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Think Increased "Share of Life"

The Internet behemoths battle one another to increase “Share of Life” – defined as the time in a 24 hour day the brand is entangled in a person’s life. Hardly a month goes by without a new announcement from Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook or Microsoft about moving into another aspect of people’s lives.

The fight raging to be No. 1 in gaining customer “Share of Life” gives the “Frightful Five” a dominant presence in the digital economy. The book lists 20 different Google interventions in a person’s daily behavior. And that’s just a sampling of the brand’s penetration into making life better for “Googlers.” Amazon, Facebook and other Internet dynamos are not far behind.

Update August 4, 2016

The “Frightful Five” Now the “Awesome Six”

It was Farhood Manjoo, the popular NY Times columnist, who first spoke of the Frightful Five -- Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Google. Each in its own way entangles its brand in the lives of more than a billion people worldwide. Together they control much of what happens in every person’s daily life.

Now, after Verizon’s purchase of Yahoo for close to $5 billion, there is a sixth member of this band of mighty marketers. The “Frightful Five” has become the “Awesome Six.”

Verizon hopes that by combining Yahoo with AOL and dominance in wireless communication, dramatic future growth is assured. Verizon wants a far greater “Share-of-Life” than it currently commands with consumers. Even with recent slack performance, Yahoo has one billion users who visit at least once a month.

Verizon will be battling to take “Share of Life” away from other members of the “Awesome Six.” An improved Yahoo e-mail and search service will do battle with Google. Verizon’s ownership of the Huffington Post will take on Facebook’s trending news powerhouse. Hum – the Verizon app that keeps tabs on your car’s health –is Verizon’s entry in the smart driving competition.

Bringing Yahoo into the fold was a smart move requiring a relatively small investment. By making a fundamental shift from CRM to CEM (Customer Entanglement Management) the communications titan is ready to become a major player in the Age of Entanglement.

We’ll be watching closely to see how Verizon executes its transformation to a new business model.

Update June 23, 2016

Google Goes After the Amazon Echo

Barely a month goes by without an Internet giant confronting one of the other behemoths in the battle for increased “Share of Life.” The latest move is the announcement of a Google smart speaker coming to market later this year. The Google Home will be a direct competitor of the popular Amazon Echo and its mini-sidekick the Dot.

Google Home and Amazon Echo are table-top speakers that do lots of smart things. Both have far-field microphones and speakers always listening and can hear your voice from anywhere in the room. They answer your questions, play your music and control your home automation systems.

There also are important differences.

The Echo is a tall black cylinder that lights up when it’s working. The much smaller Echo Dot looks like an oversize hockey puck. The Home is shorter and rounder than the Echo and larger than the Dot. It comes with interchangeable base holders in various colors to match the room’s décor.

CNN Money did a side-by-side comparison of Google Home and the Echo. They found that Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa handles its core tasks extremely well but will need to catch up when it comes to search, translation, scheduling and messaging.

Google has vastly more experience with voice search, machine learning and natural language. The Home takes existing Google Now and OK Google voice-assistant technology and rebrands it as the Google assistant. The Home can control a TV with Google Chromecast, manage your Google calendar, send a text, make a reservation and field complicated search questions.

Amazon’s Echo has the advantage of being first to market. Developers have created a wide range of of apps enabling Echo and Dot to do hundreds of helpful things.

Perhaps the greatest marketing advantage held by Amazon is the degree of entanglement in a person’s daily life that goes with membership in Amazon Prime. Google, for all its high-tech advantages, lacks the degree of commitment to a shared future enjoyed by the Amazon brand and Prime subscribers.

The fight is on for dominance of the smart speaker category. Round One to Amazon. Round Two to Google. Neither contender is likely to win by a knockout. We predict that Amazon is going to more than hold its own as the fight for “Share of Life” continues.

Never underestimate the power of Amazon’s Entangled Marketing mindset.

Update May 31, 2016

Facebook’s Soaring “Share of Life”

We are fascinated by how the Internet behemoths lead a double life or even a triple or quadruple life. The Facebook brand is now two different things to its 1.6 billion users – a social meeting ground and a trusted means of keeping up with what’s “hot” in world news.

As a multifaceted brand, Facebook is winning an ever-increasing share of the user’s life online. The average amount of time enthusiasts spend on Facebook platforms soared from 40 minutes in 2014 to 50 minutes in the first quarter of 2016.

According to James Stewart, a NY Times columnist, “that’s more than any other leisure activity with the exception of watching television programs and movies (an average per day of 2.8 hours.) It’s almost as much time as people spend eating and drinking (1.07 hours).”

Not to be outdone, Google strategists are aiming for a new high in their brand’s “Share of Life” involvement. They are pushing to become the alternative to the traditional cable TV box. Google’s algorithms may soon be determining which shows are relevant for you.

