Ok, Timothy isn't actually officially auditioning to be Nokia's chief spokesperson in Africa.
He just really likes his phone. It does everything for him - music, photos, video, email, etc. He uses it for business and for entertainment. Yes, it cost the equivalent of what he paid for his engagement party. Yes, the price is some absurdly high proportion of annual income. Yes, his business currently covers the cost of the service - though data services seem to be free since they aren't technically available there in many handsets.
All of that said, he is really using the handset in a way that the handset manufacturers envision that consumers could. He is using his cell phone in ways that most Americans don't - and wouldn't bother because we have PC's, radios, ipods, etc.
There is always a lot of talk about hitting the $50 price point for developing market countries. It was the same with cars. Manufacturers were looking to make cheap cars for developing markets such as China, India, Africa, etc. As it turned out though, early adopters wanted the same MB's and BMW's being sold in Europe and the US. What if it's the same with cell phones? What if it's not a question of budget for a cell phone? but budget for cell phone + computer + portable music player + camera ... maybe it won't be the low end phones.
A follow-up to my post last month on the use of cell phones in the Masai Mara …
I sent Timothy an N-series phone. I believe that it is the first of it's kind in the Masai Mara - or at least Timothy thinks so. He says that the phone is very "posch." You hear a lot of people talk about how the cell phone may be the only computing platform that folks in developing countries have to connect to the Internet.
With all of the talk of sub-$100 computers, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical.
Timothy has a computer with dial-up speed access via satellite.
Within a few days of getting his new phone (ok, he does have a CS degree), he was using it to send and receive emails. It's completely changing his life.
He's really converting me over to believing that this really may be "it" in countries like Kenya. The phone has so many advantages over the PC - can carry it with him (there aren't many safe places to leave valuables), doesn't need to be plugged in - can go for days without a charge, etc. It's the first time in his life that he has been able to generate his own digital media. It's very cool. Now we just need the sub-$100 multimedia, N-series phone. ;)
I've seen a few demos of comparison shopping on cell phones. The idea is that you are out and about shopping, you find something you want to buy, and then you use your cell phone to ensure that you are getting the best price. AOL has a service like this (WAP) as do a few others. In the past, I found the scenario hard to imagine. Not any more.
I was in the post office yesterday. It's the one at Geary/Parker in San Francisco. Anyone who has been there knows that it is a nightmare at many levels - not all of which are the fault of the USPS. I show up with my big box - one large enough that I can't use the self-service machine. There are 15 people in front of me. In the five minutes that I wait, they serve one person.
I turn to my cell phone ... and think ... there must be another way. I think, "Where is the nearest UPS store?" In less than one minute, I have typed UPS into Google SMS and received an answer. I call. The nearest shop is 50 feet away, and there is no line. I'm back in my car headed home in less than 10 minutes. There are still 13 people in line at USPS.
On September 14, I posted a notice about a research study we had in the works on The Interactive Marketing Organization. Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey!
We've gotten about 150 responses and have actually closed the survey (just in case you have tried to take the survey recently and found the link inactive). I'm currently at work on the report this data will feed. But since that is still several weeks away, I wanted to provide you with a few previews of what we learned:
*Companies actually have a surprising tenure with interactive marketing: 79% have been using interactive marketing for more than 3 years; 52% for more than 5 *Interactive marketing teams are generally small (39% have IM teams with 1 to 5 people). However 18% report teams that are quite large (31 or more people) *Interactive marketers outsource less than I had expected with 59% outsourcing less than 25% of their work. *Younger IM organizations (those using IM for less than 5 years) are generally less strategic than more senior organizations. They have less staff, less budget, but better executive support than IM organizations who have been using interactive marketing for more than 5 years.
Into every Forrester analyst's life a little blogging must fall! As the last blogging neophyte on our team I've put off introducing myself far too long. Okay, I admit it, I found the medium a bit intimidating but it's time to practice what I preach and find out what it's like to put my brand out online.
I find myself thinking a lot about the importance of permission for marketers. As consumers increasingly opt in to the things they want (personalized content, websites that match their hobbies and special interests, social networking sites) and out of the things they don’t want (ads, dull programming, traditional marketing pitches) marketers are going to have to spend a lot of time getting permission from consumers and figuring out how to hold on to it.
As previously mentioned, I'm currently exploring advertiser - agency relationships. It's an extension of my work into reinventing the marketing organization as one of the four keys to becoming more customer-centric:
We are conducting this research in conjunction with the AMA's Mplanet (29 Nov - 1 Dec) and results will be released at the event. If you'd like to participate and get a full copy of the completed research, here's the survey link: http://www.gmi-mr.com/survey/s.phtml?sn=58793.
Also - please feel free to pass this link on to anyone you'd think is relevant and interested in this topic.
David Armano, creative director at Digitas, is currently giving a round of internal presentations at the agency called "blog's eye view: looking at the social network from a blogger's perspective." I attended his Boston presentation this morning and came away impressed. You can find his entire presentation here.
Blogging is still foreign to many companies, but agencies have particular pressure to get ahead of the curve and help clients capture value from the medium. Digitas has embraced Armano's work and he has great lessons to share from his personal experience over the past eight months - illustrated too! For example, the graphic at upper left is his image of "influence ripples" which describes how media sources impact one another.
Forrester's Consumer Forum is coming up in 10 days! The event has been expanded compared to prior years with many more content choices available to attendees. The overall theme of the Forum is Humanizing The Digital Experience. I think this is particularly relevant, given the change that technology has driven in the marketing world over the past 12 months alone.
Sprint announced that it is trialing MediaFLO's technology for a broadcast TV service that it is calling Vue. Verizon plans to launch the service in Q1 2007. Many have questioned the need for a broadcast video/audio network when consumer adoption is as low as it is today. It's sounds cliché, but they can't succeed if they don't try. Today's networks only have the capacity to stream video simultaneously to a handful of subscribers at any one time. Certainly, not everyone will want to watch at the same time (ok, unless there is breaking news), but they can't ramp up adoption without the capacity to deliver a great experience. Broadcast provides this capability.