Q&A With Seth Priebatsch, Chief Ninja (Read: CEO) Of SCVNGR

If you haven't yet heard Seth Priebatsch, chief ninja of SCVNGR — a mobile company looking to gamify the world — address a conference audience, you're in for a treat. It's something that I and about 20,000 of my closest friends and colleagues were fortunate to experience at SXSW this year, and for those of you attending Forrester's Marketing Forum next week, you'll see why the pleasure was all ours. 

For a taste of Seth's personality, you need look no further than his bio ("An avid supporter of blood drives, Seth consistently donates plasma for use in large-screen televisions.") For a glimpse at what he'll be talking about at the forum, check out the description for his session "The Perils Of "Wait-And-See" Marketing Strategy: Five "Future" Trends For The Present." 

Lest you fear that he'll be all jokes and pie-in-the-sky outlooks, I've asked Seth a few questions about what "gamification" means and what potential there is for growth in the location-based marketing arena. You'll see from his answers that while he's obviously a future-thinker, he's also a practical-talker. 

Here's a taste of what you can expect in San Francisco next week:

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Mobile For Marketing: Is It A Channel Or A Device?

Marketers often ask me what their mobile strategy should be: What are the key elements? How can they make sure it’s successful? Where should they put their money? These may sound like simple questions, but given how complex the technology and landscape are there’s a lot more involved in answering them than it may appear at first glance.

In an effort to unravel the complicated answers to these questions, I undertook some research that led me to the essential question that lurks behind marketers’ inquiries but is rarely stated:  Is “mobile” a true marketing channel that demands its own strategic expertise and focus, or is it simply a different device through which consumers come into contact with messages you've already established for other campaigns? The answer is that it’s both. 

In my latest report, "Evolving Your Mobile Marketing Presence," I talk about how marketers are working through the stages of mobile skills and strategy development in an effort to approach mobile as wisely as possible. After talking with marketers, vendors, and agencies, these are the phases I identified:

For more information about each of these phases and how marketers are tackling them, Forrester clients can access the complete report at the link above.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m going to be focusing on mobile marketing for much of this year, so I’m very interested in hearing about your own experiences. Have you asked yourselves the device versus channel question? How are you approaching each of these phases?

Consumer Privacy And Marketers: Let's Talk Terms

I recently read about a California ruling that prohibits most offline merchants from collecting ZIP codes for credit card transactions. According to the LA Times:

The high court determined that ZIP Codes were "personal identification information" that merchants can't demand from customers under a state consumer privacy law.”

One justice was more specific about the ruling, saying that the privacy law in question was intended to prohibit retailers from collecting and storing consumer information that wasn't necessary to the transaction.

The attorney who brought the law suit took the implications further saying that, “the decision would help protect consumers from credit card fraud and identity theft.”

So there are actually 2 issues here:

1)       The collection of non-essential data
AND
2)      Security problems that facilitate the use of the data for illegal purposes

The marketing and privacy discussion is full of complex issues being conflated in similar ways. Even terms like “consumer data” and “privacy” are so loaded that there are conversations between parties using the same words, but not talking about the same thing.

Most marketers are interested in data that gives them a better understanding of their audiences overall. Generally, we’re not talking about marketers collecting the kind of personal information on your credit report — complete address, bank accounts, etc. Most of you reading this post are well acquainted with this distinction, but are consumers? I suspect most aren’t.

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2011 Mobile Marketing Predictions

In the last few months, we've talked a lot about how quickly the mobile marketing space is moving — and with nearly 75% of marketers telling us they're implementing or planning to implement mobile campaigns in the next year, we're not expecting the pace to slow any time soon.

Since we've just switched over to our 2011 calendars, now is the time to make some predictions about what that mobile marketing growth is really going to look like. In our new report, we take a look at:

  • The potential for marketer-branded application fatigue. (Warning: Those allergic to puns may want to tread lightly on this section.)
  • Emphasis on interactive fundamentals — like display and search — for the mobile marketer.
  • The carving out of mobile-specific expertise both within and independent of interactive teams.
  • Innovation on the marketing potential of location-based services.

Forrester clients can read the full report here. Whether you're a client or not, I invite you to share your own mobile marketing predictions in the comments below. What do you think will happen in the world of mobile marketing this year?

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More Mobile Marketing Research Coming In 2011

If you follow the research we produce here on Forrester’s Interactive Marketing team, you’ve likely noticed that we’ve been writing a lot more about mobile as of late. With more marketers planning on piloting mobile programs next year, and with consumer mobile Internet adoption on the rise, you can expect to see even more research into the topic in 2011. 

