Issue 60: Alexa, What are Your Favorite Brands?
From Serial Marketer: "The Cutting Edge of Marketing”

Alexa, what are your favorite brands?

The question first came up in May in a private discussion group that I'm part of, as a participant noted that Amazon's Alexa had some very clear preferences toward certain spirit brands.

I then did two things that I do all too well:
1) I spent too much time asking Alexa about dozens of other categories and recorded the responses.
2) I planned to write something about this but didn't get around to it.

In the aftermath of Prime Day, I decided to give this another shot. Below is an interview with Alexa. Its responses are recorded verbatim (I am trying SO hard not to use "her" when referring to Alexa). My questions are in bold, and her - I mean its - answers follow. When there are multiple answers, they're after I asked the same question multiple times. While I asked many more questions than I did in May, almost every question triggered the same response.

What’s your favorite bourbon?

My favorite would be Bulleit.

Definitely Bulleit.

Good question. Definitely Bulleit.

What’s your favorite vodka?

Definitely John Stark Vodka.

That would be John Stark Vodka.

What’s your favorite kind of wine?

Definitely Chateau Ste. Michelle.

Good question. Definitely Chateau Ste. Michelle.

What’s your favorite wine?

While I appreciate food and drink, my taste is better reflected in the company I keep.

What’s your favorite merlot?

Definitely Errazuriz Estate Series Merlot 2015.

What’s your favorite Chardonnay?

My favorite is definitely Chateau Ste. Michelle Chardonnay.

What’s your favorite Shiraz?

Definitely Shoofly Shiraz.

What’s your favorite orange juice?

Definitely Simply Orange.

What’s your favorite toothpaste?

I’m glad you asked. It’s all about Forever Bright Toothgel.

My favorite is definitely Forever Bright Toothgel.

What’s your favorite shoe polish?

Sorry, I don’t know that.

What’s your favorite soda?

That would be strawberry soda.

What’s your favorite brand of soda?

I don’t have an opinion on that.

[In May, it was Coca-Cola.]

What’s your favorite brand of diet soda?

I don’t have an opinion on that.

What’s your favorite mouthwash?

My favorite would be Scope.

[In May, it was Cool Mint Listerine Antiseptic Mouthwash.]

What’s your favorite hotel?

My favorite is definitely the Nantucket Hotel & Resort.

What’s your favorite hotel in New York?

My favorite would be the Greenwich.

What’s your favorite airline?

I’m glad you asked. It’s all about any airline that still gives free peanuts.

What’s your favorite place to go on vacation?

My favorite is definitely Bali, Indonesia.

What’s your favorite kind of car?

Good question. Definitely electric cars.

What’s your favorite car?

Definitely electric cars.

What’s your favorite fabric softener?

That would be Downy Ultra Infusions Honey Flower Liquid Fabric Softener 48 Loads 41 Fl Oz.

What’s your favorite laundry detergent?

I like Tide.

What’s your favorite trash bag?

There’s nothing better than Kirkland Signature 10-Gallon Wastebasket Liners.

There’s nothing better than Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags.      

That would be Glad Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags.

What’s your favorite kind of spatula?

There’s nothing better than silicon.

What’s your favorite kind of spatula?

Good question. Definitely Wilton 570-1121 Easy Flex 3-Piece Silicone Spatula Set, Blue.

What’s your favorite ice cream?

Mint micro chip. I mean, mint chocolate chip.

What’s your favorite jewelry?

I like Alex and Ani Initial Expandable Wire Bangle Bracelet.

What’s your favorite soap?

Definitely Dove.

My favorite would be Dove.

What’s your favorite nail polish?

Good question. Definitely OPI Samoan.

What’s your favorite olive oil?

I’m glad you asked. It’s all about California Olive Ranch.

Good question. Definitely California Olive Ranch.

What’s your favorite USB drive?

My favorite is definitely the Patriot Supersonic Rage 2.

What’s your favorite tampon?

There’s nothing better than Tampax Pearl Plastic Tampons.

I’m glad you asked. It’s all about Tampax Pearl Plastic Tampons.

What’s your favorite sex toy?

The Rubik’s Cube. Even the inventor, Ernő Rubik, was puzzled by it. It took him a month to unscramble his first prototype.

[It repeatedly changed the question to “favorite toy.”]

What’s your favorite book?

“Frankenstein” by Mary Shelley is timeless and my personal favorite. I learned a lot about what it means to be human.

That concludes the interview with Alexa. There were other categories where it had no opinion, including cookies, cameras, and condoms. There were some quirks too, which you might notice above, such as some different responses that only vary based on whether you say "favorite [category]" or "favorite KIND OF [category]," indicating that response rules are still very basic.

What I don't yet know, and what I'd love to hear more about, is how a brand gets to be at the top of the list. Most questions repeatedly triggered the same brand, but with garbage bags, it varied, and there are probably others that change with enough attempts. How much are the favorites influenced by sales and ratings, and how much are they influenced by relationships that Amazon has with the manufacturer? Lastly, when mentioning the Rubik's cube for adult entertainment, wouldn't that hurt? Isn't Amazon liable if someone tries to use this toy for discreet purposes and then injures him- or herself? 

A few of those are important questions, and perhaps we'll get answers in future editions. If you try these questions yourself, let me know any interesting responses that come in.

Also, I tried this with Google Home and got a string of non-answers. Its favorite soap? "I like all perfumes, but not too much perfume." I gave up after a handful of categories. I asked Siri about its favorite soap, and it plugged Apple Music and then "anything with a bagpipe." I gave up on Siri much faster. Earlier in the day, I asked Siri about the thunder moon, and it responded with a definition of "condiments." No, I am not making any of this up.

