Back From Yet Another Pilgrimage To Mobile's Mecca

Thomas Husson

 

After experiencing some of the most exhausting days in the life of a “mobile” analyst, I am back from Barcelona. I shared some thoughts before the event started (see here), but here are my key takeaways from the 2013 event. I saw:

  • Fewer high-end smartphones. Gone are the days when handset makers announced their flagship devices in Barcelona. In a communication ripped from Apple’s playbook, Samsung announced a press conference for the likely launch of the Galaxy S4 on March 14. Among the most interesting devices from a price/technology standpoint were the Huawei Ascend P2 and some of the LG handsets. 
  • More and more “phablets” and tablets. In the “phablet” category — I prefer to call them supersized smartphones — a special mention goes to the LG Optimus Pro. Numerous tablets were announced, including the Sony XPeria Tablet Z for $499, three Android Lenovo tablets, and the HP Slate 7 — an Android tablet for business users at only $169. These types of announcements are new for MWC, highlighting the evolution of personal computing and the growing importance of the screen size.
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MWC 2013: More Global And More Disruptive Than Ever Before

Thomas Husson

It’s that time of the year: the pilgrimage to the Mobile Mecca, Mobile World Congress (MWC), in Barcelona. This is my 10th pilgrimage in a row and, needless to say, the event has changed tremendously over the past few years – from 3GSM in Cannes to the new venue in Barcelona this year. While CTIA is still very US-centric and CES is still a lot about TVs, MWC is really the only global mobile event with a strong presence of operators and handset manufacturers from all over the world. Every year the show becomes not only more global, but also more open to new categories of players — such as advertisers and developers — willing to make the most of mobile technologies, and more open to connected devices that go far beyond the traditional definition of a mobile phone. Markets are colliding and mobile innovation is at the center of these upheavals. MWC used to be a telecom show focusing mainly on mobile technologies, but the event is now bringing together people from every industry.

In the light of today’s first announcements, here is my take on how to put in perspective the announcements to be made at MWC 2013 in the coming days:

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You Get Out Of Your Community What You Put Into It.

Kim Celestre

For the first time since I started my analyst role at Forrester in 2011, community conversations have surpassed social media conversations during my client meetings. Online communities and social networks have been around for many years, so why are communities such a "hot" topic among marketers? These days it is rare to find a company who has not either launched their own customer community, published a fan page on Facebook, or created a business profile on LinkedIn. These tactics are not new, so why the increased interest? I believe that marketers are finally beginning to absorb the fact that their perpetually connected customers frequently tap into online communities. Their customers frequent communities at each stage of their customer life cycle to gather information and connect with others. Today, marketers know that they can use online communities to reach, deepen engagement, and establish relationships with customers. In addition, marketers have a stronger case to increase investment in their community strategies since there is growing evidence that deploying a customer community can lead to positive ROI through support call deflection, increased leads, and stronger engagement with brand advocates. 

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You Get Out Of Your Community What You Put Into It.

Kim Celestre

For the first time since I started my analyst role at Forrester in 2011, community conversations have surpassed social media conversations during my client meetings. Online communities and social networks have been around for many years, so why are communities such a "hot" topic among marketers? These days it is rare to find a company who has not either launched their own customer community, published a fan page on Facebook, or created a business profile on LinkedIn. These tactics are not new, so why the increased interest? I believe that marketers are finally beginning to absorb the fact that their perpetually connected customers frequently tap into online communities. Their customers frequent communities at each stage of their customer life cycle to gather information and connect with others. Today, marketers know that they can use online communities to reach, deepen engagement, and establish relationships with customers. In addition, marketers have a stronger case to increase investment in their community strategies since there is growing evidence that deploying a customer community can lead to positive ROI through support call deflection, increased leads, and stronger engagement with brand advocates. 

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MOVE BEYOND THE CAMPAIGN

Rob Brosnan

Standing in an aisle of a big box retailer, I bought a new electric shaver from a competing retailer’s online store. The store’s shaving display reminded me that my razor was dying. Not knowing which to choose, I twitched for my iPhone, scanned a barcode, read several reviews, explored competing products, found the best price, and ordered it with free shipping. I saved $75 over the same model I could have purchased then and there.

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It Is Time To Differentiate Your Tablet Approach

Thomas Husson

If you still believe that tablets are merely a fad or just a way to engage more affluent early adopters in their 30s or 40s, you need to change your mind — now. 

According to our latest Technographics® data, European tablet ownership is highest among 18- to 24-year-old online users — 25% of them own one! 2012 saw a surge in the popularity of tablets among this age group. Why? As with any technology that’s reaching critical mass, the profile of its adopters evolves over time — and it will continue to do so. 

With double-digit growth in tablet uptake across Western Europe in 2012, about one in seven online Europeans now owns a tablet. And with further double-digit growth expected in the years ahead, tablets are changing the consumer technology landscape. According to the Forrester Research World Tablet Adoption Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (Global), 55% of European online consumers will own a tablet by the end of 2017.

