Seven Shortcomings That Can Wreck Your Mobile Strategy

Published 23rd September

 The latest column post from our Managing Director – Martin Wilson -  mSearchgroove; the leading source of analysis and commentary on mobile search, mobile advertising, and social media.  Seven Shortcomings That Can Wreck Your Mobile Strategy – Not just saying whats wrong, but suggesting solutions.

Link to post on msearchgroove: Here


Column post


What are the pitfalls to watch when developing a mobile strategy? Why isn’t an app enough? What can you do to avoid the ‘iSyndrome’ that has blinded the industry to opportunities beyond the iPhone? Martin Wilson outlines the seven things you have to get right.

In one of my regular and lively chats with our very own Peggy Anne Salz, recently named one of the 20 people you must follow in mobile, we ended up talking about why mobile strategies – even those pursued by companies with the ideas and resources to do much better – crash and burn. We concluded that many companies deserve high marks for trying to ‘think mobile’, but their execution is mediocre at best.

The reason: they have become confused by the hype and the technology buzz surrounding this medium. It’s a myopic condition I now call ‘iSyndrome’ – alluding to our current preoccupation with all things ‘i’, including iPhones, iPads, iAds – and the list goes on.

I have struck a chord with this term – and the thinking behind it. Colleagues amplify it via Twitter and technology blogs. And Tomi Ahonen, considered by many (myself included) to be the mobile thought leader, has congratulated me for calling it like it is.

What is iSyndrome?

  • iSyndrome: a symptom, characteristic, or belief, that building an application = mobile strategy.

What are the signs?

  • Where you see individual and organisations following oversimplified mobile strategies focused on short-term results rather than long-term value, you see a company stricken by iSyndrome.

What is the solution?

There isn’t one. It depends on variety of factors including the nature of your business, your target audience/customer base and the priorities you have set in your business plan.

But we can say that a mobile strategy requires a company to do much more than transfer a fixed online service to mobile (squeezing content or services onto a small screen, for example). An app alone is also not the answer.

And choose your mobile platform wisely. And you will have to make choices because no company has the resources to develop for all the operating systems and flavours of mobile out there.

Consider the newest mobile numbers from comScore. In the U.K. the iPhone makes up about 4 percent of mobile devices in circulation (that’s if we count all the legacy Apple devices in the hands of users as well). Android has an even small piece of the pie. In fact, of mobile devices; some 70 percent accessing the mobile Web are not smartphones at all (!) In addition, some 62 percent of devices using apps are simple featurephones, not smartphones.

Mobile check-up

So, why the singular focus on smartphone strategies and apps? Peggy suggested that it could be a case of cognitive dissonance (seeing but not wanting to accept the facts) and challenged me to write a column that sets the record straight.

Having been personally involved in supporting the development, delivery and launch of mobile services for a number of organisations around the world – including Yell, DexOne and Trudon, to name a few – I know how difficult it is to be focused on what counts when companies and press everywhere are caught up in the search for ‘the next big thing.’ (Indeed, how can we even consider another technology leap as long as we haven’t solved usability, monetisation and the dozens of fundamental issues?)

It’s difficult to create a long-term strategy for mobile when everyone else is talking up short-term fixes.

But the requirement for balance and reason couldn’t be more urgent. Mobile is breaking on to the mainstream. The industry is buzzing with activity and conferences around mobile education, mobile health and mobile shopping are debuting to sold-out crowds. It’s not mobile content; it’s content. It’s not mobile commerce; it’s commerce. We no longer say e-business and soon ‘m’ will disappear from our industry vocabulary altogether.

This change is happening now – and companies can lead it or be crushed by it.

With this in mind I have identified seven problems that organisations must recognise and resolve if they want to develop solid mobile strategies that deliver lasting competitive advantage.

7 shortcomings

1.    Thinking tactics, NOT strategy

Organisations invest in mobile without thinking it through. Because they aren’t clear about this vital detail they spend large sums of money in the process and rarely see returns. (Even worse, they create negative brand perception amongst consumers.).

Why does this happen? Decision making is being made based on hype and technology buzz. The organisation is failing to calculate the addressable market, understand the mobile environment, and meet consumer expectations.

Solution: View mobile platforms and devices as tactics to deliver your strategy, not just define it. The core service and foundation is the most important element to get right.

2.    Setting aspirations, NOT expectations

 Organisations state staggering mobile ambitions, forecast huge numbers of users for their services and expect immediate returns.

Why does this happen? Unrealistic targets run the risk of rapidly losing goodwill and support. The organisation is failing to lay down manageable objectives, define controllable approaches to market, and pursue good commercial execution.

Solution: Define realistic ambitions, factor in the barriers and challenges and map out routes to market and commercialisation.


3.    Moving goal posts, NOT fixing scope

Organisations progressing mobile in a way that is open to product, cost and schedule slip from the outset.

Why does this happen? If it can slip it will. The organisation is failing to lay down a core scope, identify milestones and key deliverables, internal and external requirements and highlighting key risks.

Solution: Define a scope, based around a foundation, and stick to it. For those starting out a ‘foundation’ can evolve but should not ideally change, even in time. Tactical elements focused on actual execution – such as platforms and compatible devices – can come later.

4.    Using any available resources, NOT the right ones

 Organisations progressing mobile in a way that shows they may be led (in the wrong direction) by a key supplier, or forced to go internal.

Why does this happen? Mobile is a largely proprietary, fragmented and challenging environment. The organisation fails to deliver core components that work. Instead, features are sub-standard, services fall over on accessibility, usability or performance, and there is poor quality behind the execution.

Solution: Ensure you have the right resources available to meet your requirements. Consider relevant internal resources and external supplier(s) – multiple if needed. It is critical to get the basics right.

5.    Managing ‘mobile’, or NOT, in the business

 As an organisation begins to develop mobile is it amazing to see how many experts appear, how many individuals suddenly have a view and want to contribute.

Why does this happen? Scope and focus becomes a moving feast. The organisation experiences shifting ideals and sees core service offerings become diluted. Schedule and cost is impacted.

Solution: From the outset define an approach to engaging and involving the organisation and the right team of people, and stick to it.

6.    Meandering path, NOT focused roadmap

 Once an organisation delivers a mobile service it is surprising see many have not considered a roadmap, or lifecycle.

Why does this happen? Prioritising development and further investment becomes impossible. The organisation fails to evolve services to enhance the experience and offering. It is challenged to remain competitive and acquire/retain new users.

Solution: Think about a roadmap from day one. And factor in elements that did not make first releases, such as usability features, commercialisation and mobile platform and device fine-tuning.

7.    Marketing vision, NOT a tangible plan

 Service has been built, user and commercial objectives set and communicated. Yet many fail to define marketing plan and identify tactics that can deliver the numbers.

Why does this happen? Prioritisation of activity and defining contribution is challenging. The organisation fails to define an effective mix. Instead, it places resources on poor contributing tactics, relies on uncontrollable elements and – more than likely – under invests.

Solution: Build a marketing plan that combines tactics to realistically deliver your objectives. And work to achieve a balance that incorporates partnerships and places the necessary investment behind your ambitions.

The end-game is all about positioning. Mobile has already earned a centrepiece role in our everyday lives and now organisations are challenged to give mobile that same significance in their strategies. To achieve this, organisations must understand that mobile is not an app or a one-off solution. Then – armed with this knowledge – they must execute strategies that deliver positive results.

Success requires focus, balance and a big-picture view. Several surveys, including recent research from the Association for Interactive Media and Entertainment (AIME), the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), point out that companies lack the knowledge, understanding and experience to implement or integrate mobile in a meaningful way. Specifically, the organisations, which surveyed of 140 marketing professionals from the retail, advertising and mobile service sectors in the U.K. to understand the attitudes and opportunities around mobile retail, concluded that consumers in the U.K. may be embracing mobile commerce faster than companies can respond.

