Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"The Staging Of Obama - Has He Mastered Social Networking?"

Well the DNC just wrapped up here in Denver. Being thisclose to the political process has been really interesting. While Madison Avenue struggles to figure out the real power of Social Networking, "MYBO" may just be the biggest marketing tool ever.

Ad Age recently ran an article on the making of Barack Obama. They said he was being "marketed like a consumer brand". Who else could pull off announcing his VP running mate by text! All you have to do is text "HOPE"to 62262.

Senator Obama's team has effectively learned how to build one of the most powerful databases of passionate Americans through using new media.

On the final night of the DNC, a friend of mine was at Invesco Field. We were texting back and forth. He was actually part of one of the biggest focus groups ever. The Obama campaign has been dedicated to collecting phone numbers, email addresses and other information to create a personal relationship with American voters. In the RED state of Colorado he captured over 80,000 new names to add to his campaign list. His word of mouth marketing will now attempt to turn the state BLUE.

Since signing up for MYBO I now receive personalized email and text messages asking me to participate in the Obama campaign. His website is robust with content and his ringtones are on point. His YouTube videos are personal and make you feel like part of his mission.

Let there be no doubt, his marketing team is on fire...and they have him staged. Note the photos of the Senator Obama with Joe Biden, one in a red tie...the other in blue...neatly matted against their finely pressed white shirts. How we interpret every bit of campaign data we see, hear, smell and feel will influence our vote.

"Brand Obama" is a wonderful thing. It's founded on "passion" and "action". Since the primary over 1.4 million new people registered to vote. His campaign has gotten people who normally wouldn't participate to join in...in essence he has activated a brand new database of new voters.

He'll be able to communicate with them not only during the campaign but after the election.

Even if he doesn't win, Barack Obama has a huge new media machine that he can use for anything he wants. He's a well integrated brand plus he tours, he's online, television and radio and he has got merchandise.

Madison Avenue take note we can all learn something from "Brand Obama 360".

I wonder if Facebook did a convention if 80,000 users would attend?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Is Your Fone Fashionable And Functional?"

A new Israeli mobile startup company called
"Modu" has released a phone fashion statement. (click 'cancel' on the language install!)

It's an interesting concept. Instead of upgrading to a new phone every so often, simply slip it into a new "Jacket"

Each jacket takes on a new interactive personality. Now you can change the look and feel of your phone as easily as a tie or a pair of earrings. Check out the YouTube tease here.

At the core of this cool new gadget is a wafer thin, credit card sized cellphone. It can then be slipped into a "Jacket" that makes it look like everything from a blackberry, iPhone or any another slim line phone or music player. What is even cooler is that the "Jacket" compatible with any age group.

For instance, the Kids "Jacket" has different functionality than an Adult "Jacket".

Basically, it's the "Transformers" of phones.

Why upgrade the form of your phone when you can simply buy the exterior and have the same functionality as the 'latest and greatest'!

Each 'jacket' adds different unique abilities to your phone. As mobile features continue to change daily, there's simply no need to update your handset...just the "Jacket".

Very smart!

Monday, June 16, 2008

"Mobile Advertising Done Right!"

I was sitting at LAX bored out of my mind waiting for a flight home and noticed a BMW X6 billboard. I stared at it for awhile being that I'm a big fan of their vehicles.

Finally I noticed at the bottom of the board a SMS code to get information on the car sent to my mobile phone.

After texting the code, I got a message that said: "Thanks for your interest in the all-new BMW X6! Visit www.bmwusa.com/allnewx6/mobile with your phone. Reply to bmwusa for help. Std rates apply."

When I clicked through, my phone browser launched one of the coolest, interactive sales kits I'd ever seen complete with slideshows, video and complete details on design with bold high-definition images of the vehicle.

The menu was a complete sales kit with some fun options. It even had a 'dealer locator' link on the bottom.

The content was rich, the experience was cool and it killed my time by engaging me while I waited for my flight.

So it gets me thinking, in places where we know that people have long waiting times...airports, commuting on trains/subways or mundane places like the Post Office or DMV, we should consider bold mobile advertising.

While people are idle waiting for something...give them something to engage in. Create mobile advertising that offers an instant incentive or has stimulating video or graphics.

It's true the mobile advertising is created for 'on the go' living. But 'on the go' also means that we're 'in motion'.

BMW did something interesting....they used part of their airport billboards to integrate a mobile campaign...maybe they just knew that people would have alittle more time to check it out.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"iPod...Do You?"

