BYOD. Looks pretty scary with all that blood everywhere doesn’t it? Well, never fear, because BYOD isn’t too scary, you just need to know what you’re getting into. My latest article at Central Desktop tells you all you need to know about ‘Bring Your Own Device’, which is why it is handily entitled ‘Everything you need to know about BYOD‘.
It goes a bit like this:
As progressive as BYOD might seem, it’s anathema to the majority of IT departments, being a world away from the structured familiarity of traditional IT hardware policy. So, for IT departments – maybe your IT department – facing up to these challenges, what can you do? Here are the pros and cons of BYOD, and the policy issues you should think about when implementing a BYOD policy.
.NET Magazine posted its annual predictions article today. There are some great thoughts here, and if last year’s effort is anything to go by, it will be bang on target. So for all you developers and designers out there – go take a look!
As an aside, my own contribution to this years article – thanks to Craig Grannell for asking my thoughts – is discoverability. It’s something I may cover in a post, as I believe its going to be a key area for the big content producers this year. As the amount of content increases (apps, videos, etc), finding the right content becomes more and more difficult. The company that cracks this problem is going to really reap the benefits.
In the past, many companies tried to graft digital strategies onto existing offline campaigns. The results were uncoordinated campaigns that failed to make the most out of the opportunities that an integrated approach could bring. They were, in effect, two separate campaigns.
The same thing is happening today, but this time it’s regarding mobile strategies. Here are four reasons why mobile marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought.
Reason #1: It will cost you more
While it’s possible to create a separate mobile marketing strategy around your existing marketing, it will cost you more in the long run.
Reason #2: Your campaigns won’t be truly ‘integrated’
Planning campaigns to be multichannel from the start allows the savvy marketer to make the best use of mobile as a communication channel. Marketing synergies can be created by linking offline and online channels through QR codes to drive consumer activity at the point of interaction – be it on packaging, posters, or any other touch point – rather than later on.
The immediacy of mobile marketing increases our ability to influence the customer. In fact, according to the Mobile Marketing Association, 70% of all mobile searches result in action within one hour! Whether that search is driven from offline or digital marketing activity, the opportunity that mobile marketing provides are too great to ignore. An integrated multi-channel approach to marketing will ensure that you capture the broadest possible audience into the sales funnel.
Reason #3: You won’t be taking advantage of the opportunities that mobile makes available
Mobile marketing provides a new set of opportunities to marketers. The hardware capabilities of the mobile devices allow for new approaches to customer interaction.
Not only does the camera on a mobile device enable QR codes, it also allows foraugmented reality experiences, where our message can be overlaid over the real world.
Geo-location is even more exciting. Marketers are now in a position to communicate with consumers at, or close to, the point of sale. Traditional approaches, such as discounts and coupons, can be delivered directly to the consumer as they approach a store, or during the purchasing process.
Reason #4: Purchasing behaviour is changing and mobile is becoming more important
The beauty of a mobile device is that it is with your consumer almost all the time and gives them access to information on the move. As a result, people are changing their browsing habits by accessing information away from the traditional desktop browser.
This article was republished at Unbounce as a different version with a focus on QR codes (it was edited from the original). This article is included here only for the purposes of showing the editorial process – from first submission to published article. As stated in my previous post, I’ll leave it up to you to tell me whether you think the quiz structure works or not.
There are many ways to get people to your landing page, but it’s not the channels that you use that ultimately drive conversions, it’s something else entirely. And that’s where many marketers go wrong. You see that guy in the picture above; you don’t want your users to feel like that do you, just because of something you did, or didn’t, do?
But all this negativity, it’s a bit heavy. Why don’t we lighten it up a bit by taking a little quiz? You know the type: just read the questions, decide on whether you would A, B or C, then total up the number of A, B and C’s. It’s just like reading Seventeen magazine again. Just promise me you won’t look down the page to see the answers…
You’re sitting in your kitchen having breakfast. You’re reading the back of the cereal packet for the third time in the last five minutes, when you see a QR code tucked away next to the ingredients panel. By visiting the site you can find out exactly how many calories are in a single cheerio. Do you:
A. Immediately start looking elsewhere on the box for a URL, spilling cereal on the table when you look on the bottom of the packet, then, when you find it, run upstairs to your desktop PC to find out more.
