Something Like Democratic Marketing

Ryan Skinner

Set against marketing messages, I would rather listen to my neighbor’s opinion of a product. A critic’s opinion. An expert’s. Any idiot with an Internet connection, in fact (according to our research, review content from complete strangers is more trustworthy than messages from brands).

The payload of this realization – that marketers’ messages are overinvested in by a million percent and underdeliver by an equal value – strikes our marketing foundations, oh so softly. Thud. Pop. Distant thunder.

Simultaneously it’s never been easier for other people to write about our brands, to create breathtaking personal tributes to our products, to call out our worst policies, and even to slander us. The crowds have snatched the megaphone and they won’t give it back.

These are two factors in a big equation that we’re still only beginning to calculate.

So far, we’ve dealt with these changes pragmatically and conservatively.

Community management is a perfect example of the pragmatic response. Community management is just a series of tribal agreements about playing rules. The brand will not allow threads that include the word “shit”. The brand will retweet only tweets from registered users. The brand answers requests within one hour between 9 AM and 9 PM EST. The brand will blog politely about its topic.

The marketing fortress has collapsed, the mobs are baying for blood, and the sop you throw this change is to play nice? This is what I’d call the Marie Antoinette response.

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The Ongoing Loyalty Battle Between Taxi-Hailing Apps In China

Xiaofeng Wang

Taxi-hailing apps like US-based Uber and UK-based Hailo are gaining momentum globally. As with other segments of the Internet industry, the taxi-hailing app market in China is also mainly about local players. After rounds of fierce price battles earlier this year, two players — Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache — continue to dominate the market and leave no room for smaller competitors and newcomers. This battle wasn’t just between two niche apps; it was also a struggle between two Internet giants’ mobile payment services: Tencent’s WeChat Payment (for Didi) and Alibaba’s Alipay (for Kuaidi).

Price wars may be an effective way to acquire new customers. For example, Didi went from 22 million to 100 million users in just 77 days by spending RMB 1.4 billion (about US$225 million). That’s less than $3 per new customer. However, it’s a poor strategy to gain customer loyalty. For months, users have switched back and forth between apps simply because of slim (and temporary) price differences. Only recently have Didi and Kuaidi begun to take different approaches to engendering customer loyalty:

  • Kuaidi adopted a loyalty rewards program in cooperation with marketers and eCommerce platforms. Based on the number of rides they complete in a given quarter, Kuaidi divides customers into five loyalty categories: Normal, Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Ultimate. Customers earn different numbers of points for each completed transaction, depending on their level. They can use these points to purchase coupons — either Kuaidi Coupons, good for a discount on their next taxi fare, or other coupons provided by marketers and eCommerce platforms such as benlai.com.
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With iOS 8, Apple Increases The Value Of Its Ecosystem But Only Marginally Improves App Marketing

Thomas Husson

My colleague Ted Schadler explained here how Apple's iOS 8 focuses on developers building new mobile moments.

Once again, Apple increases the value of its ecosystem and will create more stickiness and loyalty by enabling developers and marketers to build new app experiences. The first building block to tap into the new opportunities that wearables and connected objects are opening up is to create a service ecosystem. That’s the reason we haven't heard any product announcements yesterday.    

From a marketing standpoint, Apple introduced some new App Store features for developers, like app previews and app bundles. Marketers will be able to let users buy multiple games or apps at once and for a discounted price. App listings can now include feature video demonstrations to showcase the value of your app. The new “Explore” tab - including the trending topics and the vertical scrolling - will also facilitate app discovery.

However, in comparison with the great iOS differentiated innovations announced to create new app experiences (e.g., HealthKit, HomeKit, Swift, TouchID, and open APIs), Apple mostly implemented incremental changes to its App Store marketing. Most marketers sill complain about Apple’s black box and the lack of transparency about Apple App Store’s ranking algorithm and ratings and review systems.

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The IDEA Cycle -- A Better Way To Think About Mobile Development

Josh Bernoff

What are the four words everyone involved in mobile strategy should fear?

"Let's build an app!"

