Greetings from Barcelona! I’m in town for the Gartner Symposium and am with the Samsung At Work team this week. This is a different kind of conference from what I’m used to. There are about 5000 CIOs (Chief Information Officers) here. These people are responsible for the implementation and management of the technology infrastructures that drive large corporate businesses. Typically that means servers and internet access and managing corporate email systems. It means maintaining laptops and desktops and privacy and security. It means enterprise IT systems and increasingly, it also means websites and mobile apps and digital products and services. For many of those attending, that’s a big shift in their focus. There’s a big difference between managing a corporate email and IT infrastructure and creating and building new apps and services. It’s a different mindset, it’s a different methodology and it’s a different way of working – much more collaboration is required, consumer insight and understanding and more general business knowledge. There’s a lot of new stuff for these people to get their heads round and it’s something I hadn’t really considered before coming.
One of the sessions I went to yesterday was Richard Marshall’s session on The Mobile Application Roadmap. Richard has come from a mobile start-up background before joining Gartner. He’s built and delivered mobile apps and services. He know what it’s like to do this stuff and he shared his key insights from this experience. For some of my readers, what he shared won’t be new at all. Many of you are living and breathing this stuff, but if you’re new to the world of mobile or the world of apps or are making the shift from an analogue business to a digital business, his slides are probably worth a look – it’s all sound advice in there. His main themes were to release early and often, fail fast, get user feedback, iterate, think in terms of minimum viable product and make sure of your business case. He also talked about user experience and some design methodologies but that’s probably worthy of another post another day. In the meantime, here are his slides. They are fairly self-explanatory, but bear in mind they’re aimed at an IT audience.
You’ve probably seen this graphic doing the rounds on social media already. But if not, it really is well worth a look. It’s called ‘The Illusion of Choice’. You see lots of brands on the supermarket shelf and you get to choose your preference – maybe you choose on price, quality, smell, taste, perceived value and more. But how much of a choice is it when those brands all belong to the same companies?
You might wonder why I think this is worthy of note. Well, I think it’s worth being mindful of what you buy and where that money is going. I didn’t know that Nestle owned L’Oreal who in turn owns The Body Shop, Stella McCartney and Kiehl’s. It’s made me think again about Kiehl’s as a brand and makes me question their product quality. And can Diesel maintain its (relatively) cool brand image when its parent company is Nestle?
Equally, I think it’s important to understand how these brands and companies do deals with each other in their own company group. One example cited is Yum Brands which owns KFC and Taco Bell. The company was a spin-off of Pepsi. All Yum Brands restaurants sell only Pepsi products because of a lifetime deal with the soda-maker. Not a lot of choice going on there.
I’m not saying don’t buy these brands, maybe just be a little more mindful each time you do.
For those of you who are interested in technology and are based in the North of England, you may be interested to attend the upcoming Harvey Nash event in Manchester on Wednesday 4th December at 6pm at MOSI. It’s free to attend and will be of particular interest to CMOs, CTO/CIOs and CEOs of businesses of all sizes. The topic for discussion is based around Harvey Nash’s annual CIO Survey (you can download the full PDF here). The survey is a useful way to catch up with what CIOs and CTOs feel are the latest trends and issues – mobile being one of the top ones, followed by the on-going friction between CMOs and CTOs (especially as marketing departments have increasing budgets for digital) and quite a few more...
I’ve been invited to join the panel (thanks Mike!) alongside Martin Jones, CTO lastminute.com; Martin Bryant, Editor-in-Chief, The Next Web; and Doug Ward CEO and Co-Founder Tech Britain and TechHub Manchester. It should be an interesting event if their Leeds one a few weeks ago is anything to go by and there’ll be plenty of opportunity to ask questions and chip in with your 2p. Oh, and there’ll be some networking too. It’s free to attend. Hope to see some of you there.
Apologies for being a bit slow on the blogging front recently. I just got out of the habit. However, I’ve been busy squirreling away lots of articles and links to follow up on with blog posts should the moment come to blog.
