Posts tagged "iPhone"

Does every new technology have to be a ‘killer?’

Recently, there have been several devices, applications, technologies, etc. that have been released that were dubbed ‘killers’ in their category, and I wanted to take a moment to analyze this phenomenon.  Why must these new tools ‘kill’ the existing tools in order to be relevant?  Is this just a case of the media, tech bloggers, etc. gone awry with the hype?

Here are a few examples to demonstrate what I’m talking about:

Google Nexus One, Motorola Droid – ‘iPhone killers’
Facebook Titan – ‘Gmail killer’
Google Buzz – ‘Twitter killer’

and an oldie, but goodie: Facebook – ‘MySpace killer’

For a moment, let’s just imagine that you are one of the millions of happy people that are using the latter mentioned platforms.  Do you welcome the thought of your beloved technology, application, etc. being ‘killed’ by a new entrant to the market?  If you’re an iPhone user or developer, do you welcome the idea of that platform being trounced by a competitor? Or how about Gmail users?  Do you welcome the idea that Facebook Titan could roll in and crush Gmail?  In some cases, new entrants enhance the offering that exists and making things better for everyone, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Maybe I’m just growing weary of the constant barrage of new tools that seem to be trying to take down the market leaders that people are happily using currently instead of figuring out ways to incorporate them into their new offering.  On the other hand, I welcome tools that help aggregate the vast volume of information that’s floating around out on the social web.  Google has the potential to provide some real value here if they play nice.  I was encouraged by an article I read this morning on the Salmon Protocol that Google is developing currently that would allow comments to flow in real time between the original source out to aggregators, thereby reducing redundant data and allowing a more seamless experience for users.  Right on!  That sounds like a step in the right direction.  I’d love to see more of this kind of improvements to the social graph for everyone.

The reality is that companies don’t always have to kill off a ‘competitor’ to be successful, but they do have to offer something of value that doesn’t exist already.  It’s not enough to just build a ‘me-too’ app and pressure people into using it.  Frankly, that’s what Google Buzz felt like to many people due to the way it was released.  Looking back at some old rivalries such as Microsoft vs. Apple, which has been going on for decades, history teaches us that there is room for multiple profitable players in the market.  In fact, competition is the main driver of progress, so let’s celebrate this competitive spirit!

Think about it – do we really want any of the tools or applications that we use today to be killed off by a big monolithic corporation?  Personally, I like my iPhone, I like Facebook, I like Twitter, and I like MySpace (although I don’t use it as much anymore).  I’ll keep an open mind about any new technology, but I’m much more apt to be receptive if the new tools help me with the volume of social data I’m already processing and not try to pry me away onto another platform or service or abandon the tools that are working for me today.

What do you think?  Is this just media hype or are there underlying motives behind some of these moves?


photo credit: iStock Photo

Does every new technology have to be a 'killer?'

Recently, there have been several devices, applications, technologies, etc. that have been released that were dubbed ‘killers’ in their category, and I wanted to take a moment to analyze this phenomenon.  Why must these new tools ‘kill’ the existing tools in order to be relevant?  Is this just a case of the media, tech bloggers, etc. gone awry with the hype?

Here are a few examples to demonstrate what I’m talking about:

Google Nexus One, Motorola Droid – ‘iPhone killers’
Facebook Titan – ‘Gmail killer’
Google Buzz – ‘Twitter killer’

and an oldie, but goodie: Facebook – ‘MySpace killer’

For a moment, let’s just imagine that you are one of the millions of happy people that are using the latter mentioned platforms.  Do you welcome the thought of your beloved technology, application, etc. being ‘killed’ by a new entrant to the market?  If you’re an iPhone user or developer, do you welcome the idea of that platform being trounced by a competitor? Or how about Gmail users?  Do you welcome the idea that Facebook Titan could roll in and crush Gmail?  In some cases, new entrants enhance the offering that exists and making things better for everyone, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Maybe I’m just growing weary of the constant barrage of new tools that seem to be trying to take down the market leaders that people are happily using currently instead of figuring out ways to incorporate them into their new offering.  On the other hand, I welcome tools that help aggregate the vast volume of information that’s floating around out on the social web.  Google has the potential to provide some real value here if they play nice.  I was encouraged by an article I read this morning on the Salmon Protocol that Google is developing currently that would allow comments to flow in real time between the original source out to aggregators, thereby reducing redundant data and allowing a more seamless experience for users.  Right on!  That sounds like a step in the right direction.  I’d love to see more of this kind of improvements to the social graph for everyone.

The reality is that companies don’t always have to kill off a ‘competitor’ to be successful, but they do have to offer something of value that doesn’t exist already.  It’s not enough to just build a ‘me-too’ app and pressure people into using it.  Frankly, that’s what Google Buzz felt like to many people due to the way it was released.  Looking back at some old rivalries such as Microsoft vs. Apple, which has been going on for decades, history teaches us that there is room for multiple profitable players in the market.  In fact, competition is the main driver of progress, so let’s celebrate this competitive spirit!

