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hal380The advent of Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Adobe Marketing Cloud demonstrates the need for enterprises to develop new ways of harnessing the vast potential of big data. Yet these marketing clouds beg the question of who will help marketers, the frontline of businesses, maximize marketing spending and ROI and help their brands win in the end. Simply moving software from onsite to hosted servers does not change the capabilities marketers require — real competitive advantage stems from intelligent use of big data.

Marc Benioff, who is famous for declaring that “Software Is Dead,” may face a similar fate with his recent bets on Buddy Media and Radian6. These applications provide data to people who must then analyze, prioritize and act — often at a pace much slower than the digital world. Data, content and platform insights are too massive for mere mortals to handle without costing a fortune. Solutions that leverage big data are poised to win — freeing up people to do the strategy and content creation that is best done by humans, not machines.

Big data is too big for humans to work with, at least in the all-important analytical construct of responding to opportunities in real time — formulating efficient and timely responses to opportunities generated from your marketing cloud, or pursuing the never-ending quest for perfecting search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM). The volume, velocity and veracity of raw, unstructured data is overwhelming. Big data pioneers such as Facebook and eBay have moved to massive Hadoop clusters to process their petabytes of information.

In recent years, we’ve gone from analyzing megabytes of data to working with gigabytes, and then terabytes, and then petabytes and exabytes, and beyond. Two years ago, James Rogers, writing in The Street, wrote: “It’s estimated that 1 Petabyte is equal to 20 million four-door filing cabinets full of text.” We’ve become jaded to seeing such figures. But 20 million filing cabinets? If those filing cabinets were a standard 15 inches wide, you could line them up, side by side, all the way from Seattle to New York — and back again. One would need a lot of coffee to peruse so much information, one cabinet at a time. And, a lot of marketing staff.

Of course, we have computers that do the perusing for us, but as big data gets bigger, and as analysts, marketers and others seek to do more with the massive intelligence that can be pulled from big data, we risk running into a human bottleneck. Just how much can one person — or a cubicle farm of persons — accomplish in a timely manner from the dashboard of their marketing cloud? While marketing clouds do a fine job of gathering data, it still comes down to expecting analysts and marketers to interpret and act on it — often with data that has gone out of date by the time they work with it.

Hence, big data solutions leveraging machine learning, language models and prediction, in the form of self-learning solutions that go from using algorithms for harvesting information from big data, to using algorithms to initiate actions based on the data.

Yes, this may sound a bit frightful: Removing the human from the loop. Marketers indeed need to automate some decision-making. But the human touch will still be there, doing what only people can do — creating great content that evokes emotions from consumers — and then monitoring and fine-tuning the overall performance of a system designed to take actions on the basis of big data.

This isn’t a radical idea. Programmed trading algorithms already drive significant activity across stock markets. And, of course, Amazon, eBay and Facebook have become generators of — and consummate users of — big data. Others are jumping on the bandwagon as well. RocketFuel uses big data about consumers, sites, ads and prior ad performance to optimize display advertising. uses big data from consumer Web behavior, on-site behaviors and publisher content to create, optimize and buy advertising across the Web for display advertisers.

The big data revolution is just beginning as it moves beyond analytics. If we were building CRM again, we wouldn’t just track sales-force productivity; we’d recommend how you’re doing versus your competitors based on data across the industry. If we were building marketing automation software, we wouldn’t just capture and nurture leads generated by our clients, we’d find and attract more leads for them from across the Web. If we were building a financial application, it wouldn’t just track the financials of your company, it would compare them to public filings in your category so you could benchmark yourself and act on best practices.

Benioff is correct that there’s an undeniable trend that most marketing budgets today are betting more on social and mobile. The ability to manage social, mobile and Web analysis for better marketing has quickly become a real focus — and a big data marketing cloud is needed to do it. However, the real value and ROI comes from the ability to turn big data analysis into action, automatically. There’s clearly big value in big data, but it’s not cost-effective for any company to interpret and act on it before the trend changes or is over. Some reports find that 70 percent of marketers are concerned with making sense of the data and more than 91 percent are concerned with extracting marketing ROI from it. Incorporating big data technologies that create action means that your organization’s marketing can get smarter even while you sleep.

Raj De Datta founded BloomReach with 10 years of enterprise and entrepreneurial experience behind him. Most recently, he was an Entrepreneur-In-Residence at Mohr-Davidow Ventures. Previously, he was a Director of Product Marketing at Cisco. Raj also worked in technology investment banking at Lazard Freres. He holds a BSE in Electrical Engineering from Princeton and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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What Engineers Don't Know We Don't Know About Online Marketing

Google Tech Talk (more info below) September 13, 2011 Presented by Patrick McKenzie ABSTRACT Google is in the business of having some of the world's best engineers build systems which connect businesses to customers. Unfortunately, we engineers often don't understand our systems from the customer's point of view. This talk will address challenges businesses face in their online marketing, from the necessity of non-technical owners/staff implementing it to the disparity in needs between small and large businesses. About the Speaker: Patrick McKenzie was previously a systems engineer at a multinational Japanese company. He has since started his own business selling software and SaaS applications online, primarily to non-technical customers. He has been using AdWords since 2006.

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Unboxing refers to the practice of photographing or recording oneself while opening a new product out of its original packaging to showcase the contents as well as the recipient’s first impression of the product. On YouTube, unboxing videos are typically associated with consumer reviews of hi-tech gadgets like computers, video games or mobile phones, however, similar videos have been uploaded by beauty and fashion bloggers to show off their latest purchases from “hauls” or shopping sprees.


