Amazon is bringing Alexa and Echo devices to Spain and Italy, months after it announced support for Spanish and Italian languages for its digital voice assistant. You can now preorder devices like the Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, and Echo Sub in Italy and Spain. They begin shipping next week, the company says.
It’s likely Amazon wanted to wait until Alexa supported those countries’ languages before selling the devices there, as it has in other international markets. In addition to language support, the Echo devices in Italy and Spain are also getting culture-specific updates to better reflect the countries they’re in. For instance, by partnering with local brands, Amazon made its Echo devices capable of suggesting local news articles and even regional recipes to try cooking at home.
Amazon’s expansion into international seas has been drawn out
Amazon has drawn out its rollout to other countries, making expansions few and far between. France, for instance, just got the devices this summer. The slow pacing could be because it just takes time to teach a voice assistant a new language. Currently, Alexa can only speak and understand English, Spanish, Italian, German, and Japanese. Most of its growth has been in English-speaking countries.
In the race to learn more languages, Apple’s Siri leads the pack with support for 20 languages, while the Google Assistant speaks 16, and Microsoft’s Cortana speaks over seven. Google claims by the end of this year, its assistant will be able to support over 30 languages.
Meanwhile, voice assistants in China trail behind, as most by companies like Baidu and Xiaomi can only speak and interpret Mandarin Chinese, and not even other dialects of Chinese, underscoring how difficult it can be to train an AI in multiple complex languages.

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Research has shown: consumers don’t trust the companies they buy from. They don’t trust ads. And they definitely don’t trust marketers.  Trust in marketing is on a decline – between internal stakeholders and customers. In fact, according to a study by Fournaise Group, 80% of CEOs simply don’t trust marketers at all.

Trust is the gateway to influence.

Influence plays a major role in the marketing that moves customers to make purchases. That’s why Lee Odden (our fearless leader and CEO of TopRank Marketing) is challenging marketers to take a step back from the day-to-day of marketing and recognize the trend of reduced trust and influence in marketing.
To help marketers make the shift towards greater credibility and trust, Lee came to Pubcon prepared with five secrets for increasing your level of influence – both internally and externally – plus four key takeaways.
Five Secrets for Growing Marketing Influence
Secret 1: Accelerate Internal/External Credibility
For your marketing to be successful, you have to sell it (actually market your marketing). To accomplish this internally, identify the primary business problems your management team faces and connect your marketing to help solve those problems. Your marketing goals should come from top down, start at the organizational level and determine how marketing can support those goals.
Don’t forget to promote wins to your internal stakeholders. Did your campaign blow business goals out of the water? Tell your team, tell management, and make sure you’re engaging stakeholders with how these results contribute to the bottom line.
To accomplish this externally, you need to become the best answer for your customers with personalized, compelling content experiences that include authentic, influential voices. Meet them where they are with the right information, at the right time.
Secret 2: Double Down on Activating Customers
Double down on activating customers to create more trust and influence. Ask them for reviews and take action based on their feedback. Feature their insights and thoughts in your content. Show them that you’re trustworthy by delivering consistent quality, being reliable, and working to improve continuously.
Secret 3: Work with Influencers to Become Influential
Each brand has stories to tell – and marketers are the storytellers. Collaborate with influencers to tell that story, but it needs to be relevant to their audience as well. To do this, Lee outlined a few steps:

Identify: Connect with qualified, relevant influencers and find ways to collaborate on customer-focused content.
Qualify: Validate influencers and their audiences on a regular basis to ensure quality experiences. Lee reminded us that influence is temporal and popularity can be faked, so always verify, validate, and check back frequently with influencers you’ve identified.
Engage: Employ always on listening and social engagements to keep the love alive with a VIP influencer community of collaborators and advocates.

Finding the right voices and outside perspective lends credibility to your message, and provides additional reach and visibility to prospects looking for the answers you can provide.
Secret 4: Create a Content Collaboration Ecosystem
Once you’ve identified influencers to engage, the next step is to start to create. As Lee said, “Help others become influential and it will grow brand influence.” Start to follow and engage with them on social media. Share opportunities to make things together as a company and you’ll be able to scale quality content. This helps your brand and the contributing influencers become influential by way of mutual exposure.
Secret 5: Optimize Measurement to Customer ROI
If you want to measure the effectiveness of your marketing and how it impacts your bottom line improvement, you have to change the ruler. When it comes to building trust, the metrics are simple: map to the funnel:

Attract: Is your marketing reaching the right audience in the channels they’re actually influenced by?
Engage: Is your marketing creating meaningful and satisfying experiences? Are you creating raving fans?
Convert: Is what you’re doing actually inspiring action? Is it delivering business impact or not?

After Lee shared his top secrets for building trust and influence, he bridged into key takeaways for marketers inspired to begin the journey toward building trust. The following four traits are what brands must have to build that trust – and survive in a consumer-focused landscape.

Purpose – “In this time of turmoil people are turning to brands as islands of stability.” Richard Edelman. How will the world be different after you’re successful doing what you do? How does that narrative translate into your marketing?
Relevance – Use data to understand your internal/external customer and create compelling, useful content experiences that matter. Leverage the voices of your customers, prospects, and those they trust to help add credibility and context to your message.
Reach – Become “the best answer” for your customers with content that is easy to find and exists in context wherever buyers engage.
Resonance – Understand audience motivations through the buyer journey to inform messaging that “clicks” and inspires action and makes real, measurable business impact.

