Thoughts From My Pilgrimage To Mobile's Mecca

Once again, I've just spent a couple of days in Barcelona at Mobile World Congress (MWC). Year after year, the show is opening up to non-telecom players and going beyond mobile. Think about the rise of personal cloud-based services delivering consumer experiences across devices, Sony's marketing efforts to promote seamless entertainment across different screens, or the emergence of the "phablets" acronym (devices in between a phone and a tablet, such as Asus Padfone or LG Vu).  

While it is difficult to summarize all the news and announcements, here are some thoughts on MWC 2012:

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Mountain Lion: A Leap Ahead For Post-PC Productivity

There are more than 100 new features in Apple’s next version of its Mac operating system, dubbed “Mountain Lion” or Mac OSX. The ones that interest me most are those that advance the notion of post-PC productivity: experiences that help people be productive using multiple modes and devices. In particular, product strategists should pay attention to Apple’s:

  • iCloud integration of Docs and Notes. Mountain Lion users will be able to sync notes created in Apple’s Notes app, and documents created in its iWork apps, across Mac, iPad, and iPhone. Think of it as Amazon’s Whispersync for productivity. The catch is, though, that the synching is only within the same “app”—so if you create a document in Pages on your Mac, for example, you can sync it through iCloud to a Pages app on your iPad, but iCloud synching wouldn’t be compatible from Pages to another document editing app like Quickoffice. Third-party developers could use the Documents in the Cloud feature, but it would be sandboxed only within their app. This is an interesting twist for the many product strategists developing cloud-synched productivity apps. Evernote, for example, would have less value to users of ONLY Apple devices, since iCloud Notes synching is built into the OS. Evernote’s value proposition, and Quickoffice’s, will now revolve more around the multi-platform use case — users that need access to their stuff across iOS/Mac, Windows, and/or Android. Luckily, this is still a big market: Forrester’s data as of Q4 2011 show that 58% of Mac owners also own at least one PC, and 60% of iPad owners own another type of phone besides iPhone.
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PR Agencies: Adapt Or Die

DeathI’ve been wondering if the PR role is slipping and if the growth in interactive marketing will make PR agencies largely irrelevant unless they diversify and get wise to online opportunities?

Forrester’s December 2010 US Interactive Marketing Online Executive Panel Survey showed that PR agencies held a respectable fourth place when it came to which agencies are helping with company/brand interactive marketing but the same survey also showed that 68% of marketers were working with at least two or more agencies for their interactive marketing needs (all competing for budgets and control no doubt).

In the 14 months since that survey took place interactive marketing has continued to mature, and I wonder if the full-service interactive agency is growing up and gaining control -- leaving the PR agency behind at the kids table.

Why is PR at risk of losing their seat at the interactive table?

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2012 Mobile Trends And What They Mean For Product Strategists

When revisiting our 2011 mobile trends, Julie Ask and I concluded that many, if not all, of them were still evolving and relevant. We have placed the main new trends for 2012 into four categories: business, ecosystem, consumer expectations, and technology.

Mobile Is A Key Business Strategy Enabler

Product strategists must work with other roles in the organization to:

  • Develop a scalable approach to delivering mobile services. Organizations will need a strategic approach to building and spreading institutional knowledge as well as governance for the development of mobile services.
  • Craft a mobile strategy that extends beyond phones. The emergence of tablets in particular will require a different approach than smartphones.
  • Differentiate on the delivery rather than the content of mobile services. In 2012, “how” mobile services are delivered will differentiate them — not what they offer.
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Principles For Mobile Marketing Success

Most marketers know that there are opportunities for them to engage consumers on mobile devices: consumers are increasingly buying smartphones, using them more frequently, and using them as a supplemental resource for content and communication. So it’s great to see that marketer spend in mobile is increasing. However, we find that most efforts still treat mobile as a translation of PC-based campaigns, or are otherwise experimental. And while it’s smart to start with those kinds of programs, we think it’s important that marketers begin to evolve their mobile marketing strategies so their programs can be as sophisticated as their customers.  

