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Using Advertising Landing Pages to Nurture Customers

Like a rose is a rose is a rose, your brand is your brand is your brand. Think of it like this. Your brand is like a delicate flower. It is something you’ve cared for, cultivated, and grown into an entity that represents everything you, your team, and company wishes to share with the world. That’s why you’re proud of your brand, and why it’s upsetting when it goes unnoticed. There are many ways to draw attention to your brand and one of the best is to utilize landing pages. Landing pages make a lasting first impression and are ideally suited to creating powerful, personalized ads that fully convey all the awesomeness that is your brand. An advertising landing page politely ushers your potential customers the duration of the customer journey, so it’s crucial to recognize that every promotion or ad needs its own landing page. In this post, we’re going to examine how good advertising landing pages move potential customers through each step of the buying cycle and help your brand get the attention you know it deserves. What is an advertising landing page? An advertising landing page is a standalone web page that visitors are brought to from various forms of advertising channels. Advertising landing pages are designed to convince visitors to convert on a specific offer (to buy a product, download an ebook, register for a webinar, etc.) by using persuasive elements like compelling headlines, benefit-oriented copy, engaging media, and customer testimonials. Advertising landing pages can, and should, be utilized throughout the marketing funnel to make the buyer’s journey meaningful and effective. How are brands using advertising landing pages at each stage of the buyer's journey? Brands are using advertising landing pages at each stage of the marketing funnel to optimize the buyer’s journey. This practice provides brands with the ability to raise brand awareness, drive traffic, and increase sales. Take a look below at how content fits into the buyer’s journey at each stage. These are not exclusive to their respective stage, but are often bucketed this way: Let’s briefly review each stage of the marketing funnel, and examine how brands are using advertising landing pages to achieve success throughout the buyer’s journey. We’ll also discuss elements that should be A/B tested in order to potentially achieve better results. Keep in mind, for shorter pages, we’ve shown the entire page. However, for longer pages, we only displayed above the fold. You may need to click through to each page to see some of the points we discuss. Also, ome brands may be A/B tested their page with an alternate version than is displayed below. In the awareness stage The awareness stage is the beginning of the buyer’s journey; before someone knows anything about your brand. The prospect knows that they have an issue, and that the issue needs a solution but they don’t have any idea how they’re going to solve the issue. In the awareness stage, landing page advertising is typically for educational, editorial, and expert content, analyst and research reports, tip lists, ebooks, white papers, and blog subscriptions. Boldchat Boldchat is one brand that uses an advertising landing page in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. The following AdWords ad and landing page was found by searching the term “improve user experience” and is used to generate playbook downloads: What the page does well: The headline is attention-grabbing, both aesthetically and with the compelling copy. Numerical statistics about customer experience help persuade prospects to download the playbook to learn more about how they can improve their own customer engagement. The image gives prospects a preview of what they’ll receive by downloading the playbook. Bullet points with personalized copy let prospects know what they’ll learn from the playbook and how it will benefit them. The “Start chat” button on the right side of the page allows prospects to contact the customer service team without exiting the page. What could be changed or A/B tested: Exit links (the company logo and social links) could reduce conversion rates by providing prospects with a way off the page before downloading the playbook. 7 form fields is a bit high for a landing page in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. At this stage of the game, the company shouldn’t need so much information. The CTA button copy is vague and unpersuasive. Something more exciting and benefit-oriented like, “Get Engaged!” would likely persuade more prospects to convert. Adding white space around the most important elements, like the headline, form, and CTA button, would make them more attention-grabbing, and make the page look more organized. Analogous colors (red, orange, and yellow) make it so that no one color stands out too much. Changing the color of, say, the CTA button would make it “pop” off the page more. Too much variation in font style, size, and color makes the page look messy and difficult to comprehend. Akamai Akamai uses this AdWords ad and landing page (found by searching the phrase “page speed issues”) in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey to generate free report downloads: What the page does well: Using “Free” in the headline is smart since people are more likely to redeem free offers than paid offers. The click-to-play video is informative, and is only 1-minute long, so it won’t bore prospects or prevent them from watching due to