B. Get your Android phone out of your pocket. Scan the code. Go to the Website.
C. Do nothing. What is this QR code business anyway?
You’re at the store. You’ve got a new box of cereal to replace the one you dropped on the floor during breakfast. Standing in the queue you notice a sign on the counter offering discounts for regular customers, with double-discounts at your local store. All you have to do is check in on their Website. Do you:
A. Steal the sign surreptitiously when the cashier isn’t looking and run home to check in from the comfort of your home. Then realize you left your cereal at the store.
B. Take out your iPhone. Go to the URL. Check-in. Get a discount.
C. Do nothing. Who wants to check-in? Check-ins are for airports.
You’re home from the store–and slightly out of breath from the run–so you turn on the TV. An advert for a new, even bigger TV catches your eye, and they’ve got deals for their Twitter followers. The links to their offer pages are right there in their Twitter stream. Do you:
A. Scribble the Twitter name down on a piece of paper, then hunker down in your home office to follow them on your 32″ widescreen monitor. Yeah baby!
B. Pick up your brand new Samsung Galaxy. Fire up the Twitter app. Search for the account. Follow it. Click through to their deals landing page right there on your phone.
C. Twitter? Why would I want to know what the world is having for lunch?
Okay, that’s it. It’s time to tot up those answers.
How did I do?
If you got mostly A’s:
Okay, those who answered mostly As are online, but missing a big piece of the picture. The good news: of anyone out there, marketers have the most to gain from this audience as it moves from desktop-bound activities to mobile converts.
The way people access the Internet is changing. They’re moving away from a reliance on the desktop browser and moving toward the mobile device. And that change in browsing habits is having a knock-on effect in our offline behavior. We’re much more likely to use mobile devices to inform our purchasing choices, either in-store or in our downtime.
Using advertising at Point of Sale is also a great way to appeal to a captive audience. By catching shoppers at the point of purchase, you have the opportunity to influence the decision-making process. If a customer is already with you, you want to make sure they come back again. The ability to geo-locate customers through their mobile devices can be used effectively to serve local offers and generate customer loyalty. Adidas successfully used geolocation to support six popup stores in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.
And finally, there’s good old social media. Social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter, are becoming an integrated part of many companies marketing strategies, with the importance of these channels increasing year over year. It’s also true that the a growing percentage of activity on both these platforms is from mobile devices (55% on Twitter, 33% on Facebook). Chances are that, if you’re driving people to your social media presence, there is a good chance they are doing it on a mobile device.
If you got mostly B’s:
Well, you may be preaching to the converted here. These customers are true mobile surfers. They may be part of a growing demographic that accesses the Internet primarily through a mobile device, but for marketers this doesn’t always translate into best practice for campaigns unless their landing pages are optimized for mobile browsing. Take a look at your company’s web presence, whether it’s a campaign landing page or the main company website. Would they work in the scenarios outlined in the quiz?
If you got mostly C’s:
Well. Those who scored mostly C’s are in need of a digital refresher course. But don’t worry, more and more become converted online shoppers and eventual mobile users everyday. Keep trying to engage them.
But what has all of this got to do with landing pages?
There’s a change taking place. The way that people access the internet is changing, and with it, the way that they are accessing your Web pages. Mobile devices are becoming more and more prevalent and we can no longer predict how and where users interact with our brand, so we must be prepared to support every potential channel and engage prospects wherever they choose to engage with our products.
The unforgivable sin for a landing page is a poor user experience. If you’ve done the hard work and directed people to your page but the user experience is a poor one, you’re simply throwing away time, money and effort. Creating a strong user experience, regardless of how the user accesses your page, is paramount. By making sure your landing pages are mobile-optimized, you’re giving yourself a head-start on the road to conversions and revenue. By making it easy for you users to read and navigate the content on your landing page you will increase conversion rates. Leave them trying to read tiny type on a tiny screen and you’re fighting a losing battle.