I just returned from a weekend in LA. It's always fun to go to that fabulous West Coast entertainment mecca to see what's advertised as the latest and greatest.

Known for its entertainment glitz, I was struck by the large amount of outdoor advertising for iPods. Not only is the art phenomenal; as it sells the passion and emotion of owning the device, but it occured to me no other portable music player comes close to advertising the way Apple does for the iPod.

Most of us in marketing talk about 'blocking and tackling'; the basics involved in selling our products core virtues when we create outdoor advertising. In the iPods short life span, the famed 'white headphones' have become iconic in themselves. I find this fascinating on a couple of levels.

Apple assumes that putting an image of a body dancing, with the famed 'white headphones' automatically conveys the iPods essence. In fact, all of the walls and billboards I saw didn't even mention music, iPod features like the iTouch or even the iPhone. Each ad simply conveyed the 'freedom' of owning your own music.

Call me a gadgeteer, but I still own several early mp3 players, rio's, muvo's and early iPod shuffles. Today I listen to most of my music on my smartphone. But Apple still prevails as the #1 lifestyle music player.

Not many products can get away with the 'iPod' advertising assumption. Maybe Nike, Coke, Pepsi and a few others.

In each of those cases, the brand logo has become so deeply entrenched in our psyche that we can instantly recall the product.

What's more interesting is that compared to some of the aforementioned products, the iPod is the youngest; yet Apple's assumption is that we all do 'iPod'.

It gets me thinking about all the products I've worked for and how I collaborated with others to market and package them on television, in print and outdoor.

Never once do I believe that we would have ever said...'hey lets just put up the logo'...we were always obsessed with adding more information than just sticking to the basics.

Maybe Apple is right...less is more and just find images that sell the emotion rather than 'barking' our brands attributes.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Everyone's A Star!"

If there is anything that social networking has done it's this. It makes everyone a star.

All the major television news outlets are touting 'viewer' video news, the social networks are exploding for both personal and business.

At the end of the day, the 'average' joe can become a star netting Andy Warhol's "15 minutes of fame" in seconds.

Did you catch the first person video of the earthquake in China? Everyone in the world now has the ability to be part of the media process.

A couple of weeks ago, I read an article on a new company called Seesmic. They have created a blog plug-in that allows people to leave video comments. Now, instead of writing a post....you can 'be' the post....simply brilliant. Be sure to sign up for the free alpha test! See it in action here!

What this fabulous innovation does is make social networking and blogging 'personal'. The internet has allowed many people to be veiled in anonymity...but the fact of the matter is...people love to hear and now SEE other peoples opinions.

I've posted alot about social networking 'trust' and 'authenticity' in the past weeks. If the saying "the eyes are the window to the soul" is really true...posting video blog comments is 'cinema verite".

Friday, May 9, 2008

Mobilenet....Live In The Palm Of Your Hand!

"Mobilenet" is now being touted as the next great technological innovation. If you're currently a smarthphone user, you're probably already living in this world to some extent.

However there are some innovations coming which are worth noting. Al Ries recently published an article in Ad Age called "Mobilenet Promises To Be The Next Big Medium".

Ries claims: "A MobiPhone with a 2D barcode scanner will enable consumers to get a wealth of information by scanning products in supermarkets, drugstores, clothing stores. "

He continues:

"It's easy to visualize what a useful device a MobiPhone could be if it is served by appropriate dot-mobi websites.
  1. Location of the nearest hotel/motel and the price of a room?
  2. Location of the nearest gas station and the price of gasoline?
  3. Location of the nearest restaurant by type and price level?
  4. What's the Parker number on that bottle of wine? (One of the many facts that might be available by simply scanning a label.)
What consumers can do with the receiving device is not the most significant aspect of the Mobilenet. More significant are the changes in structure the new medium will facilitate."

He comes to these conclusions based on this fact: "The potential Mobilenet marketplace dwarfs the internet. Last year more than 1.15 billion mobile phones were sold worldwide, compared to only 271.2 million personal computers.

In other words, more than four times as many mobile phones were bought than PCs. And, in my opinion, most consumers will find a GPS-equipped MobiPhone to be a device they can't live without. "

I've written before about how I have consolidated alot of my digital behavior onto my smartphone. I store 100's of songs on my 4 gig smartcard, use it as a photo and video camera, use the scheduler, surf the web (facebook included), listen to 1000's of streaming broadcast and internet radio stations and oh yeah...occassionally make a phone call!