It’s a gap retailers and companies across all sectors are well-advised to fill through partnership with companies and individuals with the expertise to  accelerate their mobile strategy.

‘iSyndrome’ – Why limit your slice of the pie?

Published 7th April

iSyndrome (ai sindreum) n. a symptom, characteristic, or belief, that building an iPhone application translates to = mobile strategy.

pie2

In conversation with leading mobile search expert Peggy Ann Salz, of mSearchGroove (of which I am a Guest columnist), we ended up talking about some of the fundamental challenges that organisations face when defining and developing a mobile strategy. Having delivered mass market services in three continents – trust me there are many!

(Peggy has challenged me to make my next mSearchgroove column post around this topic).

After the conversation I was making some notes – a phrase sprung into my mind ‘iSyndrome’, as I was thinking about how many individuals and organisations that have been drawn in by the hype, media, technology buzz surrounding mobile – caught in the iPhone trap.

I shared on Twitter, leading Author Tomi Ahonen was quick to respond with a ROTFL – Rolling On The Floor Laughing – and will provide the great honour of attributing the phrase to me in future presentations.

So here is What I meant…

Having been involved in supporting the development, delivery and launch of mass market mobile services for customers around the world I wanted to highlight one of the fundamental issues I continually witness. 

I see so many organisations investing in mobile without really understanding what they are getting themselves into. Many are spending large sums of money and sadly will likely see very little return (or even worse create negative brand perception amongst consumers). Why?  They are delivering tactical solutions – failing to recognise the addressable market, the mobile environment, understand the ongoing costs of their decisions, falling short of consumer expectations, led by people who are not acting in their best interests.

I am not going to knock the iPhone as I believe that it is a great device, although I no longer use one for daily activity, I have owned two and still frequently use one to trial applications. However, I wish to put the device in perspective in terms of the market and more importantly strategic thinking.

i Syndrome: in the UK the iPhone makes up about 4% of mobile devices in circulation (that’s if we count all the legacy devices too), Android even less – a small slice of the pie. Of all mobile devices; some 70% accessing the mobile web are not Smartphones, some 62% using Applications are not Smartphones. The penetration of Operating Systems (OS) Apple, Blackberry, Android are all low single percentage figures - niches – ask Comscore.

The mass market does not use Smartphones. Yet organisations are spending huge sums of money targeting the Smartphone segment, and worse niches of it, rather than viewing the addressable market. They are getting drawn in by ‘cool’ factors. Doing so they are failing to understand the barriers that exist in what is a highly fragmented proprietary environment and that those barriers will potentially significantly limit their ability to get traction.

People may/will argue that iPhone users make up a disproportionate amount of the time on mobile web sites. That may be true but iPhone users are a relatively small number and are very service transient. As reported by Flurry 70% of application users typically stop using a service after just 60 days.

Developing the coolest iPhone App on the planet is a great ambition, some believe it demonstrates a dynamic business, but the reality it hugely limits market potential. I ask sometimes why even an App? The more features added the more expensive it is to develop and the more likely that fewer people will be able to use it. Many of those features will not be transferable to other devices or platforms – creating your own micro fragmentation and adding to the overall managment headache.

Think iPhone, not everyone in the UK has an iPhone 3GS some have older devices and operate on different Operating System (OS) versions. Despite this many do not consider key elements – backwards compatibility, potential for bugs, updates, version control, signing and approval processes…. they don’t understand the implications of their decisions.

Key is to understand these limiting factors – potential barriers – from the outset develop a mobile approach that can be controlled by the individual organisation and built from a consistent foundation, not one reliant on or constrained by third parties.  Get as much out in the open from the start! Think about the market – not individual devices and platforms – think about the consumer and the offer.

At Indigo 102 we specialising in bringing out the realities – communicate the benefits and risks – at the early stages. We work with organisations to build mobile strategies that deliver value over time and develop services that are sustainable. If we can support you to invest wisely and establish a sustainable mobile platform get in touch (martin@indigo102.com).

(Follow us on twitter : @indigo102)

Real Reasons Why Traditional Media Can Really (Still) Win Big In Mobile Advertising

Published 24th March

Guest post published on mSearchGroove 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mobile advertising is certain the hot topic at CTIA, where Mobile Web And Apps World Forum (Ajit Jaokar’s CTIA partner event) was standing room only. (Well done Ajit!) Players from across the ecosystem are anxious to explore new models to monetize inventory, apps and services. However, as I pointed out during my panel — moderated by well-known analyst and author Chetan Sharma – there’s still is a lot of mileage left in established models such as text and MMS approaches to advertising before we focus too much of our effort on the whiz-bang new ad units and creatives. In his guest contribution, Martin Wilson – MSG columnist and owner of Indigo 102, a strategic consultancy with a focus on media and mobility and a deep understanding of the local space— argues that traditional media owners also have a lot of untapped energy and assets.

***

Advertising based on location is set to be the most valuable and highly contested sectors as players including AdMob, AOL/ Third Screen Media, Jumptap, Millennial Media, and Quattro Wireless jockey for position. Who will be in the winners’ circle? So far, traditional media owners and directory publishers appear to be the laggards and not the leaders in this race – although they clearly have the capabilities mix to dominate this space. Why are they hell-bent on missing the boat? Martin Wilson argues traditional media owners and directory publishers can still be among the champions, not the casualties, provided they act fast.

Mobile advertising has come a long way in a short time. No need to ask ourselves when it finally be the “year of mobile advertising” because the recent flurry of activity tells us mobile advertising has arrived.

First, it was the milestone acquisitions – Google buying AdMob, Apple snapping up Quattro Wireless and Opera surprising us by purchasing AdMarvel. Then it was the funding – Millennial Media led by New Enterprise Associates and Glam Media led by Aeris Capital – that sealed it. Mobile advertising has been validated.

Almost overnight our attention has turned from fixed online advertising to mobile. Now mobile – a personal device that enables brands to market to an audience of one – is widely regarded as the Next Frontier companies must conquer. Little wonder that companies – including Apple, Facebook, Google, Millennial Media and Yahoo – are lining up to do just this.

The market is crowding and muddying our understanding of what matters most.

Predictably, we want to reuse our understanding of old media (online and TV, for example) to comprehend the role and importance of mobile, the new mass media. Thus, we are fixated on size and those players with high volume inventory. Unfortunately, mobile advertising is not just the same numbers game.

Take the narrow view communicated in a controversial report by U.S. research agency Interactive Data Corp (IDC). It estimated the total 2009 mobile advertising spend in the U.S. at around $290 million, a figure based on total page impressions. It calculated market share according to share of total spend and concluded Millennial Media leads the pack with 18 percent ($51 million), followed by AdMob with 14 percent ($40 million), Google with 10 percent ($28 million) and Quattro Wireless in sixth place with 7 percent ($21 million.).

It was also reported by IDC that Glam Media counts 160 million monthly visits to the sites they control or represent, resulting in some 2.5 billion page views. Does this make them a market leader?

Maybe on paper.

However, as I argue in this column, it’s not about page impressions. That is not where the battle will be fought (or won, for that matter).

RAISE YOUR GLOVES

The money is in local advertising, or more accurately advertising based on location. That’s not just my view. Google has been clear about its interest in local online mobile content – and its intention to own the space. In its fourth-quarter earnings call, Google described local mobile advertising as a “huge” opportunity and more recently at the 2010 Mobile World Congress (MWC) claimed to have made mobile its number one priority.

