I just returned from a short trip to London where I had a chance to speak with a
series of different UK-based online retailers. Most conversations included at
least some discussion of how the economic climate was affecting the market, both
within the US and the UK. When it
comes to international expansion, the consensus seemed to be that the current
economic environment was driving globalization rather than slowing it down. A
few observations from my conversations:
*Few marketers experiment with emerging media with the exception of social media applications. They stick with email and search and are waiting for a better economy to embrace online video and mobile marketing.
Much speculation surrounds Apple's upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference next week. Will Steve show up? Will a new, cheaper iPhone be announced? Or will Apple further pump up its iPhone 3.0 software upgrade? Only Apple insiders know for sure.
For marketers looking for signs of an even larger iPhone audience at which to target branded apps, it won't matter much. The number of users is already quite large (17 million worldwide) and growing steadily. And the broader audience for mobile applications continues to build on other platforms: the just-launched Palm Pre (and store), the recently launched BlackBerry App World, Nokia's Ovi Store, and Microsoft prepping its own app store. There will be plenty of places to offer apps to a hungry mobile audience.
I'm a few days late on this one but it's been a busy week!
Google announced Monday that by the end of the year it would allow publishers to sell eBooks directly through Google. Google was already involved in the eBook/eReader market through its patented book digitization efforts and through a partnership with Sony that offers 500,000 public domain books for free in the Sony Reader store.
We expected that Google would move more aggressively into the eReader space, but the move to sell eBooks directly is surprising. Sure, there's Froogle, and Google Checkout, but Google doesn't really sell anything but ads. Even when it could have moved from displaying search results to selling products--like airline tickets--it hasn't, until now.
This move directly threatens Amazon as an eBook seller, but more importantly, it challenges Amazon's whole proprietary approach to the eBook market. Google eBooks will use open standards and can be used on any reader, unlike Amazon's Kindle format. Google will also let publishers set their own pricing, unlike Amazon.
What's next for Google? We wouldn't be surprised to see an Android-operated eReader, one that syncs with Google docs and is optimized for reading business documents in addition to books and news. In addition, specialized eReaders are seen as a potential enabler of paperless hospitals; Google's involvement in digitizing health records could put Google in a central role in the health eReader space.
Happy Friday everyone!It's hard to believe, but Forrester's Customer Experience Forum is just 17 days away. A few of my colleagues have already talked about the event, but I thought I'd add my own take with a sneak preview of the track I'm leading.
Affiliate marketing has taken its share of abuse as a less-than-ideal way to advertise online. However, in today's tough economy, major brands are taking a second look at affiliate programs as a way to boost sales at a very reasonable cost. Indeed, data from our survey of online marketing executives shows that a majority would spend more in online advertising if they had proof it would increase sales. An affiliate program is one such method that is all about lifting sales, and the proof is easily measured since the advertiser only pays for a completed sale of qualified lead.
If done properly, an affiliate program can be a valuable asset to an overall marketing effort, with manageable risk. Commission Junction - a leader in this space - reports that between 5% and 30% of incremental online sales can come through the affiliate channel. My latest report, "Performance Marketing: How To Build An Effective Affiliate Program," outlines a framework for launching a successful effort.
For marketers looking to drive new acquisitions and live within constrained budgets, an affiliate program could be a welcome tool.
Just saw this post in moco. INQ did a Facebook phone last year that I think offers one of the best social networking experiences on a cell phone. They truly integrated content from Facebook into the contact list. My two cents is that social networking features on cell phones like these will make cell phones the preferred device for these activities - may even trump the PC longer term. Am hoping to prove with some research later this summer.
INQ Mobile, the cellphone maker behind the "Facebook Phone," is hopping to tap into Twitter's surging popularity by releasing a Twitter phone, in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season, Reuters reports. Like its Facebook phone, the Twitter phone would be a mass-market feature phone, and would cost carriers less than $140. So far, INQ's phones, which also includes a Skype phone, have only been picked up by carrier Three, whose parent company, Hong Kong's Hutchison Whampoa, also owns INQ. Since the launch of its Skype phone in 2007, the cellphone maker has sold a total of 700,000 devices.