Peggy Anne Salz and I, among many others, have long evangelized for the use of mobile to drive sales, engagement, and loyalty. It always was mobile AND, not mobile OR. In this new podcast episode, we discuss emerging tech and findings from my The Art of Digital Persuasion book. https://webmasterradio.fm/episode/why-marketers-must-master-the-art-of-digital-persuasion
Many of us have spent years, nearing decades, understanding the digital customer journey and motivations. We’ve done it well. Take a bow.
Then the world was upended. We now know that there are funny-looking objects on people’s nightstands and even on their heads.
Voice. Virtual reality. Artificial intelligence. Machine learning. Wearables.
Who asked for all of that?
If you believe that everything has changed for marketers, think again.
During interviews for my The Art of Digital Persuasion book, I learned that in many ways it is imperative to continue doing what you were doing despite the adoption of new technology.
Machines are propelling us to up our marketing games. But they aren’t replacing us. And they never well.
Consider this. In 2017, Nike created “Breaking2”, an attempt for elite athletes to break the two-hour barrier for running a marathon. The number of people tuning in to the live stream on Twitter was nearly eight times higher than the broadcast audience of the New York, Boston and Chicago marathons. In total, 13.1 million watched the attempt live via Twitter, making it the company’s largest brand-powered, live-streaming event.
Of course, most of us won’t attempt to run a two-hour marathon - or any marathon at all. But we can all relate to the effort to maximize human achievement. That’s what Nike bet on and won.
Understand that you can’t run a marathon, even in four hours, in flipflops.
“Everyone has to be relatively sober-minded when evaluating the possibility of a what might come in the future and realize that for all of us who are trying to predict what can happen in the future, we're all partially right and partially wrong,” Aaron Price, SVP of Global Marketing, Expedia told me.
In other words, give yourself a chance to succeed. But know that you will never be perfect. No one can be.
Involvement is everything. Regardless of the technology, seek to turn what might be a passive activity into one that your customers and prospects will see is interactive.
How? Interestingly, some brands have built upon the concept of user-generated content to entice customers to take part in user-generated product.
“If you think about Mayochup, which is a combination of mayonnaise and ketchup, Heinz put a Twitter poll out there and said if you get to 500,000 (participants), we're going to put these products on shelves in your local stores,” Stacy Minero, Head of Content Creation for Twitter, told me. “And that created a whole gamification of that campaign. And they got a billion (media) impressions within 48 hours.”
The lesson in all of this? Of course, see emerging technology for what it is – more screens, more interfaces, more complexity for marketers following or leading customers. But don’t think for a second that you should abandon what you know works.
Quality over quantity, the anticipated return on investment on emerging tech, and more were covered in a MobileChat on Facebook.
Please take a look and let me know if you agree with the insights of my experts.
To believe that Dallas-based Neiman Marcus first discovered innovation in its second century is to make an error approximately the size of Texas.
One can go all the way back to the day it opened in 1907 to see evidence of the retailer’s forward thinking and acting.
It was the first to offer upscale fashion to the state’s wealthy, according to Wikipedia.
In 1927, Neiman Marcus premiered the first weekly retail fashion show in the United States.
Its history of innovation is deep and while nearly everything around it has changed, the retailer has survived in large part by its boldness.
“A company like Neiman Marcus didn't manage to survive one hundred and 10 plus years without being innovative,” Scott Emmons, the longtime head of the company’s innovation lab (or ‘I Lab’), told me in an exclusive interview for my new book, The Art of Digital Persuasion. https://www.amazon.com/Art-Digital-Persuasion-Innovative-Technologies-ebook/dp/B07NPCXMFJ/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=art+of+digital+persuasion&qid=1554466174&s=gateway&sr=8-1
“It’s not like innovation just got invented over the last 10 years because there were iPhones.”
Yes, on one hand, you can argue that Neiman Marcus has been there, done that. But these are extraordinary times for the retail industry. Brick and mortar stores by the thousands are shutting down. Businesses are needing to compete based on not just price, but on such factors as the ability to deliver purchases in two days or less and through the use of technology that digitally puts such things as eyeglasses on one’s face, a dining room table in one’s house, and product reviews in the palm of one’s hands.
“What we're seeing is how quickly the new disruptive ideas keep coming at businesses, and their efforts to keep up with that rate of change, be more agile, and be able to bring new ideas to the table faster,” Emmons said.
Those ideas have led to emerging tech such as voice, augmented and other flavors of reality, artificial intelligence, and more.
When I asked Emmons for advice for marketers, he preached a path of managed risk.
“There is a real temptation to go out and try that bright and shiny thing just because it's cool and everybody is talking about it, and there is all kind of buzz around it,” Emmons said.
“But in the end, you go back to the simple question of what kind of projects should we be tackling. Does it solve a real problem? Or let it evolve from being a solution looking for a problem to something that can solve a problem that you've identified that you have. That's how I look at it.”
When it comes to ROI, one size does not fit all.
“I think the type of projects that we work on are varied enough that those metrics tend to be different,” Emmons told me before leaving Neiman Marcus to join TheCurrent Global consultancy. “If you're working on an RFID project, maybe our metric is did we get our level of inventory accuracy to ‘X’ percent and because our inventory accuracy was better, we lifted sales by this much. You can apply actual traditional lift measurement to see how well something is performing.
“Then you have other types of experiences that have never been done before. And the amount of work it takes to actually tie it back into your transactional systems is large. And so it may be worth it just to try that experience and see if the customers like it, and observe how they interact with it, and sort of take a test drive and not necessarily have a defined ROI on it.”
Others I interviewed offered invaluable advice as well:
ESPN, all over your television guide and digital channels, notably uses a yardstick that measures how well as opposed to how many.
“Quality always wins,” Ryan Spoon, ESPN’s Senior Vice President of Digital and Social, told me. “And that pertains to any job. Whether you're creating the content, creating a product, you're distributing the content, marketing it, whatever that might be.”
To those seeking clarity on the question of when they will master digital marketing, Google’s Jason Spero believes that it is all tied to delivering for consumers.
“It's likely the question of when we get to the finish line might be the wrong metaphor,” Spero, Vice President, Performance Media, explained to me. “But rather how do we recognize consumers’ expectations and how might we be able to serve her needs in a way where she may not see the technology, but she's delighted by the experience?”
What I learned in writing The Art of Digital Persuasion is that successful businesses and marketers innovate to differentiate. The first action for you to take is to place that 2018 marketing playbook in the trash. That was then. The question is what are you going to do now?
Artificial. Virtual. Augmented. Machine-driven.
These and other words have entered the marketer’s lexicon.
Out with the old. In with the new.
“There's going to be a lot more innovation and disruptors,” Stacy Minero, Head of Content Creation at Twitter, told me in an exclusive interview for my new book, The Art of Digital Persuasion. https://amzn.to/2KmpMz7
“I’m not sure how it will play out. I do think that great stories that are rooted in human insight and strike a cultural chord will be sustainable forever.”
