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Where to Invest Your Digital Marketing Dollars

Whether you own a bricks and mortar or eCommerce business, a major brand or large corporation, businesses of all sizes can benefit from digital marketing.
We take a closer look at some of the digital marketing options to consider for your business and brand.
Email Marketing
Email marketing remains one of the most successful digital marketing platforms for converting leads to sales. Recent figures show for every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI.
Successful email marketers personalise emails to their consumers, offering real value and content of interest to engage the reader and increase that all important click-through-rate. Targeting niche consumer groups by grouping mailing list recipients into certain demographics such as age, gender, and purchase or browsing history, your company can more accurately deliver the content your customers really want, rather than sending generic mass emails to an entire subscriber list. One recent study found 81% of online consumers are likely to make a purchase after receiving a personalised email.
Websites and Landing Pages
Regardless of your industry, your digital marketing strategy should include a website, and incorporate designated landing pages to promote key offerings. In today’s digital age, your website is often the customer’s first impression of your business. So it not only needs to look great, but your website should also offer an optimised user experience (UX) and feature a call to action (CTA). Integrating easy to use CTA buttons such as ‘learn more’, ‘book now’ or ‘join my mailing list’ encourages time-poor customers to act quickly and engage with your brand.
Landing pages and CTA’s do involve an element of trial and error, as results can vary among different industries, companies and customers. Don’t let this put you off though. Capturing web traffic data from your own website through measures like Google Analytics will provide valuable information about the visitors to your site, and their online behaviour. This allows you to further develop and customise your website to accommodate your customers’ needs and organically grow your ROI.
Content Marketing and Blogs
All too often we see businesses neglect blogs or content marketing, because they can’t see the connection between words and dollars.
Content marketing is an extremely powerful, and underestimated sales tool, capable of engaging, informing and entertaining readers while influencing their purchase decisions.
Surveys have found content marketing generates three times more leads than traditional outbound marketing, and costs 62% less. While digital marketers who prioritise blogging are 13 times more likely to realise a positive ROI.
Blogs and articles have the unique ability to market to a consumer, without making the reader feel like they’re being sold to. Content marketing allows businesses to position themselves as industry leaders, demonstrating their knowledge and skill in a practical manner instead of merely advertising products and services through a display ad.
Social Media
Social media can be used in a variety of ways to market your business, from simply increasing brand awareness and consumer engagement, to being the core driver of sales.
Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the milestone of two billion users on Facebook, making it by far the largest social media network in the world. And that trend is reflected closer to home too, with the 2017 Sensis Social Media Report revealing almost eight in 10 Australians now use social media, along with 47 per cent of small businesses, 49 per cent of medium sized businesses and 60 per cent of large businesses.
The report also revealed 64 per cent of Australians are more likely to trust brands that interact positively with customers on social media.
Although setting up a social media account is free, there are costs involved to maximise your page’s content, reach and engagement. You’ll need to consider how much you’d like to invest in a monthly advertising budget, and think about the time and costs involved in managing and monitoring the page, and planning and creating the content – which might include professional videos, photographs and copywriting.
You can measure the ROI by making use of built-in analytical capabilities that can provide valuable data on how people engage with your social media posts, including click through and conversion rates to your website and sales pages. Most businesses however are happy to measure their success by the growth of their followers and likes, as evidenced in the Sensis report.
When Twitter first emerged, it was famous for being the platform with the 140-character message limit. Since embracing more visual and video content, Twitter has relaxed the word count, but it’s still entirely appropriate for users on Twitter to share a brief text-only message – which isn’t suitable on any other social media platform. Twitter claims 85% of its users believe Promoted Accounts help them discover new businesses on Twitter, which is a promising statistic for businesses looking for consumers in the social media space.
Instagram is a predominantly visual medium, allowing businesses to showcase their products and personality on a digital global stage. More than 80% of Instagram users follow a business, and promoted products have the highest engagement rates of all content types.
With more than 467 million users, Linkedin is the biggest social referrer to corporate websites. The platform provides a targeted approach to digital marketing and professional networking, particularly for engaging the interest of potential investors and corporate employees. 
Podcasting
Podcasts are an innovative and influential marketing tool being increasingly used by a growing number of businesses globally. A study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Edison Research showed that 65% of listeners are likely to purchase a product after hearing about it on a podcast, suggesting consumers are receptive to advertisements delivered in the right context or environment. While podcasting has been around for more than 10 years, the number of podcast listeners is increasing. Listeners tuning into podcasts come from a wide range of backgrounds, ages and interests. Recent surveys have found at least 22% of younger podcast audiences tend to listen to more than 10 hours a week, whilst older audiences aged 55 and above tend to listen to around an hour or so in the same time frame. With this in mind, companies have the opportunity to develop podcasts that target and grow their niche audiences, in order to deliver a desirable ROI. And you don’t have to create your own podcast. Brands can enjoy the same benefits from exposure in collaboration with other podcasters.
Google Advertising
Advertising through Google’s image ads allows businesses to reach all new heights of consumer targeting and engagement. Google’s highly detailed analytical features allow brands to target specific customers based on their online habits, web browser history and search information.
So if, for example you sell jewellery, fashion or car accessories in an online store, and you advertise using Google’s image ads, you can entice leads to become return customers by having your product galleries display on their web browsers, embedded as a display ad on other websites. Perhaps they visited your online store and popped a few items in the cart but didn’t check out? You can give them a gentle reminder by displaying those same items in front of them while they’re reading the daily news.
While a cost per click (CPC) element applies to this form of marketing, using Google image ads returns a 31 per cent click through rate, higher than Google’s text based ads of 23 per cent. These types of ads are displayed across sites that consumers commonly use including Facebook and other websites on Google’s advertising network AdSense, allowing you to market your business on multiple platforms with a single digital campaign.
Ultimately, all of these digital marketing measures work to drive traffic to your website, and can be used alone or in unison to build a synchronised and multifaceted marketing strategy. Web analytics allow you to track results like web traffic and sales conversions, illustrating the link between your marketing platforms like social media or blogs, and making sales. And while there are no one-size-fits-all solutions when it comes to digital marketing, you can certainly consider these options as some of the most popular and successful platforms for marketing in 2017.

