What warrants an SMS alert?

I get this question a lot from clients. I think it is a hard question to answer and will differ by person. I think I'm going to start a list of what does and what doesn't. Media companies and advertisers like to use SMS to cut through the clutter of Email inboxes and ensure the message is delivered "now."

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3 Years on: The iPhone was the Ironclad of Mobile Phones

Tomorrow, on the 9th, it's three years since the announcement of the iPhone. In that short space of time, and as Apple promised back then, Apple has reinvented the phone.

The iPhone has proven to be the 'Ironclad' of mobile phones. Everything that went before was obsolete overnight, both smartphones and dumb phones included. No prior phone could compete with the experience and the abilities of the iPhone. Sure, some phones were superior in very specific regards -- especially on cost and call quality -- just as very early Ironclad warships were not always the most sea worthy vessels. But overall, nothing existing could go toe-to-toe with the iPhone.

Other manufacturers saw this fast and reacted. Just like with the warships of the latter part of the 19th century the pace of innovation since, both from other manufacturers and from across the whole mobile ecosystem, has been ferocious. This week at CES we've seen numerous competing high end mobile phone launches that demonstrate that the pace of innovation in mobile is accelerating, rather than slowing.

Consumers use this new breed of high end phones in completely different ways to older 'smartphones' or dumb phones (we have consumer data on this, clients please ask!). This is especially true in Europe where consumer ownership of Nokia's Symbian Series 60 handsets is so great.

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3DTV at CES: Poking Holes in the Hype

It's high time somebody said it. Sit through one too many CES keynotes, press conferences, or pitches, and you just might leave Las Vegas with the mistaken idea that 3DTV is going to be in all of our living rooms next year. ESPN and Discovery are committing to 3D cable and satellite channels, Sony is upgrading its PS3s to do 3D, and Taylor Swift's live performance opening night at CES was shown live in 3D (Right behind her, mind you. You had to put the glasses on in order to see Taylor Swift in 3D when she was, actually, in 3D already, right in front of the audience.)

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The Data Digest: Where US Consumers Buy Or Borrow Their Books

Just after X-mas there were a lot of tweets about the news that Amazon.com had sold more ebooks at Christmas day than real books, as a result of the Kindle being the most gifted item in Amazon's history.

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Taxing the Net Won’t Stop the Media Meltdown

A new French government sponsored study has recommended taxing online advertising revenues to help compensate the French creative industries for copyright infringement.  The study proposes taxing the large online players Google, Facebook, Microsoft, AOL and Yahoo, but not ISPs, which are more traditionally seen as the key conduit for online media piracy. The sharp eyed among you will have noticed that these are all American companies and that the French ISPs are, well, French. 

Parochialism aside, there is a major flaw in the logic here: if these large companies are deemed responsible in part for illegal content consumption, then so are the ISPs (arguably more so).  And indeed the French Hadopi (Three Strikes) bill which this study is intended to complement, expressly apportions responsibility to the ISPs, making them partners in anti-piracy enforcement.  So if they are deemed responsible under French law, shouldn’t they also be subject to a levy, if one is implemented?

The so called ‘Google Tax’ proposals also suggest that the tax should be paid regardless of whether the publishers have offices in France, based instead on whether French consumers view the ads.  So this would mean, for example, that Google would have to make payment to support the French media industries if a French consumer clicked on a sponsored link, say, for washing machines in Seattle.

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CMOs: Its time to mandate the customer experience

The role of the CMO is changing from "head of marketing" to "corporate executive," but only when stars align in two ways. The first is when the CMO is a general manager with marketing expertise.  The second is when the CEO declares marketing and the brand experience to be corporate objectives rather than execution against. In either case, the CMO recruited to this task must drive change across the organization, connecting the dots to achieve a coherent brand experience regardless of the point at which the customer interacts with the company.

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Sales Enablement Stone Age Edition: You Can’t Make Stuff Like This Up

Yesterday, Brad Holmes blogged about 2010 being the year where sales enablement moves from concept to reality. Yep, it's tempting to think that tech firms and their marketers have all been madly working to enable the sales organizations with fabulous sales-enabling digital media like video customer testimonials, blogs, tweets, Facebook pages, and, of course, the company Web site. But once in a while, you get reminded that some companies have a long way to go just to cover the basics, never mind get to what Brad called a "breakthrough."

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Sales Enablement 2010: Is This The Year For Breakthrough?

Recent client interactions with a wide range of tech vendors leads me to believe that sales enablement will move from good idea and experimentation to real action in 2010.  Of course that will be an uneven thing as leaders set the pace with big transformation efforts to align what sales and marketing do together (that is the operative word here, together) to center their activities around clients' business problems with all the organizational angst and habit breaking associated with such an undertaking, while others tackle smaller bites, like messaging and measurement changes. But to me, it feels like 2010 will be the year when we see real progress, exemplary cases, and hard evidence that tackling effective sales enablement does drive sales efficiency. Are you sensing the same thing? 

So why now? I think in no small part it's because tech is maturing and so are the business people whose job success depends on it. So the two have begun to talk like adults about the business outcomes tech enables, not just the adjective-laden virtues of some engineering breakthrough. And those conversations are more meaty, grounded, and accountable; there is a solid transfer of value both in the discussion and in the outcomes from a transaction. Or there better be, else the buyer will drop the vendor like a stone. In a recent Forrester survey (we will publish this soon and will let you know how to find that data) of bus and IT folks involved in tech buying, 75% of the business people said they were involved in choosing or recommending vendors. More than half of those same business people said that their strategic vendors were the ones that understood their business and how to help them execute, and two thirds had a formal process to identify those vendors among their suppliers. You get the picture, cool tech is dead, business outcomes are a must.

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The Google Phone Launch is About Communication

Much that's been leaked about the Google announcement later today is familiar and evolutionary. What will matter most is how Google communicates the news and how it's received. This will set the tone for the Android smartphone operating system for 2010 and influence how other firms involved in Android -- Motorola, LG, SonyEricsson as well as the operators -- react and adjust their strategy.

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Why did Apple buy Quattro Wireless?

Apple isn't saying. Quattro posted a blog that told their current customers not to worry - normal business operations would continue. So, I am speculating a bit.

The first questions I've fielded are, "Does Apple want to go head to head with Google?" or "Does Apple want to sell advertising?" At a high level, I believe businesses stick close to their core competencies. Apple sells hardware, software and some content. Google sells advertising. Well, mostly. There are about 4 billion cell phones worldwide and about 1 billion PC's. New Internet connects (and page views and advertising growth) will come from mobile. Mobile is high growth. PC's are a bit commoditized. My cell phone costs more than my last netbook or notebook purchase. Go figure.

Our mobile marketing foreast for the US shows revenue growing from $391M in 2009 to $1.3B in 2014 provided there aren't any game changers. Game changers? Anything that would dramatically impact the amount of inventory or the value of it. The Apple iPhone, for example, dramatically altered the number of page views or inventory in mobile. The Android phones are helping as well and gaining momentum. These numbers are US-only - growth in mobile globally has been dramatic as well and will continue to be. In the US alone (see my colleague Charlie Golvin's blog) smartphone adoption grew from 11% at the end of 2008 to 17% at the end of 2009. This is significant because a lot more browsing and application downloads happen on these phones than more basic ones. A cut of this revenue would add some to Apple's bottom line, but very small at least in the next few years.

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