As many of you already know, I do consulting work with media owners of all types and sizes, helping their senior teams get their heads around what’s happening in mobile and social and how it is impacting their business and what they might do about it. I recently did a talk to a group of Nordic media owners who were pretty horrified that I rarely went directly to an online or mobile newspaper to read it but followed random links from people I followed on a variety of social networks and as such, wouldn’t necessarily know which publication or which journalist I was reading.
Don’t get my wrong, by all accounts, media consumption of all types is in rude health when it comes to mobile and online. What isn’t so healthy are the business models to pay for that as well as the fact that many outlets are still focused on print as the main product despite declining revenues. And that’s the challenge that media owners face. The existing business models are in (fast) decline and the news ones are not (yet) replacing those revenues often coupled with a reluctance to change or move with the times.
If you’re interested in where mobile meets media, the future of advertising, the future of journalism and the like, the following links will probably be of interest.
Why tablet magazines are a failure by Jon Lund. Jon’s key point is to encourage media owners to build for the web rather than tablet app only. But while he’s telling us that, there are some really interesting case studies quoted and some rather useful numbers if you need to persuade your boss to move with the times.
The Financial Times to move to single global print edition. This is a very interesting move by the FT. They’re changing their workflow and product focus to reshape the paper for the digital age. Although the printed paper is still part of their multi-platform operation, the shift in how they’re managing it all shows a keen eye on the future and they’re changing before their hand is forced. Smart move, I say.
Ken Doctor highlights what’s coming for media owners in 2014. It’s not news to those of us who’ve been working in mobile and media for a while, but I suspect, the pointers are a bit scary for a lot of media owners who haven’t yet started the change process or haven’t invested in preparing themselves for the future.
Josh Marshall doesn’t believe in Flipboard’s model for media owners and he tells us why, even as far as calling Flipboard a scam. I understand where he’s coming from, but what he doesn’t talk about is who and where his audience is and what their needs and wants are, what their reading habits are and how that matches with TPM’s offering. It’s still early days for Flipboard and its ilk, but I don’t think services like them are going away any time soon.
Canada’s Globe And Mail’s CEO tells media owners ‘we have to think more precisely about what it is that will make people pay’. There are some useful pointers in this article explaining some of the things G&M are doing to get readers to pay for content.
How much are you willing to pay for digital news? There’s still no definitive answer to this, but this article (and the links within it) highlight some of the key issues faced by media owners (yes, it’s getting a bit repetitive isn’t it – the need to innovate, the acceptance that the print decline is real and not stopping, that the digital ad sales aren’t replacing print ad sales etc.).
Attention v. Relationship Economy – this article explores they way that media owners could or should be thinking about how to monetise. And I think I agree with the author, Jeff Jarvis, that it’s about the relationships newspapers have with their community of readers, advertisers and more.
Long story short…
- digital media consumption is high
- mobile set to overtake desktop very quickly
- tablet magazines probably won’t save your business
- media companies need to restructure
- we need some new ways to advertise (I still don’t understand why we’re shoe-horning old ways into new media)
- we need to create and try more new business models
- no-one has the definitive answer
- And as Bob Dylan sang many years ago, ‘The Times they are a changin’’.
Well, sort of. The sample size is quite small and it’s early days for this kind of study, but this article in the Economist is worth a read. The teens and twenty-somethings in the study all reported more negative feelings after they’d spent time on Facebook versus spending time with people in real life. I’m not sure that this is much of a surprise – especially for that age-group for whom it looks like everyone else is much cooler and having a much better time than you are. As you grow older, I think you probably grow out of that so I wonder what a similar study would reveal about older age-groups. Anyway, expect to see more of this sort of thing as the web matures.