lengthiness. The encapsulated form serves as an implicit visual cue, drawing attention to the form so that prospects are more likely to complete it. Bullet points tell prospects what their report will contain, adding an element of persuasion to the offer. What could be changed or A/B tested: Too many form fields may deter prospects from completing the form. All of the requested information isn’t necessary in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. The CTA button copy could be improved. There is nothing engaging or convincing about “Submit.” Something more personal and descriptive like, “Send my report now!” may result in more leads. The CTA button color could be changed to a more contrasting color in order to make it stand out on the page. Exit links (company logo, navigation in the footer, etc.) give prospects a chance to leave the page before converting on the offer. The video advertises other videos at the end of it, which also increases the chance that prospects will leave before submitting their request for the report. Adding testimonials from customers who have already received the report would likely help to persuade others to convert on the offer as well. In the consideration stage The consideration stage is where the prospect begins to research all of his or her available solutions in the marketplace, and they have identified your company as a possible solution to their problem. As the prospect’s research becomes more in depth, he or she learns more about your knowledge, professionalism, authority, and trustworthiness and they are able to narrow down their list of potential choices. Advertising landing pages in the consideration stage offer content like webinars, free samples, guides, webcasts, and podcasts. LinkedIn Here is a LinkedIn PPC ad discovered by searching “marketing software guide”: Upon clicking the ad, I was brought to this landing page that LinkedIn uses in their consideration stage to persuade prospects to download their B2B Marketing Guide: What the page does well: Message matching is used with the ad and the landing page, as both advertise $50 in ad credits. Bullet points with bold font make it easy for prospects to find out what they’ll be getting and learning about with the guide. The auto fill feature on the form makes it faster and easier for prospects to complete it, increasing the chances that they will. Although having two of the same button seems like a mistake. What could be changed or A/B tested: The CTA button copy, “Download Now,” is vague. Something more engaging and enticing like, “Get the guide and $50 now!” may produce more leads. The CTA button color could be changed to a more attention-grabbing color (one that’s not used elsewhere on the page). Iconography with links to other landing pages is unnecessary and potentially decreases the conversion rate on this page. Instead of including the links on this page, each offer should have its own ad campaign and its own landing page. Exit links (company logo, header and footer navigations, social links) provide prospects a way off the page before downloading the guide. Adding customer testimonials from those who have already downloaded the guide and had success with it would likely convince others to download it as well. ReadyTalk Upon conducting a Google search for the phrase “content marketing webinar,” I came across this AdWords ad and landing page from ReadyTalk, encouraging prospects to sign up for their webinar: What the page does well: The image of the man adds a human element to the page, making the offer more relatable and enticing for prospects. Minimal copy is good, but adding personalized wording like “you” and “my” would be even better. The arrow above the form acts as a directional cue, telling prospects that there’s more to see beyond this landing page. The one-field form is fast and easy for prospects to complete, increasing their chances of doing so. No exit links (aside from the second CTA button mentioned below) means more prospects will stay on the page long enough to convert on the offer. What could be changed or A/B tested: “Webinars for the Customer Journey” at the very top of the page is the exact same phrase as the headline, making it distracting and unnecessary. The CTA button copy is as vague as it gets. “Submit” doesn’t say anything about the offer and likely doesn’t entice many visitors to convert. The CTA button color doesn’t stand out as much as it could, because green is used elsewhere on the page. Changing it to a more contrasting color like orange would likely draw more attention and result in more leads. The second CTA button at the bottom of the page should be removed. Since this is a completely different offer, it should have its own landing page. Adding trust signals and/or social proof (customer testimonials, company badges, etc.) would make prospects more comfortable and compelled to watch the webinar. In the decision stage The decision stage is what it all boils down to; where customers are made or prospects are lost. Up until this point of the buyer’s journey, your lead has been creating a list of potential brands to use as the solution to their problem - and now it’s time for them to make their decision based on what they’ve learned about you so far. During this make-or-break stage, advertising landing page offers include trials, demos, consultations, quotes, coupons, and vendor/product comparisons. Falcon Google isn’t the only advertising channel used to send prospects to landing pages. Here is a Sponsored Post on Facebook that Falcon