Interestingly, going local (delivering advertising based on location) brings with it a whole new challenge. For one, it is infinitely more difficult to deliver relevant advertising to people
(which is the way brands must deliver advertising on a personal device such as our mobile phones). The opportunity to target an individual based on location is hugely powerful, but the room for error in these brand messages is frightfully slim. Get it wrong and the advertising performance diminishes — significantly.

Put another way, local advertising can’t be a matter of hit-or-miss. Generic advertising is a “fail” and tactical, targeted advertising is – literally – spot-on.

But it sounds easier than it is. This approach – though essential – flies in the face of how we measure advertising success. Suddenly, our singular focus on numbers and quantity (high volume and market share) is irrelevant. Local means delivering quality advertising. It also requires a totally new skillset, a whole new understanding of what we mean by context and how we should deliver relevant advertising.

WHAT IS ‘LOCAL’

If you say ‘mobile’ and ‘local’ in the same sentence, two scenarios spring to mind: ‘where I am now’ and ‘where I am going to be’. But which one is it? It depends. A common mistake is to assume your current location is important, that your location at that point in time is key.

Often it is not.

Mobile is about being ‘mobile.’ It’s about roaming. Mobile location can be a related to a number of things, places nearby or places close to my final destination. Deciding what is relevant is core to the success of any service or proposition delivered via mobile. I’m amazed by the number of services that get it completely wrong.

Why? Because there is more to delivering a mobile location service (let alone location relevant mobile advertising) than knowing the location of the individual. Companies need a detailed knowledge of what is really nearby.

In the U.K. alone, there are over 30,000 recognised places or points of interest. And that’s before you take into account synonyms, postcodes and street names. Linking them together in a meaningful way is no simple task. What are the postcodes or streets in London’s West End or Soho? The taxonomy is complex. When expanding a location to deliver results the relationship between places is important to get right – otherwise the service will deliver meaningless results and fail in the consumers eyes.

With so much as stake, I wonder why companies are so willing to take risks. By adding location to the mix they think they are growing the size of their inventory. In reality they also increase their chances of failure.

Currently, mobile advertising companies work on serving relevant ads based on generic attributes such as country, mobile network, handset type, time of day or theme of the page content. Add location as an attribute and everything changes. Relevancy – potentially down to a micro level – has to be on the mark. Delivering advertising based on locations becomes a mammoth task with a very different set of management challenges.

FREEDOM OF CHOICE

Advertising is content and people will pay with their attention. The structure of the content is important, and keep in mind at all times that mobile is a ‘pull’ medium. Give the people what they want and need. Provide enough information to attract, influence and help inform the decision or action.

location advertisingYou also need to remember that ‘local’ at a micro level is all about offering rich content – which can be challenging to deliver and scale. At the other end of the spectrum, ‘local’ at a macro level is all about providing comprehensive content – which can be challenging to deliver with added-value and competitive differentiation. A rule that applies to both types of ‘local’ content: Content gives a service credibility, interest and value if there is a valid reason (that consumers can understand) why a particular content is shown to them at a specific point in time.

Poorly targeted content is more than a potential annoyance. For many consumers, being exposed to irrelevant content (this includes advertising) on their mobile phones represents a ‘fail’ that interrupts what they are doing and – depending on data plan – costs bandwidth and money. Get it wrong and deliver the wrong content and the consequences can be severe and instant.

Content also needs to be inclusive not exclusive. If a user wants a pizza place nearby, they mean it (!) The service should deliver them details on the restaurant nearby and not the one 15 miles away simply because that business owner paid a premium for it.

Put another way, a location-based social network service should offer people loads of places people can check-in to, and not just the ones a handful of ‘power users’ know, mark and promote. Likewise, a local guide service must have all the places of interest for a town or city, not just the well—known ones in the surrounding area.

Why do local services need to be all-inclusive?

Because the consumer is empowered. They are spoilt by choice and demand the content they want. The Long Tail taught us all that one-size-fits-all doesn’t work in entertainment content. And there is mounting evidence that the same focus on the mainstream will no longer be tolerated in location-based services.

Relevance, as I have shown, is critical in content services.

The consumer’s perception of relevancy is enhanced when:

  • They are offered greater choice
  • They are empowered to select from a range of options
  • They are ultimately responsible for the due diligence and decision

Of course, offering a broad choice of content (in this case, location related information and location relevant advertising) requires the service provider has a stockpile of content to start.

WHAT REALLY COUNTS

Above all, a location-based service has to pass the toughest road test there is. It has to show the consumer what they know is there. Put simply, consumers judge the true accuracy and relevancy of a local service by its ability to offer breadth, choice and insight into the places and businesses they know are nearby.

If the service can pass the test, it earns consumer trust.

Thus, a shopping guide needs to list the shops nearby and not the ones across town. It needs to drill down to the hyperlocal level and present up shops in the area – even better if lists the shop they can see in the distance. Then they can feel secure knowing the service is up-to-date and mirrors the real world around them. (And isn’t that what we all expect of a service that professes to offer local information?)

The same goes for mobile advertising. A guide to city nightlife should be chock-full of bars and clubs and their promotions.

How do service providers get their hands on all this content and advertising?

They partner with companies that have it as their stock in trade.

Take the directory publisher Yell in the U.K. It boasts over 2.3 million business listings –that satisfies the requirement for basic core and structured content. Yell also has over 200,000 searchable online advertisers – that fulfils the demand for depth of differentiating content.

Surely tapping into this content (listings and advertising) is the first – and essential – step to building a strong foundation of content linked to location. What’s more, it’s shortcut to offering the wealth and breadth of content – including familiar content – that consumers have come to demand.

It seems self-evident. But some companies fail to grasp it. In the last weeks I have seen a number of services – TopTable, Grub.it, Center’d to name just a few – come to market with neither basic core and structured content nor in-depth and diffentiating content. Predictably, they were instantly knocked by consumers.

IT TAKES TWO [OR MORE]

As I have shown, the success of a service linked to location depends on the breadth and depth of content (listings and advertising) it offers. It’s content that has long been the lifeblood of directory publishers, but nowhere is it written that these giants will beat the nimble newcomers moving on their turf.

Granted, it will take time for these newcomers to learn the ropes and collect and index the location linked information core to competitive edge. However, there is little reason for more traditional media players, who sit on a stockpile of location linked content, to assume that time is on their side.

Take the case of uLocate Communications, a location services company, headquartered in the U.S.

Sensing a business opportunity it moved fact to fill the gap in the current mobile advertising environment and recently launched Where Ads, a hyperlocal and holistic ad network that pulls together local ad providers that work in other mediums, including directory services, coupons, events and other aggregation services.

Partnerships will be increasingly important. Even for the traditional players it is unlikely that they will excel alone. The recent pairing of directory publisher DexOne and Yelp in the U.S. is a testament that neither company has the critical mass and/or appeal to succeed in isolation.

The new network underlines the importance of getting the right players to the table. Strategic partnering brings a new dimension to the service offer and delivers value to the consumer. But it’s knowing whom to partner with that will decide if a service flies or fails. Picking the right partner requires knowledge and focus. It also helps if the partners we choose have a track record in local and a proven ability to generate revenue.

While the newcomers may have the ambitious mobile strategies, it’s the traditional media owners and directory publishers from the online space that have mastered the capabilities necessary to convert consumer activity (a need/desire to know what’s really nearby) into revenue.

Case in point: Pages Jaunes, the French directory publisher. In 2009 the company counted 885 million visits and online revenues of €461 million. That’s equivalent to €0.52 per visit – a staggering conversion to value. Imagine a scenario where consumers conduct the same number of searches using Google – it’s nowhere near the same conversion rate (or revenues for the advertiser, I might add).