The 'bar code" option is powerful. An instant scan and 'poof'' there's gratification! The key to all of this once again is battery life and screen size. Bandwidth will be less of an issue as devices go to 4G and and Wi-Fi/Wi-Max adoption. A France Telecom research team has already developed the first "m-ticketing services" and the screen shot is shown above.

All this is being supported by a massive build-out of high speed phone networks that won't even use a standard internet type connection. Sprint and Qualcomm are already using TV bandwidth to get programming to handsets.

In the last week alone, Nokia (which i'm a shareholder of) also made the statement that they are now trying to run themselves more like an 'internet' company than a 'handset manufacturer'.

Early on, ringtone sales we're driven by mobile use. Most ringtones were sold to kids who didn't own a PC. They'd use their phone as their personal computer. Now more and more business people are finding the same passion for the handheld device.

By the way...if you're a gadgeteer and have more than one iPod in your home...then you definitely need this handy little device to transfer music without a PC. MiShare allows you to send non DRM music from one ipod to another and it's only $99. Check it out here.

Monday, May 5, 2008

"How Will You Spend Your Money?"

I'm a big fan of Forrester Research because they always seems to craft studies that mean something.

This latest effort "Social technology marketers bullish in face of recession" is not exception.

Josh Bernoff asks: "Assuming the economy is in a recession in the next six months, how would you change your investment in interactive marketing overall?"

Here are the results:
"Social networks will get the largest number of increases, over 40% of those using it, along with user-generated content, blogs, and that old standby, email marketing. Every single form of online marketing we surveyed had at least half the marketers increasing or maintaining their investment (online display ads fared the worst; based on this sample it could see more decreases than increases.)"

Email still fares pretty well. But here's the BEST piece of advice he offers: "Our advice to marketers, as describe in the report, is this: measure what you do, so you can justify it when the axe comes. And build assets, not campaigns, it's a better use of your money."

All too often we're focused on "campaigns" instead of "long term annuities" because of short term pressure. I wrote about a company early on called NCI Mobility.

Once again, I fall back to my take on 'what happens when the campaign is over' philosopy. NCI helps you do wireless data capture at events, sends the information back to a server in 'close' to real time and allows you te recontact event participants within 24 hours if you wish.

If you're going to spend time building an expensive marketing program do something to get the most out of it long term. If you build a great database...use it...keep it clean and develop a 'deep relationship' with your base customer.

I'm not shocked here about the increase in social network marketing either. It is a BIG buzz word as of late. My previous posts about 'trust' and 'authenticity' play right into this concept.

The biggest category for building a brand now is "user generated content". Once again, people trust the opinions of like minded people instead of some mundane advertisement forced on them.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Are You A Smart Social Networker?"

I came across this great article from Dan Schwabel publisher of Personal Branding Magazine.

He offers some great tips to CMO's about starting social networking campaigns.

He claims: "...Thirty–seven percent of the US adult population uses social networks and there will be $1.2 billion spent on advertising on social networks this year alone (eMarketer). Even podcasting shows potential, with an audience that is projected to increase to 65 million in 2012 (eMarketer)."

He continues by offering these tips:

Spend more time learning about social media before actually engaging.
This can be done by subscribing to many popular blogs in your space...learn who your new stakeholders and influencers are and identify ambassadors in your company that could interact with them to start conversations.

Become visible in the industry.
Whether it’s you or your direct reports, attendance at new media conferences will provide insight and best practices.

Take risks.
There are very few real social media success stories in corporate America because companies are in experimentation mode. Whether it’s a viral video, a blog, a wiki or a discussion forum, companies are looking to see how others react to their tools and strategies. The Blog Council was formed to help companies, such as Coca Cola, share failures and successes.

Command respect by being transparent.
If you take anything from reality TV, you know that people care about authenticity and not acting. You need to start treating bloggers like real people and not press release submission services. The people that will succeed will tell bloggers exactly who they are and what their intentions are immediately.

Don’t be just another logo on a website.
Just because you brand yourself visually doesn’t mean people will care about you. Make your business come to life and have your employees tell their stories. People remember faces and stories more than anything.

My previous post about "truth" plays into this...we live in a world where customers expect authenticity.

The internet has made the world very public and therefore very easy for your customers to criticize or praise your brand out in the open. It's becoming more impossible to hide your failures...and on the other hand...it's become easier to celebrate your successes!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

"The Customer Is Always Right!"