uses to drive traffic to their landing page offering a demo: What the page does well: Cooperative CTA buttons all the way down the page give prospects ample chances to convert on the offer. When visitors click any of the buttons, they are brought to the bottom of the page to complete the form. Social proof throughout the page (company logos and customer testimonials) likely convinces others to request the demo, leading them to believe that if everyone else finds so much success with this company, then they will too. Bullet points and images to describe the main components of the software makes the page more engaging and easier for prospects to comprehend. What could be changed or A/B tested: The hyperlinked company logo may serve as a distraction, taking visitors off the page before getting the chance to convert. The CTA buttons don’t catch your eye or make visitors want to click. Most of them are the same color as their background, and even the blue ones don’t contrast as well as they could. “Free” demo is not mentioned until the very end of the page. Highlighting that the demo is free at the top will result in more customers because prospects will spend more time browsing the page and seeing the product benefits. The page is aesthetically pleasing. It appears professional and branded, it’s well-organized, includes sufficient white space, and follows the Z-Pattern layout all the way down. Missouri Table & Chair This is a Promoted Post on LinkedIn from Missouri Table & Chair: When prospects click on the Promoted Post, they are directed to this advertising landing page that the company uses in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey to encourage visitors to sign up for a free consultation: What the page does well: Trust seals directly beneath the form make it likely that prospects will feel comfortable converting on the offer. This is important since the company did not include a privacy policy link. The frame around the lead capture form helps to draw attention to it. The autofill function likely increases conversion rates, because it makes it easier and faster for prospects to complete the form. What could be changed or A/B tested: The company logo is hyperlinked, giving visitors an immediate way off the page before converting. Lack of copy likely leaves prospects wondering why they should convert on this offer. The CTA button copy is bland. Making it more benefit-centered and exciting, such as, “Schedule my free consult now!” would likely result in more customers. No privacy policy could deter prospects from giving their personal information because they don't know where it could end up. Source: https://instapage.com/blog/advertising-landing-pages

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Survey: mobile devices eclipse PC usage and, in a surprise, drive more conversions

Fluent poll of 2,773 US adults asked about a range of mobile usage patterns. Many industry insiders expect mobile commerce to eclipse PC-based sales in the relatively near future. A new online survey from Fluent argues that may already be starting to happen. The recent survey of 2,773 US adults affirmed other data showing that the bulk of consumers now spend much more time with their mobile devices than PCs. But the survey also reflected more transactions on smartphones than the PC — a surprise. Over the past year, which device would you say you spent the majority of your time using? According to Fluent’s data, the majority of these users’ online purchases are happening on mobile devices — by more than two to one. This is a seemingly contrarian finding that goes against the bulk of other data I’ve seen, which shows higher mobile traffic but lower (than PC) transactions. I asked Fluent to comment on this finding and they have yet to respond. At a minimum, this data can be seen as something of a leading indicator that mobile will overtake the PC for transactions; the only question is when. Among mobile transactions, slightly more were reported to have been made on apps than mobile sites, but just barely (51 to 49 percent). Slicing the data by age, gender and operating system yielded some interesting differences however: Women are more likely than men to shop on mobile websites Men make the majority of their smartphone purchases in apps Americans 18 – 34 are much more likely to shop on mobile apps; those over 45 are more likely to make purchases on mobile websites Android users are more likely to shop on mobile apps; iOS users on mobile websites Push marketing was also shown to be an effective driver of mobile transactions. Nearly 21 percent of Fluent survey respondents said that they had made a smartphone purchase after receiving a promotional email. This compares with 18 percent and 17 percent who did so after receiving a text or mobile push notification (respectively). According to third-party data, roughly three-fourths of email is now read on mobile phones. If corresponding landing pages and mobile sites aren’t optimized for mobile users the data above suggest that marketers and retailers are losing potentially meaningful revenue. In addition, these mobile users said that they would be more likely to shop on smartphones with “easier navigation” and “increased speed” and to some degree “enhanced security.” Older users were more interested in security and younger people were generally more interested in faster and simpler user experiences. The report offers a bunch of additional data about mobile app category usage and gaming. However the significant marketing takeaways are the following: Mobile commerce may overtake e-commerce on the PC sooner than we think Mobile app and site improvements can have a material impact on mobile transactions Push marketing on mobile devices can drive meaningful sales, with email being the most effective (and twith the added benefit of being cross-platform) Source: http://marketingland.com/survey-mobile-devices-eclipse-pc-usage-surprise-drive-conversions-204128