I’m just having a read of app development firm, Apadmi’s first white paper. For anyone thinking of embarking on the app development journey, it’s well worth a read as it includes some very sensible advice. There’s also a useful section about finding the right team to work with and managing your code. It’s a free download http://www.apadmi.com/whitepapers/12-top-tips-to-create-a-great-mobile-app/
(Disclaimer, Apadmi is one of my regular Swedish Beers sponsors, but that’s not why I’m sharing this!)
Tim Green talks to teenagers three teenagers about their mobile lives. And very telling it is too. Admittedly, this is a sample group of three, but the swing from BlackBerry to iPhone is obvious in this peer group. I’m surprised at the lack of Android adoption but that’s possibly a fashion thing. And boys are living up to their gender stereotype by being more represented at the extreme end of the scale – either the best or the worst phone and not much in the middle.
One of them says "I'm not addicted to my phone, but I am addicted to my iPad. The school gave us all iPads, and all we ever use them for is Instagram and SnapChat and YouTube. Everyone's connected all the time. They must have thought it would help us with learning but it's completely backfired. They even tried to change us to a new Wi-Fi signal but we knew it would block off lots of content, so we all carried on using the old one."
Now there’s a lesson in there somewhere about mobile devices and education….
I still rate this campaign for its creative use of voice and SMS, especially as it is from 2002. At the time, it was only 12Snap who were running campaigns that combined IVR (Interactive Voice Response) with SMS (text messaging) from what I can remember.
It seems pertinent to share this one with you now as the new Monsters University film is out this summer – 11 years on from the original.
The mechanic of this campaign was pretty simply. You bought a packet of fries from McDonald’s. You opened the door to reveal a special phone number and code. Text the code message to the phone number given. You get a text message to say if you’ve won or lost. If you won, one of the Monsters called you back and screamed at you (which is in keeping with the original film).
This was the biggest mobile marketing campaign ever at that time and was printed on 13 million fry boxes. There was a tiered prize structure with all players being advised whether they had won or lost by text message. Premium winners also receive a “monster MobileCard” (this was using IVR – interactive voice response – and was the monster screaming at you). Intermediate prize winners get a mobile ringtone or logo (those were the days when you could offer these as a genuine prize to customers!). Non-prize-winners got a text message from a monster asking them to play again.
It was run via T-Mobile’s servers and they struggled under the volumes of messages coming through due to the popularity and large-scale of the sales promotion. At the time, McDonald’s was one of the brands pioneering mobile marketing.
The companion website can be seen here on web.archive.org
Below you will find the front and back scan of a sales promotion leaflet that came with Kenco Rappor packs that were new to the market back in 2002. It tied in with the theme of the recent TV campaign that was used to launch the product the previous year. The innovative element of the product was about the new pack format on offer – the fact that the instant coffee granules were in stick format to offer a single serving and designed specifically to appeal to younger customers. More on that rationale about the campaign here. An example of one of the TV ads used can be seen here if you’re interested.
Anyway, it’s fair to say that mid-2002 is still very much early days for mobile marketing. Errors in execution were certainly made – even with the limitations of the time. For example, we already had shortcodes and the mechanic was a bit complicated and fairly meaningless if you hadn’t seen or remembered the TV advert. And the leaflet was folded really really small to fit in the tiny sample size packs they were giving out.
Feel free to discuss what you would do the same or differently.
You can see larger versions of these graphics on flickr in my mobile marketing set.
I’ve just spotted these slippers. They’re fantastic. What a simple idea, very well executed. They also appeal to me as they’re made from felt which I enjoy making too and I know how lovely and comfortable they will be.
Interesting to see that this year, their Kickstarter campaign was a huge success raising more than 3 times the amount of money they were looking for. So why was it their Indiegogo campaign from last year was a bit of a disaster? Is it a timing issue? Not offering a wide-enough range of sizes initially? Or maybe Indiegogo just isn’t as good? Or maybe they had better visuals and copy the second time around? Or maybe someone just picked up on the Kickstarter campaign and that was the catalyst for success?
