A couple of months back, I took part in Mobile Marketing Magazine’s Making Sense of Proximity Marketing event. Some of you reading this will know that I first got into mobile marketing by way of joining a start-up called ZagMe back in 2000, with Russell Buckley, where we sent promotional text messages to shoppers at Lakeside and Bluewater shopping malls (two of the largest malls in Europe at the time). In this video interview, I explain how ZagMe worked and what I learnt in the process and how it applies to our current world of proximity marketing.
If you’re interested to know more about ZagMe, what worked, what didn’t and best practice recommendations, download Russell’s free white paper here. It was written 10 years ago, but it’s still relevant.
There are also more videos from the event from some of the other speakers which include some useful case studies if you’re looking at implementing beacons, indoor GPS, local couponing or other location based initiatives, these videos may prove useful.
I had a bit of a rant on Facebook earlier today when grappling with Mary Portas’ latest report on the High Street – essentially an update on her Portas Review from a couple of years ago. She states that digital is one of the solutions to keeping our High Streets alive. There is some irony around her championing digital as part of the solution but then having a 40+ page document pretty much unreadable in a digital format. Suffice to say, I haven’t managed to read much further as I’ll have to print the document to read it properly. If someone else has read it, feel free to share the key points here!
You can read the full post here. The comments are also pertinent about why our High Streets are still important (or not). Feel free to add your point of view.
Download the free Mary Portas ‘Why our High Streets still matter’ report here (links straight to the pdf).
Download the original Portas Review here (links straight to the pdf).
I spoke recently at an event at LBi in London. As a thank you, I was given a Sony Smartband, one of these. I’m not one for gadgets. This is my first so-called wearable. A wearable fitness band wasn’t even on my wish list, but since I’d been given it as a gift, I thought I’d give it a go. I was also given this just before heading off to Glastonbury Festival so I thought it might be interesting to know about how much walking I actually do there (it’s a lot!) and compare that with my normal life.
It’s one of the less expensive wearables. It uses a normal micro usb port to charge it up so I can use one of the myriad chargers I have and it’s light and relatively comfortable to wear. It does look odd though as it’s just a black band. I’d like it better if it also had a watch face on it – digital or analogue, I don’t mind. But something that would give it a more regular purpose than simply being on my wrist would be helpful.
Allegedly, this band uses NFC as one of the mechanisms to update the proprietary software – Lifelog. Despite having a lovely Google Nexus 7 tablet, I couldn’t get it to work consistently so I use the low-powered Bluetooth instead. It’s not perfect, it takes a little while to update and a few refreshes, but it gets there eventually. It also means I don’t have to actually have the two devices touching in order to get them to sync up. The touching thing is not terribly convenient when one is in a wristband and the other is in a hard case.
Because the device doesn’t have a screen, I’m sure I don’t use all the functionality correctly. I sync it, I charge it up and that’s about it. I don’t have the patience to be fiddling with the button presses – press once for this, press twice for that – and remembering what that actually means. So I have it on the same mode all the time and I have it on automatic nightmode. I really wanted it to just, you know, work. Is that too much to ask?
I’m still wearing the device, although I’m not entirely sure why as I don’t love it. Here’s why I don’t love it…
The alarm is really annoying. The idea is that the band will wake you up between a certain time interval at the point where you are sleeping the most lightly so it doesn’t come as a shock to the system. Except that the buzzing alert feels like a small electric shock to me and it’s so horrid, that I switch it off as quickly as possible and go straight back to sleep! Something that started more gently and rose in intensity would be much better. The vibration thing is just a bit too harsh. That was disappointing. I had high hopes of being woken up gently and feeling refreshed! Tis not to be.
I don’t know when the battery is running down. I think it’s supposed to emit a light, but if/when it does, I haven’t noticed it. So the device has run down its battery on a few occasions which means I’ve skipped some meaningful days of data when I actually was doing a lot of walking or exercise or whatever. Maybe a visual alert on my tablet would be more useful. Or, you know, if it was also a watch (even a really simple one), it could show me something there.
The nightmode is weird. I’ve managed to switch it on at times when it’s not night (I don’t know what I did) and other times, it hasn’t kicked in. Your sleep is only measured when it’s in nightmode so if you’ve had a very late night, and you’re still dancing in your nightmode hours, those steps aren’t being counted. And then when you sleep your day away, your sleep pattern isn’t measured. I’m sure there is a way to switch it on and off but I haven’t worked out or remembered how to do that.
The Lifelog app is a bit rubbish. Yes, I can see some nice graphs of how many steps I’ve taken by day, week or month, but there’s no context to it. I can’t annotate the data, e.g. adding a location – Glastonbury Festival, or my Mum’s house. And I can’t extract the data either. And it doesn’t link in with any other apps such as myfitnesspal, which I might use more if they synched with each other. And I can’t keep the lifelog app on for any length of time as it’s a massive battery drain so I only monitor activity on the smartband (you can also monitor your online activity).
There’s also no real meaning… what does it mean if I’ve done 5000 steps or not. Should I be doing more? If I do less, what’s the consequence? How does this compare with other women of my same build, height, weight and age?
The good thing is that I now know what 5000 steps looks like (it’s basically a walk to my local supermarket and back). I also know that I spend a large proportion of my time sat at my desk. And my sleep isn’t as good quality as I thought it was.
So maybe it has its uses. And I am still wearing it, so at some level, I must be getting something out of it otherwise I wouldn’t bother at all. But would I pay £70 or so for it, nope. And why would you when the new Xiaomi Mi Band is just £8 for more or less the same functionality and a 30-day battery life? Oh, and it’s prettier than the Sony Smartband too.
Read Wearables Part 2 - What about the data?
