Warning - This may be the most trivial thing I've ever blogged. Stop reading now if you're looking for insights into customer experience, business strategy or anything of value really.
A few months back I started to use Twitter in earnest. (Before that, I only ever tweeted that I was updating Twitter, but some serious people started to follow my tweets and the joke wore thin).
I have to confess, I still don't know why I should Tweet. I do it because I feel a need to be involved with new media and it's there and it doesn't take up much time. However, I don't derive great pleasure from it and it hasn't altered the way I behave... at least, nothing like as much as Digg, Facebook, Delicious, iGoogle and other social media did. Things got easier when I started to use Tweetdeck instead of Twitter's web interface. Pretty soon I intend to download a solution to my mobile device, so that I can take snaps, post them to Twitpic or Flickr and I guess it would be easier still if I used some software to automate Tweets like Guy Kawasaki and other ueber-Twitterers seem to, but that doesn't feel right to me.
More experienced Twitterers, like my colleague Jeremiah, have spent time to work out how firms can use the medium to engage with customers and promote their brands.
I recently had the opportunity to speak at the mobile 2.0 conference in Paris. There are lots of events of that kind but this one was all the more interesting as there was a European start-up contest, showcasing how innovative mobile is.
What stroke me is that all the themes and roundtables were focusing on online trends expanding in the mobile space. From social networking to widgets via m-commerce, this is all about web ideas being reinvented in the mobile space.
Definitions of web 2.0 vary quite a lot. For mobile 2.0, this is all the more difficult as I think it is the result of a constantly evolving process: the convergence between web and mobile.
The result is yet unknown as mobile is a new and complementary channel / media with its own specific rules.
There are no doubts though that this market is evolving quickly despite the economic crisis.
Forrester recently fielded a Technographics survey in Europe: Mobile Internet penetration now stands at 24% among Europe online users on a monthly basis. Forrester will soon publish a report with detailed analysis on how the European mobile Internet space is evolving.
You can continue to ignore mobile 2.0 but at your own risks. Not having a mobile presence nowadays is a bit like not having a web presence circa 1999 / 2000.
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:
The results are in. And the collective effort of the four teams partipating in P&G's digital night sold 3,000 Loads of Hope t-shirts and raised $50,000 for charity. Tide actually matched the money raised, putting the total disaster relief donation to $100,000 for four hours of effort. Thank you to all who bought t-shirts!
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.
So I got a golden ticket to P&G's digital hack night -- a P&G party to bring together social media experts, P&G digital minds, and experienced interactive marketers to share ideas. The event is to test the strength of digital media to try to generate $100,000 for charity.
Please excuse this impersonal message: It seems to be the most efficient way to inform everyone that I am transferring to the Forrester Research London Research Centre. In London I will continue to work as a member of Forrester's Customer Experience research team, supporting Customer Experience professionals. I will be writing research with a European perspective, while keeping an eye on some Customer Experience trends in Japan.
Regarding my schedule - I'm traveling to London next week to find a place to live and set myself up in Forrester's London office. I'll return to Tokyo briefly in early April. And I'll be in London full time from late April. I apologize for not making an earlier announcement of this move.
I want to thank you for your support since I've been working in Japan. From establishing Forrester's presence in Tokyo to becoming an analyst and helping to introduce personas to Japanese companies, the last eight years have been filled with wonderful experiences and opportunities, I feel very lucky to have had the chance to work with so many brilliant and inspiring clients and partners in Japan.
It is often difficult to step back from the flow of news coming out from Barcelona but here's a quick take on the main announcements.
- new handset makers such as ACER are entering the mobile space highlighting the fact that boundaries between computers and mobile phones are being blurred. Toshiba, HP are already here and Dell or Lenovo could well follow. Will they succeed? Well they need to master not only the hardware but also the software, offer scalability/economies of scale, negotiate with operators and revamp their brands. This will not happen in one night but some of them have bold long-term objectives
- As always a great autumn/winter device collection from the usual suspects: Nokia E75, SE "Idou", LG Arena or Smasung Beat DJ. Despite few announcements (2 devices with Android OS), Google and Apple cast their shadow over the congress though. Apple because most phones were still compared to the iPhone even though the device was announced 2 years ago. If many visitors were disappointed not to see more Android handsets, one should bear in mind this is still the early days and that there is a strong support from the Open Handset Alliance. No doubt this is a long-term play and that Android is here to stay.
- Appstores are the new retailing/merchandizing paradigm. Many handset/OS vendors announced their own "vertical" solutions but operators also joined the dance such as Orange with its Application shop. The parntership between T-Mobile and OVI is one of the most interesting announcements at it shows that operators can also offer an "horizontal" layer and offer a large reach/distribution to developers. Not everybody will succeed but it is likely that both types of stores will co-exist.
On Friday, Forrester published new research on one of the most active groups of people ever seen when it comes to social participation -- buyers of technology products in the business-to-business (B2B) sector.
I teamed up with Oliver Young to write the report, "The Social Technographics of Business Buyers," based on a survey conducted online between December 2008 and January 2009; you can access the full report if you're a Forrester client, or arrange to buy it if you are not. You can also register to download the slides or hear the replay of our Webinar on the topic.