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iPad Clothes.

Over the holiday season, 1 in 6 people who bought computing devices around the world bought Apple tablets.  In retail, the “attachment rate” is the rate at which people attach or bundle an additional product with the main purchase.  If you are a company that manufactures tablet carrying cases, you want your case attached to tablets.  And the notion of one case per tablet is silly.  

Were I in leadership position at a tablet case manufacturer, I’d spend some serious time designing for the youth market and start with college kids.  I’m not talking about putting stickers on iPad cases, I’m thinking much more function and fashion forward. What do college woman want in their cases? Science kids. Business nerds? Rastas, swimmers and lax players? iPad cases need not be the same form sold in different colors, they should be as diverse as the user community.

If you believe tablets are here to stay, then R&D is how you will become a leader in tablet cases.  Create visual designs and functional cases at price points that are affordable and fun.  Think tee-shirt collection. Clothes for your iPad. Some one – probably a college kid – needs to step up.  This is going to be a hot market. Peace! 

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Whoever coined the term “on-size-fits-all” got a lot of mileage out of that phrase.  Must have been an ad guy.  In this age of specialization, one size does not fit all, has actually gotten a lot more traction.  And as I read about Apple’s decision to come out with a smaller version of the iPad – a 7 inch version – it makes me wonder when the form factor of the tablet is going to settle down.  What will be the most useful and used size?  The Samsung Galaxy family is certainly larger than most mobile phones, but not a business-ready typing device.  Even the iPad, who just about every tech-forward person owns, is not the right size for vigorous typing.  Many iPad users tote along spiral notebooks to meetings.

The Microsoft Surface when released will goes bigger (but not too big), yet its felt-like typing surface seems to be an interesting breakthrough and may be a market changer. Especially for those who want to retire the pen and pencil.  

The ergonomics of the tablets, pads and large format phones have not yet found their level. Must they fit in a woman’s bag? A man’s back or front product?  It’s not the wild west, it’s just the wide open west. And most companies in the space are trying to find the right place to settle.  Apple, it seems, is continuing to experiment. Should be interesting to watch. Peace.

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Over the last two weeks I’ve read some great stories on Apple and its production situation in China.  The writers of the stories, both appearing in the New York Times, are certainly not Apple haters, but their point of view appears set.  The loss of American jobs is not a good thing but is justified by the low cost of production in China.  Factory workers there make about $17 a day. 

Anyone who reads the story, including references to 4 deaths and 77 injuries, might come away pondering avarice, patriotism, the quality of the American education system, population growth.  This is wonderful reporting and might, were Charles Dickens alive, make for a fascinating novel.  Do I smell a Pulitzer?  Mabes.

But here’s the real deal.  People want iPhones and iPazzles. The way to make them available is to offer them at a low price.  Apple wouldn’t have sold 200 million iPhones if they had cost $1,000 a piece. So this was just good business. It is a flat world.  Chinese production is our new reality.  African production will be our next reality. Then Antarctica.

We have pocketbooks and brains.   We can boycott Apple or buy Apple.  Americans love an underdog and we tire easily of the Overdog.  Apple, for decades, was the underdog – not anymore. Tom Cook’s job is going to be a hell of a lot harder than Steve Jobs.  Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t what? Peace!

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Biophilia is the name of a just released Bjork art project. An album available only on the iPad, this, by some accounts, is the first consumer controlled piece of music released to the world.  Though it will take some arrows and may not be a world class compilation of music, it’s what excites me about technology. One plus one does sometimes equal 3.

Much will be written about the new album, but one thing that is undeniable is it breaks new ground.

I recently worked on a project in the contemporary art world and Bjork’s project inspires me to wonder if consumer controlled paintings and mash-ups might be in our iPad or online future?  Any person who ever took an art class in college and created a painting knows it is not easy. Though, with the ability to copy and paste art elements from photos, online galleries and stock images together on a screen and create a print or canvases – that’s some cool.  No more pictures of cats next to fruit bowls in the dining room.

Consumer created content is part of the web’s DNA. Art appreciation is part of human DNA. New doors open every day and the doors that open to the art and music world are richer than most. Peace.

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RIP Steve Jobs.

A legend, a hero, a man.   In vary degrees, aren’t we all?

For a marketer and especially a brand planner there are two quotes to live by.  One is by Wayne Gretzky, the other by Mr. Jobs.

From today’s wonderful New York Times obituary:

“Mr. Jobs own research and intuition, not focus groups, were his guide. When asked what market research went into the iPad, Mr. Jobs replied: ‘None. It’s not the consumers’ job to know what they want.’ ”  Rest in…

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Twitch Point Planning is a communications planning technique I discuss with clients to get them to “understand, map and manipulate” media consumption in a way that moves viewers closer to a sale.  Twitch Points are called such because today’s tools make it way too easy to multitask and twitch away from one media form to another.  Un-planned, this can be a bad thing.  Planned, it is a good thing.