Make no mistake: No other organisation can even potentially come close to the conversion rates and value delivered by traditional media owners and directory publishers. Their ability to create value is inextricably linked to their superior capabilities. They have infrastructure, sales teams and existing customers to target.

In the online space traditional media owners and directory publishers lost their edge to search giants such as Google and Yahoo and have been struggling to catch-up ever since. Mobile is a new game with new possibilities. It’s also a space where location linked content – and lots of it – combined with the capabilities to deliver this content when/where consumers need and appreciate it most can mean the difference between success and failure. These market conditions play in favour of traditional media players and directory publishers. Now it’s up to these companies to recognise their advantage and work with the right people/companies to evolve their businesses, embrace mobile and deliver what users demand.

THE TAKEAWAY

Context, relevance, critical mass and content quality are all key components to a successful and sustainable service in the local mobile space. Who will own this space? Hard to say. But don’t be too quick to write off the traditional media owners and directory publishers that lost the plot in online. They could make a collective and explosive comeback in mobile. Success will be achieved by the companies that see the opportunity, accelerate their efforts, focus on their core strengths and bring the people and partners on board who have mobile expertise.


Get this right and you’re more than fit for the fight ahead.
 

 

Editor’s note: Martin’s next column will focus on how companies should evolve a digital strategy that harnesses mobile to complement existing digital services and thus generate more value. As he shows us: in digital, the outcome can be worth more than the sum of the parts.

Martin WilsonMartin Wilson has been involved in digital media for over 14 years, during which time he gained a wealth of experience in the fixed line and mobile Internet. In January 2008, Martin established Indigo 102, an independent consultancy, to assist organisations (including digital advertising agencies, directory publishers, media owners and online service providers) take their brands – and value propositions – mobile. In this role Martin has supported the development and launch of mass market mobile services across three continents. You can contact Martin directly (martin@indigo102.com) and follow on Twitter (@indigo102).

Inside Track: The Race To Deliver Value In Mobile Advertising; Will Publishers “Get” It?

Published 26th November

First of Martin’s Inside track columns on mobile. Directly from leading online site mSearchgroove.

 

Local focused mobile advertising is shaping up to be more than a revenue opportunity. There is every indication that it will be one the few channels to buck the downward trend in advertising spend over the next few years. Where’s the money? Martin Wilson – MSG columnist and owner of Indigo 102, a strategic consultancy with a sharp focus on media and mobility – argues the winners will be the ones that keep it simple and make it valuable.

Mobile advertising continues to be a good news/bad news story. And your view seems to depend on the news you want to hear.

November was a stellar month for mobile advertising. Google paid an eye- watering $750 million to acquire 3-year old AdMob, a Silicon Valley-based leader in display and iPhone ad formats. Google is not one to waste money, so you can imagine what a huge opportunity mobile advertising really is (even if the rest of the industry is blinded to it) if a Web giant is willing to pay almost $1 billion for a company with mobile expertise. I wonder if we won’t look back in two years and say it was steal…

At the end spectrum, there are always industry pessimists who ask when mobile advertising will finally be big business. However, I must also note (with a grin) that many of these nay-sayers are large publishers (can’t name names) who are 1) amazed by the tremendous traffic to their mobile Web destinations and 2) clueless about how they might harness mobile advertising and monetise these eyeballs.

And let’s not forget the mood among traditional media players. Doom and gloom everywhere you look: newspapers, direct mail, TV, radio, yellow pages, outdoor, magazines and PC Internet.

In fact, the BIA Financial Network (BIA), parent of the Kelsey Group, forecast spend on these media to decline to $144.4 billion by 2013 from $155 billion last year.  But there are winners among the losers. With budgets under pressure and advertisers beginning to demand far more tangible results, traditional media – such as print – is likely to be hit far harder.

Marketers have long realised this trend and increasingly turn their attention to online and new media channels. Against this backdrop, online commands an ever-increasing share of spend. BIA has forecast the new media share globally to grow from around 9 percent today to over 22 percent by 2013. Moreover, a recent study from Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) predicts by 2013 the new media share of advertising in the U.K. will be around 34 percent.

Clearly, the advertising market is going to shrink and see a substitution of spend. It’s a trend that squeezes traditional media and spells opportunity for companies that either play in new media or migrate value to their online assets. Thus, your chances of survival are a measure of your willingness to rethink your media business models and refocus your operating principles.

MOBILE MATTERS

The media futurist Jeffrey Cole points out that the biggest challenge companies face is their own reliance on traditional advertising models. “The problem [is] people often believe there is enough life left in the ‘old advertising model.’” While many companies are still waiting for traditional advertising techniques to deliver, Jeffrey is convinced that the “big breakthroughs will be digital advertising developed by those who grew up their entire life with digital media.”

If Jeffrey is correct, and I believe he is, then mobile – a personal medium digital natives regard as an extension of themselves – is where we will see the meaningful innovation and positive business results.

Indeed, mobile continues to be the bright spot in a raft of recent industry reports. Then market outlook is even more buoyant when it comes to advertising approaches that successfully combine location and promotion.

The Kelsey Group, a research firm specialised in location-based services, expects mobile local advertising revenue alone to reach more than $3.1 billion by 2013, up from just $160 million in 2008. Meanwhile, Gartner forecasts total spending on mobile advertising to grow to $7.5 billion in 2012, up from $530.2 million in 2008.

Connect the dots in these reports, and mobile advertising revenues could outstrip anything that has gone before, making mobile one of the fastest growing advertising channels of all time. A remarkable feat when you consider that the overall advertising industry (traditional and online) will continue its decline. No wonder Google was so keen to snap up AdMob and stake its turf.

WHY WILL MOBILE GROW

In a word, mobile is different. While other media may be limited to a time or context in our daily routines (print in the morning when we read the newspaper on the train and TV when we get home in the evening), mobile is a 24/7 channel directly to us.

Look at it this way and mobile ticks so many marketing boxes that you ignore it at your peril.

  • Mobile is a life-line for the 18 to 30- year old demographic, a very attractive demographic to marketers and notoriously difficult to reach.
  • Mobile is a personal device and rarely shared, making one-to-one marketing a real possibility.
  • Mobile is present at the point of purchase, providing marketers a channel to influence people’s brand choice and encourage the all-important impulse buy.
  • Mobile is measurable, allowing marketers insights into campaign performance and their ROI.

However, for most brands and media owners, mobile remains one of the great untapped channels.

WHO WILL “GET” IT?

Not everyone is blind to the tremendous opportunities at the intersection of local information and advertising approaches. In fact, there is a staggering number of players across the ecosystem jockeying for a lead position. At one end of the spectrum you have the search engines and platforms: Taptu, MCN, Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft, just to name a few. At the other end, you have dozens of directory publishers (Yell, Pagine Gialle, Pages Jaunes, etc.). And let’s not forget the social networks, media owners, verticals, handset manufacturers and mobile operators all lining up for a slice of the action.

The market is crowded. But, if companies continue with their current approaches, then a shake-out is imminent.

To be clear, only a handful of mobile players have what it takes to be highly successful. The barriers to entry, the complexities of the mobile channel and challenges of distribution and discovery make this a game for deep-pocketed players. But other companies have an equal chance (even if they don’t have equal budgets) if they use mobile in a smart and meaningful way to deliver real value to the consumer.

WHAT WILL MAKE A WINNER?

The winners will be the companies that have much more than content (such as local listings, for example). It will be those players that have the capabilities mix to deliver mobile consumers a contextual, relevant and tailored offering. This presupposes the know-how to deliver to the device capabilities, provide consumers the features they expect, enhance location information, support social and viral distribution and add value through marketing and advertising.

It may sound simple, but why are so many companies still getting it wrong?

