Mobile Marketing

Mobile Advertising For Everyone?

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Quick, you want to buy some mobile ads for your soccer team’s fundraiser and you want them to run locally.  Oh, and you need to run before next weekend. To whom do you turn? Nice question, huh?

I once tried to get a quote to run mobile ads in NY State, contacting Google’s AdMob group. There was no phone number so I had to send them an email.  They got back to me with a very underwhelming form letter months later. New school service.

If you want to run mobile ads these days you need experts, like a digital agency. And then you had better have a half millions dollars or they won’t take your call. Let’s not even talk about ad serving technologies, reports, and optimization of the ads.

Google.

The one company equipped to do mobile advertising for the masses is Google, via AdWords. Search is an especially important consumer need while mobile, and search is what Google does best, so why are they not launching a mobile-only version of AdWords? A version with an easy-to-use interface, from a site with DIY instructions, and offers quick turnaround?

As the mobile algorithms get smarter and more ads are served to phones unrequested, people are going to start to get mad.  And that’s a bad future for mobile advertising.  A good revenue future is for Google to own mobile search ads the way they do on laptops and desktops. Google needs to stop diddling around all the other stuff and open up this market. If they make it so that small businesses can buy mobile ads without needing a doctorate degree it will grow the overall market and give them an unfair share. Peace!

RIM needs a (name) change.

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Research In Motion needs a name change.  Don’t fight the people.  Change the name to Blackberry.  

Next issue, the company needs to go on offense; it’s been playing Dee too long. Readers will know how I felt about “Love” as the branding idea for its bazillion dollar ad campaign.  Not good.

RIM will announce quarterly results today and they are not expected to be pretty.  The worldwide smart phone market share leader, RIM is in the sights of Google’s fast growing Android operating system. And design-wise Apple iPhones have captured the imagination of the masses. So where does that leave RIM?  In a storm? Getting torched? Kind of where AOL was 8 years ago.  Or Yahoo was 3 years ago.  A leader treading water in a pool that is leaking. Leaking into a much bigger surrounding pool. RIM needs to see the future and go there. Right now it leads in business email. It leads in qwerty interface. It leads in web access, but these three things have diluted (another water metaphor) its brand idea. Hence love. 

Come on Blackberry. Fight back. Peace!

Mobi-sodes

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The next big thing will be a video webisodes channel for mobile devices. More and more today, you see people on trains and benches staring down at their mobile phones.  If they are not typing or moving the cursor they’re watching movies.

 Not everyone has time for movies.  You might have 20 minutes of alone time on the way to a museum, club or ballgame. You’re LOLed out and don’t want to bother someone with another inane cell phone conversation starting out with “Hey. What are you doing?”  The answer?  Log on and find some video programming. It will start out as a single curated channel called Mo-Tube or something, containing short length “mobi-sodes” of 16-22 minutes in duration. After a while there will be more channels and programming segments, but it will start with a single new branded channel. Not necessarily serial in nature, these mobi-sodes will be designed to load and stream efficiently and, I’m guessing will be available via subscription.   Aol, you feel me?

New Type of Programming.

This will be a new type of programming – not radio, not TV, not movies.  Just little chunks of original and mashed-up programming that stimulate the viewer, fill some time and get the brain moving. Mobi-sodes. Coming to a device near you…in three years or less.

 PS. I know someone will say the channel exists already, but if a tree falls in a the woods and no one is around….

NFL and Marketing Futures.

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The NFL is improving the in-stadium game experience by creating WIFI enabled smartphone applications that provide game watchers with information, audio and video heretofore only available to the TV watching audience. Got smartphone?  The second wave of these apps will provide an even greater level of entertainment and analysis than is available through the TV — but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  The business problem some teams are facing is that seat sales are down 3% since 2007 and TV viewership is up. With replays, color analysis and hi-def, the on-coach experience is excellent and free. The in-stadium experience needs to get better…and it is, thanks to smartphones. 