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What 2016 meant for Tech in Europe

Despite the slowdown of the US VC investments, 2016 was a tremendous year for our dearly beloved EU Tech Scene. For you, we analysed at the several thousand of funding rounds that occurred last year (according to Crunchbase Data), below is what you need to know: $11 Billion were invested in EU Tech startups, 45% (in amount) at a VC stage (round<$25M) 55% at a more PE stage (round >$25M) UK remains the leading ecosystem although is currently experiencing a slow down because of Brexit, especially on VC stage rounds France has overtaken Germany, in terms of VC funding. Looking at H2 2016, this trend is massive We strongly believe that the Tech EU boom will continue in 2017 Methodological note : we manually excluded every non-tech/digital companies and non-PE/VC/Seed/Angel rounds (which for instance represented several hundreds million $ just for France) As we anticipated in our post of the spring of 2016, the slowdown in the US had no bearing on European tech funding rounds. It’s like winter didn’t come for us :) Looking at the distribution of fundings among the main EU countries, here is what it looks like : In $ Billion But as the UK is a more mature ecosystem, with more large/PE rounds, to draw a comparison between countries we need to take only VC rounds (funding < $25M) into account. In $ Billion Although Britain is still leading, looking at the quarterly figures, the impact of Brexit is clear. France has slightly overtaken Germany because of a huge acceleration on H2 (+36% compared to H1). In $ Million Here is the distribution among the main EU Tech Hubs: In $ Million, excluding >$25M rounds So the year 2016 wasn’t so bad after all… But how about 2017? If we exclude the uncertain situation in the UK (and also the risks of politics outside Europe), all lights are green. Here is why : First and foremost (and what seems to me the very most important things), Tech startups are attractive for talent and many students want either to join a startup or to start their own business. First time Entrepreneurs are more and more skilled and experienced. They start looking at entrepreneurship early + education in school is more and more adapted for those who want to start their business. Money to support and to scale game changing ideas is here. Lots of new VC funds were raised this year both by new and existing teams. The tech investment business model has now been proven in Europe too, with lots of huge exits these last few months. Our own deal flow index -the Q1 and Q2 2017 next fundings- largely reflects this surge (please note that here it’s a 12 month moving average allowing us to remove seasonality) : For these few reasons why we strongly believe that the current entrepreneurial spring for tech in Europe will remain during the next quarters. Last but not least we wish you all an amazing year 2017, full of hope and self-fulfillment ! This article was co-written by Eric Gossart, Léa Verdillon, Sébastien Le Roy and Kevin Bonte from Serena Capital Team. Here is the slidehare of the study. Source: https://blog.serenacapital.com/what-2016-meant-for-tech-in-europe-abf7dc5050f1#.1duoxcar0

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5 Big Predictions for Artificial Intelligence in 2017

Expect to see better language understanding and an AI boom in China, among other things. Last year was huge for advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning. But 2017 may well deliver even more. Here are five key things to look forward to. Positive reinforcement AlphaGo’s historic victory against one of the best Go players of all time, Lee Sedol, was a landmark for the field of AI, and especially for the technique known as deep reinforcement learning. Reinforcement learning involves having a machine learn to solve a problem not through programming or explicit examples, but through experimentation combined with positive reinforcement. The idea has been around for decades, but combining it with large (or deep) neural networks provides the power needed to make it work on really complex problems (like the game of Go). Through relentless experimentation, as well as analysis of previous games, AlphaGo figured out for itself how play the game at an expert level. The hope is that reinforcement learning will now prove useful in many real-world situations. And the recent release of several simulated environments should spur progress on the necessary algorithms by increasing the range of skills computers can acquire this way. In 2017, we are likely to see attempts to apply reinforcement learning to problems such as automated driving and industrial robotics. Google has already boasted of using deep reinforcement learning to make its data centers more efficient. But the approach remains experimental, and it still requires time-consuming simulation, so it’ll be interesting to see how effectively it can be deployed. Dueling neural networks At the banner AI academic gathering held recently in Barcelona, the Neural Information Processing Systems conference, much of the buzz was about a new machine-learning technique known as generative adversarial networks. Invented by Ian Goodfellow, now a research scientist at OpenAI, generative adversarial networks, or GANs, are systems consisting of one network that generates new data after learning from a training set, and another that tries to discriminate between real and fake data. By working together, these networks can produce very realistic synthetic data. The approach could be used to generate video-game scenery, de-blur pixelated video footage, or apply stylistic changes to computer-generated designs.   