Why Email Marketing Runs Rings Around Social Media

Just like the fashion trends, marketers tend to change their mind about email marketing, particularly when it’s compared to social media.
It’s a case of: RIP email marketing. Wait, it’s alive! No, it’s actually dead. Hold your horses, it is ALIVE! What’s going on?
As a team that works with email marketing every day, we believe quality engagement and sales leads can still be generated through email. As long as it’s done well, of course.
I know what you’re thinking, how dare I turn my nose up at social media; it’s the way of the future, it’s going to solve world hunger and have your babies! It will wake you up with a skinny latte every morning.
Don’t get me wrong; social media can be an important part of your marketing if it makes sense for your business. But don’t put it ahead of email marketing.
Where’s the Proof?
You want evidence that email marketing is the digital performance king? Here are a few figures:

Email marketing acquired 40 times more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined (McKinsey).
72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media (Marketing Sherpa).
Email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social (Monetate).
For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $38 in ROI (Campaign Monitor).

More Numbers
Picture a full cup of rice as the number of emails sent out every day. In comparison, daily posts on Facebook and Twitter would be just ten miserable grains. That’s because email has almost three times as many user accounts than all social media channels combined (MailMunch). That’s 2.9 billion emails all up.
In the same breath, every single web search made on every search engine every single day is just 1/100th of daily email traffic.
Too many marketers are too busy chasing the latest Google algorithms and keyword magic bullets that they’ve neglected their email marketing strategy.
Quality Over Quantity
You’ve now seen email’s reach and the amount of traffic it has compared to social media platforms. If you’re thinking traffic doesn’t mean much and a small quantity of well-targeted marketing aimed at quality traffic will nail larger amounts than a couple of hundred shotgun pellets sprayed at random; you’re right. That is precisely why email trumps social media for quality and quantity.
MailMunch compared the performance of email and social media marketing in an interesting way. Let’s assume you have 2,000 people on an email database, 2,000 Facebook fans and 2,000 followers on Twitter. Based on industry averages, this is the exposure/engagement your target market would have with your messages:

435 people will open your email
120 of your Facebook fans will see your update
40 Twitter followers will see your tweet

But it gets worse. Here are the average click rates by channel:

Email marketing: 3.57%
Facebook: 0.07%
Twitter: 0.03%

Email is Personal
You thought Facebook was the most personal medium? Think again.
First, consider the above stats and comparisons. Second, the majority of people don’t go to Facebook for 1-on-1 online conversations; they open their emails.
The inbox is like the Holy Grail – people guard it highly and once someone allows you access it means that they’re interested in you or your offering on some level.
Email Gets More Attention Per Customer
You are more likely to get face-time with your leads if you use email, not because they’re hanging around their inboxes more than their Facebook pages or searching Google, but because email makes room for repeated contact.
In fact, it’s ‘invasive’ contact. It’s right in their mailbox, and that’s very different from posting a status update or tweeting which can get lost in the tsunami of online content.
Provided your content is worth reading, your customers and prospects are more likely to take a minute to open that email.
Email is a Transactional Medium
People expect to receive offers in their inbox, so their tolerance levels are a little higher than on social media where they just want to be, well, social.
Through email, you can train customers to expect offers from you while imparting value and positioning yourself as a thought leader. In turn, customers will start to look forward to receiving your emails.
And since you can make unlimited contact with them over time, you are significantly more likely to catch them when they are ready to buy.
Image Source: Shutterstock

Sampling Campaigns Should Give and Take

Everyone loves free stuff. It’s the ultimate win for Joe and Jane Public. Particularly when what we want and like is being given away without us having to pay for it.
The whole sampling industry is predicated on this fundamental aspect of human nature. If you give me something that I value and in return I don’t have to give you anything, I’m all in.
Billions of dollars have been spent by companies wanting to get their (usually) new products into the hands of eager potential consumers.
The white board strategy goes something like this: allow consumers to sample our amazing new ‘insert product here’ and they’ll be so impressed they will be inexorably drawn into buying it until the end of time. PLUS, awareness will go through the roof as they rave and post about our brand on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat etc. Simple. Elegant. Compelling.
So where’s the failure in all of this?
Another fundamental aspect of human nature is the law of reciprocity: if you give something to me I’m compelled to give something to you. More often than not, however sampling companies just give, give, give and ask for nothing in return.
Big mistake. Huge.
Here’s a chance to capture the details of people who almost certainly have tried your product and you let them walk away, in all likelihood never to be seen again. That’s your future revenue and profit merrily skipping away with their free booty.
In fairness, some companies go half the way by telling consumers where they can purchase the product they’re about to enjoy for free. But they’re the exception.
Consumers WILL give you their name and email address if you give them valid reasons to do so, particularly if you’ve just given them something for nothing.
Then, you can contact them about competitions, events, surveys, content to post on social media, cross-selling other products etc etc. The mind boggles with the marketing opportunities created by building a simple database.
Even better, when it comes to a product sampling campaign building an email database is an ‘off-cut’ of the main game. So that way everyone wins, not just Joe and Jane.
So that way it really is simple, elegant and compelling.
 
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Digital Marketing: You Know ‘What?’ but do You Know ‘Why?’

Isn’t digital marketing fun!
So many things you can do: websites to build, apps to create, social media updates to post, emails to send. It never ends. No wonder everyone wants to work in digital. You can fill your day doing the sorts of things you do after work anyway. And you get paid for it; bonus!
If playing with shiny new things is…your thing, digital is irresistible.
There’s only one teensy weensy question that’s should be asked by the buzz kill types (usually senior management): why are you doing it?
BEWARE: there are plenty of people who can tell you what you can do with digital, but far fewer who can look holistically at your brand and business and give you a commercially meaningful answer as to why you should do it. And, how digital strategies can help you to achieve your sales and marketing objectives. Which they can.
If you don’t have an integrated digital strategy – as opposed to a digital implementation plan – tread carefully. When you ‘do digital’ just for the sake, in all likelihood all that will happen is that you will deplete your budget and have nothing to show for it. Apart from the shiny new things, of course.
 
