Posts Tagged ‘Mobile Applications’

My Comment on the below article:

I found this thoroughly refreshing to read.  Zoe has demonstrated a really good attitude to take toward the mobile channel.   I do not doubt Cisco will be successful in their approach.  I highly recommend this article.

I would add one thing with reference to Zoe’s comments, quote ‘Often brands make the mistake of going straight to creating the app first without testing the other approaches. The app market is very competitive and you need to stand out from your competitors and other apps’.

As previously mentioned: Mobile Internet is at the heart of Mobile Marketing campaigns. The key to this is to remember mobile works best when integrated into traditional media whatever the format.  Mobile applications are just one element to utilise as a marketing channel. At present only iphone applications are offering the rich levels brands would expect and the experience consumers would hope for. The others are some way behind.  Therefore there is limited reach, as in the UK iphone has only **17% handset penetration (much less Globally) with Blackberry slightly higher on **20% and Nokia still dominating with a huge **39%  (**Smart phone penetration).

In order to maximise the success of any campaign you need to reach the targeted masses; which means you need to consider all platforms and formats whether it is an application, mobile internet site or simple SMS communications (to name but a few). This always comes back to the key metrics in determining the success of any campaign:

Reach, Targeting, Engagement, Viral-bility and Transactional…..

Does it have reach?  Is it targeted? Is it engaging?  Is it viral? Can you make a sale?

The higher it scores in these areas then the closer you are to running a successful mobile marketing campaign that has delivered recognised measured tangible results.

Posted 05 January 2010 13:29pm by Jake Hird

A lot of coverage has been given to mobile phones recently, especially with Google’s Nexus One looming, the ongoing battle of platforms and the continuing onslaught of the iPhone.

I’ve already opined that although 2010 “won’t exactly be the year of mobile, but it will be a big year for mobile”, so with this in mind, marketers need to be thinking about what kind of options are open to them in this rapidly developing area.

But understanding and navigating mobile marketing can be a bit of a minefield. I caught up with Zoe Sands from Cisco to discuss the various issues within this often complex area.

Mobile marketing seems to be very much a rising star. What are your thoughts about where this currently sits in relation to other digital marketing channels?

I truly believe that mobile has great opportunity for brands to optimise and use as personal communication platform with their respective target audience.

I like to think of mobile as hitting a new wave rather than saying this is definitely the year of mobile, a statement which has been bounded about for several years and has lead to much hype and disappointment around mobile. However, I definitely agree it is becoming more of a rising star. FMCG, Gaming, Sports and Media are all doing a great job with mobile.

The majority of industries are still missing a trick with this marketing method, as it is very much seen as a consumer channel rather than a communication channel. In terms of B2B, I think this is a huge untapped opportunity.

At Cisco, I’ve led the European Mobile Programme, which includes the launch of 17 local countries in 12 languages. My strategy was to use this channel across Europe for brand awareness, starting with a mobile site in each country to get people to understand the mobile medium, then to move into SMS marketing and then onto local app development.

At a Global level the site is more advanced; there has been a big investment in SMS marketing which links in with the site updates and now a new iPhone app is currently in development due to be launched in February 2010.

What would you say are the core foundations of mobile marketing?

The core foundation for anyone wishing to start out in mobile marketing is to understand what your purpose is first, then research whether your market wants a mobile brand channel from you. At Cisco I adopted the following approach:

1. Start with a mobile website, get used to the small screen. The mobile site should not be an exact replica of the main corporate site. Offer content which your audience needs.

2. Once you have the site up and running you then need to look at creating a dialogue with your audience, which can be achieved through SMS marketing. You need to be very careful that you have a double opt in and only send appropriate messages to your target audience as the mobile is such a personal device you don’t want people to disengage with the brand.

If you use SMS too much you may start to annoy people, they will unsubscribe very quickly, then you have lost that communication channel.

3. Finally, start to look at personal ways to engage with your audience such as a mobile app or widget. Often brands make the mistake of going straight to creating the app first without testing the other approaches. The app market is very competitive and you need to stand out from your competitors and other apps. So careful planning is required here, as you don’t want to invest an app that is never used.

How fast are you seeing an uptake (by advertisers) of mobile marketing?

I think advertisers are quite slow to take up mobile marketing, and this is partly due to lack of understanding, the availability of appropriate properties to advertise on and the functionality offered.

Most properties have limited appeal and functionality available to advertisers, although I do feel that search is probably the unsung hero of mobile marketing: Google, Yahoo and Bing all have mobile search opportunities and are worth investigating.