Yoshua Bengio, one of the world’s leading experts on machine learning (and Goodfellow’s PhD advisor at the University of Montreal), said at NIPS that the approach is especially exciting because it offers a powerful way for computers to learn from unlabeled data—something many believe may hold the key to making computers a lot more intelligent in years to come. China’s AI boom This may also be the year in which China starts looking like a major player in the field of AI. The country’s tech industry is shifting away from copying Western companies, and it has identified AI and machine learning as the next big areas of innovation. China’s leading search company, Baidu, has had an AI-focused lab for some time, and it is reaping the rewards in terms of improvements in technologies such as voice recognition and natural language processing, as well as a better-optimized advertising business. Other players are now scrambling to catch up. Tencent, which offers the hugely successful mobile-first messaging and networking app WeChat, opened an AI lab last year, and the company was busy recruiting talent at NIPS. Didi, the ride-sharing giant that bought Uber’s Chinese operations earlier this year, is also building out a lab and reportedly working on its own driverless cars. Chinese investors are now pouring money into AI-focused startups, and the Chinese government has signaled a desire to see the country’s AI industry blossom, pledging to invest about $15 billion by 2018. Language learning Ask AI researchers what their next big target is, and they are likely to mention language. The hope is that techniques that have produced spectacular progress in voice and image recognition, among other areas, may also help computers parse and generate language more effectively. This is a long-standing goal in artificial intelligence, and the prospect of computers communicating and interacting with us using language is a fascinating one. Better language understanding would make machines a whole lot more useful. But the challenge is a formidable one, given the complexity, subtlety, and power of language. Don’t expect to get into deep and meaningful conversation with your smartphone for a while. But some impressive inroads are being made, and you can expect further advances in this area in 2017. Backlash to the hype As well as genuine advances and exciting new applications, 2016 saw the hype surrounding artificial intelligence reach heady new heights. While many have faith in the underlying value of technologies being developed today, it’s hard to escape the feeling that the publicity surrounding AI is getting a little out of hand. Some AI researchers are evidently irritated. A launch party was organized during NIPS for a fake AI startup called Rocket AI, to highlight the growing mania and nonsense around real AI research. The deception wasn’t very convincing, but it was a fun way to draw attention to a genuine problem. One real problem is that hype inevitably leads to a sense of disappointment when big breakthroughs don’t happen, causing overvalued startups to fail and investment to dry up. Perhaps 2017 will feature some sort of backlash against the AI hype machine—and maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Source: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/603216/5-big-predictions-for-artificial-intelligence-in-2017/

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Gartner's Top Strategic Predictions for 2017 and Beyond

The firm's top 10 prognostications on where technology will take us include shopping in AR, corporate fitness programs, and much more. Every year at its annual Symposium conference, Gartner gives a list of its top 10 strategic predictions for the year ahead, and this year's list was dominated by the shift to conversational AI, augmented reality, and strategic modernization. Note these are specific predictions, rather than a list of important technologies going forward (which is a separate list that I'll cover in a later post). I always find these interesting, even if they don't all come to pass. Gartner Fellow Daryl Plummer, who delivered this year's list, said Gartner's predictions have been correct 78 percent of the time since 2010. (Here's last year's list.) Plummer said one thing tying all of this year's predictions together is the theme of "surviving the digital disruption." He said the scale of digital disruption is increasing and compared it with the destruction wrought by tornadoes and hurricanes: "They used to come out of nowhere; now they cover large areas over time." He said that "digital experience and engagement" will draw people into nonstop virtual interactions, and that business innovation will bring about an extraordinary departure from mundane concepts. In many cases "secondary effects" will be more disruptive than the initial digital change. In other words, when a disruption happens, it causes waves that in turn generate effects we didn't expect. To measure this, each disruption could be measured