We've heard the phrase "The Customer Is Always Right" for ages but sometimes we either want to ignore it because as marketers we 'think' we know better or we just don't want to face the truth. But time after time, the phrase is proven to be true.

Our friends at Forrester just published another amazing study. The question this time:

“What is your overall level of trust for each of the following sources of advertising?” Here are the results:
  • Consumer opinions posted online: 41 percent
  • Email I signed up for: 35 percent
  • Brand Web sites: 30 percent
  • Magazine ads: 26 percent
  • TV ads: 24 percent
  • Radio ads: 21 percent
  • Search engine ads: 12 percent
  • Text ads on a cell phone: 7 percent
  • Online banner ads: 7 percent
  • Banner ads on a cell phone: 5 percent

The results show that “Control leads to trust, pull wins vs. push,” wrote Peter Kim, Senior Analyst at Forrester Research. “The first three options are consumer controlled, “I know what I’ll get”.

The real take-away here is that creating campaigns that inspire consumers to participate with your brand at their own free will creates trust. In other words, create marketing campaigns that make people 'want' to get more information from you....entice them to sign up for an email database and allow them to post their honest opinions about your brand on your website.

As Mr. Kim said..."control leads to trust". Who controls your brand? You or your customer?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"It's The Only Way To Fly!"

Richard Branson is at it again, this time he has added some cool 'customer-centric' benefits to Virgin America.

What makes it special...customer service. While other airlines are offering inflight amenities like television, Sir Richard takes it to another level with 'in seat' service called "Red"

"Red ups the ante in several significant ways. It shows on-demand movies and satellite TV, of course, but it also has video games, a nicely curated collection of music videos and more than 3,000 MP3s. There's seat-to-seat text chat, and Virgin will add satellite-enabled internet access, including Wi-Fi if you're lugging your own computer, later this year."

The system even lets you order your meal and drinks on your own terms...no more fighting for cart service! And if you want to purchase something...simply swipe your card...no cash required.

Music...Wi-Fi...Texting...and Video...now that's an interactive flight! Life really is all about customer service and making people feel special.

Monday, April 21, 2008

"Are You Afraid To Save Some Money?"

Jupiter Research recently conducted a study on impact of mobile couponing.

The findings: "...when Jupiter Research asked consumers which types of mobile-coupon offers would interest them most, a good 70 percent said “none of the above” when presented with a range of options."

However, that does mean that with a 30% acceptance rate for this very new technology; there were some categories that were most meaningful as shown by the chart on the right.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about "Bluetooth Marketing". Some early pundits said they found it "creepy" that people would allow access to coupons that 'just appear' on their mobile device.

While there is still some 'suspicion' in this new technology, it is exactly that reason for fear..."NEW" always scares people unless they're early adopters.

Here's an idea if your company has an email/mobile 'opt-in' database. Offer a quick online or text survey asking what categories or specific vendors are 'meaningful' to them...there just might be some new business opportunities waiting for you!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

"The Social Networking Highway...Know When to Stop, Go and Yield!"

I came across this great article on one of my favorite blogs Marketing.FM called "Social Media Spring Cleanup". It reminds us that with the proliferation of all the new social networking sites, we need to think about how many usernames and passwords we have all over this wonderful superhighway.

Part of the article has a link to Mashable which just posted an a list of over 350+ social networking links...see it here.

At some point, there will be a service that integrates your Myspace, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter etc. services onto 1 central page. Maybe it'll even have a universal password.

I think about how many invites a day I get to different social networking sites...it's pretty overwhelming trying to keep track of them all on top of my online banking, earthlink homepage and email account information.

Until we can get these portals organized, it appears that my online life is becoming just as complicated as my personal life....mmmm...I thought technology was supposed to make life easier all this time!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Def Jam That Mobile Phone!"

It was announced today that Sony Ericsson announced they will be private labeling a phone for Def Jam records. The device will come pre-loaded with...you got it right...music.

“It’s about accessing a new market. For years and years the music industry has been about selling either pieces of plastic or units of music, and most certainly for us to be able to enter into the hardware marketplace and to be able to take both commercially and in terms of a marketing tool for our artists a piece of the action it’s very exciting.”

This model no doubt was by inspired Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Mobile. Also getting on the game is record honcho Doug Morris. He also realized that selling devices is important but he'd rather take part of the subscription fee for "Total Music" than do a branded device.