Think about it – do we really want any of the tools or applications that we use today to be killed off by a big monolithic corporation?  Personally, I like my iPhone, I like Facebook, I like Twitter, and I like MySpace (although I don’t use it as much anymore).  I’ll keep an open mind about any new technology, but I’m much more apt to be receptive if the new tools help me with the volume of social data I’m already processing and not try to pry me away onto another platform or service or abandon the tools that are working for me today.

What do you think?  Is this just media hype or are there underlying motives behind some of these moves?


photo credit: iStock Photo

Top 3 Reasons Droid won’t be an iPhone killer (and why this is a good thing)

competitionMotorola and Google are out for blood with the Droid campaign, let there be no doubt.  The direct, between the teeth knocks at the iPhone have definitely upped the ante in the battle of the smartphones.  But will the Droid really be be an ‘iPhone killer?’  Here are the top 3 reasons why I don’t believe so, and why this is a good thing for marketers and consumers.

1. iTunes. iPhone integrates with iTunes seamlessly and easily, and with the largest catalog of music online, you can bet that this will keep Apple on solid ground with the iPhone for some time to come.  Matt Rosoff at CNET sums this up nicely in this article.   I remember back when the LG Chocolate came out and how cool I thought it was.  That is, until I tried to get my music into the phone.  It was a nightmare.  It all sounded great in the ads and on the website, but when I got the phone home and actually started using it, my delusions of utopia quickly faded.  I’m one of the millions of people that like the fact that Apple makes it easy to catalog my music and take it with me wherever I go.  Is iTunes perfect?  No.  But it does what I need without a great deal of fuss.  The ease of use and direct integration to iPhone cannot be underscored enough.

2. App Store. Technically part of iTunes, sure, but this deserves its own point.  Apple is WAY ahead of the competition with apps, and now has over 100,000 apps available in the app store.  For many users, this is the ballgame.  Apps take the iPhone to a new level and allow unprecedented customization of the user experience.  This opens up all kinds of doors for reaching on-the-go consumers.  The opportunities are substantial for developers and forward-thinking marketers, and with so much momentum behind it, it’s highly unlikely that many successful developers or marketers are going to abandon the app store for greener pastures.  Rather, those same developers and marketers will likely look at the Android Market as a new opportunity to reach even more customers, not a replacement for Apple’s App Store.

3. Innovation at Apple. Like them or hate them, Apple knows how to innovate.  You don’t have to look hard to appreciate the truly innovative spirit of the company.  They obviously put a lot of emphasis on the user experience, not just functionality.  They already have a great product that people love, but I’d be willing to bet that they are hard at work on the next iteration of the iPhone (probably even harder now that Droid is about to hit the scene).  This is the beauty of competition – it propels the market forward.

As the competition heats up, the opportunities for everyone will expand exponentially.  This is a great thing for consumers, regardless if they own an iPhone, a Droid, or neither, as developers and marketers will look for ways to win over customers with new features, competitive pricing, sexier phones, etc.  This is also great for Marketers, because with all the emphasis on the battle for new smartphone customers, many more doors are opening for connecting with consumers on-the-go.  We are only limited by our imagination for what experiences we can enable and the value we can provide to our constituents.  That should be music to all of our ears.

What do you think is going to happen with the launch of Droid?  Should Apple be scared?

Top 3 Reasons Droid won't be an iPhone killer (and why this is a good thing)

competitionMotorola and Google are out for blood with the Droid campaign, let there be no doubt.  The direct, between the teeth knocks at the iPhone have definitely upped the ante in the battle of the smartphones.  But will the Droid really be be an ‘iPhone killer?’  Here are the top 3 reasons why I don’t believe so, and why this is a good thing for marketers and consumers.

1. iTunes. iPhone integrates with iTunes seamlessly and easily, and with the largest catalog of music online, you can bet that this will keep Apple on solid ground with the iPhone for some time to come.  Matt Rosoff at CNET sums this up nicely in this article.   I remember back when the LG Chocolate came out and how cool I thought it was.  That is, until I tried to get my music into the phone.  It was a nightmare.  It all sounded great in the ads and on the website, but when I got the phone home and actually started using it, my delusions of utopia quickly faded.  I’m one of the millions of people that like the fact that Apple makes it easy to catalog my music and take it with me wherever I go.  Is iTunes perfect?  No.  But it does what I need without a great deal of fuss.  The ease of use and direct integration to iPhone cannot be underscored enough.