In my view, they lack focus and an understanding of the mobile channel.

In contrast, companies succeeding in mobile are those players that have recognised the gaps in their knowledge of new media and brought in professionals that do. (Even better if these professionals are themselves digital natives with an instinctive grasp of mobile and its impact on every aspect of our daily lives.)

Leading digital agencies such as AKQA and Ogilvy, and progressive media owners including the BBC and Sky have long had dedicated mobile teams in place. Now other companies are following their lead, dedicating more resources to mobile or buying in skills as they need them (either because they believe in the true potential of mobile or because they have been pushed into mobile by brands who understand how important it is to engage with consumers on their personal device).

If you doubt that mobile demands experts with a different skills set, then consider the real reason Google acquired AdMob: it’s easier (and cheaper) to buy skilled people than make the investments and risk missing the mobile advertising opportunity altogether.

While many agencies and media companies have a long way to go (and a lot to lose), it is encouraging to see so many brands moving full-steam into mobile and reaping real benefits. The list of successful campaigns is impressive: Guinness with its ‘Passport to greatness’ campaign, British Airways with its ‘Mobile check-in’, HSBC with its ‘Business banking’, Sky with its ‘Remote record’, the BBC with ‘BBC mobile’ and the New York Times with their NY Times iPhone app. It is interesting to note that all these companies have dedicated teams or experienced agencies that understand usability and what makes mobile different. Even if these brands appear to experiment or treat mobile as a separate business, they are serious about mobile’s position as part of the digital marketing mix.

WHERE ARE THE LOCAL CONTENT OWNERS?

Brands are leading (not all – but we have more solid case studies than last year), agencies are learning and everyone else is at least talking.

So, where are the director publishers? They are the only players with content and vast experience in traditional advertising who have yet to make the most out of their digital assets. They should have a natural edge over their competitors, but, as I pointed out in my last column for MSG, they are leaving money on the table.

Indeed, directory publishers are best placed to deliver compelling local mobile services and – importantly – commercialise them through advertising. After all, they have existing customers and a powerful sales force to sell advertising products.

It appears that directory publishers are so focused on the business challenge that they can’t see the opportunity mobile represents. This, unfortunately, leave the  door wide open to Google & Co, companies that “get” mobile and understand the value of listings.

WHAT DO THEY NEED?

To close this gap directory publishers must stop thinking of mobile as a technology and understand it is a utility. The mobile device has evolved into a multifunctional tool. It is our social organiser, our information resource, our boredom filler. Basically, it supports our lives. Directory publishers have content that is a perfect fit provided they also plug it into the equation to simply or enhance our daily routine.

Directory publishers must also acknowledge that mobile comes with a whole set of new rules. Granted, the industry has yet to figure out these rules, but borrowing ideas and approaches from traditional media will not work. A good starting point is to answer three core questions: how are you going to approach mobile?; why is your offer relevant?; and what do you expect a consumer to do?

My takeaway: As a marketing medium mobile is only set to grow in value. Providers that get the basics right and forge partnerships that allow them to unlock the potential of mobile, monetise their digital assets and deliver features that add value to our lives will be well-equipped to compete against rivals and win.

Editor’s note: Martin’s next column will focus on what companies (specifically, local media and directory publishers) should do to deliver contextually relevant mobile advertising based on location.

Martin WilsonMartin Wilson has been involved in digital media for over 14 years, during which time he gained a wealth of experience in the fixed line and mobile Internet. In January 2008, Martin established Indigo 102, an independent consultancy, to assist organisations (including leading advertising agencies, directory publishers, media owners and online service providers) take their brands – and value propositions – mobile. In this role Martin has supported the development and launch of six mass market mobile services across three continents. You can contact Martin directly (martin@indigo102.com) and follow on Twitter (@indigo102).

8 Core principles when thinking mobile

Published 26th November

Below 8 Core principles we typically talk through with our clients when thinking mobile. Get the core right and success rate is greatly improved.

1. MOBILE is already a reality that is growing by the day

2. MOBILE is another channel but it has very different characteristics to fixed online

3. MOBILE = COMMUNICATION & SOCIAL (Both natural parts of our life)

4. PRESENCE = LOGICAL, RELEVANT & TRUSTABLE (The ’how’, ’why’ and ’what’ is so important)

5. ENGAGEMENT = ATTRACTIVE, FUNCTIONAL & EASY TO USE (Services have to offer utility and deliver results)

6. DISCOVERY = ACCESSIBLE, COMPATIBLE & PERFORMANT (Steps simply represent barriers) 

7. REVENUE = RELEVANT, INFLUENCING & ACTIONABLE (Everything should firstly deliver value)

8. REPORTING = KNOWLEDGE, COMPARISON & EVOLUTION (Everything in mobile is potentially measureable)

 The question of iPhone and Android is invariably raised - they are tactics that fall under no. 4 PRESENCE and ‘How’.

If you are thinking about the role of mobile and how it can add value to your business drop us a line.

The New New Media – changing shape of content (No. 2)

Published 10th November

Titled The New New Media, six articles will form a short series about the changing media environment. For other articles click here.

pl. me·di·a: A means of mass communication, such as newspapers, magazines, radio, or television.

The media industry has changed. The way media is delivered, the way we consume media has changed. It was not that long ago the majority of content was created by professionals and published by professionals, content was exclusive. Content created and pushed to our eyes and ears. A newspaper, magazine, television programme, website, everything used to be pushed and we consumed. Content is no longer pushed, today it is increasingly pulled. Digital technologies have changed the rules.

THE CREATOR AND CREATED HAS CHANGED. Content is no longer exclusively the domain of the professional. Content can be created and published by anyone. Barriers have been removed. Professionals still create and publish, but so do the rest of us. The quality has not dropped, the form has simply changed.  Content used to be based on structure and format. Words came in paragraphs, broadcasts came in programmes. Today snippets are the norm.

We consume increasing volume of content in flashes; Words come in 140 characters, broadcasts in one and a half minute bursts. Content is increasingly distributed via text message, or through services like Twitter or Youtube. Consumers create content and comment on existing content. Sometimes this content or comment links to or refers to content created by professionals or published by professionals, but often not. Consumers now dominate in the content stakes, they are the lead in create and share. The balance of power has shifted. The creator has changed.

Snippets are summaries; what is going on, something that has happened, a headline, a piece of information. They create interest; desire to pull more linked to headline, subject, content, tone, language, need or even the creator. Snippets grab attention, or do not. Interest generated in a nano second, we both engage and pull more or we walk away. Choose to walk we are informed, stay consume and we become more informed. Our ability, or desire, to consume rafts of content is diminishing. Summaries are often enough; content succinct, messages stark. The created has changed.

So why does this matter?

Desire and appetite for knowledge and information is not waning, content consumption is exponentially growing. Digital technologies are seeing to that. The challenge for the professionals is to understand how to take advantage; how to create, package, promote their content. Get this right and there are riches to be made. A snippet is more than a headline - control the snippet – it is the new way of marketing and commercialising content.

Importance of mobile is increasing, the channel is set to become a primary content environment for the majority. Gearing content and commercial capabilities for mobile will be key. 

Need more advice?  We specialise in mobile and are here to help.

(Image: Squashed Green golf ball creates chair designed by jean marie massaud truffle)

Mobile strategy – iPhone should factor but certainly not dominate.

Published 21st October

Apple’s push into the mobile market has been interesting – some say a game change – they have certainly shaken the market up, but have they really delivered the results? If only they had sold as many devices as column inches that they have achieved.

There seems to have been a global obsession with the iPhone. From the moment of first launch back in the summer of 2007 the iPhone has been headlining, the fixation still continues today. Apple has yet again demonstrated that it is a remarkable media machine. The iPhone receives a disproportionate amount of attention from the media, mobile industry and businesses alike.