Don’t be left out. Engage the customers who choose B.
I’m happy to say that I’ll be speaking at the 2011 Money in Mobile forum this June. Alongside Nick Lansley (Head of R&D for Tesco.com), Russell Buckley (Former MD of Admob), Ilja Laurs (Founder & CEO of GetJar) and Andy Smith (Industry Head of Mobile for Google), I’ll be looking at how a great customer experience is central to making money from your mobile channels.
It promises to be a good event, with a wide range of speakers looking at the subject from many different viewpoints, from understanding the underlying business models to front-end user experience challenges. You can find more details about the event at the website: http://moneyinmobile2011.thebln.com. If you’re going to be attending and would like to catch up on the day during one of the networking sessions, please contact me.
At the end of March, my first article for Smashing Magazine was published. Designing for the Future Web looked at how the web is evolving to become available across an ever-increasing range of devices, from phones to TVs, and how we must change our thinking on design to accommodate this changing landscape. It generated some good conversations, with very differing opinions brought to the discussion.
Now that the dust has settled, and the hyperbole surrounding Groupon’s growth has subsided, we can now take an objective look at the service it provides. Here’s a 5-minute guide – or at least a 5-ish paragraph guide – to Groupon.
What is Groupon?
Groupon is a collective buying service. Put simply, it offers discounts on products and services which only become valid once a set number of consumers buy into them. The numbers required may change, as will the amount of discount you get, but the principle remains the same: once enough people buy, the discount becomes active and everyone benefits. Consumers get the discount and businesses have the peace of mind that they have generated new customers and have enough take-up to make the offer pay off.
Sounds great in principle
And so it is. However, businesses need to be careful when they construct their offers. In January, a Japanese café was inundated with buyers for the traditional New Year’s meal “osechi”, leaving them unable to meet demand and leading to disappointment. Predictably, complaints were widely posted on the Internet. Usually, Groupon provides advice to businesses to stop this happening, but due to their rapid growth, the Japanese employees had not yet been trained to provide this service.
How did it get so big, so fast?
Groupon was launched in the US in November 2008, and its growth since then has been outstanding. It now covers over 565 cities around the world and has seen its web traffic grow from just 2 million unique visitors per month to over 15 million (source: Crunchbase). Annual revenue is around $2 billion. They are the market leader in the group-buying category by some distance.
As I’ve written before, following globalisation is localisation. The rise of mobile devices and geo-location technologies has led to a upsurge of interest in creating personalised web experiences. Service providers from search engines to advertisers are using these technologies to get closer to consumers, offering them more targeted information. And while pure online spend may be rising, connecting consumers with local businesses will always generate good return as that’s currently where the majority of our spend takes place.
FourSquare is also based around these principles, but works the other way around to Groupon. Rather than introducing new customers to a business, it rewards consumers for their loyalty, with regular customers earning greater rewards. Using the two services together could provide a strong basis for generating and retaining consumers.
Does it have any value for B2B Marketers?
There’s no doubt that Groupon started out as a pure B2C proposition. It’s perfect for lower-value, impulse-led purchases, but it may well hold value for B2B organisations as well, even though the decision-making process is much slower. March saw the first B2B deals being made available, led by IT consulting firm Ajilitee. Their daily deal offered 50% off $25,000 of consulting and proved a great success for them, not in direct sales but as a demand generation tool. Although Groupon would prefer deals to demand, this has led to Groupon putting more resource behind B2B deals through Groupon Stores and redemption-tracking software.
Despite its market-leading position, the future isn’t completely clear for Groupon. It must continue to provide relevant offers and not become a home for drab low-value voucher code discounts, and it also faces competition from Living Social. However, it’s size and stature should keep it ahead of the game in the B2C space.
And B2B? Only time will tell whether B2B collective buying services will be successful, but (excuse the pun) they should certainly not be discounted.