Of course, human insight has been key for marketers for generations. Minero appreciates the introduction of algorithms but sees them as an element in the modern marketing mix rather than a game-changing end-all.
“You're never going to take humans out of the creative process,” she said. “That’s because ideas come from understanding mindset and motivation and universal human truths. But I think technology will continue to up our game in terms of optimization, everything from understanding what hair color resonates in a video to the type of product and packaging you should showcase in a shot.”
Here are three more lessons learned during my half-year of spending time with a dozen digital marketing pioneers.
Participate Rather Than Only Observe
The decades-old concept of focus groups shouldn’t be dismissed even today. However, one expert strongly told me that we need to not just hear others talk about emerging technology, we should experience it ourselves.
“I've always been someone who likes to ‘live in the future’ and I’ve been fortunate enough to have roles where I’m working with cutting edge technology and then going out and speaking to others about what the impacts are,” explained Dave Isbitski, Amazon’s Chief Evangelist, Alexa & Echo.
“That means constantly looking at new technology trends, learning how they apply to our lives, and in the end teaching people what that future may look like. It helps generate people’s ideas and then they run with it. For a marketer, tech adoption is no different than any other topic. Keep on top of the latest buzz and trends, look at what the community is saying, whether through social media or at networking events, and start to use the latest technology in your own life.”
The learnings, Isbitski told me, are invaluable.
“Not being a late adopter can have tremendous benefit here,” he said. “I’ve talked to marketers who have been using Alexa since 2015 and the ideas they have for what conversations are possible are very different than someone who has never used a device at all.
“Using early versions of technology today can give you a vision for what tomorrow may look like.”
Remember History When It Comes To Adoption
“Any transformative technology encounters challenges to mainstream adoption in its early lifetime, such as cost, size, comfort, and technical barriers,” Microsoft’s Lorraine Bardeen, General Manager Studio Manager, Mixed Reality, told me. “We’ve seen this all before with the very first computers, the Internet, and mobile phones.”
Bardeen said that B2B usage commonly precedes B2C acceptance. That is why she is bullish on Microsoft’s HoloLens progress that has come with business growth.
“Just like the evolution of other similar technology, we expect momentum for the technology to begin in the commercial space and then trickle outward to consumers,” she said.
Microsoft’s Bardeen forecasts a place for all flavors of reality, including mixed, augmented and virtual.
“We believe that these are not separate concepts, but rather labels for different points on a mixed reality continuum,” she said. “The reality is that if one succeeds, then the ecosystem succeeds, and we’re interested in further education and adoption of the spectrum as a whole.
“Specific to marketing, this technology allows marketers to engage with their audiences in new interactive and immersive ways. The possibilities truly are limitless.”
Think Experience Rather Than Technology
Google’s Jason Spero has a healthy respect for technology. He, however, sees it more as an enabler than a story in and of itself.
“The consumer doesn't see the technology,” the Vice President, Performance Media, explained to me. “What the consumer sees is that they should be able to continue their game from a tablet to a mobile phone. That is a logical, rational, human thought.
“And so the better we can do in our research of studying those expectations of consumers, of understanding the moments where they expect things of us, and then drag the technology along with us kicking and screaming, we need to build those experiences.”
In summary, the digital leaders interviewed rely as much on the lessons of the past than the vision of the future. We would be wise to follow down that path.
(first appeared on Mobile Marketer - https://bit.ly/2X0AmgG)
In 2015, I wrote The Art of Mobile Persuasion, a book about the relationships that people have with their mobile devices.
It’s safe to describe them then and now as intimate, engrossing and integral.
The central questions in The Art of Mobile Persuasion were whether brands have opportunities to get in on that action or is three a crowd?
Since then, some businesses have muffed the chance, taking an approach that has been deemed as invasive, impersonal, and/or offering no value. But others large and small have knocked gently, ingratiated themselves, brought something that was welcomed, and seen resulting increases in awareness, loyalty and sales.
To the former group, what were you thinking?
To the latter, we’re good now, right?
Why? The playing field has changed.
Our nurtured customers and prospects are now being wooed by other means.
Though voice interfaces.
Smart appliances, even toilets.
And OTT (over the top) devices.
Virtual and mixed reality software and hardware.
And the list goes on. There’s every reason to believe that the pulls for attention will grow this year, next year, and every year after that.
Of course, this brings with it all sorts of complications.
· Where will we find our customers and prospects?
· Where we do want to lead them and what must they find when they get there?
· How does all of this innovation affect the customer journey?
· If personalization is the so-called North Star, how do we deliver this on the screens and interfaces of today – and the ones surely coming behind those?
And how does the relationship that your brand has steadily built with customers via the mobile phone survive, evolve, and thrive when eyes and ears are drawn to even more places?
In my new book The Art of Digital Persuasion, the conversation broadens to today’s interfaces, devices, behaviors and technologies.
I again have had the pleasure and privilege of visiting with some of the sharpest marketers and other business leaders that one can identify. I sought out real-world experience, perspective, and advice to give us the knowledge, skills and confidence that we all need to do our jobs -- and, in many cases, to reimagine our current outdated positions given these upended times.
I share what leaders from Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, ESPN, and others are doing and thinking to address the core question of the new book:
The book is now available on Amazon. https://amzn.to/2G4CrCu
I hope that you’ll give it a look and take the time to learn from these experts just as I have.
There were 14 punts in Super Bowl LIII, and that’s not counting those from advertisers who developed and ran spots more suitable for 1974 than 2019.
The snooze-a-thon that became another coronation for the New England Patriots was boring—just ask Kristin Lemkau, CMO at JPMorgan Chase, who despite being a Patriots fan, scrolled “Boring, Boring, Boring” on her Twitter feed during the second half of the game.
The blame for that is equally shared between the Patriots, Los Angeles Rams and brands. Sports columnists have torn into the teams for their inept play, but we’ll take up the advertiser performance here.
Brands regressed in attempts to engage the mammoth audience. It’s not that the creative was noticeably less compelling than in previous years. In fact, it struck me as similar with ads featuring dogs, rappers, new automobiles and coming films.
It’s the lack of calls to action that are an unforgivable offense given what we know: a mobile device was either in hand or within four feet of well over 100 million potential consumers. What was striking was the decline in the appearance of any call to action, be it a hashtag, website or other. And for many of those ads that did have a CTA, the time on-screen was shorter than a Rams’ possession.
Among those advertisers who punted:
Every studio that introduced a film
Some—maybe all—generated interest on Sunday, but each dropped the ball by leaving it there rather than asking viewers to engage between now and their movie’s opening. Through a simple opt-in, the audience could’ve seen additional content, been given a chance to attend the premiere or even entered a contest to meet a movie star. None of that happened.
Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer
Certainly, the mermaids and sharks caught our attention, and I get that the piece was to build awareness. But how do we follow up on that interest, learn more about the product or even get an offer to try it?
Its “The Elevator” spot creatively showed how buying a car doesn’t have to be as painful as we’ve all known it to be. Once the automaker made that point, it failed to show us where to sign up and learn more about the process.
