The Falling Cost of Video Marketing: Local Implications

Amazon today introduced AWS (Amazon Web Services) Elemental Media Services, a suite of video production and distribution tools that demonstrate, once again, the growing importance of video to local marketing and engagement. Elemental Media Services, like Azure Media Services from Microsoft and others, provide professional grade tools for virtually any organization to use. Enterprise capabilities have percolated down to Main Street, and local engagement has never looked as complex as a result. Video blended with messaging, email, web, app, and bot-enabled UX represents improved branding opportunities for small business and large. 

Bringing that communication engagement smoothly into the transactional experience is challenging. Large brands have tended to produce for national or, at the most granular, regional audiences. Local media, however, requires local stories of success with products/services, as well as a form of influence that is easily shared. Video is ideal for this intimate connection, but it requires locally connected sales and influencer engagement to activate audiences based on personal and local influencer connections. People need to be involved, telling stories that can be promoted locally to establish authentic community bona fides — the notion that the brand is not only successful but that it is successful for people in the consumer’s community. These stories get shared, but they need a platform like Elemental Media Services for successful management and follow-through on sales opportunities. 

Amazon’s dominance in transactions, which accounted for 2016 online sales, ties many sales opportunities to search and fulfillment by the retail giant. Indeed, MediaPost’s Marc Schader wonders if Amazon won’t dominate all marketing because of its growing search marketing influence: “Brands are quickly realizing that if they don’t start taking Amazon’s search capabilities seriously and get in on the “Amazon effect” now, they could find Amazon-owned brands overtaking their own market share.”

Which leads to the question for local retailers and service providers: Where to plug into local video marketing services? AWS and Azure, among others, have attractively priced video services, but Amazon’s comes with implicit and explicit tie-ins to Amazon’s retail search that could turn a local marketing investment into an Amazon marketing benefit — a local retailer’s advertisement could convert into an Amazon sale of the advertised product. This isn’t to say that Amazon video is necessarily a bad choice for local marketers. Instead, the system needs reporting tools that display clearly the transactional outcomes of local campaigns. 

Recent movements among brand marketers to demand transparency in media results are another facet of this issue. Enterprise marketers, such as Unilever and P&G, now want to understand how their marketing spend benefits participants in their own and competitors’ supply chains. A transparent marketing environment will benefit consumers and marketers alike, but the advantage lies with the entity with the transactional opportunity, which is, in many cases, Amazon.

Zego picks up £6M Series A led by Balderton for its gig economy worker insurance | TechCrunch

Insurance by the hour. A billing cadence or a business model?

Founded by Harry Franks, Sten Saar and Stuart Kelly in 2016, Zego has set out to re-invent commercial insurance for self-employed people, with a particular focus on contractors powering various parts of the gig economy. Its first product is pay-as-you-go scooter and car insurance for food delivery workers utilising platforms such as the Deliveroos of the world.

Source: Zego picks up £6M Series A led by Balderton for its gig economy worker insurance | TechCrunch

Some Instacart workers to strike over pay that can be as low as $1 per hour | Ars Technica

A “strike” in on-demand is failing to show up for work, something that is very hard to enforce in a virtual community. With Instacart’s “commission” structure, which provides the base pay for a delivery, local factors can bring compensation way down, to “just $1” in Evansville, Indiana.

One of the strike’s leaders is Matthew Telles, a Chicago-based shopper who has been with Instacart for two years. He was also one of the named plaintiffs in a lawsuit (Camp et al v. Maplebear dba Instacart) that resulted in a $4.6 million preliminary settlement, which is set to be finalized in a Los Angeles court in January 2018. (Telles is set to receive $681 as part of the settlement.)

Source: Some Instacart workers to strike over pay that can be as low as $1 per hour | Ars Technica

We’re joining Lyft! – Kamcord

Kamcord, a game streaming developer, has been acquired by Lyft and announced it is closing existing services to focus on video engagement in autonomous Lyft vehicles. Interesting.