Wearing the Sony Smartband more or less every day for the last 5 or 6 weeks has got me thinking about wearables. It’s a constant reminder that my data – my activity levels (or lack thereof), my location, my sleep patterns, and more, are being tracked by this tiny little device. I’m trusting that Sony hasn’t included any backdoor into this and is tracking anything other than what they say they’re tracking, but they could be. And there are more sophisticated devices tracking body temperature, your pulse rate and lots more besides.
To have any utility for the Lifelog application, you have to upload your data and all of this is being stored and managed in the cloud. That means Sony knows a lot about us. And Sony is fairly new to this game – think about how much data there is courtesy of the Nike Fuelband or the Jawbone devices that are already popular and out there.
I’m not even sure what terms and conditions I’ve accepted with regards to using this device or whether it’s even possible to use the device and monitor all this activity at a local level. I’m surprised at my own ambivalence about the data privacy aspect. This is very personal health and wellness data being collected and is in the hands of corporate servers, outside of the UK and probably outside of the EU (I’m guessing the US, but I have no idea). Am I placing too much trust in Sony to keep this data safe and secure? Do they even know what they’re doing with it? I can only see some of the data as I can’t extract it to use or visualise it anywhere else. And I actually don’t know what is being collected or saved at the server level.
So three hypothetical scenarios are running through my head -
1. What if a rogue Sony employee or corporate spy were to hack into the system and extract my data? What’s the worst they could do with it? Would that impact on my life? Does it matter? In what cases does it matter?
2. What if the government got hold of the data? Would it affect my chances of getting access to specific healthcare? Would it improve or worsen the healthcare in my local area? What’s the worst that could happen if the government got hold of the data?
3. What if AN other big business got hold of the data (say through a partner data-sharing agreement)? If it’s a marketing company, how would that affect the adverts that I see or how I get communicated with? What assumptions (right or wrong) could or would be made? What if an insurance company got hold of it? Would they withhold insurance from me? Would it affect the pricing of personal health insurance?
In the first scenario, I’m not sure what the worst is that they could do except sell the data to the government or to a big business. And in the latter two scenarios, there are pros and cons of large organisations having access to this data.
The trouble is, life is complicated enough already. I have a hard time keeping up with daily life as it is. Do I want the added responsibility of having to keep up with my data life as well. Yes, I am bothered about who has my data and what they use it for. But the practicality of the matter is that I probably don’t have the time to do much about it unless there’s a crisis. By which time, it will probably be too late.
What are your thoughts on this?
Want to read my review of the smartband? You can do that here: Wearables Part 1 – Sony Smartband review
I met Hugh MacLeod many years ago at London Geek Dinners when he was living in London and just getting into the whole social media thing. I have one of his limited edition posters too from his time at Stormhoek wine. More recently, I’ve signed up to his Gapingvoid newsletter. Yes, it serves to promote his artwork and business services that are both for sale, but I really enjoy the pithy commentary and the cartoons that he shares. It’s one of the few newsletters that has escaped Unroll.me. And today’s really struck a chord with me. It’s about when not to have a meeting.
- there's no clear solution and the problem requires speed, not consensus
- more than half the people in the meeting will end up spending most of it playing with their phones
- no one is leading the meeting
- no one knows the agenda
- there aren't enough constraints
- you're holding the meeting just because you've always held a meeting at this time
- most people are in it for the snacks
- you don't really need anyone else's ideas i.e., it's not for brainstorming
- you're facing down a dragon
These are all good tips for when not to have in-company meetings. And even for one-to-one meetings, or ‘catch-ups’, I think it’s clear to know the agenda – i.e. what’s in it for either party. Sure, it’s nice to catch up now and then, and that can be reason enough (as long as that’s clear), but if you have a lot of contacts (and some of us have met a lot of people along the way), catching-up with even 5% of them is simply not feasible. So next time you think you need a meeting, think on whether you really need a meeting or not!
Source: Gapingvoid newsletter
In case you hadn’t heard, it’s the annual pilgrimage to Glastonbury Festival of the Performing Arts next week. And it’ll be my 7th visit. It is the largest green field festival in the world and has over 175,000 visitors.With that many people, there’s a lot of infrastructure to put in place – sanitation, water, waste, food, parking, camping, entertainment, power, connectivity… those last two are important for the administration of the festival but also to us lowly festival-goers.
Even though one of the delights of the festival is going back to basics and, if you spend your time in the permaculture garden, the green fields, or the tipi fields, then it’s also rather lovely to spend time in nature and living ‘off-grid’. However, you still need to find your friends, find out what band is next on your ‘to see’ list, when and where your woodworking workshop is on, or when your appointment with the reiki healer is. We also use our phones for telling the time. When you don’t have a mirror, the front view camera is also useful to check you don’t have mud smeared across your face! Over the last 15 years or so, our day to day behaviour has been subtly and not so subtly changed by the mobile phone. And because of that, at the very least, we expect to be able to power up and to have connectivity. We also expect our favourite festival to supply us with an app to fulfil all our festival line-up needs.
So connectivity – it’s always been an issue at Glastonbury. So many people, in a small amount of space, all wanting to connect at the same time. It’s fair to say that coverage has been flaky over the years, SMS turn up days later, if you get a call, you can’t hear what people are saying anyway as there’s always a lot of noise, and if you get a text or email, and it’s sunny, you can’t read it anyway. Still we try. And we expect it. How else are you going to find your friends?! We are so unused to saying ‘I’ll meet you at 4.30pm by Gandhi’s Flip Flop (it’s a rather good veggie curry stall) and sticking to it. We’re reliant on SMS and other messaging services to keep our friends and colleagues updated as to where we are and how far away we are from them.
The festival has had on-going sponsorship from Orange, and now EE since the merger with T-Mobile, so for me, connectivity has never been much of an issue. And EE does have exceptionally good coverage on the site, including 4G and also, there’ll be Wi-Fi too. We allegedly had Wi-Fi last year but I never spotted it in action. I can’t say that coverage for O2 or Vodafone customers is as good.