In our latest report, we’ve identified a few steps you can take to move your mobile marketing strategy forward:

1)    Know what phase of mobile marketing evolution you are in.To get where you’re going, you first have to know where you are. We’ve has outlined five phases of mobile marketing evolution and the accompanying approach, resources, goals, and tactics for each so that you can see which phase you are in today: Foundation, Experimentation, Device Strategy, Channel Strategy, and Comprehensive Strategy.

2)    Use the three pillars of mobile strategy to guide your marketing programs in each phase:

a.     Immediacy: Provide content that is timely and actionable in the moment.

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The Super Bowl On The Second Screen

I think that the Super Bowl ads fell short this year.  Teasers for ads and ads that were "leaked" on YouTube became old news by the time they aired and offered no element of surprise.  The creative was, well, not that creative.  But something exciting did happen.  This year was a testing ground for advertising on the second screen.  During the big game,  brands like Best Buy, Pepsi, Toyota, and Bud Light partnered with Shazam, a popular app that can recognize music and television programing, to deliver customized offers and content to viewers that tagged the spot.  This morning, Shazam reported "millions of tags" during the game.  What will be more interesting to find out is what viewers actually did after they tagged the spot?  Did they enter a sweepstakes?  Watch a music video? Like the brand on Facebook? 

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Pinterest is over-hyped

If you didn't hear about it last year I guarantee the platform Pinterest has cropped up on your radar in these past few weeks of 2012. But does that mean it should feature in your 2012 digital marketing planning?

No.

Why it's too early to use Pinterest for interactive marketing

There’s no denying that Pinterest is fun, looks great, and a lot of people love playing with it. That is also true of kittens but no one’s rushing to include them in their 2012 marketing plans (except for maybe Karl Lagerfeld).

A couple of talking points circulating are getting way out of proportion:

  • Rapid growth: The Hitwise figures released before Christmas show undoubted growth as a social network, but it’s nothing compared to the current growth of Google+. Pinterest is also lauded for making a list of Top 10 Social Networks in November which, while impressive for the little upstart, can’t be that meaningful if marketers aren’t deploying tactics for established Top 10ers like Tagged and Yahoo! Answers
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Mobile Websites and the Interactive Marketer

Whether we like it or not, consumers are visting websites from their mobile devices.  Marketers confronted by this reality tend to react in two ways: they panic or disregard the information altogether.  The problem is, when it comes to mobile websites, interactive marketers have a lot of questions.  Over the next 6 weeks, I'll be taking a deep dive into mobile websites and write research that tells marketers what they need to know before investing time, resources and marketing dollars.  Key questions for the report will include:

  • What is a mobile website and what interactive marketing purpose does it serve?
  • How and when do consumers visit sites from their mobile devices?
  • What type of content do you need on the site?
  • How are brands using mobile websites successfully today?
  • How do you optimze a site over time?

I'd also like to hear from you.  What questions do you have?  What do you need to know when it comes to mobile websites?  Email them to me at elshaw@forrester.com and look for a follow-up post where I'll include some highlights and key findings when the report publishes. 

Why Google's Privacy Changes (And The 'Data Tidy Up') Moves Everything Forward

Google has handled its privacy debate by being disarmingly clear with a little note left on the fridge the other week.

We’re tidying up and love data too much to not want to connect it better.

Like it or lump it.

Love Google.

It’s their right - they are after all a private company and not the public service we somehow feel them to be. Google wants to “create a beautifully simple, intuitive user experience” and its data consolidation is what will help it do this. Facebook makes one product called Facebook while Google up until now has chosen to run many nom de plumes, betas, and side initiatives. I’d like to see a more capable ‘joined up’ Google sparring with Apple and Facebook on who can do the coolest and most useful things for people using data. In truth, the Google engineering team must be relieved to ditch the sticking plasters and chewing gum connecting the hitherto disparate data sets they manage.

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