I was at my grandparents' place in Colo, IA over the long weekend. My grandmother still uses an AT&T Wireless phone from the first go-around. I noticed a brochure lying on her coffee table. The local phone company is about to begin offering wireless phone service. I speak to quite a few MVNO"s which claim that they need subscriber counts in at least the tens if not the hundreds of thousands to be profitable so the idea of this new service intrigued me.
A little background - the town has 360 homes and about 900 people living there. The Colo Telephone Company resides in a brick building - approximately 1000 square feet - on Main Street. There is a grain elevator across the street. The post office is next door. It employs five people. The 1000 square feet also includes their IT infrastructure for DSL, IPTV, DTV, phone lines, etc. They own one tower, but have never really had the opportunity to buy the spectrum that covers the town.
My great-grandparents purchased one share of stock in the company 100 years ago. There are only 248 shares outstanding, and each share pays an annual dividend of $150. The point is - the company is profitable.
I finally accumulated enough points from caps of coke bottles to purchase the beanie hat. By the time I did though, the caps were sold out. I ordered luggage tags instead. A bit disappointing, but overall, I really like this campaign.
What I really liked:
The TV commercials were awesome. (Ok, yes, I watch American Idol). Very educational. Everyone should be thanking companies like American Idol and Coca Cola for helping to educate mobile subscribers and build this market. It is reminiscent of Intel helping to build awareness of Wi-Fi with their Centrino campaigns a few years ago.
The idea to text in the codes was great. One didn't have to save the caps or carry them until getting to a PC. They could be redeemed and tossed immediately.
I also like the integration with the web site especially that they tracked what product you were drinking. They have not, however, seemed to have done anything with the information yet.
My colleague Joe Laszlo blogged about the high-end MVNO - VOCE a while back. About three weeks ago I signed up on their web site to get information about the service. Just this past week, I received a plain text email (i.e., no color, no graphics, etc.) stating that something would be arriving in the mail shortly. I had forgotten that I had even requested information. Hmmm. The long list of email marketing basics (e.g., personalization, event-triggered, timely) … it didn't meet any of them.
We are beginning to work on a Forrester Wave focusing on brand monitoring, scheduled to be published next quarter. What's a Wave? A detailed vendor evaluation using proprietary methodology (click here to learn more).
Last week Charlene Li and I talked with Josh Walker-- a Forrester alum and all around smart guy -- about his new company CityVoter. Here’s what CityVoter does and why it matters to media outlets, local businesses and national advertisers:
Last week SSA Global — which acquired Epiphany in August 2005 — announced that it will be acquired by Infor. Who is Infor? Frankly, I know virtually nothing about the company. But, my colleagues that cover the ERP market tell me that this acquisition makes Infor the third largest ERP vendor behind Oracle and SAP. The company claims nearly 25,000 customers in 100 countries and focuses its efforts on the manufacturing and distribution industries.
I saw the buzz yesterday about T-Mobile, Tom Cruise and Helio, but I didn't piece it all together. My first thoughts were "Good idea to give a celebrity a handset, but why Tom Cruise? He seems too old for their target market. His wife isn't though." Then I looked at the photos on Yahoo! Yeah, they're better than nothing, but I still took my SLR to AT&T ballpark last night to see if Bonds was going to break Babe Ruth's record. You wouldn't believe how many were trying to capture the picture (ok, and it didn't happen last night) with camera phones.
Then my colleague, Joe Laszlo offered me a clue. He sent me a link in the Korean Times. It reports unconfirmed rumors that T-Mobile is pressuring its dealers not to sell Helio. Was easy to understand at first - comparable target market. There's a lot of overlap in target audience though T-mobile handsets are cheaper, and there's obviously a huge selection of them. But, Helio has video and music. T-Mobile suffers a bit from not having a 3G network yet.
Spam works because it pays. Whether through phishing, selling lists, or otherwise, spammers make money. Sure, some do it just for kicks too. The real problem is that spam makes life more expensive for everyone. Legitimate bulk emailers (e.g. the number of order confirmations that a large e-commerce site sends out in a day could be considered "bulk") already spend time and capital to ensure delivery - this cost is already passed on to customers in one form or another (directly via service fees or indirectly via seller charges, passed through into pricing/margins).
Ok, this story isn't 100 percent about mobile, but that's how it started.
I got my hair cut earlier this week. Lisa has been cutting my hair for years. She recently opened up a salon of her own with a colleague. They are typical small business owners. At some point, the following dialogue begins:
Lisa: Why did you use Yelp to call us? I had to pay $15 for your call.
Julie: What is Yelp?
Lisa: You found our number on their web site.
Julie: I didn't realize you'd have to pay for the call. I didn't realize it was a paid service.
Lisa: Yeah, it's happened three or four times this month. One client that I've had for 20 years called through Yelp, and we paid $15 for the call.
Julie: Wait, now I remember. I couldn't find your phone number. I tried Google SMS and that didn't work. Tried Google - that's how I must have gotten the number.
Lisa: What is Google SMS?
Julie: Do you know what SMS is?
Julie: Well, Google SMS is a 411 service. You didn't show up in their listing though. You aren't searchable on a mobile device.
Lisa: Are a lot of people doing that? Looking up our number with text messaging?