Following on from my previous blog about the future of the internet not being mobile, it seems fitting to stay on a related subject: content. Why related? Simply because as we change the way we interact with the internet, so we also change the way we interact with content.
In the past, B2B marketing has leant heavily on the crutch of the whitepaper – or something very similar – as an incentive to engage with an audience. In return for your data you get a big impenetrable chunk of copy in PDF format. As a consumer it takes time and effort to sit down and consume, and you’re probably lucky if 25% of the information is completely relevant. That’s if you can read it; have you tried reading a designed-for-print PDF on a mobile device? It just doesn’t stack up any more.
We’re now more sophisticated in our approach to information gathering; we consume information in highly relevant, but smaller chunks. We want access only to the key information and we then build outwards from there to find the supporting information that is right for our business. And what is this information? Opinion pieces, articles, news items, blogs entries, tweets: all from different sources. Rather than accept a single viewpoint we create a mesh of information ‘chunks’.
There are a couple of good examples of this approach to information gathering that are coming online: QWiki creates short illustrated presentations from multiple sources of information and plays them back to the user. It’s definitely worth checking out – if you can get an invite to the alpha. Quora is a user-created bank of questions and answers that are short and straight to the point. It’s already being seen as an essential tool for journalists in the technology arena, but will surely make the jump to a broader audience based on its initial success.
So, as B2B marketers, what do we do to create great digital content?
I believe it’s important to have a clear content strategy, based on three principles:
1. Present information in a format that is designed for screen, not print.
You wouldn’t dream of putting the ceiling of the Sistine chapel on a postage stamp and expecting people to engage with it. Digital data should be presented in its natural form: text-based, searchable and linkable. ‘Chunking’ data makes sense for information consumption, information display and information linking. By breaking down our whitepapers into small easily-digested elements, we can increase relevancy and display it more clearly on a wider range of devices.
2. Use multiple channels to reinforce your message.
The internet has freed users from the shackles of a single opinion. Take advantage of the fact by making sure that you are spreading your message across multiple communication channels. This should include user-generated content, ‘official’ content and journalistic content for a blend of opinions. If it is done right, this builds trust in the message through weight of – hopefully – positive opinion.
3. Create your own mesh of information for the user.
Don’t let your content live alone. Let your consumers explore your content at their own pace and in their own order. Make sure you include external content in the information web you build so as to reinforce your own messaging, and don’t be afraid of what you don’t control.
Creating content will always be a challenge, but we now have the opportunity to provide a much richer and more convincing experience for our consumers and clients. No more whitepapers for me…
The near-future of the internet is mobile, but as B2B marketers we must be aware of how internet usage is changing in the long-term, and what this means for our campaigns and communications. Thinking in terms of individual channels and devices will only limit our ability to fully deliver for our clients in the future.
So how is the internet changing?
1. Our ability to access the internet is becoming ubiquitous
The most amazing thing about the internet is arguably not the content, but the creation of the infrastructure that carries it. Millions of interconnected computers, millions of miles of cable to carry data between them, and all the protocols and hardware that direct traffic from one place to another. This process hasn’t stopped yet, and being ‘online’ is becoming a more and more ubiquitous experience. The data on the internet is available through many channels and in many locations.
2. We are increasingly using web-based services, not web-based content
More and more we are basing our internet usage around key services and applications, such as Facebook, Twitter, Netflix and Spotify. Users are blending these services together to create their own online experience: Facebook for social life, LinkedIn for professional life, Delicious for bookmarks, Remember the Milk for tasks, Spotify for music. These services feed information to us, rather than us having to seek it out, which makes our online life more integrated with our offline life.
Some of these services are tied to a single device, but the majority are available wherever you are, and it is this portability that makes them so useful. For example, Netflix allows you to watch movies online, but not just through your PC, you can access them on your Xbox, PS3, Wii, iPad and internet-enabled TV or Blu-ray player as well.
