Mobile March Twin Cities 2010

Great conference!  Mobile March TC reminded me of earlier MIMA conferences and the beginning of Social Media Breakfast. Enthusiasm, willingness of attendees to show up for a “work-related” event on Saturday, and enough energy in the room to recharge an average geek. The difference was quite interesting: Mobile March attendees included seasoned corporate or agency marketers and presenters also sported experience working with established brands combined with cutting edge expertise.

Have we, the industry, finally learned? Hopefully. Change is constant and we better pull out notebooks (or Flip cameras) and start paying attention… even on Saturday 😉

What I found interesting (from the business/marketer track):

Great overview of mobile landscape (global perspective) – I took a short  video.

Best Buy has a very interesting approach: Walk Out Working. This is a goal to make sure that a customer knows how to use purchased device before leaving the store. This is not an expression of surprising altruism – customers are more likely to return a device if they don’t know how it works.  Best Buy is also trying to teach customers how to use their mobile phones.

Consumers are confused and find complexity of mobile devices difficult. We should not judge based on our own experience – we are mostly super-users.

What consumers know:

  1. There are iPhone and Blackerry
  2. iPhone is associated with apps, and Blackberry with email

App stores are confusing for consumers; they want simplification. We should “keep it simple.”

Five opportunities identified by best Buy:

  1. Single sign on (can a consumer log in with the Twitter/Facebook id?)
  2. Blur the lines between customer service and marketing (Best Buy offers very short videos how to perform certain tasks on devices it sell – useful “customer service” function that also promotes the brand)
  3. Online to offline (2D codes, etc., Best Buy allows customers to text to receive customer reviews).
  4. My phone is my wallet (is it possible to make/take payment with the phone? when it will be possible?)
  5. Small businesses need Apps too – prediction of development of easy solutions for small businesses.

Mobile apps: the delivery is not the issue (consumers can find and download when they want); discovery is the problem – too many apps available – how to find something useful?

How Best Buy presents mobile devises:

  • by network provider
  • by features (smart phones)
  • by “strength” (best devices to listen to the music, etc.)

Sometimes it results in duplicating presentation of the same device, but it is better for the consumer.

Consumer Segmentation: customer readiness.

I highly recommend to review the entire presentation.

We have demographic and psychographic characteristics of the consumer, can we have “mobile-graphics”?

General progression of the activities on the mobile phone: Talking > Messaging > Browsing > Downloading.

Mobile usage:

  • 16% – “Cord Hoards” – no mobile phone, uses landline only
  • 32% – “Strictly Speaking” – has a mobile phone, uses for phone calls only
  • 11% – “Utoolitarian” – occasionally uses SMS, rarely sends/reads email
  • 14% – “Life Liner” – address book is the most used function, regularly text/email, but rarely internet
  • 6%  – “Duty Callers” – heavy SMS/email, occasional browser; “away from office” use
  • 5%  – “Funccessorizers” – uses all of the features of the phone for fun
  • 5%  – “Mavericks” – heavy users of mobile internet, messaging; most likely to receive offers and promotions via mobile
  • 11% – “Mobile Moths” – trying to follow mavericks;  moderate use of browser and messaging – not likely to use all the features on their fully-loaded phone

Recommended approach is to evaluate target audience and select marketing approaches suitable for this audience.  For example, while 2D codes could be approapriate for  a Life Liner, Augmented Reality might be suitable for the maverick.  Targeting more sophisticated segments with less sophisticated channels are not successful. Sophisticated users are difficult to engage – they expect too much…

The segmentation will most likely stay the same, but distribution will change in the nearest future. However, in 3 – 5 – (10?) years the segmentation will be meaningless.

The panel of media representatives (newspaper, radio, and TV) agreed that even if mobile channel is not significant now from the revenue perspective, their companies have to “be there” or risk to be left behind. “If we don’t do it now, somebody will come and take this place.”

Media companies experienced significant mind-shift during transition to the internet; new channels should be easier to recognize and integrate.

Startribune: blogs on mobile devices are surprisingly popular.

Mobile strategy includes email and text as main taktics.

“What Apple does, we should do…” 😉

Mobile apps – interesting “project overview” demonstrating the same app functionality on iPhone and Android.

Seventh Sin presented some of their mobile work (JCPenney mobile app).

JCPenney is willing to test and see what works.

Important consideration for app development: what a consumer can do while driving… This approach makes sense – it emphasizes the ease of use which is needed everywhere. Though consumers should not drive and play with apps, consumers would appreciate easy to use tools.

I also discovered a very useful resource reviewing LaunchMedia site after the event.

Deep, well-written,  and understandable white paper describing 2D codes and their opportunities in retail environment.

The conference was interesting; I definitely learned something new and reaffirmed most of my views. This is the first attempt in the local community to bring together marketers and developers.  I am curious how it will work.

The food was absolutely excellent, particularly mini-cheese cake dessert (and chocolate snack kindly provided by one of the sponsors – Fusion Room).  😉

MIMA – Staff that doesn’t work properly: how technology changes the nature of advertising

Enlightening presentation – it probably was one of rare presentations that attempted to explain the trend rather than pose more questions.

Faris Yakob (@faris),  the former Chief Technology Strategist at McCann Erickson NYC, described probably most “strategic” and systematic approach to current changes (or the current state of constant change).  He started from the definition of technology…

If new job titles appear, the industry is trying to accommodate a change it can no longer ignore. What was “Chief Technology Strategist”?  Though “chief” and “strategist” are understandable, the definition of “technology” is not quite clear. The word “technology” is evolving.

Technology is Imagineering…

Technology is “staff that does not work yet”

We perceive new technology differently in different times of our lives:

  • Technology existing when we are born – “just exist.”
  • Technology appearing when we are 0-30 years old – “very exciting and interesting.”
  • Everything that happens in the world after we are 30 years old – “against the natural order of things and beginning of the end of the civilization.”


Our focus should be not on “emerging technologies” but on “emerging cultural practices.”

Henry Jenkins



Some of the implications of the increasing speed of technological change:

  • “Passive Massive”
  • “The future is already here, it is just not evenly distributed”
  • Generations became smaller based on the approach to technology
  • Why things seem to be moving faster? Because they are…
  • Only when something becomes cheap, it becomes transformational…
  • Technologies become socially interesting when they are finally technologically boring…

Digital content is not a product; it is a process…   How should we approach this change?

We should think as a dandelion…

Dandelion reproductive strategy: to invest little in each individual “offspring” and allow the wind – a free resource – to carry seeds to new “opportunities.”  Human reproductive strategy: to invest a lot in a few offsprings  and hope that they will be also successful benefitting from this investment.

Advertisement strategy (old): invest into an expensive commercial… and hope it will be successful. Considering that digital content behaves differently, creating many inexpensive opportunities to succeed could be more beneficial – it is impossible to predict what will succeed, we can just manage the cost…

Cultural Latency

“Diminished cultural latency means that the propagation of information is so fast that the spread itself becomes the defining aspect of the system: the rate-of-spread becomes as important as the information itself.” Faris Yakob

Google will fix it for us if we will not 😉

A quick glance into the future… Forsquare is the new Twitter…