The reason you should fear these words is that they will lead to pain. Your CEO, or your CMO, or somebody else in your company has noticed that mobile engagement exists. Great. Now they're ready to plunge right in and create something without thinking it through. And if you're involved in mobile development, this means a whole lot of pain in your future.

There is a right way to think about mobile. It's called the IDEA cycle, and it's the central idea in our new book The Mobile Mind Shift

When you're wondering how to engage with your customers on mobile, follow these four steps, which you'll remember with the acronym IDEA:

  1. Identify the mobile moments and context. Think through your customer's day and how they interact with you. What are the moments in which she might turn to mobile? Is she ready to check in for a flight? Wondering what to buy her daughter for Christmas? Realizing that her prescription needs to be refilled? For each of these moments, there is a context -- the customer's location, history, and state of mind. Taken together, these moments represent the set of possible times and places in which mobile can help.
     
  2. Design the mobile engagement. Here's where you evaluate those mobile moments to determine which ones are most beneficial to the customer, and helpful to you as well. It's also where you think about the potential ways to interact, such as sending a push notification, displaying content, enabling sharing, or presenting a possible transaction.
     
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What To Learn From The Japanese Mobile-Centric Market

Thomas Husson

Japanese consumers are among the most mobile-savvy in the world: They were shopping, banking, and gaming on mobile phones long before consumers in other nations. The Japanese mobile ecosystem used to be unique; telecom operators specified to Japanese handset manufacturers the design of services to implement on multimedia phones. This is changing in an app world.

Indeed, the mobile market is opening up quickly to the smartphone app ecosystem. While Japan is a mobile-centric society, smartphone adoption has lagged behind other major markets. Many international brands launched their first mCommerce initiatives in Japan several years ago, but the market subsequently disappeared from the innovation radar due to the US-centric smartphone app ecosystem. But this is changing. It is time to take another look at Japan to uncover how the nation is combining innovation and scale as its market embraces smartphone apps.

More than a decade ago, I had the opportunity to work with NTT DoCoMo to introduce i-mode — the mobile multimedia service in France. At that time, Japan was clearly two to three years ahead of the rest of the mobile world. The Japanese market — and more specifically, the i-mode business model — is rumored to have inspired Steve Jobs to launch the Apple App Store. After that, Silicon Valley became the new source of innovation and inspiration for mobile marketers. Now that the app ecosystem has come full circle, marketers should again consider mobile marketing in Japan, benefiting from a more open ecosystem to distribute their apps and engage with Japanese customers. I recently spent a full week in Japan, and it is fascinating to see the relationship people have with mobile phones over there.

There are lots of lessons to learn from the likes of Rakuten, Line, Felica, Softbank, or NTT DoCoMo and from a mature ecosystem of mobile contactless and connective-tissue technologies.

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What Does Acxiom's $310M LiveRamp Bid Mean For Marketers

Susan Bidel

On May 14, Acxiom announced its intention to acquire LiveRamp, a "data onboarding service," to the tune of $310 million in cash. Several Forrester analysts (Fatemeh Khatibloo, Tina Moffett, Sri Sridharan, and I) cover these two firms, and what follows is our collective thinking on the impending acquisition after having been briefed by Acxiom's leadership on the matter.

  • The acquisition sets Acxiom up to displace traditional MSPs. LiveRamp has built integration relationships with four of the biggest managed service providers (MSPs): Epsilon, Equifax, Experian, and Merkle. Acxiom is claiming agnosticism, and it has told us that it is "open to many ways of proving neutrality, including contractual commitments, [and] third-party audits." The firm considers the acquisition "an evolution of Acxiom’s Audience Operating System (AOS), which was launched to connect the ecosystem of marketers, technology, and media more tightly together and make every part of that ecosystem work better." But when we project out a few years, we have a hard time seeing how marketers will justify a standalone customer relationship management (CRM) database when they could, for example, port their POS and order management system (OMS) data directly into AOS and use that as their "customer marketing platform-as-a-service."
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Look Beyond The Obvious When Considering Social Login

Kim Celestre

Chances are, you have recently registered on a brand’s website or community page and were prompted to use your social network credentials. Perhaps you (reluctantly) used your Facebook login because it’s easy to remember — or it made the registration process a little less painful. 

