Browsing Tag



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

October 28, 2009

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?

Social Media Strategy

Is There a Secret to Mobile Engagement?

October 15, 2009

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.

Social Media Strategy

Parents on Facebook – too far?

August 7, 2009

For some time now, I’ve thought that having parents as ‘friends’ on social networks was a recipe for trouble.  This has been reinforced recently as I’ve spoken to several friends and acquaintances that have shared similar stories to my own (unsolicited, I might add).  It goes something like this: “Now that my mom is on Facebook, I have to watch what I say in my status updates and monitor my wall more carefully for friends posting things I wouldn’t want her to see.”  I have found myself second-guessing what I post in my status updates now that my mom, aunt, family friends, etc. have joined Facebook and friended me.  I remember how awkward it felt when I got the friend request from mom – I debated whether to accept it or ignore it?  My cousins were friends with my mom – did that mean I was obligated to accept?  For the record, I’m friends with my mom in real life, so this isn’t some generational rebellion story.  However, I still have the mentality that there are certain things that I just don’t feel like sharing in detail with my parents.  Isn’t this typical for most people?  Aren’t some things best kept between friends?

What does this mean for Facebook?  I believe it opens the door even wider for another network/social application to sprout up and lure the ‘younger crowd’ away.  Forget about my generation (GenX), the younger Millennials are ripe for the picking, right now.  They flocked to Facebook early on and there was a sense that it was ‘their place’ – as opposed to MySpace that had become the ‘older crowd.’  Interestingly, now MySpace is seen in some circles as the ‘young crowd’ again.  So what happens next?  Will the rapid expansion of users on Facebook be its undoing?  Perhaps in the U.S., but it’s more likely that the demographics will just shift and the site will continue to thrive.  Lest we forget, Friendster was ‘dead’ in the U.S. long ago, yet continued to have explosive growth in Asia for years after the U.S. users moved on.  Maybe a more plausible scenario is that Facebook continues to infiltrate into the mainstream, while other niche networks pop up and chip off segments of their user base.

I’ll even go so far as to suggest that MySpace could reinvent itself and peel off some of the users that have migrated to Facebook over the last couple of years, or at the least become the network of choice for Millennials once again.  MySpace has killer entertainment content (Music, Video, Games, etc) – much better and more robust than Facebook, which is appealing to a younger audience.  I think it’s entirely possible for MySpace to right the ship, so to speak.  It would require a significant overhaul to clean up its image as a porn spam infested online playground, but stranger things have happened.   Highly unlikely, but possible.

Mobile access will clearly be a defining factor for the ‘next Facebook.’  Perhaps the next mass migration will be to a mobile-only network or at least one that is designed primarily for mobile devices.  Sharing quick snippets of text, video and pictures will continue to be key drivers of interest in these applications, and perhaps simplicity will be key to the success for ‘the next big thing.’  I recently installed foursquare on my iPhone, and I can see potential in this kind of application for people to stay in touch with each other and share info about what they are up to.  I can say with almost 100% certainty that my parents won’t be on foursquare at any time in the foreseeable future.  There’s something comforting in that for me.

I’m curious to hear other thoughts on what parents on Facebook means to you.  Do you think it will push the younger crowd away?  There are some signs this is already happening, but how far might it go?  Whatever your personal preference, it’s definitely something we should all keep an eye out for.


iPhone, Android, Google, oh my…

September 22, 2008

So, here we are on the eve of the launch of the new Dream Smartphone from  HTC/T-Mobile.  It will be interesting to see how this expands opportunities in Social Media in the mobile sphere.  Certainly there will be many more custom applications being developed for the new Android platform, so you’ve got to wonder if this is the next ‘thing’ or just another ‘me too’ (remember the Zune, anyone?).  Regardless if this particular phone grabs attention from the iPhone, it’s clear that the Android platform will definitely be a player (and possibly a game changer) as it rolls out and gets fine-tuned.  While this particular phone lacks the elegance and panache of the iPhone, it makes up for this in powerful functionality at your fingertips.  Competition is good, and I’m sure this will spark a new race to provide the most functionality in the sleekest device possible.

This almost sounds like a movie we’ve seen before with the Social Networks.  Think MySpace and Facebook a couple of years back.  In the end, they are both still relevant, and have their own strengths and opportunities for brands.  This is just one more reason to get onboard with Social Media and mobile apps right now.  Waiting around to see what happens will cost more in the end.  Start thinking about how you can add value to your customer on the go.  Whether you develop an application for iPhone or Android, engage on Facebook or MySpace, or all of the above, the time is now.  The holidays are fast approaching, and you can bet that this season we’ll be seeing a lot more Smartphones in the hands of everyday consumers.  Time to get moving!


iPhone Changes the Game (again)

July 11, 2008

Wow – what a day for technology and marketers too!  Release glitches notwithstanding, the release of the new iPhone 3G is going to usher in a new era of mobile media consumption and the proliferation of consumers who have even greater access to information and the ability to stay connected with their friends.  Of course, the usual suspects like MySpace and Facebook already have applications for the iPhone that will no doubt reinforce their place as a mainstay of the daily life of millions of people worldwide.  But iPhone is making waves with other, more traditional media outlets also – The New York Times and AOL among them.  And then there is my favorite of all – Pandora.  I’ve written about Pandora before, but it’s perhaps the coolest website for discovering and sharing music ever created, and it’s totally FREE!  Now Pandora is making the leap to the iPhone, which is going to change the game of how people discover and listen to their favorite music, once again.

With a price point of just $199 and the addition of enterprise functions such as integration with MS Exchange, the iPhone is going to explode into a totally different dimension.  The big guns obviously see it, but it’s going to be interesting to see how other marketers react and embrace (or not embrace) this incredible emerging medium.  I think it would be wise for marketers to take note of this phenomenon and figure out how to carve out a niche that helps customers stay more connected with their brand.  The time is now!  Like the old adage goes: Lead, follow, or get out of the way!