3. The content available on the web is changing
In 1990, most traffic on the web was based around FTP (File Transfer Protocol), which took up 57% of the available bandwidth, but twenty years later video owns 51% of this bandwidth. Standard web-based traffic such as web pages and other downloads is now only 23%, down from approximately 55% in 2000. Video is the big growth area and the available content is growing rapidly. The ability to access this video-based content is also growing, with users no longer restricted to their PC. Cisco’s latest forecasts see 66% of mobile data usage being video-based by 2014 (see Figure 2 here)
What do these changes mean for those of us in the business of creating content?
It’s important that we aren’t overly rigid in our approach to creating content; we mustn’t think in terms of devices. Today we are producing mobile apps and web-based sites to deliver our services, but in a few years’ time we may be looking at a completely different landscape where it is impossible to know exactly where and how our content is being viewed. Some of these changes – Internet TV for example – may be game-changing as the distinction between online and broadcast blurs even further.
In some cases, we may well be faced with the decision to concentrate on particular devices and channels at the expense of audience numbers, or to take a more general and less tailored approach that can be viewed across the widest spectrum.
Regardless of which route we take, the ability to deliver a consistent experience across all channels is paramount, and our ability as an industry to understand the options and deliver this consistency will be crucial.
If you have an iPhone, you’ll have seen this message plenty of times. If not, well, you have probably answered without even knowing.
Location-based services are set to be the next ‘Big Thing’. FourSquare is setting pulses racing, Twitter knows where you are tweeting from, and Facebook is set to launch ‘Places’. But why the big fuss, and what does it mean for marketers?
In a way, we should have foreseen this, the world can only become so globalised; at some point it would have to bounce back the other way. We’re now seeing that bounce, and it’s in the form of localised information. Having pushed information to the biggest audience possible, service providers are now trying to increase the relevance of the information they provide by understanding you and the people that surround you.
Let’s look at the three players:
FourSquare – Takes a much more relaxed and game-like approach to using location, users are awarded ‘achievements’ as they use the service. You can earn everything from the ‘Newbie’ badge to the title of ‘Mayor’. Already they are seeing success with advertisers, with Starbucks offering discounts on coffee to the ‘Mayors’ of their stores.
Twitter – I think we all know Twitter very well. But did you know Twitter stores the location from which each of your Tweets emanates? At the moment it’s used to create local trend information (see Trendsmap for a great example), but as Twitter seeks to monetize itself effectively, location-based advertising will follow.
Places – Facebook has been talking about location-based services since 2007, but has put off until now. Why? Well, apart from the fact that there is now competition from the likes of Foursquare – their patchy record over privacy has led them to be cautious. Facebook has now reached a point where its hand has been forced; if it wants to keep up the pressure on Google, Facebook have to stay current. Places will open a host of opportunities for them to generate revenue from location-based advertising, with communities growing around specific places. A spokesperson for Facebook said: “There are currently no plans to add marketing partners to this product. We may consider working with marketers to enhance the experience in the future, but have no plans to do so at launch,” At launch… expect this to be available to marketers very soon.
And what of Google? Covered by Techcrunch’s Eric Schonfeld on the 16th April, Google has made updates to its ‘Google Suggest’ feature that tailors search results to your location – not just your country, but your city. In collaboration with a December update to personalised search we’re now in a situation where we can’t take search results for granted, and with it our efforts at SEO and targeted marketing (unless of course we use Google Adwords!)
So, what does this mean for marketers?
These services come with a fair share of concerns, the top of which is privacy. Why should you share your location with these service providers? But the value proposition attached to them is powerful and may hold sway over users in the long run.
The world is moving towards a more mobile-based digital experience where location-based services will become the norm, and the ability to leverage these to create a better or more intimate user experience will pay dividends; whether that is through timelier message delivery, the creation of local communities, or something as simple as customised promotions for individual retail stores.
Preparing now for these changes will stand Marketers in good stead, because as the big guns of the information world come on board everything will start to accelerate. With the ability now here to provide highly targeted advertising and promotions, we must be aware of these possibilities.