If the new F.C.C. proposal governing set-top boxes is implemented, the door would open for TV to become an extension of the online world. Google would act as the gatekeeper of who is watching what. That’s 2.8 hours of a person’s viewing time added to the dozens of ways Google already can be entangled with your life.

Next on the horizon are the hours spent in your car. Right now there is an abundance of digital wizardry enhancing the driver’s experience. Down the road you’ll be enjoying the Google driver technology without a driver.

Measurement of “Share of Life” in hours rather than minutes is what’s ahead for the titans of the Internet era. With only so many waking hours in the day, competition to entangle the brand with the shrinking uncommitted share of a person’s time is going to be incredibly intense.

This is only the start of seeing “The Frightful Five” --Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft – playing a dominant role in our everyday existence.

Update April 15, 2016

Google Takes Control of Your Life

The battle for “Share of Life” among the Internet behemoths continues to heat up. Now the latest move, announced by Google this week, goes beyond the brand being entangled in a person’s daily life from classic search to looking forward to enjoying a driverless car.

Google has come up with a way to take control of the hour by hour use of your time.

On the 10th birthday of its popular online calendar, Google is introducing a product called Goals. Your Google calendar now can take control of scheduling time to reach your goals.

Inside a new calendar menu, you choose the goal you want to reach such as an exercise regimen, time for friends or skill building. After choosing what you desire, select how many days a week you want to find time for making it happen and for how long during the day.

Google takes a look at your calendar and schedules the best open slots. The algorithm gets better at managing your time the more it is used.

Getting as close as possible to your customer in an inseparable relationship is at the core of Entangled Marketing. Following the schedule Google sets entrusts the brand with control over a person’s daily life. You can’t get any closer than that.

Update April 4, 2016

Amazon Expands “Share of Life”

No one is better at getting entangled in a consumer’s every waking moment than Amazon.

This week Jeff Bezos took a big step in bolstering the brand’s share of the customer’s shopping experience. Amazon announced that it is tripling the number of available Dash Buttons to more than 100.

The Amazon Dash Button, first introduced a year ago, is a WI-FI connected device the size of a car key remote. It enables you to reorder products from home by sticking the button to a surface near products that need replenishment.

Just press the button to automatically send an order to Amazon. Never worry about running out of things again.

Each Dash Button is paired with a brand of your choice. Top partners to date include Tide, Bounty and Cottonelle. Use of the button has increased by more than 75 percent in the last three months. Amazon says Dash Button sales now occur more than once a minute.

You have to be a member of the giant e-tailer’s Prime service to reorder beverages, snacks and household products this way. If you are not a Prime member, Dash Buttons are a good reason to join.

Although Bezos is not making the numbers public right now, millions more are likely to join the millions of Amazon customers already signed up for Prime’s free postage and other perks.

The Dash Button not only adds to “Share of Life” for Amazon, it also does wonders for the brand being sold. Energizer CCO ( Chief Consumer Officer) Michelle Atkinson, was quoted in USAToday saying that a Dash Button in a person’s home eliminates the competition when batteries are ordered.

Thanks to the Amazon Dash Button, Energizer is getting a taste of the power of never-let-go Entangled Marketing.

The latest listing of big-name brands with Dash Buttons available includes Energizer, Doritos, Red Bull, Airborne, Clorox, Charmin, Starbucks, Ziploc, L’Oreal, Huggies and Gerber – even Trojan condoms.

The ability of Amazon to move into so many aspects of the brand’s 24/7 “Share-of-Life” keeps expanding. Stay tuned. There is no limit to where Amazon -- or for that matter your brand as well – can go in adding value to an entangled relationship with customers.

Update March 17, 2016

Amazon Introduces a Miniature Echo

Being integrated into the consumer’s life at every waking moment is how Amazon’s mission can best be described. Now Jeff Bezos, with the palm-sized Echo Dot, has taken another step in deepening the brand’s presence wherever a person turns at home.

The Echo has been an extraordinary success selling for 179.99. The portable, much smaller Echo Dot at $89.99 moves easily from room to room in its reliance on assistance from Alexa.

An Echo Dot has all the same features as “big brother” except for a smaller speaker. What’s new, in addition to the mini-size convenience, is the capability to connect to a very powerful audio system if desired.

Alexa is always listening. You can ask questions or give commands from across the room and Alexa gets it done. Check the weather. Summon Uber. Control smart home devices. Command the miniature wonder to play music from Pandora, Spotify or another favorite source.

Moving Alexa outside the living room dramatically adds to Amazon’s “Share of Life” at home.

Introduction of the Echo Dot took an Entangled Marketing approach that deepened member involvement with Amazon Prime. Initially, the voice controlled system was exclusively for Prime members who own an Echo. Amazon invited members just to say: “Alexa, order an Echo Dot.” Nothing more was needed.

Jeff Bezos continues his mastery of entangling the brand and the consumer in an enduring One-with-One relationship.

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