I’m having a bit of a clear-out at home and whilst going through some old magazines, I found that I’d kept a very old issue of Hello Magazine – Issue 638 from November 21, 2000 to be precise. Now Hello is not a magazine I have ever bought or kept habitually so I had a flick through to see why I still had it. Inside was this advertisement feature from Vodafone for the ‘Vodafone Message-Cam’. It’s not a device I remember at all. I was more than a bit sceptical about camera-phones at the time as my focus was on SMS marketing back then.
Bearing in mind this was from November 2000, before we had camera-phones, it was very much ahead of its time. You can see from the advertorial that the girls are having fun taking selfies and sharing them via email (we didn’t have WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter back then). Anyway, I’ve scanned the whole thing in for you to have a look at as I think it’s interesting.
Worthy of note…
Colour touchscreen; selfies, sharing shopping photos, internet browsing (does this make the device the world’s first mobile tablet?), treating a mobile device as fashion, email on mobile – and all this *thirteen* years ago. This device was ahead of its time but clearly they were spot on with many things we just take for granted today with our mobile devices.
I wonder how many they sold….?
In case you can’t read the copy very well, here’s a transcript of it for you:
Girls Night Out
The Vodafone Message-Cam is set to be the ‘must have’ gift on every Christmas wish list
Every season one fashion item always becomes the essential accessory for serious fashionistas. This Christmas, it has to be the Vodafone Message-Cam. Designed by Casio exclusively for Vodafone, this ingenious little device is the world’s first hand held visual communicator with in-built digital camera, which attached to your mobile phone, allows you to send pictures, emails and surf the web. So when Vodafone asked us to test out the Message-Cam, we decided to give it the full paparazzi treatment.
Models are constantly travelling, so keeping in touch with their friends while on jobs around the world can be tough. We asked models Marie and Marit to take the Message-Cam with them on a girls night out in London and give us their verdict.
The girls headed for Zilli Bar, a favourite Soho hot spot, and invited a few girlfriends to join them. They took shots all evening, emailing the pictures immediately to friends around the world and around the corner! It was incredibly easy and a lot of fun. Everyone wanted to get in on the shots, even the waiters.
The Message-Cam’s digital camera has a fully rotating lens so that you can take pictures of yourself or the friends you’re with. You can freeze and edit the pictures on screen,, select the one you want to send, add voice or text message and then email anywhere you want. The screen is full colour and touch-sensitive which makes it ideal for surfing the web. It includes a sound and photo album, voice recorder, clock, SMS editor, calendar and calculator. All this, plus full Internet access and WAP browsing capabilities.
The girls though the Vodafone Message-Cam would make postcards obsolete and would be great for all sorts of occasions, from weddings to parties, or even shopping. Imagine photographing yourself in different outfit and then emailing the pictures to a friend for advice. The over-whelming verdict was that this was an accessory no girl should be without!
The Vodafone Messaged-Cam comes complete with a Siemens C35i WAP phone and data cable. It’s a limited edition and available through Vodafone Stores nationally, priced £349.99. For your local Vodafone Store call 0800 – 10 11 12.+++++++++ Here's what the device looks like in the flesh
It’s time for some local recognition and the Wirehive 100 is giving agencies in the South of England a chance to shine by entering for their place in the Wirehive 100 league table and also to enter one of 12 specific categories to win a prestigious Wirehive 100 award. I’m judging the mobile category again this year and look forward to seeing some new work from new agencies.
How do I get involved?
The Wirehive100 Awards and League Table are open to any digital agency in the South of England based in the following counties: Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire, West Sussex, East Sussex, Kent, Wiltshire, Berkshire and Surrey.
It’s free to put yourself forward for the Wirehive 100 League Table. You can do that here.
Then there are 12 categories that you can enter for the awards for which there’s a charge of £75 per entry. The categories include several techie categories including Techie of the Year, Best Mobile Project and Best Tech award which may well appeal to some of you reading this. All twelve categories are listed here.