The National Football League
It’s “100-Year Game” spot showed some of the league’s all-stars. Behind-the-scenes footage, especially outtakes, would’ve been perfect to offer via a call to action.
The brand released an uncensored version of its spot on social media because it couldn’t use the word “porn” on TV. But where was the CTA to get viewers to go to the more provocative one?
We did see one significant change on Sunday, though. Burger King, Verizon, T-Mobile and Intuit’s TurboTax were among those that went against recent trends by keeping their spots under wraps until the telecast.
Shiv Singh, the former digital lead at Visa and Pepsi, questioned those moves, saying, “This feels a bit like a retro strategy. I saw time and again we’d get greater mileage by releasing early and building a broader narrative around the ad.”
Another idea for greater mileage is for brands to ask viewers to do something during the telecast. Make the ask interesting, and in the process, create a mechanism for a dialogue. How about giving that a try, just for kicks?
There were 2.7 million net square feet of exhibit space at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. For mobile marketers, what wasn't there was far more noteworthy than what was.
5G was nowhere, despite claims made all around the expo. Samsung booth signage actually said "5G is the answer" and "Samsung End-to-End 5G Solutions are Ready" yet the first claim is to be determined (and just what is the question?), and the second claim was debunked by a "prototype 5G smartphone" running without a 5G connection.
"We are at the entrance, we are at the door, we are about to step into 5G," Liya Sharif, Qualcomm's head of global brand, content and creative services, said at Wunderman Thompson's Future Ready breakfast. "5G will be as transformational as the internet was."
Sharif said that 5G will make connectivity speeds five times faster and limit latency, and that "connectivity will be like electricity."
At what pace 5G will push satisfied smartphone owners to upgrade their devices remains to be seen. Dial-up to broadband was an obvious improvement and became a must-have when price and availability worked for consumers. There are likely lessons there as we plan for 5G's broader rollout.
Sharif said that marketers will be in the game beginning in three to six months when, according to the executive, we will see the first smartphones truly running on 5G at speeds five times faster than what is being used today.
"The use cases are endless," she said. "5G will open new audiences for us. Movies will be downloaded in one minute. There will be more complexity in the marketing stack and it will require a new level of creativity. Branding will elevate. It will happen organically. We'll need to deliver higher value messaging versus rational messaging."
Here are six other observations from CES:
- Seasoned CES attendees knew better than to expect significant mobile hardware innovation to be introduced in Nevada. Those in search of flexible devices had to settle for the Royole FlexPai, which debuted in Beijing in October. Frankly, I'm still in search of the problem that flexible smartphones will solve.
- Brands will soon have a way beyond radio, mobile ads and marketing messages to reach consumers in cars. Honda announced its beta Dream Drive program that introduces a dashboard that rewards opted-in drivers and passengers for using the car's connected capabilities. Drivers can earn points for using the dashboard to navigate to their next destination, pay for gas, order food or make other purchases. Passengers can also get points for listening to the radio or playing games through a Honda app. Whether significant numbers of people will consent to have their data shared with brands is yet to be determined. Honda promises brands "last mile" data showing how their marketing led to sales.
- Reality had a larger presence. A marketer can dismiss the sight of driving in a moving vehicle wearing a headset — that looked dangerous and the least viable product shown at the show. There were some interesting displays of augmented reality, but also unbelievable claims that the software is so intuitive, anyone can create an experience.
- One is left to think that beyond smart home hardware, consumers will need to choose an ecosystem of products and services. Branding has a role here alongside product marketing.
- Voice assistants were everywhere, even in places you might not want them to be — think smart toilets. For marketers, this category is not one for the future. Figure out your brand strategy around voice now given the adoption and increased daily user activity.
- Despite the fact that we saw even larger TVs with clearer displays, other screens were discussed in a talk by Turner President David Levy. "Television is content," Levy said. "It's not that screen in your living room anymore." Levy told marketers to concentrate on what he called the "three A's of advertising:" audience (know the demographic), addressability (personalize) and attribution (measure results).
(First appeared here https://www.mobilemarketer.com/news/what-wasnt-at-ces-matters-most/545875/)
For marketers in 2019, everything and nothing will change.
Ultimately, our businesses will still need to sell stuff. And that will surely be true again in 2020, even 2030, and every decade after that.
But, oh, will the how be different next year and beyond.
Rest assured, this isn’t another one of those predictions pieces that promises revolution and absolutes. No, cash won’t entirely go away in 2019. Voice won’t replace desktop or mobile search in 100 percent of the cases. Penetration of wearables won’t reach 100 percent despite increased interest in monitoring health as well as package delivery times.
Here are seven ways that emerging technology will affect how we market, sell, and live our lives.
The mobile phone and app will continue to be a linchpin and actually start to provide more information to other devices. For instance, with an iPhone and a HomePod, you can now turn on personal requests to your device. And because you don’t have to log in again, it’s a “next level of mobile device” value.
Key stat: Nearly one in five U.S. adults today have access to a smart speaker (Voicebot). You would be hard-pressed to find any study that offers a prediction of maturity in the market, or one that says that masses will stop using their smartphones. Use of both will be more prevalent in 2019 (TechCrunch).
For innovation areas such as augmented reality, brands will have success without having to go all-in. Some proof of concepts will take only one person and three days.
Key stat: Augmented reality experiences will be noticed and resonate with at least some consumers: 38 percent hope to see improved experiences in stores, while 35 percent want improved customer service based on individual needs, and another 35 percent seek improved ways to find and compare different products (GfK).
The most elaborate of experiences created for customers will only succeed if they are viewed as personal, or at least relevant.
Key stat: 79% of consumers say they are only likely to engage with an offer if it has been personalized to reflect previous interactions the consumer has had with the brand. (Marketo)
Brick and mortar, combined with mobile and digital experiences, will differentiate. Why? It’s what pure online commerce cannot match.
Key stat: 71 percent of millennials believe a significantly enhanced retail experience would increase their in-store visits and purchases (Roth Capital).
Voice interfaces will continue to gain share, but for many products in shopping categories, many will need to see as well as hear.
Key Stat: Voice commerce alone is not enough for most consumers: 89 percent said they’d like to see the product on a screen before a voice assistant orders it (Salmon).
While virtual reality won’t go mass in 2019, brands taking measured steps forward will see value by way of earned media, social mentions, and relevant articles.
Key stat: While no one can credibly argue that VR has gone mass, efforts tied to Oculus, Magic Leap, and others have seen considerable earned media and social media focus while spending relatively little on paid media.
Machine learning will lead to happier customers if used to keep shelves stocked with desired merchandise.
Key stat: 75% of enterprises using AI and machine learning enhance customer satisfaction by more than 10% (Capgemini).
I’ll close with a couple more pieces of advice. Review your 2018 marketing playbook (you have one, right?) and take note of what went as planned and what veered at least somewhat off the mark. For all the reasons mentioned above, by no means rinse and repeat your 2018 playbook for 2019.