2. App Store. Technically part of iTunes, sure, but this deserves its own point.  Apple is WAY ahead of the competition with apps, and now has over 100,000 apps available in the app store.  For many users, this is the ballgame.  Apps take the iPhone to a new level and allow unprecedented customization of the user experience.  This opens up all kinds of doors for reaching on-the-go consumers.  The opportunities are substantial for developers and forward-thinking marketers, and with so much momentum behind it, it’s highly unlikely that many successful developers or marketers are going to abandon the app store for greener pastures.  Rather, those same developers and marketers will likely look at the Android Market as a new opportunity to reach even more customers, not a replacement for Apple’s App Store.

3. Innovation at Apple. Like them or hate them, Apple knows how to innovate.  You don’t have to look hard to appreciate the truly innovative spirit of the company.  They obviously put a lot of emphasis on the user experience, not just functionality.  They already have a great product that people love, but I’d be willing to bet that they are hard at work on the next iteration of the iPhone (probably even harder now that Droid is about to hit the scene).  This is the beauty of competition – it propels the market forward.

As the competition heats up, the opportunities for everyone will expand exponentially.  This is a great thing for consumers, regardless if they own an iPhone, a Droid, or neither, as developers and marketers will look for ways to win over customers with new features, competitive pricing, sexier phones, etc.  This is also great for Marketers, because with all the emphasis on the battle for new smartphone customers, many more doors are opening for connecting with consumers on-the-go.  We are only limited by our imagination for what experiences we can enable and the value we can provide to our constituents.  That should be music to all of our ears.

What do you think is going to happen with the launch of Droid?  Should Apple be scared?

Is There a Secret to Mobile Engagement?

CellphoneThis morning I was reading an AdAge article that highlighted an agency’s findings on female engagement with mobile web advertising on iPhone compared to other devices.  The overall finding was that women with iPhones were much less engaged after clicking through from a mobile ad.  The question that popped into my head was – why?  Why was the engagement so much lower?  Are these consumers really that disinterested, or is there something else going on? Conspicuously absent was any mention of conversions, sales, or other form of ROI.  In other words, what were the non-iPhone users doing while they were so much more engaged?  Did that engagement translate into measurable ROI for the brands?

The article went on to describe the rationale for how some big brands opt for a one-size-fits-all mobile site for their mobile initiatives in an effort to maximize reach (and presumably minimize cost).  I can’t help but wonder if this approach is always the most effective in the long run.  Of course, to get to the bottom of what is really going on with this group, you’d have to dig a lot deeper, but let’s consider a couple of topics that should be addressed before brands jump into a mobile initiative:

Knowing the audience first
Who are you targeting?  If the answer is ‘everyone’ or ‘women 19-49’, that’s the first problem.  In traditional media, brands probably wouldn’t run the same ad when targeting a 20 year urban college student as they would a 45 year old mom from rural Indiana.  Why should mobile be any different?  And I’m not just talking about the ad creative – I’m talking about the way mobile campaign is designed.  More on that below.  Slice and dice your audience into manageable segments and determine what platforms/devices are common in each segment so that your mobile campaigns can be more effectively targeted.

What tactics should you employ?
Keeping the above in mind, does it make sense to focus your resources on building out a single mobile site that can be accessed from most mobile devices, or is it potentially more effective to develop custom applications for multiple mobile platforms?  Should you run an SMS campaign or purchase mobile banner ads?  What about sponsoring existing mobile apps?

These are not black and white questions, and in my opinion cannot be answered easily.  These questions brings up many others: What do your targets need and how can you help them? How many of them are there on a given platform (iPhone, Blackberry, traditional web-enabled mobile phone, etc.). Can you provide a solution to them on-the-go that benefits them and increases sales, conversions, viral spread, etc.?  Perhaps a targeted app that provides a mix of utility and entertainment will have a higher conversion rate than a banner ad that clicks through to a mobile site for a portion of your audience. Maybe an SMS campaign that allows you to send product info or discounts to consumers at the point of purchase will be most effective with a specific segment. The point is that one size does not fit all, and a thorough understanding of the audiences and opportunities to engage each segment is necessary before embarking on a mobile initiative.

Reach vs. Value
Historically, advertising has been measured by how many people saw the ad, or the Reach.  Now, there are other metrics to consider and the Value of the resulting engagement is much more important to measure.  Does it really matter how many people click on your ads or visit your mobile site if they don’t make a purchase or otherwise move the needle that your company is trying to move?  Isn’t is just as effective to reach less people but have a higher rate of conversion?  The Value of the interactions is vital.  The rest is just window dressing for corporate reports.  Value can be measured in a myriad of ways – requests for additional info, forwarding, tweeting, posting to Facebook, click through to purchase, up-selling, etc.  Depending on the goals, the way Value is measured will vary.

If you are planning a mobile initiative, the topics above are a starting point.  What are some others that come to mind for you?  Do you think there is a secret to mobile engagement?  I look forward to the comments.