Then there’s battery life. Oh what a joy to have the very basic phone last year with a battery that lasted for several days! At best, you’ll get a day out of your smartphone. A lot of phones these days do not have replaceable batteries so you have to either have a charged up battery pack (extra weight in your backpack – albeit small) or you have to queue for hours to sit by your phone that charges up way more slowly than it ever would at home.
This year, there’s a solution. You can buy an EE Festival Power Bar and swap it for a fully charged on on the site each time yours is drained. Well, you could… they sold out a while back. Hopefully people will be nice and share theirs around but who knows. Fortunately, I’m volunteering this year and at our camp we’ll be able to charge up our phones without queuing for hours. I’ll still be taking my extra batteries and battery pack.
And now for apps… there’s a Glastonbury app. There’s been a Glasto app for at least 7 years and it’s never been much good. It has improved somewhat, but there are still usability issues with it. I think they’re probably trying to get too much into one app. And the app is only any good if you have a higher-end smartphone with plenty memory left. It’s a chunky old file. And it’s only Android and iOS. So for BlackBerry or Windows Phone users, erm, tough.
There are a couple of new digital innovations this year. First up, the 100 page programme is now available as a free PDF download or as an interactive app for iPhone or iPad. I can’t imagine the PDF rendering particularly well on a small screen but we’ll see.
More interesting is the fact that they’re using contactless payments on site this year. This can be with a contactless card or with the Cash on Tap app. Of course, this will only work if the connectivity holds up for the terminals and you haven’t drained your battery or lost your phone in the mud on your way home from Shangri La at 4 in the morning!
More about EE’s Glastonbury services here.
Last year’s post in the same vein: 2013 is the year of Glastonbury Mobile.
Right, must dig out my wellies and give them a bit of a clean before I head off next week!
It’s Friday afternoon, so maybe you’d like to line up a bit of reading for the weekend? If news and media are your thing, here are a few links that may be up your street. And a few other ones besides. Enjoy.
An Empirical study of factors that influence the willingness to pay for online news – I’ll be honest, I haven’t read this yet, but it certainly looks interesting. It’s on my reading list for my journey up to Manchester tomorrow.
Publishers just don’t get mobile. This is a piece by Jez Walters who wonders why publishers just don’t get mobile. It’s well worth a read. I would argue that it’s not just publishers who don’t get it, but they probably have most to lose right now by not getting it. I meet media owners all the time and some do mobile better than others and some put more resources and effort into mobile than others. Interesting times indeed.
Who killed magazines? Another piece looking at the demise of the mobile magazine app. It’s from a US perspective, but there are some good insights here as to what could kill your mobile app strategy before it has even started.
Decline of newspapers hits a milestone with lowest print revenues since the 1950s. Print ad-dollars are not being replaced by digital ad-dollars. As if we need telling again, but just in case you do….
Native advertising works at treat but is dependent on platform and device: ‘native advertising – where an ad matches the form and function of the user experience and feels less intrusive – is pulling up trees in terms of reader engagement and click-through rates (CTRs). Hearst Publishing, which has 300 magazine titles to its name, let the cat out of the bag with its disclosure that a native ad campaign within Harper's Bazaar achieved a CTR of up to 1.5%; that compares with the US industry average of 0.1% on traditional display ads.’ Read the article for more.
Nine lies we tell ourselves about mobile (especially pertinent for those who are newer to the sector). An excellent read.
Measure for measure, the difficult art of quantifying return on digital investments. This is an interesting read from CapGemini Consultants, but the irony is not lost on me about on their choice of medium to share this report. This e-book is unreadable on my laptop screen, let alone a mobile device. It’s easier to handle if you download the whole thing as a pdf rather than struggling with their ebook format. If you can bear to work through that, there are some nuggets in there.
We can’t escape that the World Cup is looming and as part of that frenzy, the IAB and OnDevice Research have created a rather lovely piece of work looking at the global mobile perspective of the World Cup 2014. If you are doing anything in sport and mobile, or your customers are, this is worth a look.
This week’s Mobile Fix from Addictive! is a cracker as usual. Well worth a read.
The New York Times innovation report is still on my reading list. Hopefully I’ll get round to this one at the weekend too.
Mary Meeker’s annual slidedeck of key internet trends is out. Essential viewing for anyone with even a vague interest in digital and mobile technology. Plenty ammunition in this deck to convince your boss to go mobile sooner rather than later.
And now for something completely different… LJ Rich, who some of you may know from BBC Click, has written up about what it’s really like to live with perfect pitch. It’s totally fascinating. ‘For me, a laugh is almost always in a major key – crying is almost always in a minor key, regardless of language’ and other gems. A must read.
It’s a busy time at the moment, what with consulting projects, speaking gigs (including a recent trip to keynote a conference in Norway) and plotting my own events. And next week is particularly busy. If you’re in Manchester or London, you may want to join me.
Monday 9 June – Mobile Monday Manchester demo night. I’m chairing the event and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the different companies have to offer. It should be a good night and I’ll report back on proceedings next week. Tickets have sold out, but if you’d like to come, drop me a line and I’ll see if I can get you in. Or contact the lovely Sabine directly (she’s in charge you see!). If you’re in Manchester and fancy a catch up before demo night, I have some time on Monday afternoon for a coffee. Get in touch if you’d like to meet.
Tuesday 10 June – The Europas! Mike Butcher and his team have put together an unconference by day and an awards ceremony by night. There are just a few tickets left if you’d like to come by. I believe there are some open mic spots as well as different sessions to delve into during the day. I’m interested to see what the conversation is around mobile.
Wednesday 11 June – Responsive advertising briefing with Brand Perfect and Elizabeth Line of the Studio, Condé Nast, New York. It should be a really interesting discussion over lunch getting some insight into how Condé Nast operates in our new digital world. Tickets are £30 or free if you’re a member of the Brand Perfect community (it’s free to join). Details here.