Finally, the model of having a playbook for a full year is increasingly foolhardy. The world is moving that fast. Create your plan, then revisit it at least every quarter and make any necessary changes.
Just as your consumers are doing with their devices and behaviors.
(first appeared here - https://possiblemobile.com/2018/12/2019-will-change-way-market-sell-live/)
To listen to the likes of those who hype, intentionally misinform, or peddle preposterous predictions like the supposed end of mobile apps, brick and mortar stores will be deserted this holiday season while consumers in overwhelming numbers will go mobile-only in their pursuit of shopping for gifts.
Common sense, history, and new research tell us that neither will happen.
Why do I say this?
There are few-to-no absolutes in mobile and technology. As an example, we were told that cash was going to be gone by some Tuesday in 2013, replaced by the mobile wallet. I’ll bet you the $10 in my pocket that you have at least that much right now in one of yours.
What will happen this holiday season – and you can bank on it – is that physical and digital will play complementary roles in the buying journey.
In fact, according to Adobe Digital Insights, online retailers with physical storefronts especially stand to benefit over the next several weeks. These businesses have seen a 28 percent higher online conversion year-to-date leading into November and December. In the consumer survey portion of the analysis, 47 percent of the 1,000 participants indicated they would visit a store to see a product they intend to purchase later online.
Consumers will spend $5 of every $6 in stores. Yes, you read that correctly.
But that leaves $124.1 billion online breaking out this way: 57 percent of retail visits will come from mobile devices (tablets and smartphones), accounting for 37 percent of total online purchases, ADI predicts.
ADI forecasts 48 percent of all visits to retail websites will come from smartphones. And 27 percent of all online revenue will come from those smartphone visits. Tablets, which not that long ago were presented by some as the most desired lean-back shopping tool, will account for 9 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Why am I so confident that mobile apps will not only drive business this year but are here to stay? First off, mobile apps are twice more likely to convert shoppers than the traditional Web, ADI says. This higher conversion is correlated with 2.4 times higher time spent in apps, 30 percent better content relevancy, and 25 percent better return frequency.
Second, mobile apps are still finding their way to devices. Nearly two apps are downloaded every month per human being on the planet, according to App Annie. As to the future, the Pew Internet Project projects the following:
“In 2020… there will be a widespread belief that the World Wide Web is less important and useful than in the past and apps are the dominant factor in people’s lives.”
I’ll bet you a second $10 that in the holiday season two years from now, we will still be looking at apps and physical stores complementing each other. Certainly, some stores will close, but others answering consumer desires will thrive with such innovation as skip the line checkout (Target most notably introduced that nationwide recently), curbside pickup, and in-store augmented reality and other experiences enhanced by mobile devices in hand.
To think otherwise flies in the face of everything we know and have seen.
By the time the holiday shopping season arrives, you and I will have been exposed to, on average, well over one million brand messages in this calendar year alone.
As a result of that onslaught, we’ve spent 2018 sending signals every time we clicked, tapped, physically visited or flat-out ignored these communications, which averages out to more than 4,000 a day.
We’ve told marketers of our extraordinary interest in some things and our indifference in others. Businesses now know (or should know) every dollar that we spent with them with granular information that gave them daypart, offer acted upon and purchase pattern, among other particulars.
Of course, this was true last year. Then the holiday shopping season came, and for the most part, we were treated by businesses as equals. The channels and screens were different from our youth, but the marketing was unquestionably one-to-all as if we were still enthralled by The Ed Sullivan Show.
What’s changed in 2018?
Not a thing that I’ve noticed in my inbox. I shake my head and delete en masse as much or more than ever. Little that has been sent to my phone has a new and more me, not just everyone, feel. It seems vintage 2017. Or even 2016. Some communications are relevant if not directed to me. But many others aren’t the least bit interesting, much less something that accounts for my likes and dislikes.
My laptop follows a similar pattern. Nothing personal. Each time that I receive something that reads like “Dear Generic Customer,” I think, “Dear God.”
I’ve never, ever had a meatball sandwich from your quick-service restaurant. You, Mr. or Ms. Marketer, know—or should know—from my purchase history that my diet is vegetarian. Why am I still getting those damn meatball ads?
As the season changes and focus for marketers turns to the make-or-break selling season, I’ll again ask: What is it going to take?
If you wonder if it matters, 80 percent of respondents in an Epsilon poll indicate they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences and 90 percent indicate that they find personalization appealing. According to McKinsey, personalization can reduce acquisition costs by as much as 50 percent, lift revenues by 5–15 percent and increase marketing spend efficiency by 10–30 percent.
The vast majority of marketers (98 percent) in an Evergate survey believe that personalization has at least some impact on advancing customer relationships, while 74 percent believe personalization has a “strong” or “extreme” impact on advancing customer relationships. Yet only 12 percent of marketers are “very” or “extremely” satisfied in the level of personalization in their marketing efforts, while 38 percent are “moderately” satisfied.
As one on the receiving end of marketing campaigns, I’m not even in the moderately satisfied bucket.
The most egregious disconnect for me in the last year was after my wife and I were met with a dirty sock, used robe and rumpled, dirty sheets upon check-in at the Magnolia Hotel in Denver. Despite voicing our displeasure to three employees, our emailed bill the next morning came with this opening: We hope you have enjoyed your stay with us.
To be sure, some brands have improved digital personalization efforts (colleagues and others do an admirable job online and in mobile apps, for instance). No one, including Gartner analyst Noah Elkin, said that this personalization stuff is easy. He sees marketers taking a crawl, walk, run approach.
In crawling, businesses do simple segmentation, grouping customers and prospects in buckets depending on behavior. Outreach happens one-to-many. By walking, marketers look at customers and prospects across channels and determine through customer relationship marketing how best to reach out. It’s still in groups, but with more confidence and accuracy in delivery something of value. Those who run deliver on one-to-one marketing, expertly using CRM plus artificial intelligence and machine learning to maximize efforts.
Sadly, I’m expecting many brand walkers to keep that same pace this holiday season. Hype will tell you otherwise. But until I see it, it’s one more thing that I’m not buying.
The all-you-can-eat buffet has been described in Food and Wine magazine as "the epitome of American gluttony." That title is now in jeopardy.
To hear Apple and Google these days, mobile has become for some like the Bloomin' Onion, or the equivalent of 3,080 calories in one sitting. We know that we are full at 2,000, but we can't seem to help ourselves.
Social networks. Push notifications. Time spent watching videos. Netflix. YouTube. And more. Each adult mobile user in the U.S. spends 3.3 hours per day on mobile devices, according to Mary Meeker's latest report. According to the NPD Group, the average U.S. smartphone user now consumes a total of 31.4 GB of data on a monthly basis (including both Wi-Fi and cellular). Cellular data usage among consumers with unlimited plans is 67% higher than those with limited plans, per NPD.
How did we get here and what does this all mean for marketers?
