Research Insights Featured in Coursera’s “Marketing in an Analog World”

I recently gave a talk at the University of Illinois and while there, had a chance to drop in on Professor Aric Rindfleisch’s super-popular Coursera course on “Marketing in an Analog World.”  Aric and I sat down and spent about 25 minutes talking about some of the research I am doing here at GW on consumer experience in the IoT. It’s definitely longer than your typical YouTube video, but worth a look!


How to Market the Smart Home: Focus on Experience, Not Use Cases

For smart home adoption to expand beyond the niche segments of technologically sophisticated upscale consumers and technology-focused DIYers, marketers must do a better job of understanding the inherent value the smart home offers. Current marketing approaches are fragmented and focus on individual devices and single use cases. Most companies are wondering which combination of entry points – appliance and home entertainment control, energy management, pet monitoring, property protection, safety and security – make the most sense. But, the mass market is not buying a platform or devices controlled by an algorithm, they are buying an experience. The key to smart home marketing is to view the smart home as a complex dynamic system, an assemblage with new capacities from ongoing interactions among devices and consumers, from which new experiences emerge. Marketers must focus on communicating the value proposition inherent in experience; current approaches may actually be underselling the smart home. We discuss the value of our framework and offer eight actionable insights derived from our research that can guide marketer action in the early stages of adoption and usage of consumer Internet of Things devices that comprise the smart home.


Larry Downes Noted NYT Best Selling Author to Speak on Internet Disruption at GWSB

Please join us for an exciting talk by Larry Downes, New York Times Bestselling Author and Internet Industry Analyst, on how the most Internet trends of 2016 are shaking up business as usual and creating new opportunities for disruptors.


How Information Technology Disruption is Transforming Market Economies & Giving Consumers Powerful New Leverage

Larry Downes

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


652 Duques Hall


Sponsored by the GWSB Center for the Connected Consumer



About Larry Downes

Larry Downes is a best-selling author on developing business strategies in an age of accelerating technological disruption. He is the co-author, with Paul F. Nunes, of Big Bang Disruption: Strategy in the Age of Devastating Innovation (Portfolio 2014), now a bestseller. Based on extensive research, the book describes a new kind of disruptive innovation and teaches executives across industries how to adjust their strategies to survive it. His previous book, The Laws of Disruption:  Harnessing the New Forces that Govern Business and Life in the Digital Age explored the accident-prone intersection of law and innovation.  Downes is the author of the New York Times and Business Week bestseller, Unleashing the Killer App: Digital Strategies for Market Dominance, which was named by The Wall Street Journal as one of the five most important books ever published on business and technology. He writes regularly for Forbes, Harvard Business Review, The Washington Post and CNET, and is frequently quoted in media stories in both mainstream and trade outlets. He is currently Project Director at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy and a Research Fellow with the Accenture Institute for High Performance.

Is Amazon’s Dash Button Anti-Consumer?

We got three dash buttons yesterday – Tide, Bounty and Glad. Setup was pretty straightforward, although don’t try to run the microwave while you’re trying to pair the button with the app.

Amazon Dash Buttons
Amazon Dash Buttons for Tide, Bounty and Glad

The concept is pretty interesting, but as soon as we tried to select which Tide product for re-order, we didn’t see our variant there, so we didn’t proceed with setup. We also started to feel really uncomfortable with the idea that we couldn’t shop around on Amazon for the best price, but would basically be surrendering all control over product variant and price to Amazon. This felt unnatural.

We also got to thinking how higher-priced name brand marketers like P&G might think this would be great for brand loyalty in the fiercely competitive frequently purchased consumer packaged goods categories, yet how decidedly ungreat this would be for consumer choice and agency.

Are consumers really that lazy? Even using Amazon 1-click lets you check the price first.

Why I’m Quitting Comcast or Does Cable Have a Future?

I got my latest Comcast bill today. A fee increase AGAIN. That makes three (3!) increases since December. My service originally started with Blast, the high speed Internet service. That was $66.99 for my condo in DC. The service is OK, except when it’s not, but there aren’t any real choices, so I’m stuck with Comcast.

This year we decided to add HBO and SHOWTIME and I read about a way to negotiate these premium channels without getting all the channel package they usually try to sell you. (Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal.)

Mission accomplished and my service went up to $82.90 on the January bill, mostly because I had to add basic cable and a cable box to get HBO and Showtime, even though, GET THIS, I shoved the cable box into a closet because I get HBO via HBO GO from Apple TV or Roku or my iPad app and ditto for Showtime through SHOWTIME ANYTIME. I tried to decline the cable box but they said I HAD to have it to get HBO and SHO. OK. So most of the charges were for cable TV I don’t watch and taxes and broacast fees.  Sort of OK.

Then, in February my service went up to $86.74, even though I didn’t change anything. Turns out the taxes and other fees went up. Not so OK.

Then, today, my bill shows $97.66. I called Comcast and they told me they had to raise rates for “business purposes,” (I think they mean they need larger profits, but I digress..), and that the rental feel on the modem increased and the taxes and fees went up. Definitely NOT OK.

So, I asked the customer service rep if she’d heard that we’d soon be able to get HBO through Apple TV, but she didn’t seem to know or didn’t care. Game of Thrones, people!

So, as soon as I can dig the cable box out of the closet, I’ll be cancelling everything but Internet and then getting HBO from Apple. I guess I have to give up Showtime for the time being, but since Dexter ended and Masters of Sex is over for now, I’ll just wait to see what happens.

So, once I cancel, my Comcast bill will go down to $51.99, until the price increases start again, but at that point, it’ll make sense to buy my own (better) modem, instead of leasing theirs, since Comcast is making the break-even on owning a modem shorter and shorter with every price increase.

Good luck, cable. We hardly knew ya.

Back from CES 2015: A Lot of “Smart,” But Not a Lot of Consumer

Samsung curved monitor
Definitely want this in my office!

I spent last week at CES 2015 in Vegas. This show was really different from all past shows. Central Hall, the traditional location for all the glitz and glamour at the Las Vegas Convention Center, was strangely flat. Sure, there were shiny TVs (4k, 8k), bigger TVs (105″!), curved TVs, and now, beautiful curved office monitors! There were even curved smart phones. There were ultrabooks, storage devices, and lots of gleaming household appliances (LG almost certainly has a winner with the door-in-door fridge and their Twin Wash washer-in-washer seems pretty convenient).

Washer-in-washer is a good idea
Washer-in-washer is a good idea

But it wasn’t, well, that exciting. Seen one supersized high-end TV, seen them all, eh?

Seen one, you've seem 'em all!
Samsung curved TV

It turned out that because there was so much “smart” stuff Continue reading