Rather than being an explosive entrance the iPhone has seen a very steady growth to date and is likely to continue to do so. The iPhone today has very low single digit penetration in every market that it is sold. Since launch we believe that globally Apple has sold in the region of 34 million devices. If you are to factor in devices upgrades it could be safe to suggest that 2/3rd of those devices are active, or just over 20 million. In the UK that would mean less than 1 million active devices. Apple is a very small player.

An interesting element is that iPhone users make up a high percentage volume of mobile Internet activity. A sign of where the market is going. The masses will become prolific users of mobile Internet services. A stimulant the increasing number of devices that provide simple access the mobile Internet and lower costs associated to mobile data consumption. The majority are unlikely to be iPhone users, they will be owners of devices from one of the top five handset manufacturers.

Talk mobile to those looking to develop a mobile presence they all seem fixated with developing an iPhone application as a priority. This is equivalent to the Blackberry effect from three to four years ago. Despite the disproportional cost, those developing applications had to deliver Blackberry variants as a priority as that was the device the Executives typically used. The iPhone is a showcase opportunity, to demonstrate what can be done and gain engagement. It is not a mass market play. For those looking to develop a mobile strategy the iPhone should factor but certainly not dominate.

To understand how to develop a balanced mobile strategy – get in touch.

The New New Media – changing face of media (No. 1)

Published 12th October

Titled The New New Media, six articles will form a short series about the changing media environment. For other articles click here.

pl. me·di·a: A means of mass communication, such as newspapers, magazines, radio, or television.

The media industry has changed. The emergence of digital technologies has seen to that, more people are reached by media and more frequently than ever before. With more people engaging with media why do we continue to hear stories about the media companies struggling to make returns?

THE FOUNDATION HAS CHANGED. If you consider that the foundation of the media industry is historically linked to those that deliver the media content to you – the distributor, news store, the paper boy or girl, publisher and broadcaster – we can start to see why digital technologies have had such a dramatic impact on the traditional media industry.

The foundation is not the road the printed publication travelled, or the sheet of paper that the content is printed, neither is it the airwaves that carries a broadcast signal, it is not the content creator or the even the brand – it is the mechanism that actually delivers the content to eyes and ears.

Digital technologies have changed the landscape, although the principle of the foundation has not changed the players have. The foundation today is linked to organisation such as Google, Facebook, Youtube, Bebo, Skype and Twitter – they are now the mechanism that delivers content to eyes and ears. These players have been brought about by our every increasing appetite to consume and share news and information. The change has been rapid as digital technologies remove the barriers associated to the traditional media. The format, location, distance and time are no longer considerations, the transfer of content and information can be instantaneous and to anywhere in the world.

The issue with the foundation is it has never been hugely lucrative. Think of the newspaper girl or boy they get just a few pence for each paper delivered, the newspaper delivery firm even less per delivered unit. In the traditional world there was money associated with the delivery. For the new foundation this has largely changed there is no money associated to distribution. If you take the list of the new players Google is in the anomaly in that it is the only one that has and is making real money. The others all have fabulous values attached to their organisations but have failed to show any real way to make a return.

So how come Google was different? Basically they got lucky they were in the right place at the right time, they had the right product for the moment and their product was simple. Their first mover advantage gave them a commanding position as a foundation provider. Without them it was harder to access and consume media in the digital environment they became the primary distributor. Google became synonymous with searching on the internet. This commanding position meant that they were able to place a premium charge against the use of the foundation. In the old world they attached the equivalent of a toll charge to a main road or motorway, a placement of 3” border full of sponsorship around the edge of your favourite television programme.

It is unlikely that such a commanding position for other new foundation providers will be achieved as the digital media environment has become fragmented. Third parties have gained a position at the point of actual delivery to the consumer, Organisations like Tweetdeck now provide the interface to Twitter and Facebook,  the foundation role is weakened as consumers have choice and as such commercialisation becomes more challenging. Many of the prospective players will fail to deliver returns - they no longer have exclusive control of distribution and they don’t have the infrastructure, resources or experience.  

Importance of mobile is increasing, the channel is set to become a primary content environment for the majority. Gearing content and commercial capabilities for mobile will be key. 

Need more advice?  We specialise in mobile and are here to help.

(Image by Sebastian May, Artlab – University of Westminster)

Mobile Mega trends 2011

Mobile megatrends 2011 (VisionMobile)

Going Mobile? 4 Initial Thoughts on Mobile You Need NOW!

A great posting from MobileWeb Company, a leading specialist marketing and services provider that truly understands mobile. Full article from Mobileweb Company: Here.

Does mobile feature in your marketing mix? If not, you’re potentially missing a serious opportunity to engage consumers. According to Forrester Research you are likely to be in the minority, 3 out of 4 marketers have suggested that they will be investing in mobile as a marketing vehicle in 2011. 

So, why should you add mobile to your marketing mix in 2011?

First it is important to gain a view of the mobile landscape.

With increasing numbers of customers turning more and more frequently to their mobile for their every day needs – some 14 million are active mobile Internet users, and almost a quarter of total time spent online is now via a mobile device. Mobile is set to overtake fixed online (PC) to become the primary way that many consumers access the Internet.

The market penetration of Smartphones is still relatively low – Nielson recently reported that less than a quarter of mobile devices are actually Smartphones, iPhone less than 5%. Although increasing numbers of consumers are buying Smartphones the majority of mobile Internet users today, over 60%, are not using Smartphones.

Despite all the press, Applications have been a disastrous investment for many organisations. Many investing huge sums in developing applications but have very little to show for their efforts. Most have been drawn by the ‘hype’ and ‘cool’, failing to adopt a strategic view of the market. A blinked view towards applications means many have simply over looked the mobile web. Less than 3% of organisations today have a website that can be viewed on a mobile device – including a Smartphone

Mobile web is starting to command the attention of marketers, after all that is where the consumers are. The vast majority of mobile online activity is web based. The challenge for many organisations is to recognise that the consumer’s requirements are typically very different to the fixed online environment and often they are not out and about or mobile.

So where should you start? Full article from Mobileweb Company: Here.

Media: Future of FREE and Advertising



 
Published 19th October

Two very interesting interviews with Martin Sorrell, WPP CEO. Well woth a few minutes of your time.

The first, Sorrell is asked about the content and gives his views on why FREE does not work:

The second, he gives his views on the future of advertising:

 
 Published by Martin Wilson


Martin Wilson
– has been involved in digital media for over 14 years, during which time he gained a wealth of experience in the fixed line and mobile Internet, and a deep understanding of the local space. In January 2008, Martin established Indigo 102, an independent consultancy, to assist organisations (including digital advertising agencies, directory publishers, media owners and online service providers) take their brands – and value propositions – mobile. In this role Martin has supported the development and launch of mass market mobile services across three continents. You can contact Martin directly (martin@indigo102.com) and follow on Twitter (@indigo102).

241st Carnival of the Mobilists

Published 18th October 


File:Carnival.jpg

Image by: Tendril

Welcome to the 241st edition of Carnival of the Mobilists. This week it is again the turn of leading mobile strategist and marketer Martin Wilson of Indigo102 to provide his take on a week in mobile.

A week after celebrating its 5th anniversary it is great to see the Carnival alive and well and conveying aspects of an industry that still continues to buzz with so many different vibes. A week in mobile is never a dull affair.

The working week came to a close in truly invigorating style with the Forum Oxford: Future Technologies Conference at the University of Oxford. On the promise of all the event presentations being made available online it is definitely worth making effort to sign up to the free forum – Forum Oxford: Next Generation Mobile Applications Panel). More in a moment…

An email from Nokia recieved – I can finally buy an N8, but not sure I want one now.

