first_imgBob Daemmrich for The Texas TribuneFormer state Senator and gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis speaks to Planned Parenthood supporters at the Capitol in Austin on April 5, 2017.Almost four years after Democrat Wendy Davis’ failed bid for governor, the Texas Ethics Commission has fined her campaign and Battleground Texas for delayed reporting of $3.4 million in political contributions.Neither the campaign nor the political organization admitted doing anything wrong, and the commission conceded the situation “is not explicitly addressed by Texas law.” Nevertheless, the Davis campaign and Battleground Texas each agreed to pay a $3,000 fine.In separate orders from the commission posted Tuesday (here and here), both Davis, on behalf of her gubernatorial campaign, and Battleground Texas, a group that launched in 2013 to help elect Democrats, said they had not “violated any provision of the Election Code and at all times properly reported all of its activities in a manner that is transparent and open to the public. However, for the sake of resolving this matter, without further proceedings, the respondent accepts the Commission’s proposal of resolution without any admission of wrongdoing of any kind.”Working together in the 2014 campaign, the groups employed an unusual fundraising arrangement, collecting political contributions through the “Texas Victory Committee — a Joint Project of Wendy Davis for Governor Inc and Battle Ground Texas.” That outfit — TVC — split its spending and its proceeds evenly between Davis and Battleground.During the second half of 2013, Davis and Battleground hosted “at least eight joint fundraisers,” the commission said in its orders. TVC reported those contributions and the fundraising costs in its January 2014 report. But it didn’t transfer those contributions to Davis and Battleground until March of that year.Both reported the transfers in their July 2014 reports.The commission said the contributions should have been reported six months earlier, when the donors’ checks were cashed. “The effective control over TVC and the donor’s intent support the finding that Battleground and Davis PAC constructively accepted the funds when received by TVC,” the commission said in its orders. As a result, it said, each got “about $1.7 million” that should have been reported in January and wasn’t reported for six more months.It caused a fair amount of confusion during the campaign, creating the impression for some that donors had given twice as much as they had since their contributions showed up under their names in the TVC report in January 2014 and then again in the Battleground and Davis reports in July 2014.That said, the commission said the reports filed by the two “evinced a good-faith attempt by the respondent to comply with Texas disclosure laws for a somewhat complicated and novel fundraising operation not explicitly contemplated by Texas law.” It was clear, TEC wrote, that money given to TVC was bound for Davis and Battleground, that TVC reported its contributions and expenditures, and that the other two eventually reported what they received.Neither Davis nor Battleground “admits or denies” those facts and conclusions, the commission wrote, but they agreed to pay a $3,000 “sanction necessary to deter future violations” and to let the TEC post the orders. Sharelast_img read more


first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 5 min read Author Dave Eggers scared millions with The Circle, his tale of AI-driven surveillance that’s since become a movie starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson. And why not? Decades of science fiction have trained us to believe machines will eventually replace humans in everything — even when it comes to marketing.Related: 10 Ways to Use Chatbots for Marketing and SalesThere is some basis for this belief. Machines have already replaced some learnings to make marketing more efficient. For example, online algorithms like the ones used in Google ads have made it easier to determine purchase intent and predict when prospects are ready to buy. Machines are brilliant at processing data that represents purchase signals. But, what they miss is context about buyers’ existing brand perceptions and the motivations behind their purchase decisions.Context: The key to creating meaningful brand experiencesAnything that informs motivations is context. Let me give you a personal example. I may be searching for signs of a failing hard drive or for good deals on a lightweight PC. To Google, these searches will likely signal that I’m in the market for a computer. What sort of computer will it choose to show in an ad?Maybe Google knows I’m in marketing, I work at a tech company and I live in a creative hub — Austin, Texas — all of which might increase the odds of me being in the market for a Mac. What kind of Mac, though? A check of my search history likely reveals I frequently hunt for good airfares when traveling for business, which leads Google to present me with travel-friendly laptop options.A new, souped-up MacBook sounds great … for just about anyone else but me. I’ve just never been an Apple guy; my brand loyalties lie elsewhere, which is crucial context when presenting me with an offer. Despite the purchase signals I was sending, my brand preferences were overlooked and the ad was essentially a waste of time. So, how can we expect AI technology to create and execute a full marketing campaign if today’s algorithms aren’t even equipped to display an effective ad?Related: AI Is Taking the Art Out of SalesThe challenge for marketers: Injecting context, interpreting dataThat doesn’t mean machines that process data and interpret buying signals are unimportant. But, they still lack context about buyers’ existing brand perceptions and whether or not those perceptions can be influenced. They also lack the ability to define what experiences should be created to reach buyers that are receptive to your message.Sure, machines can provide data to help marketers find prospects that might be in the market for their product. They can also help inform micro-decisions to more efficiently run and promote campaigns. But, they’re not equipped to create personalized brand experiences that can grab your attention.To effectively reach and engage buyers, an understanding of their current perceptions and past experiences with your brand is required. That’s why the creative exercise of developing impactful experiences that take prospects further down the funnel, from awareness to consideration, is still better informed by marketers than machines.Related: Chatbots Can Help Your Team But They Can’t Replace Your TeamArtificial intelligence for a data-driven futureBut, if you think about it, context is just another layer of data so there could be a future where machines expand their algorithms to better understand how customers and prospects perceive brands and consume experiences.For example, let’s say you’re launching a new brand campaign to reaffirm your commitment to customers. Using a model that examines certain behaviors, such as browsing history, Google searches, social media interests and more, AI technology might be able to tell you which customers are more likely to jump ship to a competitor and need a little more attention. But, what experiences should be created to effectively reach the customers at risk? That question should still be answered by a human being.Plus, the privacy implications for harnessing this sort of data for AI are vast. Look at Facebook for example. What if my likes and dislikes, and the time and place I clicked on content that interests me, were made public? What if my friends that share my interests were made public as well? Suddenly, machines would be infused with an extra layer of context — context provided by the personal elements of my life.Related: Survey Finds Marketers Know All the Important Tech Trends But Aren’t Prepared for Any of ThemBut, I might not like that, and it may encourage me to share a manufactured or curated version of myself while hiding the parts I want to remain secret. Or, I may choose to stop sharing anything at all.All of which brings us back to the human experience. Machines are capable of ingesting and processing and making some limited meaning out of more data today than ever before. That’s good, but it may not get us as any closer to our customers.Why? Because data and signals are nothing without context, and context is informed by our existing perceptions and motivations that can be easily hidden. Until AI can perfectly replicate the artful act of human engagement and then make educated decisions about tapping into those motivations, marketers will not be replaced. Today’s machines can’t do all that, and it’ll likely to be years, or even decades, before they can.Related Video: The Only Online Marketing Metric That Actually Matters Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. October 2, 2017 Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now »last_img read more


first_imgGet the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailUPDATE: All lanes have now reopened One lane is shut due to another accident on the M6 this evening. Traffic data company INRIX report one lane is blocked due to an accident on the M6 Southbound between J15 A500 (Stoke-On-Trent) and J14 A34 / A5013 / A5013 Creswell Grove (Stafford North). Lane one (of three) is blocked, according to Traffic England. The accident is believed to have taken place at around 10.30pm. Earlier tonight the motorway was closed between junction 12 and junction 13 in both directions due to an accident on the northbound carriageway and a vulnerable man on a bridge over the southbound. Wide load stuck on North Staffordshire road Both of these incidents have now been cleared. It is unclear how many vehicles are involved in this latest accident on the motorway.last_img read more