The deadline for both is 19 July 2013 – that’s just a few days away. If you miss the deadline, there is a week’s grace period but it’ll cost you £100 to take advantage of that. And do check the terms and conditions of entry too to make sure you qualify.
So get those thinking caps on and get entering. Make my life as a judge difficult by making sure there are some great mobile entries in there! Best of luck and hope to see some of you at the awards ceremony.
The rather good Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2013 is out now. It’s quite a long report – you can download a copy here and below you’ll find the PowerPoint charts that support the report.
I won’t lie, there’s a lot to read here and, clearly, a lot of work went into it and I will be taking my time to go through it all.
The short version based on what I’ve read so far is…
- News is becoming more mobile, more social, and more real-time
- Digital patterns becoming more entrenched – particularly amongst the younger half of the population
- Audiences increasingly want news on any device, in any format, and at any time of day.
- Digital revolution is not proceeding at an even pace in all countries.
- Social media take-up varies across countries
- Ever-greater competition and more disruption to business models to come
- More people say they've paid for digital news in the past 10 months so there’s still hope
Some of these points are no surprise to those of us working in mobile. And it just confirms that the pace of change is fast. Even if you’re not in the newspaper industry, I think this is worth a glance as it reveals some key trends that are relevant and of interest to other sectors.
Based on the methodology, the UK findings are perhaps the most pertinent as that’s where there were the highest level of respondents. Of course, they did only survey a limited amount people so it’s a representation but the data was weighted to targets set on age and gender, region, newspaper readership, and social grade to reflect the total population of each country. The sample is reflective of the population that has access to the internet.
As if you need any further convincing that now is the time to get your mobile strategy sorted, maybe this reports will be the nudge you need if you’re not already on the case.
Interested to hear your thoughts and examples of other recent reports that back up or contradict Reuters’ findings.
I happened to glance up from my screen and in the letter rack I spotted this clipping. My Dad’s written on it ‘Times July 1’. I don’t remember being in it so it was a bit of a surprise to see it. My father clearly took the trouble to buy a copy of the newspaper (he was a Telegraph reader as a rule) and then cut out and kept the clipping. It’s at least 5 years old – maybe older judging by the picture. I’m touched, and a little bit teary, that he did that.
And then I read the piece and I stand by my words. I think it’s from a talk I gave at a conference but I don’t remember. As it doesn’t appear to be available online, I’ve transcribed it here:
‘The future of mobile is that mobile will just be a normal part of the marketing mix. It will be almost invisible, in that people won’t know whether they are browsing on the mobile web of (sic) the ‘full fat’ web; they will just be looking at Facebook or the BBC, or checking email, so their consciousness of how they are doing that will disappear. The focus will be on making brands’ services and products accessible, however anyone wants to get hold of them and that’s the priority.
Mobile technology is moving forward, and there are some exciting innovations around and we will see mobile being used in some interesting ways in the future, but we should not get carried away with the new shiny thing, when a good, reliable mobile website and old fashioned SMS are still really important. There is a lot of mileage left in messaging for customer service, saying thank you, getting feedback, the simple things. It’s not about push advertising, it’s about having a proper relationship with customers who want to have a relationship with you.
It’s easy to get carried away with the technology, but good marketing begins and ends with good service. You have to make it easy for people to find and buy your stuff and do it again.’
And here’s my bi-monthly column in Mobile Marketing Magazine about it. I’m on the last page. I’d welcome your thoughts. Is there a skills gap? Will the mobile marketing & advertising sectors reach their full potential despite the skills gap? What can or should we be doing about this?
A shortlist of 100 individuals has been compiled by The Drum's editorial team but we need your help to decide who will make it into the top 50. The final list will highlight the key players in the UK mobile industry, ranking individuals in order of their contribution to the world of mobile.
I took a look at the list and I’m certainly in good company. There are so many friends, colleagues and current and former Swedish Beers and Heroes of Mobile sponsors and participants on the list that it almost looks like they raided my address book to choose.