With Google covering many more countries than its rivals, I chose this platform to run our European mobile search campaign. This campaign has been live since July 2008 and this has been a great way to drive traffic to the local country mobile sites. Additionally, none of Cisco’s competitors are actively using this channel at the moment, which means the brand can easily dominate within this space.

Can you walk us through the basic steps as to how Cisco uses mobile?

In terms of our overall strategy, mobile is an exciting opportunity for Cisco and fits naturally with the organisation’s brand value of innovation, as well as supporting the mobility product lines. It has now become an important part of Cisco’s long term web plan.

The first Cisco Mobile site was launched in the US during October 2006. From 2007 to 2009 a European programme was setup to optimise the mobile channel with 17 mobile sites created in 12 local languages. The aim was to enable a targeted set of content to extend Cisco’s brand awareness and engagement, mobile leadership and customer intimacy.

Guiding principles for creating mobile sites in Europe were to:

  • Highlight Cisco as an early adopter of advanced mobile technology.
  • Deliver content of value to the mobile user, avoiding duplication of Cisco.com.
  • Develop and promote Cisco’s European Mobile websites through SEM and SEO.
  • Extend a personal communication by targeted event marketing SMS messages.

Overall, this channel has been a cost efficient method of raising awareness of the Cisco. By embracing mobile outside of the popular entertainment sector, Cisco is advancing its position as a technological leader.

Do you operate in this way on a local, national or international level – and which do you think produces better results?

Each country in Europe has a local language site so is operating on a national level, it is not necessary for Cisco to operate on a local level as the products are not specific to a small geographical region.

What kind of user-engagement or uptake have you seen, and is there evidence that this is growing, or are you finding that audiences are resistant to mobile marketing?

Response and usage has been slow and gradual for Cisco’s mobile sites. However, there has been a significant push to build awareness of using the mobile channel internally, educating the digital and marketing teams to buy into this communication channel.

In terms of building awareness and usage externally; there have been some challenges to build traffic and usage levels, but this has not been an inhibitor to stop using this channel. I think there are very few early adopters in the market place willing use the internet via their mobile device due to two many factors data plan charges and the user experience is not often great.

Although, the service providers are now packaging unlimited data plans within the traditional call packages make it easier and worry free for consumer to access the internet. Over time this should improve usage levels of mobile in Europe.

Let’s talk metrics. Are your marketing objectives being met through the channel and how are you measuring them?

There is currently low engagement with the mobile channel, but I’m comparing it against the internet as it was in the late 1990s when not everyone had a home internet connection. There are more mobile devices in circulation than PCs/laptops, but the majority of the devices are not internet enabled and networks generally don’t seem to allow data plans to be added to their customers’ contracts: These are the major barriers to entry for adaptation.

Having said that, we are currently seeing people positively engaging with Cisco’s mobile channels; downloading the free videos, ringtones and wallpapers. The marketing objectives for awareness and driving innovation are being met, although huge traffic volumes are not being achieved as yet.

The final thought that needs to be kept in mind when considering results is that you just need to be patient with mobile and generally think of it as a long-term strategy, where outstanding delivery can sometimes take a while to manifest.

What advice would you give to those either starting out or considering running mobile activity?

You need to remember that mobile is a slightly different approach from the traditional digital channels, so you can’t just take the content and functionality from one platform and expect this to work within mobile marketing, you need a different approach.

Firstly, try a pilot site. If you are an international organisation, then research which country has the biggest take up of mobile consumption. You will also need to research what your target audience wants to see from the site in terms of functionality and content. Then create a small mobile site this should be separate to your main site, but still linked, so that search bots can still find and index it. Here are some tips:

1. Content and context matters, so write for the mobile device, and keep it concise and to the point.

2. Remember the device is personal, so messages should be appropriate, concise and timely.

3. Rethink new delivery of old media. New technologies like WiMax mean it’s possible to deliver “old media” (e.g., radio/audio or video) in new ways.

4. Listen to your audiences and give people the opportunity to feedback. Consumer response to mobile marketing has not always been positive, so it is important to tread lightly and use feedback to determine what works.

5. Use the mobile functionality in your campaigns, such asGPS and location-awareness, video, cameras and photos. All these functions can help engagement and awareness.

6. People want to share their experiences so create a mobile campaign that can be easy shared via mobile across these properties.

7. People like to share cool stuff so make it easy for people to send on videos, images and messages to friends and family.

8. When developing apps, think about need and what will make a difference to someone’s lifestyle. Exclusive content and unique offers will help your message get noticed.

9. Integrate your mobile site and campaign with your main marketing strategy, as this increases the effectiveness of your message.

10. People love free stuff; free downloads, special offers, promotions and competitions. Providing a financial incentive will help make them more effective.