Thursday 12 June – What’s next in mobile? is on at DigitasLBi and I’m doing a session with Rafe Blandford, Ilicco Elia and Sergio Falletti talking about apps vs. web amongst other things. It starts at midday and goes on for the whole afternoon with a variety of sessions covering pretty much all aspects of mobile as it pertains to brands. It’s also free to attend but space is limited. Message me if you’d like to come or get in touch with Julia Conroy at DigitasLBi to request a place.
And then on Friday, it’s back to my desk and catching up on a week’s worth of emails and the like….
I was lucky enough to be able to attend Wychwood Festival for the third time at the weekend. It was their tenth birthday to boot. Due to commitments at #Regenttweet, I was only able to go for the last day but it was a great day and I still got to camp and do all the things I wanted to do. Plus I got up close and personal for Sunday’s headline act, The Boomtown Rats, which was one of my main reasons for going. I last saw them a very long time ago and although Johnny Fingers is now enjoying life in Tokyo, the rest of the band were definitely up to the mark and Sir Bob was on top form.
But that’s not the only reason to love Wychwood Festival. If you’ve never been to a festival or not sure about the whole camping at a festival lark, let me reassure you that Wychwood is a great place to start, especially if you have children. It truly is one of the best festivals in the UK for children as my friend Jane has written about over on her blog.
Let me give you 10 more reasons to love Wychwood Festival
1. Clean toilets. No really. They were kept really clean, fully stocked with toilet roll – even on Monday morning as we were leaving, and they had plenty of flushing toilets too if you were so inclined. Seriously the best festival toilet experience ever.
2. It’s a manageable size. You can pretty much see where everything is, you’re not far from the car park, the stages are just a few minutes from each other so there’s no tramping for an hour in mud between stages to see your favourite bands. It also means it’s a quick nip back to the tent or Happy Camper, in my case, to pick up a sweater for the evening or drop off purchases made at one of the many stalls.
3. Free lock-ups. They have these at Glastonbury Festival and I volunteered for them there one year. They’re great. You can leave whatever you like there – whether that’s money you don’t want hanging around your tent, spare phone, your bike, your rucksack – seriously, you can leave anything there. They’re open 24 hours a day so you can drop off and pick up at any time and all they ask you for is a donation to charity. £2 is probably about right. No more worrying about leaving your valuables in your tent or your car.
4. It’s the easiest camping ever. Also accessible if you’re in a wheelchair. There’s lots of space for starters so you’re not sharing tent nylon with your neighbour and you can really make it home for the weekend. Not only that, as the festival is on a racecourse, there are concrete paths everywhere so even if it has been raining, you don’t get the levels of mud that you get at other festivals. I even brought my suitcase and could roll it along the paths rather than lug my backpack out of mothballs for the night. I also spotted a fair few people in wheelchairs. As the terrain is so flat and there are lots of paths, it makes it that much easier if you’re in a wheelchair. Brilliant all round!
5. Arts and crafts – there’s stuff to do for grown ups as well as kiddiwinkles. I made myself some enamel earrings, joined a drumming workshop, and if I’d been there the whole weekend, I would also have done some yoga, ukulele playing and maybe even some wood-carving and had a massage afterwards to boot. As it was, there’s only so much you can fit into one sunny afternoon in Cheltenham.
6. Hot showers – this isn’t such a big deal for me at a festival. Why queue when you could be doing something else so a combo of a folding washing up bowl and a ton of wet wipes is how I usually manage. But it is nice to be able to have a hot shower to revive yourself. And if you pick a time that isn’t 9am in the morning, the chances are you won’t have to queue at all.
7. Excellent range of food – and it’s well priced too. Whether you want festival favourites like Pura Vida (Tex Mex), Asian, Lebanese, pizza, chips, crepes or a bacon butty, it’s all there and it’s all very well priced.
8. Beer – for those reading this who like proper beer, then you’ll be delighted with Wychwood Brewery and their Hobgoblin Beer Festival at Wychwood. They had all kinds of beer, pale ales and bitters on offer so for beer fans, it’s really rather good.
9. Superspa DJ Festival Hot Tubs – I wish I’d known in advance they would be there (I’d have brought a swimming costume) and I wish I’d had more time so I could participate. Basically, there was a big chillout tent of hot-tubs with DJs, bean bags for relaxing, a stint in the hot tub, with a drink in hand, and a hot shower afterwards. Nice one!
10. The music – There’s a really good mix of music genres and a great mix of old-timers and new-comers. Despite its relatively small size, there are several music stages, each with a full line-up across the three days. That means there’s plenty to choose from. Here’s my best shot of Bob Geldof.
11. The comedy – when the music is finished in the Hobgoblin Bar, it reverts to a comedy venue and it’s brilliant. It’s always a blast and to be highly recommended.
12. Bonus for the mobilists amongst you. Mobile payments were spotted in the wild. I spied one of the stalls advertising that they used iZettle
And you could also donate to the lovely people at charity Toybox via SMS text:
Text ‘STREET WEB’ to 70555 to donate £3.
Text Costs £3.00 plus network charge. Obtain bill payers permission.
And what an interesting charity they are – I had no idea that not having a birth certificate could cause so many problems in countries like Brazil.
So if you fancy going to a festival next summer, then I can highly recommend Wychwood. They’ve even set up a special price for ticket sales for next year and you can pay in instalments. It’s currently £99 for an adult weekend ticket including camping and there’s a 2 for 1 offer for disabled visitors – details here. Not only that, you can spread your payments and never pay more than this year’s ticket price with the innovative Ticket for Life scheme. Pay 25% deposit and then 9 monthly payments by direct debit. What a great idea.
So well done Wychwood. Another great festival under your belt and looking forward to 2015.
p.s. could we have some more female artists please? Thanks ever so.