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The Email Strikes Back

Imagine a time long, long ago: 2002.
Facebook was but a twinkle in Mark Zuckerberg’s eye. ‘App’ was nothing more than my nickname. Big data sounded like a Clint Eastwood movie. And digital marketing, well that meant banner ads, websites, My Space profiles and spam emails.
Good times.
Fast forward to today and boy, it’s SO much more exciting! Digital technology is infinitely more ingrained in our lives and all manner of platforms, programs and strategies are now available to digital marketers.
There’s only one problem: those pesky bean counters keep on wanting you to deliver a profit from your investment in digital.
Hate that.
There is good news, however.
If you thought Facebook’s 1.4 billion users was impressive, how about another digital platform that has 3.9 billion users. It has a 300% higher conversion rate than social media with sales that have 17% higher value. And here’s the kicker: for every $1 spent on this platform, the average return is $44.25. That’s a lot of beans to count.
So what is this amazing digital platform? It’s, wait for it, EMAIL!
Email? Are you serious? Email is so, well, old and boring.
Yes, compared to all the latest digital, mobile and social media thingamies, email marketing has whiskers. It hasn’t had the digerati WOW factor since the 90’s. And if you’re waiting for an invitation to deliver the keynote at a digital marketing conference dissecting your highly successful email marketing program, don’t hold your breath.
For a time there, the figures suggested that email was on the way out. According to the McKinsey iConsumer survey there was a 20% decline in email usage from 2008 to 2012, inversely proportional to the increased popularity of social media, instant messaging and mobile apps.
Given that many marketers have the attention span of a tsetse fly, the endless new digital tools to play with are tailor made. You get your head around Instagram and then along comes Pinterest. You master YouTube and then you have to contend with Periscope (or Meerkat). Heaven!
The key problem that digital technology has created for many marketers is that there are so many new platforms and methods to learn about that the ‘what to do’ has taken the focus away from the ‘why to do it’.
I’ve seen millions of dollars spent on ‘doing digital stuff’ with no clear strategy as to how the activity will lead to increased sales, awareness, new customers or more satisfied existing customers. As for a longer-term vision that builds on the momentum that’s been created by the initial digital campaign, forget about it.
Of course, it’s not all doom and gloom. Smart marketers have been focused on building digital assets since the 90’s; starting with opt-in email databases through to active communities on target market appropriate social media platforms.
While the jury’s still out on putting all your eggs in the social media basket, there has been a clear resurgence in email marketing’s appeal.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud’s 2015 State of Marketing report found that for 73% of marketers email is core to their business. Tellingly, 60% see email as a critical ‘enabler’ of their products and services this year compared to 42% in 2014.
Even though there hasn’t been anything new to get excited about with email since Adam was fretting over the Y2K virus, the savvy among us know that if it’s results you’re after email marketing is what you should be doing.
Not that the humble email in and of itself is anything special. As with any type of marketing, the magic is not in the technology or the delivery method, it lies in the ability of that marketing initiative to take the target market from point A to point B.
As you’ve no doubt experienced, in the hands of amateurs and villains, email has the power to damage and dilute a brand. How many deathly dull email newsletters have you received that talk all about the sender and nothing that’s remotely interesting to you?
And then there’s spam.
It could be argued – convincingly – that any commercial email that doesn’t focus on what your market is interested in and what can help them is spam.
So be warned. You don’t have to be selling dodgy medical cures or timeshare apartments for recipients to hate you for wasting their time and clogging up their inbox.
Conversely, effectively crafted email marketing is still what it has always been: an incredibly flexible, highly targeted, trackable and results-generating strategy.
Here’s a fun exercise: compare the cost per personal contact for email versus any other sales or marketing method. We did this recently for a client’s Business-2-Business email marketing campaign and compared it to their salespeople calling on the same number of customers who opened the email. There was around a $275,000 difference in favour of the humble email. It’s enough to give those bean counters palpitations.
By all means do the fun digital stuff; it may not achieve terribly much but it sure as heck can look good on your CV.
However, if you’re the person responsible for generating leads, driving sales and serving your customers more effectively, email marketing could well be the solution, digital or otherwise, that you need.
 
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Email Marketing

 
 

Is Email Marketing to Health Care Professionals Worthwhile?