While the details are in flux, insiders say Morris & Co. have an intriguing business model

"...get hardware makers or cell carriers to absorb the cost of a roughly $5-per-month subscription fee so consumers get a device with all-you-can-eat music that's essentially free. Music companies would collect the subscription fee, while hardware makers theoretically would move many more players. "

We've heard for along time that the real money is made selling devices, not music. This tactic embeds the subscription fee in the purchase of the phone. The 'upsell'...buy the phone, get FREE Music...it gives a whole new meaning to "gift with purchase"!

"WOM - What We Can Learn From Organized..."

I had an interesting experience this past Sunday morning. While doing my morning rituals of 'waking up' and 'making coffee', the door bell rang. When I opened it up, there were 2 guys who claim to be messengers of religion.

Now mind you it's 11am and most people would still be a church on a Sunday, but these 2 found it a compelling time to knock...a 'cold call' for religion if you will!

It got me thinking about Word-Of-Mouth marketing (see the tenets of WOM by clicking the link).

Clearly one of the biggest 'buzz words' of the last couple of years. Organized religion has always been about 'word of mouth' marketing!

Unfortunately for these 2, I was not the right target for them...however upon rejection did they did offer this consoling fact, "if you ever need help...call us...I thought to myself...wow..."salvation" at my front door!

In a way it was refresing, the only thing these word-of-mouth marketers were pitching was religion. No candy bars, no girl scout cookies, no fruit, no rubber bracelets.

The real issue here is this: one of the key tenets of WOM is "don't force the issue"...perhaps if these guys had done some targeting before they started their canvassing, they'd have a better 'conversion rate' if you know what I mean!

Friday, April 11, 2008

"How To Get On Oprah"

I came across this article at Marketingsherpa.com....and it just may be the key to our 15 minutes of fame!

"How To Get On The Oprah Winfrey Show!" is a step-by-step guide to get closer to the "Golden O"! Urban legend has it that anyone who ever comes into contact to her turns into Gold!

The advice comes from Susan Harrow of Harrow Communications in Oakland CA. She says:

"Oprah’s producers get 15,000 pitches for products every day, Harrow says. Write one that stands out!"

She also says, Step 1 is to get "Oprah Ready". Suggesting that if you 'do your homework'..you might make it happen.

So if you think about it you have a better chance of getting on Oprah than you do of ever winning the lottery!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

"Listen...Do You Smell That?"

Now, I'm all for new technology but when I came across this mobile story this morning it really peaked my interest.

The Japanese company NTT DoCoMo is experimenting with the ability to send "Scents" ala perfume to your cellphone on demand!

The Washington Post reports:
"Scent playlists can be downloaded from "i-mode" mobile Web site run by the company's affiliate, NTT DoCoMo.

The service uses a handset's infrared port to transfer the "fragrance data" to a dedicated device similar to a plug-in air freshener that is loaded with a cartridge of base fragrances.

The device then mixes them to create the chosen smell, which it then wafts out."

They are also using scents to enhance Tokyo FM's music program "Tapestry Radio" where they want you to smell the music! Read More about it here. You can purchase the phones here but you have to know how to read Japanese to buy it.

If the "Smell-O-Phone" has arrived...how far off is HD "Smell-O-Vision!"

Monday, April 7, 2008

"WiMax....Why Not?" 3 Million Songs In Your Car!

With CTIA now concluded in Las Vegas I thought I'd take a moment to post the "The 10 Coolest Things" according to MocoNews.net.

Another of the biggest things that will hit in us between the eyes this year is Intel's "WiMax". Part of this amazing offering is the in-car internet service that will allow you full surfing integrated with GPS. Pictured right is the prototype of the Mini Cooper PC.

Just to give you an overview, check out this Intel/YouTube demo to that shows alot of thought provoking scenarios here.

Note that they say the service gives you access to 3,000,000 legal songs on demand!

So even if you want to connect your personal music device in the car, you'll still have access to a huge libary of tunes in addition!

Don't be deceived, this is going to revolutionize the way consumers will listen to music on-the-go in addition to expanding GPS capabilities to help you find the best deals in town in real time.

I'm really energized by this technology, I truely believe it's going to take entertainment and new media consumption to a new level. I remember when they first put DVD players in MiniVans...now we'll have all the accessibility that we used to have in a tethered world...mobile.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

"1000 True Friends...Is It Possible?"

Most of my reading these days is about social networking and the importance of 'authenticity' when it comes to communicating in this new realm.
We've all heard about 'truth in advertising' for years as baby boomers but this new dimension of social media has raised a whole new series of questions about 'being truthful' in a new media community environment.