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
I went to an interesting talk last night, Creativity and Collaboration, at The Purcell Room in London. It was a discussion, demonstration and performance on the power of collaboration with writer Margaret Heffernan, surgeon Roger Kneebone (what a brilliant name for a surgeon!) and musicians Joanna MacGregor and Andy Sheppard.
Our culture is fixated on winning – whether that’s TV shows turning hobbies into competitive sports (think baking, allotments and dressmaking) or corporate organisations who routinely measure performance to weed out the weakest and focus attention on the strongest or ‘Hi-Per’ as in ‘High Performance’.
During the discussion, each panellist shared their ideas about the value of collaborative working – essentially the antithesis of our current culture of winning – whether that’s a surgeon in the operating theatre, an entrepreneur putting a team together or musicians playing and improvising. The best performing collaborations worked in such a way that mutual understanding becomes instinctive and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Tacit knowledge of each other, built through years of trust, respect, conflict and osmosis, seems to be the key to successful collaborations. But why collaborate at all?Margaret Heffernan, author of A Bigger Prize: Why Competition isn’t Everything and How We Do Better, explained how competition is actually destructive by relaying the story of an experiment with chickens.
While studying natural selection, William Muir, a geneticist at Purdue University, ran an experiment measuring the egg-laying productivity of two flocks of chickens. The first group was a free flock, the birds could roam and mingle as they pleased, while the second comprised only the most productive birds who were specially picked for their ability as the best egg-layers. The two flocks of birds were then left alone to their own devices for a few generations. When they looked at the birds again, the free flock birds were laying eggs at a furious pace and were healthy. But for the descendants of the ‘high achievers’, it was a different story. Most had been killed by hens that saw them as rivals, and the few survivors were in a sorry state, harrying and pecking at one another unforgivingly.
Does this sound like your workplace? Margaret alluded to the fact that it does sound like many workplaces. I hope it doesn’t sound like yours, but I fear for many that coming top, being the best, is at great expense both to one’s own health and the health of those around you and the health of the business you’re working in. We talk about pecking order, being hen-pecked, being a chicken (i.e. a wimp), headless chicken, chickens coming home to roost, to chicken out. I’m sure there are more. Maybe there’s something in this…? It certainly resonated with the audience as there were gasps as Margaret relayed the story.
I didn’t take notes during the session (perhaps I should have done), but I came away with some thoughts…
Competition isn’t the be-all and end-all. Collaboration is a much more successful, if more problematic and difficult strategy. Egos get in the way. The chemistry might not be right. Timing might be out of kilter. Life throws a curve ball at you. There are lots of reasons why collaborations fail but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.
I’ve always enjoyed collaborative work. Perhaps that’s why I still remember my years at Swan Youth Theatre so fondly – we joined together with a common goal, we had limited resources, but found a way to make a production happen, we fought and we argued, we got tired and fraught, but we helped and supported each other, we learned new things and we had a great time doing it. The majority of my early work experience was in stark contrast to this and was much more dog eat dog and much of it was very unpleasant as a result. And pretty much all my schooling from the age of 9 upwards was about ranking in class and being in the top stream. I’m not sure what good it did any of us. I’m quite sure I learned much more during my time at youth theatre.
The panel were also supportive of failure. Our culture hasn’t given much credence to failure, yet we learn most from our failures. All the panellists reiterated that failures (things not going as expected, bum notes, things not going to plan) gave them more agility to deal with change and difficulties in the future. It strengthened the bond of the collaboration in many instances. Margaret explained that failures should be more than tolerated and that we need to learn from them. She said the only failure that she would reject in the workplace is repetition of the same mistake which shows a lack of attention.
The other key thought I had coming away from the talk was about the length of time needed to forge strong working relationships in teams – whether those teams work together from time to time or more frequently. A lot of time needs to be spent in each others’ company in order to build up the trust, respect and knowledge of each other in order to work well together. You have to find ways to overcome conflict too and in doing all of that, you’ll be able to work in harmony – the kind of harmony Roger Kneebone described when sharing a story about the surgical team who had worked for decades together. He brought the team back together for a surgical simulation to try to get to the bottom of how surgical teams work. The simulation was filmed and when you slowed the film right down to see the interaction between the nurse and the surgeon, you could see that the nurse actually passed the instrument to the surgeon before he actually asked for it. That’s tacit knowledge at play. And takes years of practice.
Yet in our current work culture, it’s very common for employees to change jobs every year or two. Research in the US suggests that the average number of jobs an individual will have between the ages of 18 and 44 is 11. That’s a lot of job changes. And that means that these strong working relationships don’t have time to be fostered. Very often when I work with a client from a large company, I’ll know more people at that company than they do. People simply don’t have the time or don’t take the time to get to know their work neighbours. I wonder what we’re missing out on because we’re not forging strong enough connections with each other?
I’ll be adding Margaret’s book to my reading list.
I’m lucky to be born with a curious mind and to have plenty of opportunity to exercise that curiosity as part and parcel of the consultancy work I do. And because of that curiosity, I tend to notice more of the new stuff and because of my experience over 25 years in sectors ranging from retail, the arts, construction, public transport, media, advertising and mobile, I can put some of this into context for my clients when it comes to working with them on their mobile strategies and planning.
Last week, I was thinking about insurance and financial services and mobile. This week, I’m back at one of my regular stomping grounds of news media and mobile.
Both sectors are rooted in their ways of doing things. Neither has adapted that well to the digital world. Both sectors are aware that change is happening, but neither seem to be aware as to how fast that actually is (hint – it’s faster than any of us can imagine). Neither sector are clued up about technology beyond what they already know and use – in insurance and backing there are legacy systems from the early days of computing and in newspapers, it’s about print production and the technologies around that. And neither sector consider technology to be core of what they do. Maybe they’re right, but my hunch is that that may be holding them back as they’re not able to attract the right people to their organisations.