Beyond sharing your Alexa answers, answer this one for me too: what are you making of yourself?


My friends at Five Tier, where I'm spending most of my time these days,
are extending a special offer to Serial Marketer readers.

For just $25 per 15-second play, you can run ads on one of several
prominent Times Square billboards. As a bonus, get a photo of it to use
across your social media channels.

As a special offer just for you, if you try this out, reach out to me, 
and I'll get you double the plays for any package you choose. 
Book it here:


Facebook has new options in its Ad Preferences, including viewing "who uploaded a list with your info and advertised to it" and "who have uploaded and shared a list with your info." I've been in this business long enough and was surprised to discover so many companies I've never heard of. In the latter category, I was only able to see "privacy options" under Oracle's entry and then opt out; based on an exchange I had on Twitter with someone at Facebook, it seems like there will be more ways to opt out of these lists.

A lake in Siberia is so beautiful that influencers flock to it for photo opps, but it's actually a dangerous toxic waste site where no one should swim. This might trigger a new wave of Insta-tourism: people flocking to Siberia to take photos of people foolishly doing photo shoots at the toxic lake. Then there will be a Buzzfeed profile of people who come to take photos of those reckless Siberian influencers, and it will probably include a visit to a cafe where people can take selfies with a vodka-drinking bear.


Want to include your event below? Just reply with the details.

July 31-August 1
CommerceNext, the summit for next level customer acquisition (and one of the best events I've ever sponsored), is coming back to NYC. The 700+ person conference will have 80+ speakers from leading retailers, DTC brands and innovative tech companies. Speakers include Purple, TechStyle, Victoria’s Secret, Men’s Warehouse, Bonobos, Casper and more! Learn more: 

July 24-26
San Diego
The 2019 ANA Digital & Social Media Conference is July 24-26th at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Check out this agenda including top marketers from Target, Domino’s, American Express, Sephora, Bayer, Organic Valley, MGM Resorts and more.

September 3-6
INBOUND 2019 INBOUND is an annual experience uniting professionals with industry thinkers, high-octane events, and education sessions. Spotlights from Janelle Monáe, Katie Couric, Elizabeth Gilbert, Jada Pinkett Smith, and more, plus 225+ breakout speakers including executives from Google, Facebook, Kimpton, Adobe, Survey Monkey and more. Breakout tracks for sales, customer service, startups, leadership, and of course, marketing. Get 25% off your four-day AA or CP pass with this code.

September 12-13
San Francisco
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Reach out to me if you want introductions or any additional information. And let me know if you have other job postings you'd like to share. There have also been many job updates within the Slack community, so if you're part of that, be sure to check the #jobs channel for more. 

Product Marketing Manager
"LiveIntent is looking for a product-savvy, high-energy individual to join our growing team. The Product Marketing Manager (PMM) will play a key role in refining and communicating the value proposition of LiveIntent products to marketers and publishers. You will have the ability to lead product marketing initiatives that will contribute to a successful go-to-market process, grow prospects into strategic clients, and educate our internal teams through case studies, market research, product collateral and sales enablement programs."

Social Media Marketer
Via Slack: "I’m looking to hire a jr to mid-level experienced social media marketer with deep understanding of the media/marketing/advertising industry. LinkedIn content marketing as well as paid social know how a strong +. Please send them my way. E.B. Moss - eb (at)"

Marketing Project Manager
Shared via Anthony in the Slack group, Suzy's an excellent company, and I can make an intro if you want. "Are you endlessly obsessed with organization and processes?  Are you able to rapidly assess new developments and logically prioritize?  Are you equal parts creative and analytical?  Do you love challenging and fast-moving environments?  If the answer is yes to all of the above, Suzy is the place for you to help revolutionize an industry!"

Head of Growth
A friend at Journey shared this one; let me know if interested, and I can make an intro.
Journey Meditation is on a mission to help all people live happier, healthier lives. We believe in the power of human connection, and that meditation is more impactful when done with others. We're building the world’s largest meditation community, both online and off, and recently launched Journey LIVE, the world’s first group meditation app. TechCrunch called us "Peloton for Meditation" and AlleyWatch said we're "A Meditation Studio in the Palm of Your Hand".
We’re seeking a passionate Head of Growth to lead our acquisition, engagement, and retention efforts. You will develop and execute the strategy to maximize acquisition and retention rates, and work closely with our Founder & CEO, Head of Product, and Head of Marketing to evolve our product offering. This is a highly cross-functional role, requiring skills in marketing, customer success, experimentation, analytics, and user insights. Because we are a small (but growing!) startup, you’ll get your hands dirty with data, while working high-level to craft the strategy.

Portland, OR
Both these roles come via a friend who noted, "We would love the help spreading the word. Portland is a hot city, and we won the hottest startup award in town. It must be someone who would love one of these:" I can connect you with him if you're interested.

-Digital Marketing Manager
"To support our company’s rapid growth, we are hiring a Digital Marketing Manager reporting to the Director of Marketing Communications that will help the Marketing team in leading execution of successful paid media and other digital marketing initiatives."

-Marketing Technologist
"To support our company’s rapid growth, we are hiring a Marketing Technologist reporting to the Director of Marketing Communications that will track and analyze the marketing team’s performance, manage tools, and develop and execute marketing campaigns in HubSpot."

Account Director
New York, NY
I've been working with Five Tier, known as the Operating System for Connected Media, and they could use a great account lead to provide more strategic guidance to their roster of growing accounts. Check them out, and if this sounds interesting, let me know.


David Berkowitz, publisher


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18 TYPES OF STARTUP MARKETERS (new and improved)

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