on a "digital disrupter scale" ranging from level 1, with things such as games, which are fun but don't have huge long-term impacts; to level 5, with things such as autonomous AI, which could have an enormous impact. "Instead of asking about jobs leaving the country, ask how many jobs will leave the planet," Plummer said. He noted that IBM will tell you that AI is not about replacing jobs, but about helping people, though he indicated he wasn't so sure about that. Here's this year's list: 1. By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality. Plummer said that AR games such as Pokémon Go are the beginning of the trend, and said that he believes organizations should start planning for AR shopping now. 2. By 2020, 30 percent of Web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. Because of the rise of "bots," to do many things, you don't need a screen, just to talk to the bot by voice for interaction. Plummer said the migration of applications will move from conversational user interfaces to bot interactions, then machine learning; for now, he urged attendees to think about "voice-first" solutions, beyond just customer service. By 2020, he said, the average person will have more conversations with bots than with their spouse. 3. 20 percent of brands will abandon their mobile apps by 2019. As more people start using bots and agents, Plummer said, fewer people will be using apps. Since people downloading apps and not using them sends a bad signal about a brand, hehe expects more companies will stop building them. He sees the migrations as being from the mobile Web to mobile apps to expired apps, but suggested that progressive Web apps might be a solution. Although right now the number of apps continues to rise, he expects by the end of next year, the number of branded apps will decline. 4. Algorithms will positively alter the behavior of billions of global workers. Plummer believes algorithms will impact 1 billion out of 3 billion workers, and that in general this will not mean replacing people, but instead influencing people to improve or become more efficient. Examples he gave included technology that helps pilots save fuel or helps bank employees to offer the right products. 5. By 2022, a blockchain-based business will be worth $10 billion. Blockchain offers the potential to eliminate costs in a system because it works with a shared ledger of transactions and does not require a particular trusted intermediary. This can work for financial transactions but isn't limited to such things. Plummer said he expects to see the deployment of multimode blockchains across industries by the end of 2017. Still, he noted that large blockchain communities in the business world are not yet built. 6. By 2021, 20 percent of all activities in which an individual engages will involve at least one of the top seven digital giants. Gartner defines these giants as being Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Baidu, Alibaba, and Tencent, and believes that typical businesses will have the choice of joining with them or competing against them. Plummer expects that by 2018, everyone in the country will have at least two digital giant brands per kitchen. (I noted that Gartner doesn't consider Microsoft to be a "digital giant" even though Office 365 and Azure are popular services among its customers.) 7. Through 2018, every $1 that enterprises invest in innovation will require an additional $7 in core execution. This was one of the most intriguing predictions. For a long time, Gartner has talked about bimodal IT, with mode 1 representing the core, stable services and mode 2 representing the agile, fast-moving new ones. Plummer said that to make the new systems work, you much first modernize the core systems you have to unlock the data contained within them. He said the process is to modernize, then innovate, then transform—not the other way around. 8. Through 2020, IoT will increase data center storage demand by less than 3 percent. This is another somewhat contrary position. Gartner still believes there will be billions more endpoints in Internet of things (IoT) deployments. But Plummer said most IoT-generated data will not be stored or retained. This is operational data that will not go back to a central data center; instead, companies will analyze data in flight and sort out the small amount they need to retain. Most data, he said, will be generated in order to determine what to do next, and then discarded. 9. By 2022 the IoT will save consumers and business $1 trillion a year in maintenance, services, and consumables. Most of these savings will come through predictive maintenance, which he said saves 10 to 20 percent over preventative maintenance in most cases. He talked about the concept of a "digital twin"—for instance, a simulation of a specific plane and how that can be used to save money. 10. By 2020, 40 percent of employees can cut their healthcare costs by wearing a fitness tracker. Last year, Gartner predicted that by 2018, 2 million employees will be required to wear fitness trackers. It continues to believe that companies will offer corporate health monitoring, with employees who participate getting a discount on their health care costs. I'm skeptical. Plummer concluded by saying "the future is ours," and repeated what he called your mantra for the 21st Century: "Make It Digital, Make it Programmable, Make It Smart." Source: http://www.pcmag.com/article/348827/gartners-top-strategic-predictions-for-2017-and-beyond

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