Interestingly, both sectors now seem to be embracing some developer culture in organising hackathons, opening up APIs for those hackathons and wanting to engage more with the start-up and tech community. It’s tricky though. When you’re not used to sharing, when you’re not used to open dialogue with external parties and telling them what’s actually going on rather than what you want them to know, it’s difficult to start doing that now. And there are so many hackathons going on in London right now, it may well be too late to join that bandwagon and a new format or approach may be required. Nevertheless, I’m pleased to be seeing collaboration activities happening.
I’ll be honest. I was disappointed last week at the FinTech event I attended last week. Nothing wrong with the event per se, but I didn’t see anything new or exciting or noteworthy. The discussions were sensible in many respects and the Aviva CIO was very interesting to listen to. But there was no leadership or real vision for what the future holds in how our daily lives are changing, especially in relation to the internet of things, big data, privacy and therefore what that might mean for the future of insurance or banking for those people.
The global media industry fares a little better although there are glimpses of hope from the UK. Yesterday, I heard some very interesting case studies from Hearst and how it’s tackling new digital properties and how The Times is moving from having readers to having members. And today, the FT.com’s story, as ever, is a strong one when it comes to digital leadership and actually trying new things (car interfaces, smart TV apps) and having its eye on what’s coming next. The majority of media owners I talk to outside the UK are still very wary of making these leaps of faith as they’re not sure what the next thing might be. Most media owners think their competition is other media owners. I imagine it’s not – look at the rise of The Young Turks, Bleacher Report and Jamal Edwards’ SB:TV empire. Bedroom media moguls all of them. No-one saw them coming (except maybe Google, Twitter and Facebook).
Well, I’d love to be able to tell you what that is. I don’t know what it is. I think it would be fair to say that no-one really does. Not even FT.com, The Times, Hearst et al. None of us are fortune-tellers. All those companies are openly experimenting, investing in systems, people and processes that are adaptable to change. Another thing they all have in common is really understanding their customers – bringing the experience back to humans – what we want, how we use our devices, when we use them, the content we want to read, the content we enjoy and share the most – that data driven insight then drives the thinking behind new products, services and revenue streams.
Ultimately, what needs to happen is culture change. Getting the right technology system or platform in won’t save your business. Rethinking your business in relation to the digital age just might. Will we still need car insurance with driverless cars? And what does the future of news look like? It certainly doesn’t look like a printed newspaper.
I’m going to leave you with some quotes that have kept popping up on my radar in the last few days:
Jack Welch — 'If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.'
John Kotter – ‘The rate of change is not going to slow down anytime soon’
Karen Lamb – ‘A year from now, you may wish you’d started today’
I don’t need to give you more stats on how mobile is eating the world or the exponential growth of mobile media and advertising. You can use a familiar search engine to find that out. Hey they even have a whole section dedicated to telling about that with Our Mobile Planet. What I would urge you to do is to do *something*.It may not be the right thing and it won’t be the last thing you do either. Don’t be afraid to experiment, to fail, to learn and to start again. Don’t be left behind though. Create a future you, your family, your friends and your customers will want to be part of.
I must be a glutton for punishment or something! It’s almost 13 years since the first ever Swedish Beers party in London and this will the eighth party in Barcelona… Oh my goodness, doesn't time fly?
Here we are again in February which means only one thing - it's time for Swedish Beers! It’s all systems go for Mobile World Congress and Heroes of the Mobile Fringe. And as part of that, your favourite networking party is back to bring you more beer and more chat.
We do have some lovely sponsors lined up for you but there's room for one or two more if you fancy getting involved. Get in touch with Helen to discuss. More will be announced over the coming days and weeks.
Like our previous events, this is a relaxed evening, no formalities, no presentations, no business cards thrust in your face as soon as you arrive. Just come with an open mind, be prepared to see friends old and new, talk nonsense, enjoy a drink or five and have yourself a good time. Oh, and leave the ties, the corporate personas and the sales spiel at the door please. The Swedish Beers crew will be on hand to welcome you as well as the friendliest bar staff in town.
No need to RSVP unless you want to. There's no guest list, no tickets and there's no guaranteed entry. Just come and go as you please. If you do register, it does mean that you can add the event to your calendar and search for it in your email and easily share with friends. Fill in the form below or go direct to the eventbrite page.
It is likely to get a bit busy at times. But don't worry, people will be coming in and out all evening. That’s kind of the point as we know there’s always a lot going on and you might want to check out more than one party. If it's very busy, there's no need to queue to get in. Just check out one of the other bars nearby and come back a little later when it's a bit less frantic.
There is a small cloakroom area at the bar, but it's not secure so leave the laptops in your hotel room or apartment where they will be safe and won't get in anyone's way.
The venue is our favourite haunt with the friendliest bar staff in town, Dos Trece -http://dostrece.net/
We'll be open from 7pm through until the early hours.
AQL is our first confirmed sponsor - more tbc. I’ll introduce all our sponsors over the coming days and weeks.
See you in Barcelona!
This is a Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival Event http://mobileheroes.net/
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Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/swedishbeers
I do a lot of public speaking. I always have done. At primary school, I was given the good speaking parts because I had a clear voice and a good memory. As a teenager, I acted my socks off at my local theatre and as an adult, I’ve been speaking in public in every job I’ve had – whether it was running a training course, hosting a fashion show or giving the keynote at an international conference. It’s very much second nature to me and something I enjoy doing. Don’t get me wrong, despite years of practice, I still have to prepare – including rehearsing out loud. But I don’t have stage-fright or nerves in the same way that others have it. That element of stage-fright for me is excitement rather than fear and the cue to go on with the show. And I see public speaking as being a very important way to communicate your story and market yourself or your business, whether you’re in a panel discussion or on stage showcasing your latest wares.
It doesn’t always go right though, as this video shows. It’s from CES just a couple of weeks ago and it’s Michael Bay talking up Samsung on the main stage.