Anyway, voting closes this Friday 21 June 2013. You can vote for your three favourite from the list of 100. It’s free to vote, you just have to register and then you can pick three names. I don’t know how you’ll manage to pick just three names though as there are so many good and worthy recipients on the list. Anyway, YOU decide!
This is one for my London readers. It’s the Payforit Summit on Wednesday 26 June which is the one-stop shop for everything you need to know about incorporating mobile payments – why you should do it, what’s in it for you, how best to implement, privacy and security concerns and a lot more besides. It’s organised by my friends at AIME and they’re such lovely people, they’ve given us a 50% discount code. Check out the listing and get your bargain £49.50 ticket now and find out how you will make more money with Payforit.
My friends at Ribot have just had a site revamp and a new look and very nice it is too. More importantly though, they’ve shared their Tesco case study. It’s essentially a history of how Tesco’s mobile shopping services started and evolved and it’s a very interesting read. Whether you’re in retail or now, it’s well worth a look. And yes, I do get a little mention!
And while we’re on about interesting things, I thought this article by Jerome Ribot was really interesting about cognitive biases and their effect on developing products. Applying psychology to the process is very relevant, especially since it is so hard to stand out when it comes to digital.
A few links and articles that I’ve been looking at recently that you may enjoy too.
How not to be Alone by Jonathan Safran Foer in The New York Times. This is a good read looking at empathy in the digital age. Definitely food for thought.
A new tumblr site listing global app contests powered by Loudsource. They claim to be the best for app challenges, but I suspect that f6s is still more comprehensive (even if it isn’t particularly user-friendly yet).
Four reasons why some companies are late to the mobile party from Mobile Marketing Magazine’s, David Murphy. I would counter that fear of failure is the biggest reason, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Is the death of the bookshop a sign of progress? Damien Walter laments the death of the bookshop but questions as to whether this is progress or regression. What do you think?
Good new for arts and digital.. There are two upcoming initiatives that look to push the boundaries between the two sectors. One is the Art Everywhere project which has an added augmented reality element from Blippr to complement the main element of showcasing great artworks on billboards across the UK. They’re at crowd funding stage and seem to be going pretty well. The second project is Hack the Barbican where creatives of all kinds as well as coders and digital experts and amateurs are asked to come up with projects to be displayed or performed in August in the Barbican. There’s still time to submit your project (closing date 20th June 2013). I applaud the Barbican for opening its doors in this way to encourage participation and experimentation in the cross over between the two sectors. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this. It’s not their first foray into this area. The Barbican have been active in the hack space for a year or so now. Other arts organisations take note!
And finally, for those of you who love infographics, here’s one from the Harvard Business Review showing how people really use their mobile phones. You can see some of this for free, or you can pay for full access.
Well, think again. Luxury brands have historically been a bit sniffy about getting into mobile feeling that it wasn’t their thing and that mobile media, specifically, mobile advertising, wasn’t appropriate for high-end brands – the banner ad is too small, SMS has no visuals, how do you convey the brand without the large-scale visuals you see in glossy magazines.
Well, British luxury firm, Vertu, who hand make their high-end handsets in the UK, would beg to differ. They worked with Amobee for to drive traffic into their new stores and promote their new smartphone campaign and it was both highly successful and won a rather fabulous Communicator Award. It was a smart campaign using location targeting, rich media, SMS (targeting customers who had roamed – as in travelled abroad and used their mobile – 3 times or more, customer insight and sponsorship to reach its goals. View more about the campaign in this video.
Not only that, but British Vogue is getting in on the act. (There’s a theme here… maybe Brits are leading the way in luxury on mobile?) This lovely video, ‘Typecast and Vogue’, is from the recent Brand Perfect event in New York where Paul McKeever talks very eloquently about British Vogue’s acclaimed digital revamp and how cross-platform typography helped it break new ground. Highly recommend watching even if you’re not a luxury brand.
Working in the luxury sector? Not gone mobile yet? Then these links may be worth a read too.