3 days to go…

Long time no see: Windows Mobile back from darkness. Aurélien Fonteneau, at ON, gives a round-up of the buzz surrounding the imminent release of Windows Phone 7. We get: Devices, Strengths and Weaknesses. And proclaims; I would definitely wait a few months before buying a Windows Phone an opinion I am not sure I agree I want one!

Beyond opportunity…

Mobile Marketing Association Mobile Forum Analysis @ Mobile Marketer. Peggy Ann-Salz, of mSearchGroove, gives us her take on the recent MMA event in London. Speakers included: Jay Altschuler, Unilever Global Communication Planning Director; Paul Berney, MMA CMO & Managing Director EMEA; and Jude Brooks of Coca Cola and touches on some of the latest consumer findings and insight from the likes of Lightspeed Research, Electronic Arts (EA) and Buzzcity.

Confidence critical…

How Mobile Operators Can Make The Grade. Lisa Ciangiulli, of Alcatel-Lucent Global Advertising Solutions. Lisa suggests that much of the reticence among mobile operators and companies across the mobile marketing ecosystem to seize the opportunity is not a matter of failing to understand the business benefits, but rather one of confidence.

 Shake-up time…

What if Tesco decided to really take on mobile? Helen Keegan, of Heroes of the Mobile Screen, provides a very interesting view on what mobile may look like if an organisation such as Tesco became serious…Well, the app store would be more focussed and better organised (simpler is better). Beyond the app store… How about if Tesco provided suppliers (be that FMCG, mobile apps, clothing, whatever) with a full-service marketing option. And… What about if Tesco were to take on some web 2.0 and mobile 2.0 principles. READ ON.

Context, or NOT…

Mobile context – As a road sign. Steven Hoober, Urges to think about users and think contextually. Mobile ‘Context’ is ever present in the ambitions of many when designing mobile applications, websites , interfaces and even phones. But somehow, it never gets really understood by many.

Finally…

A reach out from Holly Kolman, of MobiEnthusiast, seeking for expert contributors to share Breaking news about mobile App, Computer or Cloud technology.

 Forum Oxford

The 35 plus delegates were treated to some great presentations from a number of leading industry figures. Organised by Peter Holland and co-chaired by esteemed colleagues Ajit Jaokar and Tomi Ahonen, there was a lot for our industry to talk about - major shifts at Nokia, 3D mobile premiere, apps of course, and how social media is integrating with mobile.

Proceedings were kicked off by James Elles, Member of European Parliament (MEP). It was very it reassuring to hear an MEP speaking quite fluently about mobile and digital. However the audience was left feeling that it is a concern that government appears to be talking, not really acting.

Second up was an effervescent David Marutiak(@marutiak), of Vodafone. Topic: ‘Communities’ and what constitutes a community. “Communities” are supersets of social networks. You don’t need to be in the latter to be in the former. Despite an expectant audience, David stopped short of criticising Vodafone 360’s efforts to date except to suggest that one core learning is it is too complex for retail sales – sales cycle too long and user interface is too loaded.

The audience was treated to array of statistics by Chetan Sharma(@chetansharma), of Chetan Sharma Consulting, as a true authority in global stats and trends he gave an intriguing view on the next 10 years and 15 trends that matter. Global reallocation of advertising spend shifting Mobile = 5% by 2012, On-deck revenue set to rapidly decline from 60% in 2009 to 30% by 2012.

Jeanette Carlsson, of IBM Global Business services, gave a presentation of ‘Social Media on the Web’ and the influences of mobile. It was slightly bizarre by the fact that one could suggest that IBM clearly have a different view of mobile than many in the real world.

Jonny Bentwood(@JonnyBentwood), of Endelman, provided an interesting insight into how ideas spread? Idea Starters – Amplifiers – Adapters – Commentators – Viewers. Start by identifying the most influential sources to help boost a message, although the source may not be who and what you naturally think.

Simon Cavill, of mi-pay, gave us an amazing insight to the world of m-payment. Blowing the audience away with stats like; 20% of the GDP of Kenya goes through mobile phones. Proclaiming minutes on SIM cards are “the Euro of Africa”. Stunning!  Mobile is really making a difference to the developing world. Although in conversation later Simon was quick to point out that adoption in developed countries is going to be far more challenging.

Volker Hirsch(@vhirsch), of Scoreloop covered theEconomics of Applications, a critic of the models, issues and insights in what to do…..Create Fanatics ……Keep it in Context.

Sean Mitchell, of Movidus, spoke of the intention of sharp to releasing a 3D handset in 2011 and then treated delegates to a demonstration of the latest in their 3D technology for mobile phones – mind blowing.

 Xi Sizhe, a 21 year old PHD student provided a great insight in to the environment in China, the drivers and where technology is going. Xi introduced us to the term ‘imovation’ – the ability to copy and innovate – and talked about the age of abundance of devices.

(Forum Oxford: Next Generation Mobile Applications Panel).

 
 
 
 

 

ABOUT

Carnival of the Mobilists – the weekly line-up of top-notch mobile blogging from experts and mobile passionatas — the Carnival exposes you to the very best posts of the previous week, all written about mobile and gathered together in a central place. You can read the summary on the host’s site and click on any story that catches your eye. Each week, it’ll be hosted at a different site, so you can visit the Carnival and experience both new writers about mobile, as well as all your old favourites.

Martin Wilson – has been involved in digital media for over 14 years, during which time he gained a wealth of experience in the fixed line and mobile Internet, and a deep understanding of the local space. In January 2008, Martin established Indigo 102, an independent consultancy, to assist organisations (including digital advertising agencies, directory publishers, media owners and online service providers) take their brands – and value propositions – mobile. In this role Martin has supported the development and launch of mass market mobile services across three continents. You can contact Martin directly (martin@indigo102.com) and follow on Twitter (@indigo102).


239th Carnival of the Mobilists

Published 30th September

Greetings and welcome to the 239th Carnival of the Mobilists.

This week Eric Chan (@mobileslate) hosts a double-shot of Carnival of Mobilists, all right before the 2010 CTIA Fall San Francisco Conference.


 An excerpt:

“First double-shot: Martin Wilson over at Indigo 102 starts us off and writes about the next Nokia and Intuit global alliance: Another nail in the coffin for directory publishers?

The opportunity in a real and trusted role as intermediary marketer for the small business is really up for grabs. I have always said that new players would emerge and stake a claim in this potentially very lucrative space – I am not convinced Google will dominate as many think, Nokia could well prevail if they play the right cards.

He also writes about Seven Shortcomings That Can Wreck Your Mobile Strategy

We concluded that many companies deserve high marks for trying to ‘think mobile’, but their execution is mediocre at best.”

 The full Carnival post: Here


Posted by Martin Wilson

Martin has spent almost 10 years involved in developing, marketing and commercialising mobile services and has developed an indepth knowledge. Having supported some of the world’s large media owners in developing mobile services his track record of delivery speaks for itself. Martin is a true expert in mobile who really understands how to open the mobile environment in an effective and often complimentary way for the organisations that he works.  If we can support you get in touch (martin@indigo102.com).

(Follow us on twitter: @indigo102)

Microsoft Windows Phone 7 – great, but stop the cheap pot shots

Published 27th September


Less is more with Microsoft Windows Phone 7


 The new marketing campaign for Windows Phone 7 has emerged. It seems that the message Microsoft is trying to push is that you’ll get more done with less! The adverts attempt to push the simple interface and contrast that of its rivals that require their owners to bury their head in their mobile device to do anything – a situation familiar to so many of us.