It looks like he’s under-prepared and under-rehearsed. I expect Samsung paid him a lot of money to come up on stage and say nice things about their kit, but without the teleprompter, he had nothing to say. I guess that’s also why he’s a movie director rather than an actor.
Don’t let this happen to you. And don’t let this put you off either!
Here are some resources I’ve come across recently which may help you if lack of preparedness, stage-fright or just sheer dread thwart you.
Zach Holman has put together a lovely website with everything you need to know about preparing and delivering a conference talk. You can find it here http://speaking.io/. I don’t have much to add to his advice as it’s great except that it’s well worth watching and listening to other speakers. Sometimes it’s hard to take an objective view as you’re listening to them for the content and in a different context. But if you can, also check out their performance and see what you like or don’t like about how they’ve done it and have a think about how you could improve on that yourself. I find listening to panel discussions on Radio 4 quite helpful for this too as you’re not distracted by any slides or visuals and you can really tune into someone’s personal style.
Mary Portas tweeted this link the other day. It’s a short article about the one phrase you ought not to say. I concur and I’ve been guilty of this one in the past. You have been warned…
Of course, in order to do any public speaking, you need the chance to speak. Most commonly, this is about being accepted to speak at a conference. Here’s a link to some sound advice about putting that conference proposal together. It has a technical bent, but the advice is valid regardless of topic. There’s some more advice here too.
Public speaking is not rocket science. I’m glad that it’s not something that everyone’s good at as it leaves plenty of openings for me to do my thing. But it’s also clear to me it’s the sort of thing that you get better at the more practice you have. So don’t be shy. Have a go.
This is a lovely example of well-designed HTML for email marketing. I receive too many emails that are completely blank and just show placeholders for images, especially on my mobile phone or tablet. This is what you can do with a bit more thought.
What I don’t know of course, is how it does or doesn’t work on mobile…
Hat tip to @ChrisMear for sharing.
You may be forgiven for thinking mobile marketing is all about adverts on web pages seen on a mobile device or in-app advertising or sponsorship. For those of us who’ve been in the game for longer than we care to remember, SMS started the whole mobile marketing sector off back in 1999 yet it is often overlooked for newer ways to use mobile (i.e. mobile adverts) or for older formats (email, print, TV).
But it isn’t quite dead yet. I still use it – although not nearly as much as I used to. My sister is an avid texter and my nieces are still at it. However, for the first time, there has been a downturn in text messaging in the UK.
The main culprits for the downturn is the rise of messaging services like WhatsApp. It makes sense. As we find other, cheaper, more convenient ways to chat to each other, SMS services will get replaced. Why pay for SMS when you can have WhatsApp for free and you’re paying for mobile data anyway? I suspect Facebook messenger and email also have a part to play in this picture.
Let’s look at this growth with a bit of historical context… According to the Mobile Data Association (and they got their figures direct from the network operators), annual consumer usage 1999-2009 was as follows:
1999 - 1 billion; 2000 - 6.2 billion; 2001 - 12.2 billion; 2002 - 16.8 billion; 2003 - 20.5 billion; 2004 - 26 billion; 2005 - 32 billion; 2006 - 41 billion; 2007 - 56.9 billion; 2008 - 78.9 billion; 2009 96.8 billion
As you can see from the graph, SMS was still growing, year-on-year, at a healthy pace in 2010 and 2011. And even though there has been a drop-off, we’re still looking at about 120 billion SMS every year in the UK or thereabouts. That’s 4.5 times more than what we were using 10 years ago. That’s a lot of SMS.
So let’s not dismiss SMS quite yet. When you look at the annual figures, they’re still very healthy so I encourage you to think about SMS as part of your marcomms effort. After all, plenty of your customers are still using it and there may still be value in connecting with them via SMS – especially for customer service – another area often overlooked.
What is particularly exciting for us mobile marketers though, is how much activity is happening on mobile devices. Check out that email figure – 65% of us are accessing email on our smartphones. It really is huge. So if you haven’t ‘gone mobile’ yet, I really think it might be time for you to do so.
I was asked a few years ago what my advice would be to the first time mobile-marketer in terms of ‘going mobile’ and I said to make sure their email marketing was mobile friendly. I think the advice still stands. If you do nothing else in mobile, please make sure your email works on handsets – and test for lower end devices. Not everyone has the latest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy!
I can hardly believe this is going to be the third year of organising the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Festival in Barcelona. And on top of that, it will be my eighth Swedish Beers party in Barcelona. It has been quite the journey and certainly one that isn’t over yet.
The success (or not) of the festival is really down to YOU. I’ll be organising Swedish Beers (the bar is booked for Wednesday 26 February and I’ll have more details coming soon but feel free to connect on Facebook and Twitter to get updates). I am also organising an event with the UKTI aimed at investors on Sunday 23 February. And maybe one or two more things. But everything else is up to you and for you to make of it as you will. My goal in this is to help the right people get together and to help you make the most of the week.
Create an event. Whether it’s a small round-table, a panel discussion, a lunch, a dinner, a party or something else entirely, as long as it’s related to mobile, falls within the 23 to 28 February 2014 and is interesting*, then it’s in. It does not have to be held in Barcelona either – if you’d like to put something on in your town or city during those dates, then feel free. There were events in London and Helsinki last year – can we add any more this year?
Once you’ve created an event, please add it here so I can include it as a listing. There is no charge to list your event. I repeat, there is no charge to list your event!
If you need a venue, I may be able to help. I know some people locally who can help source, or I can recommend a few places. Barcelona is full of lovely bars and restaurants and many of them are very happy to welcome new guests.
If you have an event idea, but need some help fleshing it out, then feel free to run it past me – just add it to the list or drop me a line. I charge reasonable rates for organising events for clients. And if I’m not the right person to do it, then I probably know someone who is.