What warnings would you advise to look out for when operating in this channel and what kind of challenges do marketers face?

There are so many challenges with mobile; lots of different handsets, many operating systems, and numerous browser types, so the market is fragmented, and it looks like there will not be much convergence either in the future. This is the reason why you need to start with a mobile site to analyse what devices your target audience is using to access your site.

Another challenge has been understanding the best way to use WAP. It has been stigmatised in the past for being less graphically rich and not as robust, but things are changing. If you accept WAP as framework and design with this in mind as opposed to trying to get it to conform to what you want to design.

With these challenges in mind I would advise to keep the site and messaging simple. Don’t over-complicate the mobile site’s navigation and any call to actions should be simple. For example displaying “call now” text and a number, rather than an email form is advisable, as not all devices have a QWERTY keyboard.

You also need to bear in mind that it is also going to be quite difficult to track and measure user-behaviour, as you can’t use cookies with the majority of mobile devices. Do remember to tag your mobile-site for web metrics, though. There are a number of analytical companies that can do this to an extremely high standard.

What can the digital marketing industry as a whole be doing in order to understand mobile methods better and, equally, what should mobile marketers be doing to understand how the channel fits into wider digital marketing?

The digital marketing industry needs to educate marketers on the opportunities and how to building strong mobile strategies and plans. Often, mobile is seen as ticking a check-box and not as an effective communication channel that can be integrated within the digital mix.

Marketers need to understand how to use this channel for acquisition, nurturing and retention: it’s simply just not good enough to have a “me-too” approach and following others blindly. You need to build mobile campaigns that fit into your organisation’s overall marketing strategy and planning.

What kind of developments or innovation do you expect to see in the next twelve months and beyond?

2010 will be an exciting year for mobile, Google is now starting to invest more in mobile with plans to launch its own branded handsets and with its proposed takeover of AdMob, which is still yet to be finalised. Both announcements will improve the awareness of mobile marketing within the marketing community and draw marketers attention to sit up to the fact that mobile is a huge opportunity.

Apple’s iPhone has made some inroads on the optimisation of the mobile channel with its mobile app store, although this is could be seen to be rather niche and aimed more at the consumer pop culture.

More organisations will start to use mobile as part of the infrastructure rather than just mobile marketing. For example, Cisco is trialing the use of QR codes to track products and provide guides and specs instantly, as those products are installed.

I’m also expecting the mobile market to stay fragmented, with more new mobile devices and application stores being developed. However, this may over-complicate the choice for the consumer. Consequently, some organisations will find that their app-development programme will need more investment to cover the market in more depth. With the launch of the new android devices I would expect a huge growth in applications on the Android platform which should close the gap on Apple’s App Store dominance.

Beyond apps, service providers will facilitate the growth of rich media content that is simpler, faster and offers a better user experience. Media publishers will start to experiment with micro-payments, subscription service models and alternative payment methods on mobile sites which has already been highlighted by Rupert Murdoch’s decision to charge for online media content.

Consumers will continue to demand more data services as they enjoy and value their mobile experiences, which will put great pressure on the service providers to provide more data allowances for the same price tariffs. 2010 could see the service providers out-bidding one another on data package allowances, although this will depend on the service provider’s infrastructure.

URL Link to Econsultancy:

http://econsultancy.com/blog/5173-q-a-cisco-s-zoe-sands-talks-about-mobile-marketing

My opinion on the below article:

It is important to remember that what most people think are applications are actually widgets.  It is these widgets that have a shelve life of 3-4 days before being discarded.  How many widgets do you have on your computer?  Not many I expect.  However, the more dynamic true applications or web applications actually have a much longer shelve life.  The utility based apps that have an everyday purpose are the ones that will continue to be of value on a continued basis in the coming years.  Here are some examples:

Travel: Tickets, boarding passes, informational services and promotional services

Maps: TomTom, Google,

Banking:  Balance, Transfers, Payments, Find Nearest Bank/ATM

Automotive: Car service updates & monitoring + promotional sales & informational

Mobile Internet Launchers: for general mobile web as openess becomes a reality

Instant Messaging/Social Media

Augmented Reality: Promotional Services

Couponing/Loyalty Redemption

Location Based Services – Social, Information and Promotional Advertising

Music/Events – Information, Ticketing, Promotional Sales

Mobile Search

Health Services

Please see the article below from the Independent website:

Relax News Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Market researcher Gartner has pinpointed the top ten consumer mobile applications consumers will be using and downloading in the year 2012. The most popularly used applications will include those designed to facilitate mobile money transfers, location-based services and mobile search said Gartner in its November 18 report. In the past, consumers purchased mobile phones based on the built-in features that came standard with the handset. With the arrival of smartphone operating systems capable of running third-party applications, consumers were freed from the phone maker’s confines and were able to customize their devices with powerful applications tailored to their own needs. Future mobile trends point to a widening of this segment, with third-party applications breaking into the mainstream mobile market and even breaking through to many lower-priced handsets. “Consumer mobile applications and services are no longer the prerogative of mobile carriers,” said Sandy Shen, research director at Gartner. “The increasing consumer interest in smartphones, the participation of internet players in the mobile space, and the emergence of application stores and cross-industry services are reducing the dominance of mobile carriers. Each player will influence how the application is delivered and experienced by consumers, who ultimately vote with their attention and spending power.” Mobile phone makers, inspired by the success (and profitability) of Apple’s App Store, have all eagerly jumped into the market, opening their own propriety application stores. Application developers too have embraced the market, resulting in the creation of hundreds of thousands of new application for mobile devices. The wide availability of applications has given consumers free range on mobile customization, but research shows that many apps are being downloaded, used once or twice and then deleted from phones. “We predict that most users will use no more than five mobile applications at a time and most future opportunities will come from niche market ‘killer applications’,” reveals Shen. Gartner predicts applications in the categories of mobile payments, location-based services, those that provide fast search results for users on the go and applications that facilitate mobile internet browsing will be among the top ten mobile applications for 2012. Gartner’s list of top ten consumer mobile applications for 2012:
1: Money Transfer
2: Location-Based Services
3: Mobile Search
4: Mobile Browsing
5: Mobile Health Monitoring
6: Mobile Payment
7: Near Field Communication Services
8: Mobile Advertising
9: Mobile Instant Messaging
10: Mobile Music
For more specific information about each mobile application category and to read the full report head to http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1230413.
URL Link to the Independent:

This is a post by Patricio Robles a tech reporter at Econsultany:

Joe Hewitt is the Facebook employee responsible for the super-popular Facebook iPhone app. But thanks to Apple, he’s decided to move on.

On Twitter, he announced that he “handed the Facebook iPhone app off to another engineer“. Soon after, he revealed the reason why: the tyranny of Apple.

He told TechCrunch:

My decision to stop iPhone development has had everything to do with Apple’s policies. I respect their right to manage their platform however they want, however I am philosophically opposed to the existence of their review process. I am very concerned that they are setting a horrible precedent for other software platforms, and soon gatekeepers will start infesting the lives of every software developer.

The web is still unrestricted and free, and so I am returning to my roots as a web developer. In the long term, I would like to be able to say that I helped to make the web the best mobile platform available, rather than being part of the transition to a world where every developer must go through a middleman to get their software in the hands of users.

In a post on his blog, he has elaborated on his sentiments:

The Internet has been incredibly empowering to creators, and just as destructive to middle men. In the 20th century, every musician needed a record label to get his or her music heard. Every author needed a publishing house to be read. Every journalist needed a newspaper. Anyone who wanted to send a message needed the post office. In the Internet age, the tail no longer wags the dog, and those middle men have become a luxury, not a necessity.

Meanwhile, the software industry is moving in the opposite direction. With the web and desktop operating systems, the only thing in between software developers and users is a mesh of cables and protocols. In the new world of mobile apps, a layer of bureacrats stand in the middle, forcing each developer to queue up for a series of patdowns and metal detectors and strip searches before they can reach their customers.

That’s not to say there is no value to middle men. Middle men exist to reduce the cost of getting a product from A to B, and as long as that cost is significant, they will be useful. However, the moment the middle man monopolizes the means of distribution, he becomes a gatekeeper, and creators can be made to fail not by the merits and popularity of their products, but by the whims and short-term interests of the gatekeeper.

The subject of middlemen is an interesting one and Hewitt’s post highlights why: for all the talk about the internet eliminating them, they are still going strong, and in some cases, there are more of them than ever. Which begs the question: are they a luxury, as Hewitt suggests, or are they still largely a necessity?

Frankly, I think the answer is quite clearly the latter. From Google to eBay, the internet may have destroyed a few middlemen, but it’s created more than a few to take their places. And for good reason: middlemen just don’t pop up out of nowhere for no purpose. Middlemen perform valuable functions in many markets and bring significant benefits to the table. These include:

  • Distribution.
  • Sales and marketing.
  • Transportation.
  • Aggregation.
  • Customer service.
  • Liquidity.
  • Credit.
  • Expertise.
  • Security.