For more tips from Pubcon and the brilliant marketers who speak and attend, follow the TopRank Marketing team on the ground: @TopRank, @LeeOdden, @Tiffani_Allen and @LaneREllis. And, stay tuned for more insights over the next week on the TopRank Marketing blog.The post 5 Secrets for Growing Influence in Marketing: Key Takeaways from Lee Odden at #Pubcon Pro appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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“Society as a whole is unable to think on anything like geologic time scales,” says Marcia Bjornerud. “Or even decadal time scales.” It’s clear that we need to think long-term about climate and the environment, but instead political leaders are constrained by the two-year Congressional cycle and those working in business are beholden to quarterly earnings.
Bjornerud is a geologist at Lawrence University in Wisconsin and the author of Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World. If people understood the history of the Earth, she argues, “we would perceive our world very differently.” The Verge spoke to Bjornerud about geology’s PR problem, the big questions in the field, and what it means to be “timeful.”
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Early on in your book, you mention that it’d be embarrassing for an adult not to be able to point out the continents, but most people don’t know the geologic time periods. Why is that?

Photo: Rachel Crowl

I think a lot of educated people don’t quite believe in the geologic past. It’s obscure, they haven’t had much background in it and it doesn’t seem real. As a geologist, of course that’s frustrating. The field of geology has such vast explanatory power. There’s really something heady about being able to look out at the landscape and see how things came to be. I sometimes tell students that geology is the etymology of the world and I think most people don’t realize it but would love to have a rational explanation for how the world around them got to be the way it is.
Right, but most people don’t think about geology like that.
Geology has this PR problem. People think it’s about dusty mineral collection or just oil and glass, but it actually has both the pragmatic and a deep philosophical side. It’s about big existential questions as much as finding resources. The analogy I like to use is that of a palimpsest, a which is a term used in medieval scholarship of a parchment that was written on and scraped on so it could be reused and reinked. But usually there’s some vestige of the earlier writing that persists underneath the most recent one.
That’s the metaphor for the way we see landscapes. They’re a work in progress partially erased many times over. As geologists, you start learning how to read those vestiges of earlier inking and reconstruct past cycles of past landscape development.
Everything in the natural world has a backstory and is the product of evolution over long periods of time.
Once you get in that habit, it’s like a window goes up. You realize how ephemeral any particular iteration of the Earth’s surface really is. We urgently need people to see that we are embedded in geologic time. There isn’t a geologic past and the future. We are on a continuum and processes that have been going on on Earth for millennia and longer are going to continue and our activities feed into those in ways that are sometimes surprising to us but shouldn’t be if we have a better understanding of the way the Earth has unfolded in the past. Some people might think, who cares, the geologic past doesn’t affect me. Yet it’s created a lot of the environmental problems we face today because people are taken by surprise when the slow, inexorable processes that have always been going on interact with humans have undesirable consequences.
What are some of the big questions in geology?
The climate system is complicated, certainly, though virtually all geoscientists recognize that what we’re doing to the climate system now is nearly unprecedented. Right now, we’re changing things on this decadal scale and we can’t tell from the geological record whether previous changes happened over decades or centuries or thousands of years.
There are fundamental questions about tectonics, especially earthquake recurrence. We can’t predict earthquakes in real time right now, and most geophysicists have reached the conclusion that we probably will never get to that point so the best thing we can do is make people better prepared by building infrastructure and resilient homes. So those are pretty fundamental humanitarian questions.
Concretely, what’s a natural process that is useful to talk about in terms of longer timespans?
Let’s talk about groundwater. Groundwater systems really are dependent on the geologic substrate. Here in Wisconsin we have two main types of aquifers [underground area saturated with water]. They’re glacier deposits or bedrock.

If your well is in those shallow deposits, the rate at which rain comes into the system and flows through the glacial sediments might be on the rate of decades. But if you’re extracting groundwater from bedrock, that might be on the order of a century. So you need to know how fast rates of withdrawal are compared with rates of replenishment.
And there can be real exceptions, too, which can cause problems with groundwater contamination. The take-home message is that you need to know the rock and sediment under your feet and transit times related to the properties of the geologic substrate in order to be able to maintain predictably productive water systems.
What’s the natural process that takes the longest?
If we really zoom out, it’s planetary formation. On Earth, it’s probably the tectonic cycle of supercontinents forming and breaking. That’s on a timescale of maybe 400 or 500 million years. People are probably familiar with Pangea, but that’s just the most recent. We can look back in the deeper past and construct at least two or three super-continents.
So what exactly is “timefulness”? What does someone need to know to be considered “timeful”?
It’s based on “mindfulness” and I hope it carries the connotation that people should pause and think about time in ways we don’t normally. But I also wanted it to be a deliberate counterpoint to the idea of timelessness, which is sterile. Everything in the natural world has a backstory and is the product of evolution over long periods of time.
It’d be good to know the big chapters in Earth’s development, some sense of rates of natural processes, and how they compare to the rates at which humans are changing the geologic realm. Without that understanding, we’d blithely wander into the natural systems and disrupt them quite badly, or cause species to go extinct much faster than they can evolve, some sense of rates. We’re all facing common challenges and doing some estate planning, so to speak, and it seems like there are no grown-ups in the room right now planning ahead. Just some sense of temporal proportion is what I’m calling for.

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