Consumer Goods Marketers

As consumer marketers put on their thinking caps and realize they need to improve the in-store shopping experience to better compete with online shopping, new worlds of smartphone applications will  turn up. Think aisle check-ins at the local Stop & Shop a la FourSquare, or pre-loaded Consumer Reports write-ups at your local car dealership. How about GPS-enabled restaurant reviews by cuisine or an olive oil rating app at the local specialty food store?  Help, I can’t stop! 

Thanks NFL for being so forward in your thinking. Peace!

Thinking Apps.

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Slide 4 in Mary Meekers’s Morgan Stanley presentation entitled “Internet Trends 2010” shows the pace of mobile internet adoption.  It compares iPhone/iTouch to that of  AOL’s desktop, Netscape desktop and NTT docomo iMode; laying out growth by users, by quarter from launch.

iPhone’s Internet access tipped 86 million users in its 11th quarter – less than 3 years.  Let’s just say the others never came close to coming close. (Check out the chart on slide 4.) Smartphone growth is hockey sticking. Motorola is starting to get it. HP bought Palm and should buy some corporate share.  Blackberry is too big and too rich to fail, even though they’re getting a little paunchy around the middle. And we haven’t even started to talk about the software guys Google (after its trivestiture), Microsoft (drawing a blank) and carrier switch provider Alcatel-Lucent.

Ladies and germs, smartphones are the future of computing, commerce and community. They will dock next to monitors and keyboards, but they are the device.  Think about the iPhone4’s new videoconference app. Wait for fingerprint apps, and galvanic skin response apps, sobriety apps….   Cool times, these.  Marketers, put on your thinking apps (I mean caps), innovation awaits! Peace!

Smartphone Apps Flowing Like Mothers Milk.

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Milk Monitor is an application available from the AppStore. It allows iPhone (and possibly iPad) toting moms to tap and record their babies milk consumption. The data can be stored, reviewed and trended at a later date.  Apparently moms like to do this kind of stuff – typically using bits of paper and napkins when recording on the road.  If you have a baby on your shoulder tapping is better than typing.  If you are carrying a smartphone around anyway and recording this data helps – especially for fussy babies — this is a great application. Go iPhone!  Go app developer!

Application development at the smartphone level is like life on another planet.  There are currently 80 trillion apps (JK) for the iPhone today and about 6,000 for the PC (please don’t retweet, I didn’t count).  Now most iPhone apps don’t get used, but that’s not the point.  Some may. Some may help. Some will even save lives. And that’s cool.

Just as Twitter will open new doors for smart marketers, smartphones and their apps will open new rooms for marketers.  The application developers who think like people first and coders second are the ones who will win.  

The developer of Milk Monitor deserves congratulations two times: one for the app, one for the new bouncing baby she’s feeding. Peace!

The Future of Video Ads.

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There was an interesting piece in the Huffington Post yesterday on the future of video. It’s author, Hunter Walk, director of product management at YouTube, believes in the near future video won’t be offline or online, it will just be.  That is, the video (TV shows, movies, consumer generated, music) we watch will be accessed on multiple devices, on demand, in hi-def.  This, says Mr. Walk, will be the result of improved wi-fi bandwidth (Aluminum foil hats will be big.), mad switching infrastructure and next gen streaming algorithms.

Those “anywhere, anything, anytime” ads of the 90s are coming true, it seems.  Anyway, with all of this video available, the competition will be crazy.  Forget searching for all this video for a minute, let’s think about monetizing the video. There should be two options: subscription and advertising.  The advertising approach will not be based on the television model, with pods of ads running throughout the stream. We are too evolved for that. My guess is there will be a single :30 spot at the beginning of a half-hour program and 60 seconds for an hour long program. Movies will support 90 seconds and user generated content and music video will be free.

This is the word of What’s The Idea. Peace!

Huffington Post, wi-fi, video, video advertising, whatstheidea, whats the idea, Hunter Walk, YouTube,

The Diffusion of Advertising

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Advertising ain’t what is used to was (a little Southernism I made up). Creation of big selling ideas by highly paid creatives and marketing people, broadcast to millions via TV, radio and print was the ad business.  Today, thanks to technology, the ad business is undergoing a diffusion like never before. Digital agencies, though not yet offered a seat at the big table, are new and important players.  Google is the most profitable advertising agency in the world and Facebook is hot on their trail.  And when I say “mobile advertising” does any one company come to mind?  That one is going to be huge…but it’s still to play out.