Taking the iPhone and the App Store as an example, Apple provides developers with an efficient means to distribute their wares the millions of iPhone owners in a single location with a single relationship. Without this, the market would be fragmented and the average developer would realistically have no ability to get his ‘product‘ to market, even if he felt ‘free‘. Additionally, Apple handles billing and customer service, something that would be a significant burden to many developers. And finally, Apple provides a form of protection through its developer program and review process. While that review process is understandably upsetting to developers and there are definite areas for improvement, the popularity of the App Store, and the volume of business conducted in it as compared to the competition, speaks for itself.

While Hewitt and others may lament the existence of middlemen, there is significant amount of economic research and literature that explains why middlemen (also known as merchants and traders) have existed since the dawn of civilization. A great article that addresses the subject of the ‘parasitic‘ middleman head on points out, “Without middlemen, we couldn’t have modern markets“. It’s a point that’s often lost today. Instead of economic common sense (the middleman has a significant profit motive to bridge the gap between supply and demand), we get economic myths (“creators can be made to fail not by the merits and popularity of their products, but by the whims and short-term interests of the gatekeeper“) that assume the middleman’s interests are somehow not at all aligned with those who he transacts business with.

Ironically, something that shouldn’t be lost in this discussion is the fact that Hewitt’s employer, Facebook, is a middleman in its own right. You can’t just throw any old application up on Facebook, for instance. There are rules which must be followed or else. Maybe Facebook hasn’t tried to directly monetize its position as much as it theoretically could, but that looks to be changing. Case in point: if you run a contest on a Facebook application or page, Facebook now wants your money. A minimum of $30,000 to be exact. I wonder how Hewitt feels about this.

All of this said, there’s no doubt that the internet has been incredibly empowering to creators. But the idea that the internet alone is a medium of disintermediation neglects the fact that market forces result in the introduction of new kinds of middlemen — reintermediation.

At the end of the day, nobody needs middlemen. Nothing is stopping Joe Hewitt from developing software and selling it to consumers directly. Just as nothing is stopping a farmer from selling his corn to consumers directly, or a manufacturer from selling his widgets to consumers over the internet. Yet how many actually do that?

Which brings me to my final point. It’s easy to complain about middlemen and the grass may look greener on the other side, but middlemen haven’t been around for thousands of years for no good reason: the grass isn’t greener on the other side. Even on the internet.

URL Link to Econsultancy:

http://econsultancy.com/blog/4975-are-middlemen-a-luxury-or-necessity

I picked this up from GoMo news.  Interesting article on a Gordan Brown promise of better access to travel services on mobile:

Rating: My Rail Lite iPhone app didn’t die for nothing

There’s hope for the author of My Rail Lite, a free iPhone app which skimmed data from the UK’s National Rail Enquiries online database. A report in the Daily Telegraph says that UK premier, Gordon Brown, plans to give wider access to train, tube and bus service to mobile phone users.

The original My Rail Lite ban happened back in January [2009] while by June 2009, the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) announced it was investigating complaints that Rail Enquiries’ actions were a breach of fair competition legislation.

The decision to get My Rail Lite banned from the Apple App Store looked particularly suspicious when Rail Enquiries’ parent, the Association of Train Operating Companies, launched a similar app for £4.99.

GoMo News couldn’t track down My Rail Lite’s author – which appears to be Mobiletipstricks.com for a reaction.

This appears to be a classic case of Net stalwarts insisting that all information should be free versus commercial companies insisting that the data held in databases is their IPR.

A similar dispute happened to comparison travel sites when Ryanair insisted that software houses should hold a licence to publish its data. Which is effectively what National Rail Enquiries did.

If Gordon Brown suceeds with this travel data liberalisation, then perhaps we will see an explosion of live travel information mobile apps.

Tony is based in Surrey and is a veteran journalist he writes on the UK market…. contact him here mailto:tony@mobileinsight.co.uk

URL Link to GoMo News:

http://www.gomonews.com/gordon-browns-aim-with-aid-mobile-apps/

Getjar partners with YOC Group

http://www.mobilemarketingmagazine.co.uk/2009/11/getjar-hands-payperdownload-brief-to-yoc.html

Source: Mobile Marketing Magazine

Today, we’ve announced a partnership with GetJar, to offer brands placement and visibility on the world’s largest cross platform app store. We will now be able to offer brands the opportunity to increase their presence via applications on the GetJar network, visible to over 15 million unique visitors.  With mobile applications becoming an increasingly important part of any advertising campaign, the new partnership will allows brands to place their application with GetJar, making them accessible to millions of users via more than 1,800 different mobile devices. Take a look here for more information: http://www.mobile-ent.biz/news/35018/YOC-inks-GetJar-branded-app-deal