Tablet owners are not precious about their devices: Of those that have a spouse/partner, 63% share their tablet with them; one-third of parents share their tablet with their children. This makes tablets a far more social device than smartphones, which are much more personal and intimate.

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Meet Your New Customer . . . Wow, Is He Demanding

Christine Overby

Look over there. See the guy in the queue flicking his mobile screen . . . tapping his phone on the reader, then walking out with his sandwich?

He's your new customer. Wow, is he demanding.

In 2011, Forrester first started to track this type of customer -- that is, someone with three or more connected devices who goes online multiple times a day from multiple locations. We found that 38% of US adults fit the description. That's an impressive debut, but the growth of this type of customer is even more staggering. We expect that by the end of 2013, nearly half of global online adults will be perpetually connected.

These people have new expectations. They don't want intrusive ads buzzing in their pockets. They want valuable content or service. They appreciate the soft sell. The needs and behaviors of these customers are so radical, so game-changing, that they subvert every rule of classic marketing. 

At our upcoming Forrester Marketing Leadership Forums -- April 18-19 in Los Angeles and May 21-22 in London -- we'll help marketers embrace this change so you can continue to create relevance and market share with your perpetually connected customers. As the host and research champion of both events, I'm deep in content development with both our external speakers and Forrester analysts. Here are a few of my favorite nuggets from our content meetings so far:

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Get ready for the ultra-connected customer to upturn marketing in 2013

David Truog

Are you thinking hard about what you should be on the lookout for as a marketer in 2013? We think it will be a transformative year. Here’s why.

The biggest change we see underway is the amazingly rapid increase in the number of people who access the Internet multiple times a day, from multiple locations, with at least three devices. They’re ultra-connected and always addressable, and by the end of 2012, these perpetually connected customers already made up 42% of online adults in the US and 37% in Europe, up from much less than that just a year before. By the end of 2013, we predict that almost half of online adults globally will join this revolution.

As a marketer facing this surge of perpetually connected customers, you need to seize the opportunity and:

  • Master multichannel marketing now more than ever.
  • Make ads more personal, but stop short of creepy.
  • Get smart about what happens before the last click.
  • Learn about new, exotic breeds of marketing tech vendors.
  • Rethink how you work with other functions and outside agencies.

For more specifics about what we mean by these recommendations and what we believe this year has in store for marketers, read our February 11th "2013 Interactive Marketing Predictions" report. And let us know what you think, will you?

2013 Mobile Trends For Marketers

Thomas Husson

In advance of Mobile World Congress, I revisited our 2012 mobile trends predictions with my colleague Julie Ask and we found that all of them are still evolving and relevant in 2013.

The trends we’ve identified for 2013 center on multiyear plans and scaled-up investments. Mobile’s dynamics of immediacy and ubiquity will challenge the notion that mobile is immature. Innovators will overcome any concerns about maturity to make big, strategic investments in mobile to pull ahead of their competitors. Differentiating with mobile will require marketers to develop the multiyear visions required to drive real change in their business and their approach to implementing mobile services.

When we categorized the key 2013 mobile trends and their implications for marketers, they fell into two major groups:

To summarize the key takeaways into three main points, here’s what we think will happen in 2013:

  • Advanced Marketers Will Integrate Mobile Into A Multiyear Strategic Vision

Mobile platforms will act as a catalyst for the next generation of connected experiences. In particular, smart apps connected to products and CRM systems will emerge. In 2013, leading marketers will anticipate the longer-term mobile disruption and shift from tactical efforts to more transformative mobile strategies.

  • Implementing This Strategy Requires Significant Investment And Marketing Control
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RIM Is Dead: Long Live BlackBerry?

Thomas Husson

To avoid brand dilution, RIM’s corporate brand name is disappearing today and is being replaced by BlackBerry for shareholders and employees in an attempt to instill brand values internally.

While the (too) long-awaited new Blackberry OS is innovative and will help reduce churn among BlackBerry’s 79 million existing subscribers to competing devices from Apple and Android in 2013, the longer-term challenge for the BlackBerry brand is still huge.

Don’t get me wrong: The great strides that BlackBerry’s made in the device and OS deserve credit.

The two new devices announced today — in a price range above $500 — also look great and on par with, if not better than, the best high-end smartphones on the market today; they have eventually put an end to the poor browsing, app, and multimedia experiences delivered on BlackBerry devices until now. The new OS brings some very interesting and innovative features. The smart contextual prediction keyboard, the BlackBerry Hub, the BlackBerry Balance, as well as the new video chat and screen-sharing functionalities available to BBM users will also offer a seamless and innovative experience to the “business execs,” “working moms,” and “hyperactive teens” that BlackBerry is targeting. Telecom carriers will also significantly support the new devices, with about 200 operators worldwide launching them by June 2013. Why? BlackBerry devices have always delivered more profitable customers to carriers because of their network efficiency. Due to the limited uptake (for now) of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8, telecom operators will no doubt give the new products a chance to succeed in order to avoid being dependent on Apple or Google.

However, there is little rationale today for most product strategists and marketers to invest in customized BlackBerry experiences.

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