Bet On Always Addressability Now, Not Later

I read some  deceptively warm and fuzzy advertising riding on the subway this morning courtesy of our nation's top soft drink manufacturers. Together they have reduced calories of drinks in US schools by 88% by offering more low- and no-calorie options. "Gee," I thought, "I'd like to learn more." So as I exited the subway, I took out my phone and searched "no calorie soft drinks." The top link broke the spell; an article on msn exposing the same risks that no calorie drinks have of their sugary cousins.  My first thought was, "Well that isn't any better for our nation's children." My second was, "What the #$&?! Do these companies take me for a complete fool? Don't they know that I have the world's knowledge at my fingertips??" Apparently not.

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Prepare For The Second Wave Of Apps

 

In July 2012, app stores — first popularized by Apple — will be four years old. There is still a lot of room to improve the discoverability and sharing of apps. For example, locally relevant content and monetization options are often missing. Adding social discovery, personalization, and recommendation features are key to improving the user experience.

However, app stores have already had a dramatic impact on the distribution of games and are starting to offer new forms of engagement between brands and consumers. Consumer usage of the most popular mobile apps has exploded in the past two years. A third of European online consumers ages 18+ who own a smartphone are using apps daily or more frequently. Seventeen percent are using apps several times a day. Stickiness and frequency of usage vary tremendously from one app category to the other. Among European online consumers ages 18+ with installed apps on their smartphones, 57% use social networking and 48% use news apps at least daily, while 69% use finance and banking apps at least weekly.

First-generation apps — aside from gaming apps — rarely made the most of the unique attributes of the mobile platform and were rarely integrated with back-end systems. We believe the market is poised for a second wave of consumer apps that are more personalized and contextual. Here’s what to expect:

■          “Big data” will enable more contextual experiences on mobile apps.

■          We'll see smarter, connected apps.

■          There will be a shift from native to hybrid and web apps.

■          Multiplatform apps will reign supreme.

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The Right Way To Globalize Your Interactive Marketing Programs

I have a tailor named James.

Well, I say I have a tailor, but in truth I’ve only commissioned one item – a jacket – and it’s not done yet. I had an initial fitting about 10 days ago, and I’ll collect the finished article next week.

I decided to find a tailor because I was tired of off-the-rack suits that never fit quite right. So James took more than a dozen measurements. We talked in detail about sleeve lengths, and lapel widths, and how I liked my jackets cut. And once he’d made a sample, I tried it on so James could get the details just right. I expect it’ll be a perfect fit.

When you look at your company’s marketing efforts from one country to another, how well would you say those programs fit? In the past year I’ve worked with a bank, a consumer goods manufacturer, and a pharmaceutical company that are all struggling with how to globalize their interactive marketing programs. And while most of them had a couple different issues holding them back, there was one common theme: The global programs rarely fit the local markets.

Local interactive marketing managers tell us they’re also tired of shopping off-the-rack — in their case, being handed one-size-fits-all sites and strategies that aren’t tailored to their markets — and that they usually don’t have enough resources to make the proper alterations. The result is a choice between using ill-fitting global programs that don’t meet local needs or creating cheap one-off local efforts that don’t meet global guidelines or standards.

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Facebook Needs To Take Marketing Seriously

My colleague Melissa Parrish and I have been thinking about the Facebook IPO. Our thoughts:

The world’s biggest social network will complete its initial public offering in a few days, with a valuation based largely on its strong history of innovation. But we have to wonder: Will Facebook ever focus any of that innovation on helping marketers?

After all, Facebook is fantastic at introducing great new features and services for its end users. The moment another social tool gains the interest of enough users – whether it’s Twitter’s rapid public chatter or Foursquare’s location-based check-ins – Facebook updates its own site to offer similar features to its legions of users. We’ve rarely seen a company borrow from its competition as quickly or as well as Facebook. And that focus on better serving end users has seen Facebook grow quickly over the years, even in the face of consistent privacy concerns.

But as good as Facebook has been at evolving to serve consumers, that’s how bad it’s been at serving marketers. In the past five years Facebook has lurched from one advertising model to another. Remember when the site charged marketers to host branded pages? Or when every page featured banners from MSN’s ad network? (You may choose to forget Facebook Beacon; Mark Zuckerberg would certainly prefer you did.)

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Facebooks Needs to Take Marketing Seriously

My colleague Nate Elliott and I have been thinking about the Facebook IPO. Our thoughts:

The world’s biggest social network will complete its initial public offering in a few days, with a valuation based largely on its strong history of innovation. But we have to wonder: Will Facebook ever focus any of that innovation on helping marketers?

After all, Facebook is fantastic at introducing great new features and services for its end users. The moment another social tool gains the interest of enough users – whether it’s Twitter’s rapid public chatter or Foursquare’s location-based check-ins – Facebook updates its own site to offer similar features to its legions of users. We’ve rarely seen a company borrow from its competition as quickly or as well as Facebook. And that focus on better serving end users has seen Facebook grow quickly over the years, even in the face of consistent privacy concerns.

But as good as Facebook has been at evolving to serve consumers, that’s how bad it’s been at serving marketers. In the past five years Facebook has lurched from one advertising model to another. Remember when the site charged marketers to host branded pages? Or when every page featured banners from MSN’s ad network? (You may choose to forget Facebook Beacon; Mark Zuckerberg would certainly prefer you did.)