The transportation space is very different from mobile live streaming but we see a lot of parallels. Prior to Kamcord, broadcasting your mobile screen involved cables and desktop software. As Steve Jobs would say, YUCK! We simplified the process to one tap on your phone and invested heavily in making the broadcaster-viewer interactions natural and fun. In many ways, Lyft has done the same thing for getting from point A to point B, pioneering the peer-to-peer ridesharing model and placing an importance on a

Source: We’re joining Lyft! – Kamcord – Medium

Volvo Cars to supply tens of thousands of autonomous drive compatible cars to Uber – Volvo Car Group Global Media Newsroom

Uber and Volvo move to deliver the first fleet of autonomous ride-sharing cars. This comes sooner than many expected, and raises a very important question about Uber, which has relied on drivers to supply, clean, and maintain cars in the past: Is there any margin in autonomous vehicles? The acquisition of 24,000 self-driving cars for approximately $1 billion will require management and maintenance of those vehicles be performed by Uber, which, at let us say $30 a day in maintenance fees (24,000 x $30 x 30 days = $21 million a month in costs — or $259 million annually, and we haven’t covered parking, fuel costs, and cleaning up after messy riders intra-day).

Taking humans out of the car provisioning equation doesn’t pencil out. Uber’s model benefitted from individual ownership of vehicles.

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, has signed a framework agreement with Uber, the ride sharing company, to sell tens of thousands of autonomous driving compatible base vehicles between 2019 and 2021.

Source: Volvo Cars to supply tens of thousands of autonomous drive compatible cars to Uber – Volvo Car Group Global Media Newsroom

Fines for firms that cheat on status of gig workers | The Times & The Sunday Times

U.K. politicians have made gig work a hot-button issue as Tories and Labour vie for post-Brexit influence. This will spread to the U.S.,. and companies need to get ahead of regulators by finding solutions for on-demand work benefits and safety net services.

Companies should face punitive fines for falsely classifying workers as self-employed and denying them benefits such as holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and pensions, under proposals by MPs to crack down on abuses of the gig economy.

Source: Fines for firms that cheat on status of gig workers | Business | The Times & The Sunday Times

Amazon’s Last Mile – Gizmodo

Local value must be recognized by Amazon — or any on-demand company — if it is going to revive the middle class economy. Human interaction is the highest degree of engagement, but treated by financial-centric organizations as the least valuable. Flex drivers are in the best position to get a full accounting of customer satisfaction, suggestions, and to enhance the customer experience.

Near the very bottom of Amazon’s complicated machinery is a nearly invisible workforce over two years in the making tasked with getting those orders to your doorstep. It’s a network of supposedly self-employed, utterly expendable couriers enrolled in an app-based program which some believe may violate labor laws. That program is called Amazon Flex, and it accomplishes Amazon’s “last-mile” deliveries—the final journey from a local facility to the customer.

Source: Amazon’s Last Mile

Apple Pay Users Get Free Postmates Deliveries |

Smart move, big win for Postmates. Bundling of delivery is how many consumers will first experience on-demand service.

According to news from Mac Rumors, Apple announced the offer to its Apple Pay customers via email: “Special announcement: Just in time for the holidays, we’ve extended the Unlimited trial for customers using Apple Pay. Sign up before Nov 23rd and your subscription will be free for all of 2017. That means all orders over $20 have no delivery fee.”

Source: Apple Pay Users Get Free Postmates Deliveries |

TasyEasy Raises 21.3M in Series C – Utah Business

Question for debate in comments: Are national brands the ultimate end-game for in-home services or do local small businesses play the leading role in the long-run?

TaskEasy has performed over one million tasks in more than 10,000 cities in all 50 states. The company has established the largest network of screened and insured lawn maintenance contractors, with over 5,000 small businesses across the country performing work for TaskEasy customers.

Source: TasyEasy Raises 21.3M in Series C – Utah Business

Uber-like services in the suburbs? ‘Microtransit’ tech wants to make it happen – Curbed

The microtransit “movement” is an evolution of campus developments in corporations over the past 30 years. These locally delivered shuttle services will develop around shopping destinations and planned urban and suburban communities. Look for apartment/condo developments to add an alternative to owning a car. Keep an eye on partnering between communities, developers, and transportation network companies.

Proponents of the growing micro-transit movement see it as a means of cheaply and efficiently expanding mass transit access. These types of services, which offer on-demand transit, could become the feeder system for larger regional transport systems, ferrying riders from neighborhoods to local transit hubs. Many also see a big opportunity for these services to feature automated and electric vehicles, which would lead to more sustainable and efficient mass transit. Trials in Las Vegas and Helsinki are workin

Source: Uber-like services in the suburbs? ‘Microtransit’ tech wants to make it happen – Curbed