently did a search marketing survey (full results being published in November) from mid-September to mid-October encompassing responses from 95 participants; about two-thirds identified themselves as working for web-only retailers.
Some interesting survey snippets:
• 46.2% reported increased traffic to their e-commerce sites over the past year through natural, or organic search;
• 32.9% generated at least half of their online sales through their paid search and organic search programs combined;
• 40.3% said their search marketing budgets increased over the past year;
• 53.3% said they would increase their pay-per-click search spending... Read more

Car and Truck Makers Need to Emphasize Their Vehicles Are Digitally Safe

Posted by Neal Leavitt on September 29th, 2014 at 3:09 pm

Watch any NFL game on Sunday, Monday, Thursday, and you’ll see a bevy of commercials espousing that a given car or truck model is sleek, rough, tough, cool, fuel efficient, family-friendly, sporty, ad nauseum. Adjectives like these are music to a car/truck marketer’s ears.
What you don’t see or hear very often is that hackers continue to pose a threat to all sorts of vehicle models – and even smart charging stations for electronic vehicles (EV) may be vulnerable to hacking. Granted, there haven’t been any major security breakdowns and security professionals say that auto manufacturers are making inroads in improving software security. In fact, Andrew Brown, chief technologist for Delphi Automotive said recently that “quite honestly, the vehicles, systems and components today are quite robust and resistant to cyber-security threats. But that doesn’t mean it’s 100%.”
Added Ed Adams, a security expert:
“There’s an awful lot of code throughout the entire supply chain, not just with the auto manufacturers, but with the infotainment systems and applications like Sirius and Harmon. The fact of life is that software is flawed.”
Cheryl Dancey Balough and Richard C. Balough, co-founders of Chicago-based Balough Law Offices, LLC, said today’s cars have dozens of electrical control... Read more

Up Up and Away: Commercial Drone Market Ready for Take Off

Posted by Neal Leavitt on August 30th, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Drone proponents prefer using the term Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or UAS for Unmanned Aerial System (latter term includes the entirety of the flying vehicle and the ground-base communications connection connecting the two). Whatever your preferred verbiage is, drones are poised to become a huge global business and the aerial devices are going to have a significant impact across a wide variety of industries.
Historically, the military has been the biggest user/purchaser of drones; The Wall Street Journal estimated that the U.S. military spent about $3 billion on drone programs in 2012. And many aerospace companies continue to develop highly sophisticated machines that are lightweight and easy to assemble/launch.
Columbus, MS-based Stark Aerospace, for instance, recently rolled out ArrowLite™, a small UAS system that supports the U.S. Army Hunter MQ-5B UAS. It weighs less than 7 lbs. and can be assembled and hand-launched in less than 90 seconds.
Looking beyond the military, commercial drones will soon take on much larger roles for businesses and even for individual consumers. BI Intelligence, a research service from Business Insider, estimates that 12% of an estimated $98 billion in cumulative global spending on aerial drones over the next decade will be for commercial purposes. ... Read more

Selling Your Personal Data: Is It Worth It?

Posted by Neal Leavitt on July 20th, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Last year a student at New York University threw out an interesting challenge – via a Kickstarter campaign, he offered to divulge 60 days worth of private data gleaned from his digital devices.
He raised $2,733 from 213 backers.
And earlier this year, a research team at the University of Trento in Italy reeled in 60 people and their smart phones to participate in an experiment that recorded various personal details and created a marketplace to sell the data. These included phone calls, apps being used, time spent on them, photographs taken, and users’ locations 24/7.
Each week, as reported by MIT Technology Review, the participants took part in an auction to sell the data, e.g., they might want to sell a specific GPS location or total distance traveled, or locations visited on a given day.
While reporting all results could be the topic of another post, in brief, Jacopo Staiano, who headed up the research team, said there were a few key findings:
• Location is the most valued category of personally identifiable information;
• Participants valued their information more highly on days that were unusual compared to typical days;
• People who traveled more each day tended to value their personal information more highly.
Almost 600 ‘auctions’ were... Read more