First off, is the present any different than what we could've — or should've — imagined? We have given users unlimited data, high-definition large screens, content to entertain, inspire and teach, and access to almost anything wherever and whenever. Should we have believed that mobile users who have unlimited plans wanted just a few bites of the mobile's version Bloomin' Onion? Did we expect consumers to spend hundreds of dollars on a device to just keep it in their pockets? Have we not conditioned our customers and prospects to come to us on mobile any time and at all times?
Now Google and Apple, whose operating systems are in the hands of 99% of mobile users in the U.S., have introduced efforts to enable us to help ourselves. At its I/O conference in May, Google unveiled tools to help create balance. It said that 70% of users want help. Recently, Apple introduced Screen Time, which, when released this fall with iOS 12, will give Apple customers app and device usage information and lets them limit access if they want to cut down. Screen Time features include activity reports, app limits and new "do not disturb" and notifications controls designed to help customers "reduce interruptions and manage screen time for themselves and their families."
Notable for marketers, iOS 12 gives customers more options for controlling how notifications are delivered. Users will be able to manage notifications to be turned off completely or delivered directly to a special notification hub. Siri can also make suggestions for notifications settings, such as to quietly deliver them or turn alerts off.
Screen Time creates detailed daily and weekly reports that show the total time a person spends in each app they use, their usage across categories of apps, how many notifications they receive and how often they pick up their iPhone or iPad. People can take control of how much time they spend in a particular app, website or category of apps. The app limits feature lets people set a specific amount of time to be in an app, and a notification will display when a time limit is about to expire.
This changes everything for marketers. Or does it? It's always been about delivering value: quality not quantity. The fact that so much time is spent on mobile devices may indicate to some that marketers are succeeding. But the savvy marketer understands that these upcoming tools give consumers the power to shut off the unwanted features and to curate exactly the individual experience that they want.
Meaning, campaigns will be affected. In a nine-month period ending in March of this year, brands sent 300% more push notifications than in the previous nine months, according to Adobe. With consumers soon having the ability to dispatch pushes away from the home screen, more care and thought will be necessary to ensure that those messages sent to consumers are viewed in a timely and actionable fashion.
Measurement of programs will also need to be adjusted. A key metric since the iPhone debuted has been time spent. Clearly, marketers and developers must rethink the idea that it's all about how long they can keep mobile users engaged.
So is mobile going to give the gluttony descriptor back to the buffet? Time will tell. Surely, all-you-can-eat mobile usage works for tens of millions. Many are entertained, more productive and enjoy access to friends and family that can't be replicated elsewhere. Plus, their waistlines aren't affected.
It's all about choice and perceived value. The former will definitely be driven by the latter. Soon more than ever.
To misunderstand today’s youth is to view their digital habits as some sort of a tectonic shift.
Away from the television set.
Away from mass programming.
Away from long-established viewing dayparts.
For that to be true, Generation Z would have had to had started with large screens, habits of watching shows from the big networks, and a regimen of primarily engaging with content during the evening hours.
None of that, in fact, is reality.
Some of those born between 1998 and 2016 undoubtedly had a mobile phone in one hand with a pacifier in the others. We, ummm, had an Etch A Sketch.
While you and I can point to our very own first television as a milestone moment, Gen Z considers getting a phone as an important life event. Today’s teens got their first phone when they were around 12.
Seven in 10 teens told Google that they spend more than three hours per day watching mobile video. And much of the consumption comes via YouTube, Snapchat and Instagram and is user generated rather than Hollywood produced.
Time of day?
The smartphone is in Gen Z’s hands from sun up well past dinner time. Viewing happens on the bus, at the lunch table, during recess, and every other time that this group wants to be entertained, informed or otherwise occupied.
For Gen Z, mobile is the new primetime.
While Fast Company says that “media and market research companies have labeled Generation Z ‘screen addicts’ with the attention span of a gnat,” ignoring the generation’s influence on a company’s business success is a foolish exercise for a marketer.
Gen Z is 26% of the U.S. population with $44B annual purchasing power. Two in three teens make purchases online and of those, more than half are making purchases on their phones.
But capturing their attention is not without challenges. Gen Z is 80% more likely to always be multi-screening compared to their parents, per Tremor Media and Hulu - https://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/1784809/Gen%20Z/TremorVideo_Hulu_GenZ_WhitePaper.pdf?t=1498768502219.
Here’s more from an excellent series of reports by Google: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/interactive-report/gen-z-a-look-inside-its-mobile-first-mindset/
“Gen Z never knew the world before the internet - before everything you could ever need was one click away. They never knew the world before terrorism or global warming. As a result, Gen Z is the most informed, evolved, and empathetic generation of its kind. They value information, stimulation, and connection, evident by their affinity for YouTube, Google, and Netfix.
“They also have high hopes for the brands they choose. From Nike to X-Box, they expect big things. As professionals, we should see this as our challenge—to live up to the standard Gen Z has set for us and to continue to inform, inspire, and create products and marketing that facilitate the world in which they want to live.”
Of course, not all Gen Z’ers are the same. It’s prudent for marketers to understand the nuances.
For black teens, mobile music rules.
Eighty-six percent do so on their phones every week, significantly more than all teens, and nearly 6 in 10 say they spend more than three hours every day listening to music on their phones.
Two in three black teens make purchases online, and of those, more than half are making purchases on their phones.
Black teens are more likely to have positive attitudes towards brands, and to consider them 'cool,’ if they feel as though the message is personalized to them.
Nearly one-quarter of all 13- to 17-year-olds are Hispanic, and they are the fastest-growing teen demographic.
While listening to music is the top mobile activity, 3 in 4 Hispanic teens say they spend 3+ hours per day watching video on their phones.
Eight in 10 Hispanic teens make purchases online, compared to two-thirds of all teens. And of those who shop online, over half are making most of their purchases on their phones.
As to advertising, Gen Z’ers actually aren’t all that different from you and me.
For teens, ads impact a product’s “cool” factor. What makes a product cool?
- If friends are talking about it
- If I see an ad about it
- If it’s something personalized to me
But when it comes to social media, Gen Z is two to three times more likely to be influenced by social media than by sales or discounts — the only generation to value social media over price when it comes to making purchase decisions, according to a study by IRI https://www.retaildive.com/news/gen-z-twice-as-influenced-by-social-media-as-by-deals/505274/
And Gen Z is twice as likely to convert on mobile. https://www.retaildive.com/news/gen-z-twice-as-likely-to-convert-on-mobile/447867/
This leaves marketers where?
At the least, in need of a mental shift that causes us to look at today in an entirely new way. Just as Gen Z is doing.
In February, after figuratively spinning my wheels for four months, I purchased a Peloton bike, making my wheel-spinning undeniably more literal.
That, of course, has been dependent on me using it.
Included for $1,995 is what is sold as highly personal and precise readouts on the screen mounted to the bicycle as well as an app that mirrors the performance numbers.
Cadence. Resistance. Output. Heart rate. Duration.
This all reminds me of the experience of many marketers when it comes to getting serious about mobile marketing.