Personally, I am finding that I am using my Facebook or LinkedIn social credentials more frequently. Just the other day, I used my Facebook login to access the scheduling tool for my favorite barre studio. I use social login out of laziness (its easier) or because my memory is maxed out on user names and passwords. But the more comfortable I get using my social network credentials, the more information I will allow the brand to access — especially if it’s a brand I trust.

And I am not alone. According to this study, over half of the 90% of consumers who encounter social login use it. And for some websites, that percentage is as high as over 80%.

So if consumers are using their social network credentials, why are marketers lagging behind? Many marketers I speak with do not think about social login as a key component of their social marketing strategy. They understand the obvious benefits like faster and easier registration, but they struggle to see social login’s potential as a complement to their social marketing strategy.

And the adoption percentages reflect this. Social login is the least-adopted social depth tactic by digital marketers:

 

 

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Why You Should Read The Mobile Mind Shift

Josh Bernoff

Worldwide, people use mobile devices pretty much continuously. Mobile access on smartphones and tablets creates a dramatic change in behavior as people use, then expect, and then demand service from every entity they deal with. This is the mobile mind shift:

The mobile mind shift is the expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need.
 
Despite this complete transformation in expectations, companies typically have no idea what to do about it. "I guess we should build an app," they tell us. Instead, this transformation demands a complete rethink of the way they do business. Business competition has now focused down to the mobile moment — the point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context. Win in that moment, and you have his or her loyalty. Fail to be there, or screw it up, and an entrepreneur will do a better job and steal your customer. 
 
Getting mobile right will require you to change how you see customers, your relationship with those customers, and (the expensive part) the platforms, people, and processes that power those systems. When mobile engagement fails, it's usually because companies didn't recognize the scope of what they need to get that mobile moment right. They need a mobile mind shift of their own.
 
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Mobile Moments Change Everything — Check Out #MyMobileMoment And Add Your Own

Josh Bernoff

Stop thinking in terms of what you do, or how your technology works now. Start thinking in terms of the mobile moments of your customers.

A mobile moment is a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context.

Thinking in terms of mobile moments is the lesson of our new book, The Mobile Mind Shift. It's a new way of thinking for many companies, but it's essential to getting mobile strategy right. Without it, you end up spending a lot of effort on features your customers won't use. Meanwhile, some entreprenuer like Lose It! or Roambi swoops in and steals your mobile moments.
 
How pervasive are mobile moments? We started a hashtag campaign on #MyMobileMoment to encourage people to share the mobile moments. Go ahead, check out the hundreds of posts so far. Or post your own.

Here are few revealing posts we've seen:

Mobile is there in a moment of crisis.

And in the second-grade spelling homework.

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Messaging Apps Are Thriving In The Age of The Customer

Thomas Husson

By now, you've surely heard of the second-largest acquisition in tech history, with Facebook acquiring WhatsApp for $19 billion.

However, you may be less familiar with other messaging apps like LINE, KakaoTalk, KIK, Nimbuzz, SnapChat, Vibes, Whisper, and many others.

If you think messaging apps are just a free way to communicate, you’re missing their potential: They are Mobile’s Trojan horse, as explained by my colleague Julie Ask here.

Messaging apps are mushrooming.They illustrate perfectly the age of the customer, which Forrester defines as a new business era where your customers are now empowered through social, mobile, and other technologies giving them the power to disrupt your business. Why? Because they are mastering the four key market imperatives Forrester has identified as critical to differentiate in the age of the customer:

■  Transforming the customer experience over SMS and other messaging tools. Messaging apps offer differentiated and seamless experiences over SMS and other mobile communication tools. For example, they offer advanced group messaging functionalities, multimedia features, constant innovation, and ability to opt-in or follow brands at consumers’ convenience. They are now morphing into marketing platforms redefining social media.

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