Buy or Build?

Big traditional ad agencies clearly see the need to offer digital, social and mobile but are asking themselves “Do we buy or build?” Right now they’re doing both: hiring someone smart in each discipline and using them to select cottage industry players who are truly immersed.  Better than last year, which was all “Go out and get me a subservient chicken.”  Or “Find me those nerds who built the US Weekly Facebook poll.”

I’ve long thought that mid-size agencies were poised to win in this diffuse advertising world, but now I’m not so sure. True, they can more quickly parlay a powerful branding idea into a market-moving integrated campaign but the model may not be extensible.

Bud Cadell is right when he says the old ad agency model is broken. It will take open minds, forward thinking, experience, software, an understanding of brand building, and lots of money to fix the process. I’m of the mind that the successful model is more likely to come out of MDC Partners than WPP.  It will be fun to watch though. Peace!

Spotlight On Social Media – Today and…

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Spotlight on Social Media was held yesterday in NYC, put on by the Participatory Marketing Network (PMN) and Direct Marketing Association (DMA).  There were a couple of important takeaways every marketer should think about. 

Intent.

Search is still important, no doubt, but it’s a little 2008.  Immediacy – what’s happening now — is the rolling thunder these days, so services like Twitter and Foursquare are the rage but the marketing future is something Rapleaf’s co-founder Vivek Sodera calls “intent driven” applications. Think of a suped up Four Square To Do tab. Facebook will certainly build an intent-based app and others in the VC pipeline will emerge, but just know intent+social+search+moblie is going to pay out lotto style. 

Unanonymous

I know, I know it’s not a word. But it’s a better word then unanonymize, which is the word that clanked like a dropped crowbar off Mr. Sodera’s tongue during his presentation.  Hee hee. That said, it’s a word that wonderfully describes what Rapleaf does. Rapleaf crawls the web and creates single records of an individual’s behaviors, activities and associations.  And surprisingly, it’s not that scary.  They do this using your email address and a cool piece of software. In email or direct parlance they append records using the social web. When I asked to be unanonymized, the Rapleaf software generated 100 of my web proclivities, the first of which was something called “Social Care” a membership I did not recall.  All the rest were spot on. 

Facebook

Facebook also presented at Spotlight and mentioned its 60 million daily logins put prime time television to shame. Sean Mahoney’s case studies of marketer successes were very impressive and prove that Facebook is the “new” digital. Its targeting capabilities are phenomenal.  There are specialty ad and marketing shops opening up just to handle Facebook-enabled selling and they’re worth looking in to.  It’s a cottage industry on the way to becoming transformational.   

Others

Other smart companies worth mentioning include Acxiom, a behemoth company that also transforms social data into social profiles (for targeted marketing), Cisco which has a neat B2B app in its NowVan program (like Kogi BBQ trucks for routers) and Air Miles a rewards program out of Canada, trying hard and having very good success. 

 Michael Della Penna of the PMN and Conversa Marketing and Neil O’Keefe of DMA deserve shout outs for empanelling a great program. Peace..it together!

Intelligent Clothes Tagging.

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Within a couple of years many newly manufactured clothes will contain inexpensive invisible data tags.  Much like a scanner tag you find on packaged goods these tags will contain brand name, style, store and price.  What will make them unique, however, is that they’ll be scannable via phone applications.  See a cool pair of shoes on the street?  Just point-and-click and immediately know what the item is. Think of it as a paparazzi for clothing thing.  Sure it will be annoying…but we’ll live with it.

As this service gets more sophisticated and cheaper and the geo-location and privacy implications resolved, manufactures and marketers will be able to aggregate data and read that in Brooklyn, 200,000 people are walking around in Chuck Tailors on Friday but only 75,000 people on Wednesday.  We’ll know black tee-shirts outnumber red 2:1 on Monday and sundresses are really worn on sunny days.

 And don’t even get me started about clothing tags tied to coupons, promotions, search terms or Twitter codes.  I can’t even process that.  For that add two more years. Peace!  

 PS.  This is but one chapter in my worldwide inventory theory.