E*TRADE Releases iPhone Application Today

Julie Ask

If you're looking for a best practice on developing mobile strategies, take a look at what E*TRADE is doing. They had a successful launch of an application for Blackberry devices last summer. They are following that today with the release of an application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. See their press release. They have some good numbers on how well their mobile service has done to date. Forrester Research will be publishing a more in-depth analysis later this month. Stay tuned.

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Why SMS is Perfect Choice for Teen Sex Questions

Julie Ask

I saw this article in the New York Times this morning about a program being run by Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina and based in Durham. A similar program exists in California.

Great strategy for communicating with teenagers.  Here's why:

- Cell phones are personal devices, and the majority of teens have them. They are also "private" devices in that teens can send and receive messages without anyone knowing what they are doing.

- The majority of teens are on their parents' cell phone plan. They don't necessarily have a data plan for browsing the Internet - only a minority do, and any purchase of a downloadable application would likely show up as a line item on their parents' bill. They send HUNDREDS of text messages each month. Who would notice one or two to an agency asking questions about sex.

- More than 99% of cell phone are capable of SMS and the majority of teens use SMS so the agency achieves maximum reach.

- Many teens are on "all you cat eat" SMS plans - or should be. In any case, a single SMS does not tend to be expensive. So there is little if any incremental cost to the end user.

- SMS is carrier-independent. The service (information provided) doesn't need to be tested on various carrier networks for phones - it simlpy works on all phones.

- Someone covers the cost of the short code as well as driving awareness of the service, but in the grand scheme of things, it is not that expensive.

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Making Money on iPhone Applications (Stanza)

Julie Ask

Ok, I admit that I used the word "iPhone" in the title to seek attention, but it is true. My first experiences with Stanza were on my iPhone. A friend suggested that I download the application. Free download. I often asked, "what is the business model?" Selling the technology is one possibility. The creators of Stanza have made a lot of money on an iPhone application. See release.

More seriously, it is an interesting play for Amazon. Heavy users of a service/function on a portable device - whether a PND, MP3 player, etc. - lean towards buying dedicated devices. I have a Kindle, and I love it. I have the Kindle application on my iPhone, but I don't use it. Casual users of these services will buy and use devices that are multi-purpose. Moreover, users don't want to worry about file formats. Lexcycle fills in some of these gaps.

Content players need distribution, content strategies and business models that span the range of portable devices. Adoption outside of laptops and cell phones is limited today, but devices such as portable media players, netbooks, etc. are filling in the space in-between. 

Mobile strategies extend beyond a cell phone presence - more so for media companies today than those in other industries.

One Billion Application Downloads

Julie Ask

Last week, the number of downloads to Apple's iPhones and iPod Touches finally topped one billion. That is an impressive number coming from approximately 30 million devices in the market. 

The word "iPhone" in the title of any newspaper article or otherwise turns heads and sells. I would offer, however, that the impact of the iPhone and its potential have been under-hyped.  I believe that the impact on the industry is comparable to that of SMS.  May not seem that way today, but it will in the course of time.

Here is a partial list of what it has accomplished so far. Apple has:

- Taught carriers that they don't need to own the end customer experience to profit from those customers.
- Demonstrated that consumers will pay for an experience that is unique and extraordinary.  
- Shown carriers that they do well serving the average customer, but aren't equipped to serve each segment best.
- Taught consumers how to download applications to their cell phones.
- Taught consumers that their cell phones could do more than voice calls or text messaging
- Created a platform and a business model that is truly compelling to developers.
- Taught US consumers what "3G" is and accelerated demand for it.
- Weren't afraid to leverage their existing 60+ million billing relationships
- Shown us we don't need "open" for a great consumer experience
- Have ever consumer brand in the country thinking they need an iPhone application

I look forward to 3.0 and its possibilities.  I don't think enough is being said about what Apple has achieved.

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Mobile is Changing the Lives of Your Customers

Julie Ask

Think back to mid-nineties. How many of you had cell phones? They were more of a luxury item for most of us. Towards the end of the nineties they became a nice-to-have. Now, if you walk out the door and you don't have your phone, you go back inside and get it.

In the mean time, cell phones have become pervasive in regions around the world where no one thought the economics would make sense. When I visited western Kenya in 1996, I met some Masai warriors - a group of nomads living much as they did 200 years ago. They have herds of cows and goats. They live in huts with no running water or electricity.

When I returned 10 years later in 2006, they were still living in huts without running water or electricity. However, they all had cell phones and were using them to make phone calls, send text messages, etc.

Cell phones are no longer used simply for talking or texting in Africa let alone in the US, Asia and Europe where we have access to high speed wireless networks and affordable data plans. Cell phones are changing the lives of your customers. You need a strategy to engage with them on their cell phones.

How I Got Hooked On Twitter

Cost-conscious international expansion

Zia Daniell Wigder

One of the major themes this year has involved how to tap
international markets without spending a fortune. While spending on
international initiatives continues to grow - some 60% of US online businesses with a global presence plan to increase web spending in 2009 vs. just 42%
of those with only a domestic footprint - there is a renewed focus on how and where this spending is being allocated (see our report on Global Website Spending). Retailers in particular have looked for ways to be innovative
in overseas markets while keeping budgets in check. A few examples of cost-conscious
initiatives that have come up recently in conversations:

 

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Lessons from P&G's Digital Day

Sucharita  Mulpuru

As regular readers of Forrester's blogs already know my colleagues Lisa Bradner, Shar VanBoskirk and I (Sucharita Mulpuru) were part of last week's Digital Hack Night at Procter and Gamble. (If you missed the story can read about the event in detail at Ad Age here ). In four hours digital experts and P&G employees were divided into teams and challenged to sell as many Tide shirts as possible using their social networks and digital skills. Proceeds of the Tide shirts benefit Tide's Loads of Hope charity. The objective of the event was to give a hands-on experience for traditional brand marketers at P&G the impact of social media. While debate about the event has raged online we thought it worthwhile to step back and take a look at the longer term lessons we observed from this event. These lessons aren't P&G specific-they're food for thought for every marketer trying to get smart in social media. So, what did we observe? For starters:

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A CPG Company Not Afraid To Experiment

Sucharita  Mulpuru

So I'm in Cincinnati right now at P&G's self-described "Digital Hack Night" where the goal is twofold: to get their brand managers to understand a bit more about digital marketing strategies and to raise money for their "Loads of Hope" charity which is tied to Tide. For the next 2 hours, nearly 100 people--P&G brand managers, bloggers, Twitterers, authors and agency folks--are trying to use every social network--Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube--we have at our disposal with the ultimate objective of getting as many Loads of Hope tshirts sold on their eCommerce site as possible. We have a big leaderboard screen, QVC-style, that shows exactly how many unique visits we've received, what our conversion rate is and how many t-shirts we've sold (5,000+, 6% and 1,000+ by the way, respectively, at the moment).  What a great way to get non-believers in the channel to see quickly, in real time, how rapidly an idea can radiate through a network and drive sales.

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How A "Tiny" Company Is Winning Online