Will it work? ‘Mobile take-over’ is certainly is a situation that resonates with many people, but is it a real problem that will win over new consumers? The answer; may be if your partner was buying the device.

I think this is a relatively sad reflection of the market place. Lately we have seen so many organisations taking pot shots at each other, Apple at other handset manufacturers over its iPhone 4 ‘deathgrip’, Nokia at Apple and HTC during the 2010 NokiaWorld event and now Microsoft.

I have always questioned comparative marketing – it more often than not looks desperate, I feel this occasion is no different.

Microsoft have the opportunity to really showcase what they have done with Windows Phone 7 and re-invent themselves in mobile. They have to focus on the task in hand, have confidence in your products and stop the cheap pot shots mentality.    The advert in question below:


Posted by Martin Wilson

Martin has spent almost 10 years involved in developing, marketing and commercialising mobile services and has developed an indepth knowledge. Having supported some of the world’s large media owners in developing mobile services his track record of delivery speaks for itself. Martin is a true expert in mobile who really understands how to open the mobile environment in an effective and often complimentary way for the organisations that he works.  If we can support you get in touch (martin@indigo102.com).

(Follow us on twitter: @indigo102)

Number of Mobile Internet users set to boom in the UK

Published 24th September


36% of UK Mobile Consumers plan to use the Mobile Internet in Next Year


The latest European study, by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) (www.mmaglobal.com) and research partner, Lightspeed Research (www.lightspeedresearch.com), has found over a third of UK consumers plan to use the mobile Internet in the next year.

The research shows high interest in mobile websites, with an average of 28% of European mobile consumers expecting to access websites once a week or more using their mobile phone over the next year. British mobile consumers emerged as the most likely to use the mobile Internet regularly, with 36% stating their intentions to do so over the next 12 months, followed by Germany at 27% and France at 20%.

Take a look a look at where we are today. In the UK, 14m consumers use the mobile internet, some 23% of time spent online is via a mobile device – this shows the reality of mobile. The issue is that today that less than 3% of businesses have a website optimised for a mobile, a staggering discord.

The research asked a 1,000 respondents in each country – Britian, France and Germany. Free access to websites on the mobile Internet emerged as a major driver for usage, with 56% of consumers in France and the UK, and 35% in Germany, stating that they would be very unlikely to use websites which charged them a fee. Fast loading times of websites to the mobile device and simple viewing and navigation were also key amongst French, German and British mobile consumers, with relevant and useful content whilst on the move also featuring highly for Germans.

 

Other key findings included:

  • News, weather, social networking and mobile search were cited as the sites mobile consumers were most likely to access over the coming year, with maps and directions being the most desired content in the UK and France, and headlines in Germany.

 

  • On average, 30% of mobile consumers (30% UK, 25% France and 36% Germany) were willing to receive alerts from websites of interest on their mobile phone, with 38% preferring these to be via SMS rather than email.

 

  • Mobile search engines emerged as the most popular means of accessing websites on the mobile handset in all three countries, followed by bookmarking in the UK and France, and alerts and notifications in Germany.

 

The results show that there is a clear and growing market opportunity for the mobile Internet. Mobile is set to be a significant channel and key channel for marketers. However, organisations need to ensure that they deliver to the needs and expectations of a mobile audience.  Mobile is very different to the fixed online environment and is not about transfering your existing offer to a new screen. The mobile channel brings with it a whole load of new considerations – sadly something that many organisations are failing to grasp today. 


Posted by Martin Wilson

Martin has spent almost 10 years involved in developing, marketing and commercialising mobile services and has developed an indepth knowledge. Having supported some of the world’s large media owners in developing mobile services his track record of delivery speaks for itself. Martin is a true expert in mobile who really understands how to open the mobile environment in an effective and often complimentary way for the organisations that he works.  If we can support you get in touch (martin@indigo102.com).

(Follow us on twitter: @indigo102)

MMA: Quarter of Consumers More Likely to Respond to Advertising If Offered A Mobile Response Option

Published 23rd September

A recent European study, by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) (www.mmaglobal.com) and research partner, Lightspeed Research (www.lightspeedresearch.com), has found on average a quarter of consumers would be more likely to respond to advertising in any media if it allowed them to do so using their mobile device.

The findings of the study should be a wake-up call to advertising and media agencies. Mobile should be firmly in the mix when looking to develop campaigns. It is still amazing to see so many ambient campaigns that don’t carry a call to action that is compatible with a mobile. Many of those that carry web site addresses fail on the fact that the site is not optimised to mobile – very large pages sizes and full of graphics.

The research asked a 1,000 respondents in each country – Britian, France and Germany – about their awareness of and preferences for mobile response options and how mobile would enhance their engagement with advertising. Consumers of all age groups demonstrated high levels of awareness and response across multiple media delivery methods, including print media, cinema, radio, outdoor and in-store advertising.

Texting a keyword to a mobile short-code was cited as the preferred method to responding to an advert.

Television advertising was most frequently mentioned for its inclusion of mobile response mechanisms across all three markets, and was perceived by consumers to be the media where mobile response was most effective. UK consumers however emerged as being more likely to respond via mobile to adverts seen on a PC or laptop, while those seen in a print magazine or on a PC or laptop were most popular in France. Direct mail came out on top for consumer response via mobile in Germany.

 

Key findings included:

  • On average, 25% of consumers (31% UK, 24% France and 20% Germany) felt that they would be more likely to respond to an advert that provided a mobile response cue.

 

  • In the UK, mobile response advertising seen on a PC or laptop elicited a higher activity rate in the last month (25%) than other media. In France, print advertising or advertising delivered via a PC or laptop was the most popular (34%), while direct mail was ranked the highest in Germany (23%).

 

  • Texting a keyword to a short-code was recognised as the best way to gain a response in all three countries, while going to a mobile site or calling a number were also popular across all markets.

 

Providing a response mechanism using mobile is the ideal way to increase the impact of any marketing activity. A mobile call to action enables consumers to engage with brands whenever they want, where ever they are – perfectly aligned to the increasingly mobile lives that many consumers now live. To capitalise marketers and agencies need to understand the value of mobile and more importantly how to integrate in a way that will really engage and add value to consumers, this second element far too many fail on.


Posted by Martin Wilson

Martin has spent almost 10 years involved in developing, marketing and commercialising mobile services and has developed an indepth knowledge. Having supported some of the world’s large media owners in developing mobile services his track record of delivery speaks for itself. Martin is a true expert in mobile who really understands how to open the mobile environment in an effective and often complimentary way for the organisations that he works.  If we can support you get in touch (martin@indigo102.com).

(Follow us on twitter: @indigo102)

Nokia ‘Dot’ – the power of the N8

Published 17th September

A new ad for the Nokia N8 using a CellScope microscope has set a Guinness World Record for the “smallest stop-motion animation character in a film”.

The ad, by Wallace & Gromit creators Aardman Animations for Wieden + Kennedy London, features Dot, a 9mm girl who wakes up in a magical, magnified world to discover her surroundings are caving in around her.

She escapes the encroaching wave of destruction as her world unravels via a path made up of tiny, familiar objects such as coins, pins, pencil shavings, nuts and bolts, until she finds peace by knitting herself a blanket from the very matter that pursues her.

The shot then pulls away to show how small she is and to reveal the film was shot with a Nokia N8 and a microscope, called a Cellscope.

The tiny film has set a new world record for the smallest stopmotion animated character in a film.

Mark McCall and Richard Dorey, creatives at W+K, said: “Achieving our goal of setting a world record with a Nokia N8 is the perfect celebration of the campaign’s core message – its not technology, its what you do with it.”

The entire set was no more than a metre and a half long, all elements of which were used to help sell the scale of the project to the viewer.