In exploring truth is it really impossible to have 1000's of 'true' friends on anyone of these sites?

With each post you put on any of these social networking sites, you allow just about anyone to see something about you in an 'unveiled' environment. In fact, I tout my membership to these sites to people as a 'calling card'.

Social networking allows me to enhance my own credibility by associating with like minded people whom I respect. This is clearly something you couldn't show in the past on a CV or in a rolodex when meeting new people or prospective clients.

I'm not passing judgement on people who have 1000's of friends on Facebook, Myspace or Linkedin. I do believe that the more people you know the more opportunity you can create, but I also do believe that we can look at social networking as a way to create our own 'Super Delegates" that will represent us until the end.

For me it would be great to have 1000's of 'true friends'...i'm just not sure it's possible. I pride myself on the opposite I suppose...a small group of people whom I admire, who mentor me and inspire me to do what I do.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

"It's All In A Name"

I've always been a fan of Al Ries. He's also an ongoing contributor to Ad Age. He recently authored an article on the failure of Isuzu as they recently announced they'll be pulling their cars off the U.S. market.

Al's take on the failure of the car company is this "..."The cause of its death: failure to innovate, misjudgment of the market and woeful underspending on marketing."

He further notes "and most important of all, Isuzu is a terrible name. Consumers can't spell it; consumers can't pronounce it. (The name is pronounced "e-suzu," not "i-suzu.") and continues "You can't build a brand with a weak name. It's like building a house on sand."...

"The name is the hook that hangs the brand on the product ladder in the prospect's mind. In the positioning era, the single most important marketing decision you can make is what to name the product."

With that said...Isuzu's advertisting agency never questioned the name and just started marketing as usual. Despite the early success of the "Joe Isuzu" campaigns the brand ultimately became obsolete.

This is a great example of one of the great pitfalls of marketing. In coming up with an idea, we should always make sure we 'do our homework first". One of my mentors and media mogul David Martin instilled that in me in the mid 90's.

If the name of your product isn't easy to digest perhaps its consumption will be limited and more importantly misunderstood. We should really think through whether or not the product is simply a function of the 'now' or it is 'timeless'.

Once again we see new media services booming...all kinds of VC's are planting their stakes in the ground for social networking...but before we launch...we should think about its long term viability...one thing is certain, "MySpace" and "Facebook" certainly are clear in their meaning.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

"Mobile Growth" And "3 Steps For Going Digital"

The Wall Street Journal just did a quick little recap on some of the cool new things to expect from your mobile phone. See the video here.
CTIA, the mega wireless convention started in Las Vegas today. Some of the key highlights include these comments from CTIA's CEO Steve Largent:

-- There's 255 million wireless subscribers in the US, covering 84 percent of the population, increasing by 22 million in the past year

-- Wireless data revenues are soaring, hitting $23 billion in 2007 (17 percent of overall revenues), jumping 53 percent year over year.

-- 48 billion text messages are sent every month, a 157 percent over last year

See all the CTIA highlights here.

AdAge has a great CMO article on how "To Reach Shoppers, Move Beyond Print Circulars".

They offer "3 Steps To Going Digital":

An idea-centric approach that focuses on engaging and connecting with consumers across channels over time to earn their attention

This reflects the need today's consumers have to filter and customize content and experiences based on their unique predispositions -- for example, RSS feeds and start pages -- as well as to access content and experiences when and where they desire (mobile, search and other time/place-shifting mechanisms such as video on demand and podcasts).

This captures the interest in community, sharing and collaboration (social networking, blogs, viral activity and gaming).

This recognizes the importance of information and entertainment distribution through wider-reach brand sites and portals and their integration with traditional offline media channels such as broadcast TV.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Bluetooth Marketing"

There is no doubt that I frequently write about my smartphone. I'm constantly looking for new ways to "push it" to do new things.

The other day while surfing I stumbled across this company Proximity Media. They do "locaton based bluetooth marketing". I love the concept...you walk by a Starbucks and 'boom'...there's the latte coupon! They claim their technology works up to 100+ meters....not bad.

This is the ultimate example of micro-targeting advertisting that is trackable. A great concept that should surely be embraced by the music industry and any other large retail chains.

Following in the new media footsteps CBS just announced a deal with social network LOOPT. Check out the story here.

Friday, March 28, 2008

"Are iPhone Users Really Smarter"

Nielsen Media Research just published a study on the user habits of iPhone users. Among their findings: iPhone users over index in mobile phone usage of all the services smartphones offer.