It takes time to do your homework, and often even double that to come to a decision. Mobile doesn’t have to be expensive, but when you aren’t used to paying much of anything, fees and hard costs may seem like a reach.
Once you are in, new measurements come into view with some easy to follow and others more nuanced or even confusing.
Opens. Downloads. Opt-ins. Engagement.
Measurement in mobile is inexact. I know it. You may know it. Forrester just wrote on it.
“Marketers don’t have a consistent approach to mobile measurement,” Forrester reported in “Master Mobile Measurement To Transform Customer Relationships”. “Current mobile measurement efforts are scattered. Aside from the 6% of marketers who account for offline channels in addition to mobile, the rest of marketers either measure mobile channels independently (31%), across each other (26%), or in conjunction with other digital platforms (36%).
“Only 45% want to move away from looking at mobile by itself and create a unified view with other channel. Inconsistent approaches to mobile measurement undervalue mobile efficacy.”
On my Peloton, I’m needing to process the numbers to gauge performance. At least, all the information is in one place.
Not so with mobile.
“Marketers face data challenges that foster fragmented measurement,” Forrester wrote in the report that was commissioned by Tune. “Marketers struggle to find the right data sources and stitch them together — ultimately hindering their ability to measure and optimize their programs. Challenges with managing data quality (32%), measuring fragmented metrics (22%), and uncovering successful customer acquisition channels (20%) are the top three challenges that marketers face with their mobile marketing efforts.
I’ve come to see my Peleton results screen as a just-right view of what’s going on.
Conversely, Forrester says that we take in too many numbers when running mobile programs.
“Marketers look at too many metrics,” the company said. “The glut of metrics hinders the marketers who are looking to build a mobile-centric strategy. Marketers juggle between three to nine mobile metrics per customer life-cycle phase. Too many metrics can confuse marketers on what’s driving the business value and what they should optimize marketing investments against.
Smartly, Forrester offers actionable recommendations:
“Creating a holistic measurement approach — inclusive of mobile across the entire customer journey — enables marketers to truly understand their customers. This in turn enables marketers to better calculate the performance metrics that matter most to the business, to make data- driven decisions at the strategic and tactical levels, and ultimately to more perceptively spend their marketing dollars. The first step is for marketers to maximize their opportunities for mobile at each phase of the journey by aligning their mobile marketing with the customer life cycle.
“If you wish to create a holistic measurement approach, you must: Evaluate your measurement maturity. Take a step back. Review your current mobile measurement strategy and determine how well your firm measures mobile across different phases of the life cycle. Consider if you have a consistent measurement approach across each phase, if you include mobile with other touchpoints, and if you’re leveraging advanced analytics to measure more deeply. Doing these activities will help you identify those key mobile-specific areas that you most need to improve on.”
And don’t try to identify and evaluate every conceivable metric.
“Rely on metrics that matter. Marketers balance short-term revenue- based metrics, such as sales conversions, with long-term metrics of customer lifetime value. Short-term metrics associate the immediate revenue impact of all mobile activities, while longer-term metrics, such as customer lifetime value, gauges how mobile drives long- term customer engagement. A balance between short- and long-term metrics will enable marketers to drive immediate revenue goals while targeting the right customers that will foster loyalty.
“Audit your data. The No. 1 measurement challenge is combining multiple data sources. Conduct data audits for all mobile sources to identify data leakage, to track consistent campaign codes, and to pinpoint missing data points. This forces marketers to become more data savvy and better able to determine what they can truly measure.”
And search out the more sophisticated solutions.
“Embrace advanced measurement approaches,” Forrester reported. “Mobile-specific measurement is vital, but it’s not enough alone; customers still shop in stores, watch television, and work on laptops. To truly understand the value of mobile, leverage mobile-specific analytical models to calculate the value of mobile. This will solidify your case for more mobile investments.”
I’m 36 rides into my Peloton journey. My performance is improving – I actually set two personal records over the weekend.
But this, like mobile, is a long game. I feel stronger but results take time. I need to make sure that I am identifying what matters, then optimizing.
Just like I do in my day job.
(The Forrester report is here - https://mkt.tune.com/tmc-forrester-research-master-mobile-measurement.html#_ga=2.35149928.833287923.1523205300-987978029.1523205300)
To believe that only younger generations trust and use mobile banking solutions is as wrong as buying into the nonsense that cash will be gone by Tuesday.
“It’s more complicated than that,” Fazir Ali, KeyBank’s SVP, Digital Strategy, Product Management & Innovation, told me in new episode 28 of my The Art of Mobile Persuasion podcast https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/art-mobile-persuasion-podcast/id1156481550?mt=2.
“It’s all about having very robust data and analytics. Who are our clients? When are they using mobile apps versus the tablet app or when are they using the desktop. For us right now, we have more complicated tasks on the web versus mobile. Our intention was clients are going to use this on the go. They want to quickly check their balances to make a buying decision. They want to transfer money quickly from one account to another. They want to quickly pay a bill or deposit a check.”
A 2017 Bank of America study reported that 62% of all Americans, not only those under 35, use a mobile baking app. http://newsroom.bankofamerica.com/files/press_kit/additional/August_2017_BAC_Trends_in_Consumer_Mobility_Report.pdf
As for the ridiculousness that no one will be using dollars and cents soon, I remind you that we not only still see tens of thousand of ATMs, many banks continue to have traditional tellers and other branch personnel.
But, of course, the trend is away from brick and mortar.
In fact, Ali and his team have learned that customers want to do more on smartphones.
“Our clients are spending way more time on mobile and they want to do some of those complicated tasks on their mobile device,” he said. “It’s about taking a look at the data and understanding the personas. Who are we going after and why. Then we design accordingly.
“Our goal holistically is that we can be a part of their daily lives while we guide them along their financial journey so they are financially well, so to speak.”
The interview with Ali provides plenty of insights and actionable steps for all marketers, not just those in financial services.
“I always go back to what is the problem you are trying to solve,” he told me.
Hear the full interview here - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/art-mobile-persuasion-podcast/id1156481550?mt=2.
If things hadn’t been following the same tired, now decade-old script, my face would’ve matched the 30 seconds of air during the second quarter of Super Bowl LII—blank.
Just how many of the more than 100 million in the U.S. watching the game had a mobile device either in hand or within four feet? My bet would’ve been at least 80 percent.
And just how many times did advertisers paying up to $5 million for a 30-second spot ask viewers to do something with their phones? Even by giving a few of the brands the benefit of the doubt, the percentage was less than 5 percent.
It again was as if we were looking at a telecast from 1975.
Among the misses on not-so-Super Sunday:
If Wendy’s fresh hamburgers are really better than those frozen at McDonald’s, the spot was a perfect opportunity to give folks the incentive to try them with a mobile call to action for a discount, a free one or buy-one, get-one offer. One way would’ve been through a call to action to text in for a coupon. Then Wendy’s could’ve asked for an opt-in for future offers.