If you’re not up to organising your own event, but would like to sponsor something, then please get in touch. There are a couple of sponsorship slots available for Swedish Beers and there are a couple of other events I’d like to see happen subject to sponsorship.
If you have an event and would like to give it a bit extra marketing push, then get in touch. I can offer paid-for marketing services in this respect. Or I can make some recommendations.
And before you ask me about how to score an exhibition pass for Mobile World Congress, that’s the subject of another post. I don’t have a secret stash of them. In fact, I don’t even have one for myself.
See you in Barcelona!
*I have the final decision whether or not to include something in the festival or deem it interesting. Avoid the sales pitches and we should be good to go!
“KLM’s Meet & Seat lets you find out about interesting people who will be on board your KLM flight such as other passengers attending the same event as you at your destination.
Simply share your Facebook or LinkedIn profile details to check other participating passengers’ details and where they'll be sitting. Of course you can also choose your seat.”So it’s essentially networking on a plane or is it dating? Either’s possible, of course. And it doesn’t sound like my idea of fun on the face of it.
I like the serendipity of seeing who you end up sitting next to and whether or not you talk to them - chance is sometimes rather wonderful. And I also like it when I have a row to myself or a seat free next to me so I can have some down time and either prepare myself for the upcoming trip or contemplate on the trip that I’ve just been on.
On a practical note, as a woman, I think I'd feel vulnerable about someone specifically choosing to sit next to me on a flight... there are all kinds of stalker-y issues plus there'd be no escape for the duration of the flight if the person you end up with is a bore. Maybe it would be different if it were a flight to a big trade show where I'm already likely to know people on the plane. I’m also not one for getting up and around much on a flight – at least, not on a short-haul flight. But I guess you could arrange to meet up in the lounge beforehand or on the other side.
I can see its uses on flights to large trade shows like the upcoming Mobile World Congress where almost everyone on the flight is in the industry. But even then, it’s quite nice to hide in the corner and just observe what’s going on.
Wonder if it will work or not? What do you think?
Anyway, I don't fly through Amsterdam much so I guess I won't be trying it anytime soon but I'll be keeping an eye on it to see how it pans out.
It’s December 2013 already. Christmas is in the air and the TV is awash with Christmas TV adverts. So it’s only to be expected that there are some end of term reports from some of the big guns. And I’m afraid I’m reading them with mixed feelings which I’ll share with you.
Let’s start with BDO’s Retail Compass 2013. The survey “examined the opinions of 100 chief marketing officers at leading retailers located throughout the USA. The retailers in the study were among the largest in the country, including 11 retailers in the top 100 based on annual sales revenue. The telephone survey was conducted in September and October of 2013”.
The survey covers all aspects of retail but there is a section about mobile marketing.
In the press release, the focus for retailers is on traditional channels rather than mobile:
- 38 per cent of retailers are including mobile in their marketing strategy this year—down from 50 per cent in 2012—those who are embracing it are ramping up their efforts.
- Last year, mobile comprised an average of 5.9 per cent of retailers’ overall marketing budget; this year, that number has jumped to 15 per cent.
- With eMarketer predicting a 15 per cent rise in mobile shopping volume this year, the mixed survey results suggest that retailers remain divided as to the platform’s growth potential and its ability to convert sales.
- One strategy on which retailers are not divided, however, is print advertising: a plurality of CMOs (41 per cent) are investing most of their holiday budgets in traditional print ads, which have been a consistently popular medium over the last 4 years.
- And CMOs still believe in the power of TV to reach a wide audience: 29 per cent say they will spend the majority of their holiday advertising budget on broadcast.
- Retailers are looking towards social media, but don’t know the right mix (and probably don’t realise how much of it is on mobile and how that impacts on conversions if their offering isn’t mobile-friendly).
So good news for broadcast and print in the US, and for those who are working on mobile campaigns for retailers, it’s good news as the budgets are bigger – just fewer of them by some measure compared with 2012. I have to question what the decision making process is behind this when the growth in mobile and mobile commerce is rising at a very fast pace. Of course, I don’t know how the question was asked and it may be that the retailers are ahead of the curve and have a great mobile site and/or a range of mobile apps and that the assumption is that mobile marketing in this context means mobile advertising which maybe they feel they don’t need as their mobile offering is so strong. I live in hope of that anyway! I fear that retailers may have their heads in the sand and have not yet woken up to what’s happening under their noses and are missing out on opportunities today.
Download the full report here http://www.bdo.com/download/2972
Now let’s look at the UK. Adobe and The Guardian have just published a survey looking at the mobile marketing attitudes of 1427 executives in the UK. The free report makes for quite depressing reading about the UK state of play.
- More than 50% said their organisation had a fragmented approach or no strategy at all when it comes to mobile
- Most respondents are unconfident about their organisation’s ability to measure the success of their mobile channels (which I’m guessing is a hindrance to offering them at all)
- Most respondents felt their businesses would benefit from mobile marketing
- Respondents expect to see a significant shift in the number of customer interactions supported or driven by mobile
So why aren’t they taking the plunge?
Well, rather worryingly, a lot of respondents felt that mobile wasn’t going to overtake the desktop at all or within the next two years. Many don’t have the funds to support mobile initiatives or don’t believe their business would benefit at all.
That last point worried me so I took at look back at the kinds of organisations the respondents came from. As this was run by The Guardian, there were a disproportionate amount of responses from the public sector, the arts, charities/not for profit and education. I’m not entirely surprised that those organisations aren’t as clued up and/or don’t have the funds or willingness to go mobile, at least not yet. I would hope that the results would be more positive if there were more brands, agencies and retailers who had responded.
You can read more here.
I guess the good news for us working in mobile marketing is that there’s still plenty work for us to do. Need to get your senior teams up to speed with what’s going on in mobile marketing and media? Get in touch. I’ve done workshops with a variety of media owners and agencies in the UK and the Nordic region. Maybe I can do one for you?
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.