They conclude: "...While the advanced capabilities of the iPhone contribute to the unique behavior of its audience, it’s also likely that a segment of consumers purchasing the iPhone were distinctively prone to these behaviors. Consider that iPhone owners were 43% more likely than overall subscribers 18 and older to fall in the mobile media-rich 18-34 age segment. They were highly educated, too – iPhone users were 62% more likely to have an advanced degree beyond a BA or a BS. "

In Q4 2007, 87 million U.S. mobile subscribers subscribed to mobile Internet and 14 million subscribed to mobile video, representing year-over-year subscriber growth of 19% and 100%, respectively.

So are iPhone users really smarter or do they just like to show off their device? You decide! In the 'buzz mill' Apple will soon release the new G3 version of this phone.

I had dinner last night with a heavy iPhone user. He was so proud to show me and my wife all of the cool features...browsing, pinching, his music library...but then a very strange thing happened..he tried to make a phone call and the phone couldn't get a signal!

Kind of a 'buzz kill' to his spirited presentation...I gladly slipped my Verizon Motorola Q across the table and said..."here I'll dial for you!"

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

"Wi-Fi Highway"

Chrysler announced today that they'll be offering Wi-Fi access in their new fleet of cars. This will certainly open up a pandoras box of programming that will now be available at your fingertips.

I recently did a powerpoint presentation for a friend of mine on the growth of Internet radio. While we were gathering the material, I suddenly came to realize that there are more Internet radio devices for sale now than ever before. In fact, far more than HD radio, the great programming 'innovation' that terrestial radio is touting!

Not only are there more radios available, but far more programming choices for the average listener than regular radio could provide. Broadcast radio folks believe that "local" is the key to success, so what would prevent 'local' internet radio stations from popping up that offer news, weather, traffic and community affairs?

Niche programming is already here on the net, with Wi-Fi penetration just now getting into cars there will no doubt be some great programming opportunities for local communities to spark up some really smart, meaningful programming.

Thanks to Bridge Ratings for the cool graph!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

"Going Mobile..."

The FCC just approved the use of the 700 mhz band for mobile companies. The reason? As television goes from analog to digital it leaves this pipe open for better quality transmission to mobile.

Qualcomm has a great initiative called "mediaFlo" where they are actually using UHF television bands to transmit data and video to handsets.

Juniper Research predicts "Mobile Music, Games And TV To Generate $34 Billion By 2010", but claims there need to be some needs to be some better innovation to make it happen:
The Juniper report cautions that entertainment service adoption will be retarded unless improvements are made in areas such as the user interface, network coverage and the excessive cost of data services. It also notes that in some mobile areas - such as gambling, adult content and some social networking services - national and international legislation could either adversely impact on growth, or in some cases prevent any service deployment.

I love my Motorola Q...infact in the first week I had to bring it back because Best Buy failed to tell me that I would need an 'extended life' battery to do all the things I wanted the phone to do.

The beauty is that I can now stream thousands of commercial free radio stations from around the world to watching CNN updates and all my favorite music videos. In addition to the comments from Juniper above, increased battery life will be critical. Hold on tight...the mobile content revolution is just beginning!

Friday, March 21, 2008

How Social Is Your Social Network?

I've been spending a tremendous amount of time on Facebook lately. While I've used MySpace, I've always found the servers to be so S-L-O-W that my vice of being impatient always takes over.

While Facebook can be intimidating for first time users, there is no doubt that once you master it...it becomes more fun.

AdAge ran a great article on March 17th called "What Is Marketers' Biggest Challenge When It Comes To Social Networks?".

There seems to be a bit of turmoil in the advertising community among the 'mucky mucks' as to how effective social network marketing is and how you evaluate the ROI. What I find most interesting about all these articles is that they offer the opinions of experts who are so far out of the age range of the 'real' social networker.

I really think it would be great the next time there's a digital media conference, that the moderator invite a group of 12 to 24 year olds to be the panelists...to really evaluate what they're looking for in a brand and how it translates to their social network online and offline!

There is no doubt that if I had more time...I'd be on Facebook more...maybe even take some time to build a Secondlife profile, but i'm actually trying to spend more time with my 'real' social network these days than my online one.

If Facebook has done anything for me personally, it has made me realize the importance of all the people in my life who have had a profound influence on my thinking. That to me is the real 'social network'!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"Who's Doing What?"

Business Week nailed the concept of 'who's doing what' when they published this chart from Forrester Research. If you look closely you can actually see by age group how one study shows how all types of people use the internet.