In 2009, Arby’s did so with a product introduction on Jimmy Kimmel Live. More than 100,000 people responded. Approximately 65,000 then opted-in to join the mobile loyalty club. The restaurant created 172 local databases. There was nothing sexy about it, but the buy paid off for months, if not years.
For what it’s worth, Wendy’s did engage effectively in social, for example, tweeting, “If you’re frozen, you’re gonna get burned.”
I’ll remember Super Bowl LII as the time when several advertisers championed the good in humanity. MassMutual kicked off this effort in the pregame show by highlighting positivity, courage and kindness. While it inspired and brought goose bumps to the three of us in my viewing area, it did not offer up a way for us to engage and participate in future efforts beyond attempting to send us to unsung.com which was part education on the program and part education (sales effort) on the company’s financial products.
Mobile is for action. except, obviously, during Super Bowl telecasts.
Kia’s “Dream On” ad with Steven Tyler was an ideal springboard to push the Stinger with mobile. It’s common for automakers to enable consumers to customize a vehicle in an app. Augmented reality could’ve put the Stinger in one’s driveway. But none of this came to be on Sunday. Only a #kiastinger hashtag that had to be searched for.
The movie houses collectively spent tens of millions of dollars, yet their trailer-type ads for films due out months from now built fleeting excitement but no meaningful way for those interested to stay engaged. How about driving people to an app or mobile site for behind-the-scenes footage, a message from a movie star or a sweepstakes to win premiere passes?
On the plus side, Kraft did encourage viewers to create and upload family photos taken during the game. The creation of content certainly wasn’t a stretch given the fact that selfies are now as part of Super Sunday as dip and chips. But the effort was primarily promoted way before the kickoff on Twitter and Instagram, leaving most in the audience unaware that there was a user-generated effort going on.
The Kraft spot with the UGC late in the game was memorable, but not more than the selfie during halftime that featured Justin Timberlake and a young fan.
Also, while not the call to action I’ve been waiting for, the fact that TurboTax showed the ease of paying taxes on a mobile screen felt like some progress in moving the spots into the wireless era. And it was busy in social channels.
So it’s wait ‘til next year.
Will anything change? It’s been said that Super Bowl ads are for brand anthems, not for calls to act. But there are other reasons for noninviting, vintage-type efforts – many brands aren’t all in on mobile, silos frequently prevent “what’s best for the customer” initiatives, and, in many marketing organizations, creativity still sits as the top objective, not sales.
But Nick Foles did best Tom Brady, so anything is possible.
(first appeared on adweek.com - http://www.adweek.com/digital/in-mobile-super-bowl-marketers-still-struggle-to-think-beyond-the-hashtag/)
One can argue that finding the balance between aggressive and passive has been the leading challenge facing marketers in this era of new technologies, devices and screens.
In the hopes of assisting, I’ve again turned to the experts to help us navigate.
Hank Wasiak, former vice chairman of McCann Erickson WorldGroup, has adapted his thinking over more than four decades in the advertising business.
“To me, the key thing when looking at something is to be early and fast,” he told me I an interview for my Mobilized Marketing book. “I’ve been the poster child for this. You want to overthink things sometimes. You want to get it perfect but things move so fast. To me in this world, especially in mobile, iteration is more important than innovation. You can find out quickly because you’re in real time in the hip pocket, the breast pocket and in the heart of your consumers.
“You have to put on a flak jacket and get a little more risk averse.”
In 2017, more marketers figuratively donned protective gear and went for it.
“In 2016, marketers told us that on average, they were using 3.5 mobile techniques (out of a total of 13 we asked them about) and had another two in the pilot stage,” Gartner research director Noah Elkin wrote https://blogs.gartner.com/noah-elkin/mobile-marketing-means-serious-business/ of where we are with mobile marketing.
“Fast-forward to 2017, and marketers now have 4.3 tactics live on average, and are piloting 3.1, representing a combined increase of 33 percent.”
How do we repeat that progress in 2018?
Elkin told me in the second part of my The Art of Mobile Persuasion podcast interview which has now posted as episode 27 https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/art-mobile-persuasion-podcast/id1156481550?mt=2.
“We think in a more sophisticated way about how mobile functions across the customer journey,” he said. “Not just as a separate channel and sometimes as an add-on, but how it can play a starring or supporting role at different stages.”
For example, he pointed to wireless being the optimal avenue to reach consumers in context, at the right place and time.
“Mobile plays this key function as the remote control for the whole experience,” he said.
As to other technologies that are available to us, Elkin offered recommendations on how to proceed in the areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning, and what to do with the increasing use of voice-enabled devices.
“Not that the machines are going to take over as is sometimes predicted in a doomsday-type scenario but what are the processes, for example, how can artificial intelligence maximize your email subject line creation and testing,” he said. “That’s an area where there is a huge body of data where the speed and precision of machine learning can make a tangible difference.
“It might make a 2-3 point difference in open rates in a single email campaign which might not seem so much but if you multiple that if you are a big volume e-mailer like a retailer or a travel or hospitality firm, over the course of a month or a year, you’re talking about a significant difference. It’s not limited to email. We’ll see artificial intelligence used not just for consumer-focused marketers as well as business to business and enterprises as well.”
When it comes to spending marketing time and money on Alexa-type campaigns, Elkin had these thoughts:
“We’re at the early stage of adoption of these devices. We’re seeing growth in the skills that these different platforms enable for marketers. I think that there are long-term implications for things like search. How do marketers optimize for search in an age of voice-driven communications? And what kind of results do you need to return as opposed to if someone is doing it on the desktop or mobile device?
“Marketers are still learning how to be conversational in an effective way in these environments. This is the time to be experimenting. That’s an area where we will continue to see evolution and innovation in the year ahead.”
And where we will see some be passive and others take a more aggressive position.
Here’s one more view, this one from Miles Orkin who previously led mobile for the American Cancer Society and is now Chief of Staff, SUMux (Search, User, Maps) at Google.
“You have to be prepared to set yourself up to fail but do it in a measured way,” he told me in a book interview. “Don’t bet that you will be the next Mark Zuckerberg (who founded Facebook).
“If you fail, you will be selling coffee.”
Listen to Episode 27 of The Art of Mobile Persuasion podcast here - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/art-mobile-persuasion-podcast/id1156481550?mt=2
Every look back at the 2017 holiday selling season shows massive growth for mobile purchasing.
Search marketing firm NetElixir said that mobile visits were up across most retail categories, with apparel seeing the largest growth at 32 percent.
Adobe’s final report showed that mobile accounted for 33.1 percent of the total $108.2 billion generated, bringing in $35.9 billion.
Yet there’s a belief that something was left on the table.
Specifically, as we learned in a The Art of Mobile Persuasion podcast episode earlier this month (episode 23 here - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/art-mobile-persuasion-podcast/id1156481550?mt=2), retail expert Ryan Craver pointed to challenges that many consumers faced in purchasing products directly on some web sites and mobile apps.
Enabling commerce is one of the 2018 priorities for many marketers.