Here's what I'm currently planning on researching and writing about:

  • Mobile strategy. We'll look at what a comprehensive mobile strategy is, how to move from experimentation to true strategizing, and the essential elements that make mobile strategies successful.
  • Mobile measurement. We'll investigate the metrics marketers currently use to measure their mobile campaigns, emerging standards, and success benchmarks.
  • Vendors. There are so many vendors developing expertise in the mobile marketing space, falling into different categories, specializing in different technologies, and offering different kinds of engagement. We'll help you make sense of your options.
  • Operations. While every company is unique in the way it organizes and budgets for channels and programs, we'll be looking for common ground in the mobile space with a view toward helping you evlolve your IM efforts to support this growing channel.
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Just Published: The Forrester Wave™ For Community Platforms

The community platforms market has been heating up for the past few years.  Today, there are more than 100 vendors in the space, and we evaluated the top 5 in our most recent Wave: Lithium, Jive, KickApps, Telligent, and Mzinga.*

When we started this research, we spoke with many interactive marketers to understand what they look for as they assess community platform vendors.  Through these conversations, we determined that some of the criteria has evolved since the last time we looked at the space, and so our evaluation has placed a greater emphasis on: 

  • The vendors’ specific focus on interactive marketers as key customers for their business.
  • Strategic and technical services offered by the vendors.
  • Intuitiveness of the tools and administrative console for less- or non-technical users.
  • Ease of deployment for marketers who want to minimize their dependence on IT resources and timelines.
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Already Marketing On Social Networks? Then You're Already Marketing On Mobile

One of the reasons marketing on social networks is so popular is that the consumers a brand can reach are largely active, vocal and willing to connect -- with each other and with their favorite brands.  But did you know that 22% of US online adults with cellphones access their social networks via mobile at least monthly?   In my new report, I explore research that shows that these particular social networking users are even more active, vocal and willing to connect than the general population.

Consumers who access social networks via mobile over-index on every rung of the Social Technographics® ladder, except for inactives.  More interesting?  Mobile social users have specific, focused intentions that differ from desktop mobile users:  They're interested in immediacy, entertainment, and in knowing which of their friends and favorite places are physically nearby. 

Keeping in mind the specific interests of these extremely socially active consumers, marketers can optimize their already-existing social campaigns to make them even more successful for mobile users.  For recommendations on how to optimize your own campaigns with little additional effort or cost, check out the full report.

Have you already optimized your social messaging for mobile users?  If so, I'd love to hear what you changed and what the results were.  Head to the comments section to share your case studies!

The MMA: Mobile Marketing Is No Longer Emerging. It's Here.

Today at the Mobile Marketing Forum in Sao Paolo, the MMA announced a repositioning to increase its "effectiveness at the global, regional and national levels, and to create additional membership benefits."   The association is shifting its focus from helping to build mobile marketing as an emerging discipline, to 5 tenets they've identified as the building blocks of the now-established industry.  The press release describes these building blocks in this way:
 

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Location-Based Social Networks: The Conversation Continues

You know how an analyst can tell when she's hit on a hot topic?  When it generates this much conversation.

We published a report about location-based social networks (LBSNs) earlier this week, and it's spurred quite a lot of dialogue. The opinions are varied -- and so much the better for it because it's lead to rigorous discussion about the users of these services and how marketers can get involved, rather than just focusing on the technologies and their (admittedly very real) cool factors. 

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Should Marketers Check In?

Should Marketers Check In To Location-Based Social Networks?

Location-based social networks (LBSNs) have been all over the media lately. Foursquare hit 2 million users. Twitter launched, revamped, and re-launched Places. CNNMoney partnered with Gowalla around its popular annual “100 Best Places to Live” list.  There’s even a social experiment -- PleaseRobMe -- that was started in response to the hype around this new social sharing technology.   So it’s no surprise that we’ve been getting a lot more questions from marketers lately about these services.  Marketers want to know who’s using these services, how often they’re using them, what they’re using them for, how marketers can get involved, and whether they should.

We dug into our research to try to answer these questions, and at a high level what we found is that just 1% of US online adults are using LBSNs weekly, while 4% of them have tried them at least once.  The sample size of this 1% of adults who use LBSNs regularly is small, so our findings on their behaviors are directional only, but our research shows that these users are typically young, male, well-educated, and influential.  In fact, LBSN users are 38% more likely than the average US online adult to say that friends and family ask their opinions before making a purchase decision. 

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