What I love to see is that 18-21 year old demo is leading the charge both as creators and spectators!

If I had to think of a way to get involved in an emerging sector...you could bet on just about any industry that caters to this group. Viral and word of mouth marketing are HUGE with this crowd as is social networking.

Speaking of social networking...here's a great article... "Social Networking Widgets Could Reshape Music Biz". A good look from Reuters on the top plug-ins to watch in 2008!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"Designer Mobile And A Map Of Your Internet"

"The Devil Talks On Prada"

Fashion has finally arrived on the mobile scene. About 6 years ago I attended a new media seminar in NYC about the merging of fashion and technology. I asked a question..."when will we see a Ralph Lauren PC?" Welcome to designer mobile phones...Prada, D&G and Armani to name a few....see it here!

"Do You Know The Way To..."

This past February, Information Architects posted an incredible Interactive map of the Internet (click the links!).

One of the most comprehensive I've seen so far of the Superhighway we all travel. Drive here!

Kind of cool to see how they categorize related sites by topic...you can even rent some space!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

"Trends to Watch in 2008"

In January the NPD Group published an article of trends to watch in 2008. Thought it would be helpful to post it again... read it here.

A friend of mine runs a youth marketing company in NYC. It's called Mr. Youth. For years now he has been creating "brand ambassadors" for products long before the phrase was coined. Matt Britton it's CEO is in fact the master of creating "micro channels". Check out their case studies...the results are amazing.

And for the music lover in us all...Seth Godin has an interesting post on his blog today, "How many records execs does it take to screw in a light bulb"... check this out!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

"Einstein Said It Best"

I have been lucky enough to be in receipt of something very cool. A copy of a special letter.

It was given to me by a collegue Kenny Noble Cortes. In 1946, his father, Elymer Cortes was a struggling student trying to become a physicist. With a multitude of ideas running through his head he felt compelled to write a letter to Professor Albert Einstein.

Much to his chagrine, the great professor sent a note back to him with advice; typos included!

Of note is one line from the letter to the struggling student, "the main thing is this: if you have come across a question that interests you deeply stick to it for years and do never try to content yourself with the solution of superficial problems promising relatively easy success."

The letter was written and signed April 21, 1946.

I wonder if Einstein were alive today...would he have sent this message via his blackberry?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Direct Marketers Respond To A Recession

I came across this Ad Age article on how the DMA did a survey of direct marketers to get their intentions for 2008. There seems to be a common thread, something that Seth Godin talks about quite a bit....'tribe management'.

As the ability to do mass marketing shrinks, more and more companies will rely on re-evaluting customer databases that they already have. My good friend David Perlmutter is working for an amazing company called NCI Mobility in Chicago. They specialize in wireless data capture. They have the ability to collect and analyze data in virtually 'real' time and close the 'feedback' loop to the consumer within hours. Check out their services it's worth it!

Mass marketing has been the beneficiary of a great economy for such a long time, that now we are faced with the challenge of needing to find ways to identify and excite our brand ambassadors with less. It can be done and quite effectively...we just need to think smarter.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Even The Greatest Thinkers Had Humor

How tight have we all gotten? Maslow was right...security is the most basic human need.

When security is threatened some people just implode. I've seen people snap for no reason just because their financial security is as stake. Perhaps we need to think differently...we need to 'invest in ourselves' again.

It gets me thinking every time I see this picture...if the 'greatest thinker' of our time could take a single moment to express his humor...why can't we?

Sure the economy is tough...but always treat your team with respect and you'll accomplish more than you ever could imagine.


"Welcome To The New Renaissance"

Several Months ago I started a usergroup on Facebook called "Media 3.0". I wanted to be able to share with friends and collegues articles on new media marketing and how to make money.

If you search for it you'll find all kinds of great articles on how to market in a recession, grow your business through social networking, information on internet radio and the music business.

Just this past week, I became a casualty of the 'great economic downturn of 2008'. I'm not upset about it, in fact it's quite liberating.

Thousands of smart people are on the loose. This is the beginning of a new renaissance in thinking. The only sector of employment in media over the last quarter has been in consulting.

Having worked in the media business now for over 20 years. I'm pretty sure I know what engages people. As the economy slows and people are let go, this will allow for exponential growth in independent thinking...hence the renaissance.

I'm very excited about the future. I've always "bet" on myself. Now more than ever I believe this is the time for really smart people to band together to become the new 'corporate' america.

Join me...it's an exciting time.