I was reading about Conde Naste’s biggest iPad success today, with The New Yorker magazine. 75,000 paid magazine subscribers have downloaded the iPad app and 20,000 people are subscribing via the app alone. As one looks at the behavior of The New Yorker readers (the first part of understand, map and manipulate) it is clear that these readers are there to read. They don’t want to twitch away to Wikipedia to look up authors, or watch YouTube videos of punk bands inspired by the authors.  Readers of The New Yorker want to read and don’t care to be spammed away. So, here’s an iPad app for New Yorker readers:  automatically send incoming calls to voicemail.  Hee hee. Peace!



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Do you know what is driving all the “free” on the Web?  Marketing. Not just advertising but marketing.  Why is Facebook so valuable?  Why does Google have more money than Allah? Where’s that money coming from?  Yep, Toyota and P&G and Verizon.

And as we glance beyond the dashboard at the future and see, as the iPad commercial puts it, newspapers with videos and magazines that sing, we see a world in which the Web and mobile devices are the primary instruments of marketers. The devices know what we like and where we are.  They know when we are sleeping. They know when we’re awake. Dare say, they know when we’ve been bad or good.

As the social web evolves and the big ad and marketing shops learn how to “map and manipulate”, it will become more apparent that people with influence are the drivers of marketing.  Kim Kardashian, for instance, earns $30,000 for a tweet.  To a tech start-up a Robert Scoble endorsement can mean the difference between being funded and being fun dead. So where am I going with this?  To Klout.

Klout is the new online oxy. It’s a drug…and more and more Posters will be talking about it. The Klout score will identify those people who advertisers want to target. And revere.  High Klout scores and predictions thereof will be the things around which ad agencies develop departments. Klout is on to something and they know it.  Get it right dudes and dudettes. And get it right soon before a competitors snaps it up. Peace!

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There is an iPad app for fans of Grey’s Anatomy, says CIO Magazine, developed by TV rating company Nielsen, that offers interactive social activities to viewers tied to events in the program. These events are “watermarked” to the show dialogue.  I’m interested.  Coolness.  I am always on the lookout for “1 plus 1 equals 3” mashups of media that go beyond the expected. That tread new ground.

And then I read that the Grey’s Anatomy app pops up questions like “What do you think will happen next in the plot?” “Or tweet this to a friend.”  Droop.  The app also offers character info, games and quizzes. Droopier. 

It sounds as if the media socialists on the show are making the app an extension of a fan club when there were so many other ways to go. The show is about medicine and doctors and hospitals, why not go that route?  Why not inform, educate, surprise?  Or how about offering up some type of production notes about the cast and the scene?  I’ll bet if the app developers actually listened to the audience in real time, without a social media engagement agenda, they might hear insights they hadn’t expected. Go deep. Think deeply. Think about strategy not tactics. Don’t extend, invent. Peace!

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The evolution of web traffic started with technology. Search begat the first big rush — but of course there had to be something to search so HTML really started it all.  After search came social networks (MySpace and Facebook) which allowed people to create websites or webpages thanks to templates and databases.  Allowing everyone (not just coders) to create a web presence opened this door. Then came music sharing sites and other media upload sites like Flickr and YouTube. All technology enabled.

During the build out of these tech-enabled web sites, communities began to emerge.  And so came enthusiast sites: Tech enthusiasts, movie enthusiasts. porn devotees, daters, news junkies. Those interested in healthcare. Communities sprung up, big and small, but mostly big.

Currently, we’re on an entertainment jag, with games and virtual goods, random video chat and anime mash-ups drawing the attention of the masses and venture money. The iPazzle (technology) is creating some new applications for sure, moving everything toward a single device, but it won’t explode web traffic exponentially.

So what’s next? What human need is not being met?  When we get tired of entertainment what will we seek?  What will generate massive traffic and engagement on the web?  It will be micro-communities. Noah Brief and Piers Fawkes might call them LikeMinds. For me, I’d love to chat with kids who went to Amityville JHS, in school the day Martin Luther King was shot. Or people who saw the Allman Brothers early show at the Fillmore East in 1970 the night they shot the inside album cover. Maybe we are not like minds, but we’re like experiencers… at a certain time and place. There’s an idea for Google or Bing, the search experts. Micro communities. Peace!

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They used to teach the 4 Ps in marketing classes: product, price, place and promotion.  The web and venture capital money have made place and price less important. Having worked at a start-up company for two years whose monthly revenue was about $8, received in the form of Google Adwords credits, I know.    

But Apple…Apple clearly is gets all 4 Ps and therein lies its success.  Let’s look at the iPazzle.  Apple launched this new technology last year and priced it to move.  By all accounts, the first iPad should have cost $1,199, but it retailed at more than half that. The basic iPad 2 is $499.  Samsung and Moto can’t come close (without carrier discounts). Apple is reported to be making 25% profit on the current price structure, but I suspect it is way less.  They are not only buying market share, they are creating the market and doing so with the low price point. As for place (distribution) they have stores, so margins aren’t shared with  Best Buy. iMarketing? Enough said. And product? First is first and design is king.  Money and a big war chest begets R&D, talent and more money.

The 4P are still relevant today and that is why Apple kicks azz. Google doesn’t get all 4 of the P and  though kids love that brand, but they will be let down by it at some point. The 15-27 year olds who love free operating systems and free software are the same kids being asked to work at internships for $50 a week.  Hope they live close to the office. Were I a twenty-something, I’d make sure “my employer got me some Ps? Peas!

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