1995 is acknowledged as the year the internet first became commercialised. Since then, electronic communication strategies have been deployed by numerous industries and millions of companies. So digital marketing is not new.
With pharmaceutical companies cautious and risk-averse however, digital marketing has never been wholeheartedly embraced by the industry as a viable way to achieve objectives. This has clearly been changing over the past 12-18 months.
With the traditional rep model – and its costs – under review like never before, many pharma companies are tentatively looking at digital, particularly email marketing to HCPs as an effective means of engaging, detailing and even servicing. Of course central to the effectiveness of such a strategy is the willingness of HCPs to firstly opt-in to receive eDMs from pharma companies and to then react or respond in the desired way.
What we know with absolute certainty is that digital has changed the way medicine is administered by HCPs. In a Tick Yes survey conducted in September 2014 of a sample of 1,000 Australians, 88.6% said they researched their symptoms online before visiting a doctor. Not surprisingly, 94.2% said the credibility of that medical information was moderately to extremely important.
So HCPs are being confronted with better informed patients every day thanks to the internet. Naturally, better informed does not mean correctly informed. That’s why the personal interaction patients have with HCPs is crucial and will never be replaced by a website.
So what does this mean for pharma companies? Logically, as your HCP customers’ world has changed, so too the strategies for marketing to them should evolve as well. Reps still play a vital role of course, but email marketing in particular can reinforce key information that has been or is about to be delivered by the rep.
While that sounds all well and good, it’s at about this stage of conversations with pharma marketers that the objections start coming out: Why would HCPs opt-in to get emails from lots of pharma companies? I get 100’s of emails a day; no-one would read our eDM. It would just be seen as spam. We have nothing new to say.
They’re all valid points. My contention is that most pharma organisations look at direct electronic communications around the wrong way. Instead of looking at digital as new and risky, look at it as a way to better reach and inform time-poor professionals at a time convenient for them. Instead of worrying about spam, look at creating content that is unique, engaging and useful for your audience. Instead of worrying about getting opt-in, focus on giving HCPs meaningful reasons to do so. You don’t worry about how many other pharma reps are knocking on the doors of the doctors you’re targeting, so why worry about other eDMs they may be receiving.
As with your treatments, it all comes down to quality. Put together a confusing eDetailer, deploy a mediocre sales team, have no engaging story to tell and your efforts will fail. The same applies with email marketing. Don’t make the mistake of magnifying the objections to the extent that it seems all too hard and the risks are too great. Then there’s the other strategy killer: only talking about what’s important to you. I don’t care that your rep from south-eastern Queensland has been with you for 25 years; what can you give me that will help me to better care for my patients? If this sounds like a rookie mistake why do so many organisations keep making it?
Just over a decade ago we created an opt-in email database of GPs for a major pharma company and then proceeded to communicate very successfully with the GPs using eDMs targeted to their interests and needs. So this is not a new strategy.
Email marketing to HCPs can be effective and is worthwhile but you need to think of it as marketing strategy first and a digital marketing strategy second. As with all things, the best results await the people who do it best.
 
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The Essentials of Social Media Marketing

The devil is in the detail when it comes to social media marketing. A small mistake can become a big one and may risk you losing everything you have worked so hard for.
So how do successful business owners use social media to promote their business?
1.    Website link. Social media is a communication platform. It allows you to directly interact with your target clientele. So, you’ve got the Facebook and Twitter page, what do you do with it? Keeping it updated with the latest about the business would be great but forgetting to add the website link is like asking your clients to look for a needle in a haystack. Make it easy for them to find you with a website link at the end of every post.

2.    Targeting campaigns to a specific audience. Targeting and re-targeting are smart tools in content marketing. Doing so will help small businesses on Facebook and Twitter to keep track of specific leads that could be helpful to the business. Targeting content can turn potential customers to real paying ones in a snap.
3.    Exert effort on social media. How many social media pages do you have? If you think having all of them and being active in all is the secret to your success, you remain uneducated. Social media marketing is about keeping one or two social media pages and working hard on building readership and following in these areas. You can expect higher engagement at relatively affordable costs.
4.    Email marketing rules. Email marketing may seem like old hat for this generation of digital natives but its ability to form one-on-one connections with clients still keeps it in the top spot in your social networks. The likelihood of your emails being read is high IF the subject line is compelling and the content relevant and engaging. When read, the chances of email content being shared in Facebook or Twitter is very high too, which of course is good for business.
5.    YouTube is still an online strategy. Don’t underestimate YouTube because the suggested videos on its sidebars are as good as the ads that you pay for in websites. Make your own videos today and start sharing them on YouTube. Be the expert that you are. Share videos that show your expert how-to’s which potential consumers might find too interesting to share or better yet, they might be entertained by it. Winning their heart is always the best way to go.
6.  Content marketing always lends itself to small-scale or large-scale business owners. It’s the one strategy that any kind of business can use. Like all of those I have mentioned, this digital strategy thrives in originality and details.
 
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Smartphone Use to Quadruple by 2018

Smartphones are now a necessity, and funny as it may seem, most of us have more than one of these gadgets: one for work and one for play.
 
Smartphone Subscription and Video Content
According to a report by Reuters, the number of smartphone subscribers in the world could multiply by four times in the next five years.  Ericcson, the world’s largest mobile network equipment supplier, also notes that because of the growth in users, mobile networks will also experience an incredible increase in data usage.