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Engaging Your Ultra-Connected Customers

Back in March, I hinted at my discomfort with the way SoLoMo has come to mean technology-focused, reductive marketing campaigns usually solely focused on the “check-in.”   But the reason people want to talk about SoLoMo is because of real trends in consumer adoption of technology and advanced technology behaviors. Those of you who were at Forrester’s Marketing Leadership Forum last month know that this thinking evolved into what we’ve been calling the Always Addressable Customer — a topic that I haven’t stopped talking about since we debuted it. For those of you who haven’t yet heard the term, the Always Addressable Customer is someone who:

·         Owns and uses at least 3 data connected devices

·         Accesses the Internet multiple times per day

·         Goes online from multiple physical locations (for example: home, work, in the car, and at the mall)

These customers require marketers to think differently about their programs if they want to be effective. Always Addressable Customers don’t stop to think about their devices or “technology solutions.” Rather, technology is simply how they live their lives and get stuff done. It means that you can now reach this ultra-connected audience wherever they are, but more importantly, wherever and whenever they need you. That “need” is key here: I’m not talking about your ability to bombard your customer with irrelevant messages. I’m talking about how you can now provide true service and value to your customers whenever and wherever they need it. 

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Looking Forward To A World Ruled By The Viewable Impression

Ad impressions will drop by 50% or more. CPMs will increase commensurately. ComScore 500 publishers will finally get the respect they deserve and recapture market share from their junky ad network rivals. Consumers will start noticing – dare I say liking? – display ads. Display will no longer be the red-headed stepchild in the shadow of direct response rival search or brand rival video. That's what we can look forward to in a world ruled by the viewable impression standard.

Why am I on my high horse about viewable impressions? And why do I think it's such a big deal for the industry? Well, we in the display advertising world have a real problem, and it's been plaguing us since the earliest days of the medium: how to think about, understand, and make sense of the true value of a display ad impression. Our initial answer, back in the late 1990s, was to say, "Let's just measure what we can – clicks!" and our addiction to the click-through rate (CTR) as the key measure of display advertising's success – or more often failure – was born. We should all be kicking ourselves for that, and I know many of us are: We took a brand new marketing vehicle, ripe with promise and untainted by the rules of marketing channels that came before it, and turned it into a cheap, bottom-of-the-barrel direct response mechanism.

Who did this serve? No one.

It didn't serve publishers, who were – and still are – under constant pressure to prove that the display banners they sell in their premium, proprietary environments have intrinsic value.

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Boost your content ecosystem with video

Online video content in actionWhen I picked online video content marketing for my inaugral Forrester research report I knew it was a hot topic and an area of growing interest for interactive marketers. But even I was surprised when our data identified that for consumers branded online video content is as engaging as display advertising (read the report for more on this data).

I can guarantee that if I got a group of interactive marketers together in a room and asked for a show of hands comparing how many have a display strategy vs. how many have an online video content strategy, the display hands would vastly out number the video content hands. Seeing the levels of consumer engagement for video outlined in our research (and these days it's all about engagement right?) will hopefully make many brands start to sit up and take the medium seriously.

But how to use online video content?

When you talk to marketers who use video online it can feel a little more art than science. People enthuse that video "can work better than text" but struggle to validate or quantify how that can be. And most successful viral marketers seem to rely on gut instinct to create the next social video hit. No wonder the majority of marketers stay in the pay-to-display area of online video, never exploring content itself.

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From Advertising to Advice - Intelligent Marketing Agents

Alan Turing sculpture at Bletchley ParkBefore the clouds, webs, and distributed networks people had to create their own spaghetti of logic inside a single building using machinery that looked like props from Doctor Who. Spurred by the need to crack the ‘Enigma’ naval communication codes during the Second World War Alan Turing developed an electromechanical device called the Bombe which played a major part in defusing the war. 2012 is the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Turing and he is rightly considered to be the father of computer science and Artificial Intelligence. Turing had both a wonderful and terrible time of it and his life story is well worth a wiki.  

The British genius didn’t just advance computer science using valves and wires. He is almost as famous for his thought experiments concerning how we may build machines and computers that can engage in intelligent discourse with humans. Could machine responses fool us into thinking that they were sourced from a human? To answer this question Turing developed a methodology to test the validity of the machine generated responses, fans of Science Fiction are likely to recognize this as the inspiration behind the ‘Voight-Kampff’ test administered by Deckard in Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner.’

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With The Galaxy S3, The Samsung/Apple Fight Will Enable Smarter Product Experiences

After months of rumors and a good marketing orchestration, Samsung has just unveiled its new flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy S3. Samsung will first launch the HSPA+ device in Europe at the end of May to benefit from the current weaknesses of its competitors — in particular, Nokia. It will release in the US in an LTE version later this summer. The aim is clear: to take the lead from Apple’s iPhone in the high-end smartphone segment and do even better than the Galaxy S2, which sold more than 20 million units.

Samsung is positioning a wide range of products in all segments and in multiple consumer electronic categories, leveraging its scale and scope and its vertically integrated approach (screens, processors, storage components, etc.). Despite the growing dependence on the Android OS, Samsung does not have all its eggs in the same OS basket. However, it clearly needs to catch up in the software and services space. That’s the reason I continue to believe that, in the premium segment, Apple is still in the best position to offer a seamlessly integrated experience across devices. Samsung’s cloud component is still missing, and it will need to continue its efforts to close the gap with Apple.

On the contrary, Apple — still one of Samsung’s largest clients (chipsets and screens) — has few models and higher margins and is in a position to leverage a different ecosystem around its OS, apps, and iCloud models. Thanks to the phenomenal success of the iPad, the Apple brand is reinventing itself and expanding into hardware categories that represent new growth drivers from which Samsung is not yet able to benefit.

Beyond the Samsung/Apple high-end leadership war, the great news is that these new smartphones will increasingly enable consumer-facing brands to launch innovative new product experiences. Some of the new services introduced by the Galaxy S III highlight this phenomenon:

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