The practice of documenting the opening of a packaged product was initially referred to as “unpacking” as early as November 2004 in an Engadget[1] article about opening a Nintendo DS box, as well as in Joystiq[2] and TV Envy[3] articles published in the fall of 2005. The earliest known usage of the term “unboxing” can be attributed to an article titled “Unpacking the Xbox 360; hot unboxing action" posted via Joystiq[4] on November 16th, 2005.


In February 2006, Flickr user Josh Bancroft[5] uploaded a series of unboxing photos to showcase his new MacBook Pro. The following month, the domain[7] was registered by the high-tech lifestyle blog Gear Live to feature its unboxing videos and photos of gadgets and devices. In June, a Flickr group[6] was created for people to share their unboxing photos and the first YouTube video depicting the unboxing of Nokia E61[8] smartphone was uploaded by YouTuber UnBoxedIt.

The first definition for “unboxing” was added to Urban Dictionary[13] on February 1st, 2008. Unboxing photo collections and videos have appeared on CNET[14], Slashgear[15], Mashable[16] and Wired.[17] The trend of unboxing videos on YouTube has been also covered by news sites including the Independent[22], Gizmodo[23] and even made the front page of the Wall Street Journal[20][21] print edition in December 2006. Additional blog posts are shared on Tumblr[9] and Twitter[10] using the hashtag #unboxing. As of September 2012, search for “unboxing”[11] on YouTube yields approximately 547,000 videos.

Notable Examples

Since YouTube’s launch in 2005, there have been many notable unboxing events centered around major product releases. On November 11th, 2006, YouTuber CheapyD uploaded a video in which he unboxes a PlayStation 3 video game console (shown below, left). In the following seven years, the video garnered more than 900,000 views and 1,100 comments. On February 4th, 2008, YouTube I1hate1the1Air published an unboxing video for the Macbook Air by Apple, in which he criticizes Apple’s design of the product (shown below, right). In the first six years, the video gained over 1.28 million views and 35,600 comments.

On July 13th, 2009, Infinity Ward released an unboxing video for their Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 “Prestige Edition” (shown below, left), which accumulated upwards of 4.32 million views and 33,900 comments in the next four years. On June 19th, 2010, the Chilla Frilla YouTube channel published an unboxing video for the Xbox 360 Slim. In the first three years, the video received more than 2.4 million views and 23,000 comments.

There have been many unboxing videos for each iteration of the iPhone. On September 18th, 2012, the T3 YouTube channel uploaded an unboxing video for the iPhone 5 (shown below, left), which gained over 2.13 million views and 4,000 comments in the following year. On December 28th, an unboxing video for the developer Ouya console was published on YouTube (shown below, right), accumulating upwards of one million views and 4,700 comments in the next seven months

While many of these types of videos focus on the latest gadgets on the market, unboxig is used to show off items purchased in shopping sprees for items including candles, beauty products and sneakers.

Other Notable Videos

Web Series

In April 2010, internet television channel Revision3 launched a web series titled “Unboxing Porn”[12] (shown below left), combining the product showcase format with the tropes of cheesy pornographic films. The series ran for 35 episodes through September 2011. In December 2010, Revision3 launched “Unbox Therapy”[24] (shown below, right), another series dedicated to serious unboxing of gaming, photography, and hi-tech audio equipment. As of September 2012, the show is still active and its YouTube channel[25] has roughly 128,000 subscribers and more than 19 million views.


In March 2012, Funny or Die[18] released a parody skit of unboxing videos in which Apple’s CEO Tim Cook describes his first experience of opening up an iPad.

Search Interest

Search interest began to appear in 2004 due to “unboxing” being a term for a type of coding apparent in Java and C#.

External References

[1]Engadget – Unpacking the Nintendo DS

[2]Joystiq – Unpacking the Game Boy Micro

[3]TV Envy – Unpacking WrestleMania: The Complete Anthology

[4]Joystiq – Unpacking the Xbox 360; hot unboxing action

[5]Flickr – Mac Book Pro Unboxing

[6]Flickr – Unboxing group

[7] – Home

[8]Wikipedia – Nokia E61

[9]Tumblr – Posts tagged #unboxing

[10]Twitter – #unboxing

[11]YouTube – Search results for “unboxing”

[12]Revision3 – Unboxing Porn

[13]Urban Dictionary – Definition for “unboxing”

[14]CNET – Always On: Episode 1: Unboxing the MacBook Pro

[15]Slashgear – Nexus 7 gets fabulous Google Ninja unboxing video

[16]Mashable – Nexus 7 Unboxing Is Harder Than You Think [VIDEO]

[17]Wired – Unboxing the Harry Potter Wizard’s Collection!

[18]Funny or Die – Tim Cook iPad Unboxing Video

[19]Retronaut – Unboxing the Statue of Liberty, 1885

[20]Cheap Ass Gamer – CheapyD’s PS3 Unboxing Appears on Wall Street Journal Front Page (screenshots of article)

[21]Wall Street Journal – At New Video Sites, Opening Up the Box Is a Ritual to Savor

[22]The Independent – Unboxing: The new geek porn

[23]Gizmodo – Why Every Single Gadget Unboxing Is Weird, Creepy and Maybe Even Pervy

[24]Unbox Therapy – Home

[25]YouTube – Unbox Therapy’s channel

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