Smartphone users will increase dramatically due to the continuous campaigns and advertisements about new technologies being made available to the public.  Ericcson notes that from 2012’s 1.5 billion, subscribers in the world will reach 4.5 billion in 2018.  This figure is also greater than the company’s 3.3 billion forecast last year.
Just as well, because of the close relationship between smartphones and the Internet, mobile data is expected to shoot up as well.  Ericcson, who is also a leading supplier of high speed networks, notes that data traffic will also multiply by as much as 12 times in 2018. This will also push mobile networks to invest on high-speed Internet systems if they want customer retention.
According to the report, one of the leading reasons for the growth in mobile data usage is because of the online video content that is made available to portable devices users.  Nowadays, people can watch movies and even TV on their smartphones and tablets.
“Video makes up the largest segment of data traffic in networks, and it is expected to grow around 60% annually up until the end of 2018,” Ericsson told Reuters.
Reuters also noted that so far, data traffic has already doubled from the first quarter of 2012 compared to the same period this year.
What does this mean for the Business sector?
While this news can be interesting for the common consumer, it could be the biggest light bulb for you and your business.  Acknowledging that the Internet is the future, your brand or service can take advantage of mobile marketing that are pressed into mobile websites and applications.
Also, since smartphone subscribers often use their devices to check their emails, or even have their mails “pushed” into their phones, your brand can take this opportunity to utilize email marketing.  Just imagine the global reach you will have if you take advantage of this digital marketing strategy.
Ericcson admits that it is investing heavily on video technology to utilise the growth in this market.  And just like Ericcson, you can also take advantage of this opportunity to grow your brand and your revenue.

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The Siri Killer is Here… or Is It?

Google launches its new app “Google Now”
 
When Apple’s Siri saw wide distribution in 2010 it was a godsend for the tech-savvy who were still not savvy enough to organize their lives, remember dates in relationships or ask for directions. The app was like the pocket personal assistant they’ve always wanted. It could remind users of whose birthday was coming up, answer questions, and make recommendations like what restaurants or shops to go to.
But now Google has come out with their own version of a PA, they call it the Now. Now has functions pretty much like Siri;  it’s voice-activated and can remind you of appointments and important dates and point you in the right direction.

However, it has one crucial difference.  Now is being touted as a step above Siri because it supplies data relevant to the user even before the user thinks to ask for this information.
Siri v’s Google Now

What do these two have in common anyway?
Both are PA-type voice-activated apps.  While not online platforms, they still need internet connection even for tasks that do not need online intervention like setting an alarm… let’s just get that out of the way first.
Both can supply information on demand, although Now may supply some information ahead of your asking.  The questions you can ask can vary from the weather, the nearest movie theater, the latest stock market figures or scores of a particular NBA team during a recent game.
The similarities seem to end there. The two have different “personalities” so to speak.  While Siri is chatty and offers witty remarks, Now is straightforward and no-nonsense, kind of like the contrasting personalities of Kirk and Spock on Star Trek.
A user took both Siri and Now on the iPhone and asked them for the PA’s name.  Siri replied “My name is Siri, but you know that already.” Google responded with the phrase “What is your name?”
When it comes to restaurant choices Siri has a slight advantage because of Apple’s partnership with review site Yelp and the restaurant reservation service Open Table.  When it comes to travel, especially in places you are not familiar with, Now may be a little bit more useful.
“I’ve found it particularly useful while traveling.  As soon as my plane landed in Orlando, Florida, Google Now offered “cards” with details of my hotel and my car rental, based on confirmation emails sent to my Gmail account.  Clicking the hotel card got me turn-by-turn directions to the hotel using the Google Maps app.  On the way home, Google Now gave me the gate number for my connecting flight in Charlotte, North Carolina, as the first plane taxied from the runway,” AP Technology writer Anick Jesdanun told USA Today.
It turns out you might have to give up a bit privacy to be able to use Now. You must allow Google mto scan contents of your Gmail account, calendar entries and information on recent Google searches and email marketing, all the more to be able to anticipate what information you are looking for and display the necessary data even before you ask for it.
Now also has another unusual advantage, it is available for phones running Android or iOS. Just what were they thinking arming the enemy with their own weapons?  Pundits are still undecided whether the online strategy of making an app available to a rival network is a stroke of genius or a deathblow.
But rather than have one over the other, experts are saying the two apps actually complement each other.
“Siri is the better of the two—as a voice assistant. She’ll always respond with something, even if it’s to seek clarification…Where Google Now shines is in anticipating your questions.  Open the Google Search app, and you’ll see cards fill the screen with useful information,” Jesdanun added.
One PA is cold, hard logic, the other cracks jokes and witticisms.  One is good for finding the best places to eat, the other to help you in a place where people do not speak the same language as you do.  One waits for you to ask, the other tells you what you want to know ahead.  Why not have them both?  Don’t Kirk and Spock always go together anyway?
 
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