ESPN Mobile announced yesterday that they will cease operations of their MVNO. See story.
Most of what I have to say about the challenges of an entertainment-oriented wireless carrier are in a posting from this summer. It's more of a case of being overambitious than failing - it would have been very hard to succeed without a very low cost base. It's better to exit than stubbornly pour more money into an operation and business model with so many challenges.
In any case, it certainly isn't their exit from the mobile industry. I'm sure they have learned a lot from the experience and will benefit as they sell their content to other carriers with a larger subscriber base.
Yesterday was a banner day for me in my young career as a Forrester analyst - my first research piece was published. It's a marketing technology brief titled "Understanding Contact Optimization technology." So what is contact optimization? We define it as a mathematical approach to determining the best mix of messages for each customer in order to maximize marketing objectives while satisfying business constraints. Put simply - this technology is for high volume direct marketers intent on transforming themselves from a product centric organization to one that emphasizes customer need.
The theme for Forrester’s upcoming Consumer Forum is “Humanizing The Digital Experience.” What makes a digital experience more human? First, it must be useful. Second, it must be usable to the point that the technology fades into the background. Finally, the best digital experiences are desirable enough to stimulate action (e.g. buying a product, or telling a friend about the experience).
After years of clumsy and cold web sites, examples of desirable experiences are starting to pop up everywhere. Witness MySpace.com and NASCAR’s PitCommand (a mobile application in which fans can track in real-time the speed, RPM, throttle, position, and time of their favorite driver). These are great, but can every online experience be desirable? What about when a company is trying to sell you something?
I'm answering this question in a research piece scheduled for me right after I finish my Wave on search marketing agencies. And am currently in the process of surveying interactive marketers about what works well/not so well about how your teams are structured.
So here’s your chance to take part in Forrester’s ground-breaking research! We maintain an active panel of interactive marketers, but we’re always looking for fresh voices. If you’re an interactive marketer or know someone who might be interested in our work, you can access the link to our survey below:
Along with podcasts and RSS feeds, blogs are showing up on business marketers’ radar. Of the 210 B2B marketers who told us that they use these emerging tactics today, over 70% said they planned to boost their spending on social computing tactics during the next 12 months. But just because firms like Boeing, HP, NetApp, Sun, and Unica have entered the blogosphere, does that mean every marketing executive should as well? My answer today is a qualified “Perhaps.”
Everyone seemed to know that it was coming, but the news yesterday was pretty exciting just the same. Sprint Nextel announced (are announcing) that they will allow advertising on their WAP portal. (See article.)With as many mobile subscribers as Sprint has on it's data plans, this should really boost available display ad inventory. Both Third Screen and AdMob have been reporting phenomenal growth and combined seem to be delivering more than a couple hundred million impressions each month right now (public statements they've made). It's a great start towards opening up more opportunities in the mobile environment. Verizon is also piloting banner ads on their WAP portal, but no announcement yet that I've seen.
Given the slow network speeds and limited navigation capabilities (i.e., no QWERTY) that most mobile subscribers have, I think these numbers are fairly significant and likely to continue growing. Few (single digits) mobile subscribers are regular users of WAP today.
For me, the distinction here is strategy vs. tactics. Customer-centricity is a strategy that requires the use of both short- and long-term tactics. Long term: reinventing your marketing organization, which enables dissociative identity marketing. Short term: using social computing tactics to reach the personas as identified.