But the job doesn’t end there.
In part two of the podcast interview posted this week (episode 26 here - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/art-mobile-persuasion-podcast/id1156481550?mt=2), Craver strongly recommends supplementing owned channel efforts with plans to go where there is significant retail traffic.
“Pay attention to where the market’s eyeballs are,” he told me. “Obviously, on the brick and mortar side, we have the big box guys like the Costcos and the Walmarts. But what these guys are building online is the same type of marketplace that is driving market share.
“Every organization, whether they are a brand or a retailer, needs to figure out where they are going to play outside their own channels. Living off of your own stores, living off of your own dot com, is no longer a winning strategy.”
Craver, formerly a Senior Vice President of Strategy at Hudson’s Bay Company and a key voice in my The Art of Mobile Persuasion book (artofmobilepersuasion.com), said that ignoring the major commerce players is a recipe for disaster.
“When you have guys out there like Amazon who have 50 percent of the market growth in e-commerce, you need to figure out if you are going to be on them,” he said. “If you are not, should you be on Zappos, or Shopbop or some of the other brands that they own?
“Maybe you say, ‘I hate Seattle, I hate Amazon.’ Then, I say, ‘OK, figure out if you are going to be on Walmart or Jet if Amazon isn’t your cup of tea.’ If those don’t work, will you be on Google Express or Instacart?
“All of these websites, beyond Google, specific retailers like kohls.com, macys.com, homedepot.com, target.com, all allow you to buy ads on their websites. If you are thinking as a marketer to get closest to the point of purchase, you need to look at these websites. If you are not, you are probably doing yourself a disservice. The closest you can be to the customer buying something is right on the rails of the retailer.”
Craver details more specific actions to take in Episode 26. It’s a bunch of smart thinking early in the year, giving us all time to develop a strategy and to execute on it for this year’s holiday season.
“Whoa” is the first word that you noticed in this year’s CES promos and on attendee badges.
And, if you are similar to me, it’s the first word that you utter across all show floors and exhibit halls in Vegas.
Like when you see a “smart” bathroom promising to test your urine (that’s actually dumb). Or when you come upon signage proclaiming a “robot revolution” (that one is my official hype winner in what was, as always, an extremely competitive category).
I’m no anthropologist but some of my best learnings come from taxi drivers on the way to and from the conference.
This year, on the road in from the airport, a middle-aged gentleman at the wheel scoffed at the need for voice-activated devices all throughout his home.
“I’ve got that on my phone with Google,” he said. “Anything I need to know, I can get it already.”
For the fourth year in a row, I asked the so-called Average Joe and Joanne whether they have interest in a “smart” refrigerator that could tell them when they are low on milk or beer, and even save a return trip to the market for an otherwise forgotten item.
The answer is always “no” with privacy being the main inhibitor.
So, I guess the urine-screening toilet isn’t making it into their houses – or yours or mine – anytime soon.
Just what was shown at CES that could have mass appeal?
Those products that had a personal touch.
For instance, the smartest watch is the one that is intelligent about you, not everyone else. Casio brought a meaningful group of apps to a previously released watch that now caters to individual taste.
For instance, Fishbrain is supposedly the world’s largest community-based fishing app, producing local fishing forecasts and the best spots to catch that big one. However, I haven’t fished since I caught a muskie 27 years ago (luck, not app), so the Pro Trek Android Wear model had to offer me something else. Choices are now in the categories of skiing, surfing, golfing, swimming, and hiking. That works for me.
And all the apps are included with purchase of the watch.
Elsewhere, there were apps that solved some of life’s challenges – cooling a house in summer before you arrive home, for example. New? Not so much. Appealing to folks like my cab driver? Definitely. Those apps have become more intuitive and valuable.
But for all of the products that sought to address a need, there were thousands of others that left me scratching my head.
Atop that list were the self-driving concept cars from Ford and Toyota that touted pizza delivery as an effective use case. Will the cost go down for the consumer? Will the human-less car put more pepperoni on the pie? Is there a cost-savings for the pizza companies?
If the answers to all of those questions are no, please tell me why someone would be willing to go outside in the snow and darkness, in pajamas and slippers, to use an unfamiliar keypad to unlock a pizza that costs the same or more and makes the consumer work more for it.
Customers won't pay more for a pizza just because it comes in an innovative way. If a carrier pigeon could get it there hot and quickly and cheaper, they’d happily say, “the heck with self-driving cars.”
And about those robots everywhere? For what?
My wife doesn’t want a lawn mowing robot. She’ll quickly tell you that she married one.
The lesson of it all?
Beware of shiny objects. Know that the 180,000 who attended CES almost surely misrepresent your customers and prospects.
Build upon what you know. Definitely make bets on innovation or you will be left behind. But don’t wager the house.
Much of what we saw was early-adopter models at best, ones that caused a ripple on Twitter but are not destined to do the same on Main Street. Or in taxis where the real deciders of product success or not make their livings and spend their money judiciously.
(article first appeared here - http://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2018/01/12/beware-shiny-objects-ces-boasts-innovations-lack-mass-appeal)
If you want hype or smoke and mirrors, you can easily find 100 people who will tell you a tale about the mobile wallet’s role in eliminating cash (it hasn’t) or the ways that beacons have saved retail’s brick and mortar locations (they haven’t).
But if you want to know what really is happening – or isn’t – in marketing, you check in with Noah Elkin, now a research director at Gartner. I met Elkin more than 10 years ago when he was Chief Evangelist at eMarketer. His book, Mobile Marketing: An Hour A Day is a great read, even six years after its publication.
What caught my eye recently was Elkin’s positive assessment https://blogs.gartner.com/noah-elkin/mobile-marketing-means-serious-business/ of where we are with mobile marketing.
“A big theme in Gartner’s recent Multichannel Marketing Effectiveness Survey is the emergence of mobile as a dominant channel for multichannel marketers," he wrote. "Now, for those who have been watching mobile’s share of ad revenues and digital time spent climb steadily upward, the notion of mobile’s dominance may seem old hat. It clearly enjoys that status for the audiences marketers are trying to reach.
“But marketers often have struggled to effectively incorporate mobile into their marketing strategies. We’ve seen that most multichannel marketers, for example, don’t see a need to go beyond creating mobile extensions of existing desktop-based engagement techniques (e.g., the website, advertising, search and email) — a finding consistent with the marketers who’ve used Gartner’s “Marketing Maturity Assessment” tool and rated mobile marketing their least mature capability.”
But lots changed in 2017, according to Elkin.
“This is one of those rare occasions where we can legitimately say, 'What a difference a year makes,'” he said. “In 2016, marketers told us that on average, they were using 3.5 mobile techniques (out of a total of 13 we asked them about) and had another two in the pilot stage. Fast-forward to 2017, and marketers now have 4.3 tactics live on average, and are piloting 3.1, representing a combined increase of 33 percent.”
To go deeper, I dialed up Elkin for a The Art of Mobile Persuasion podcast interview. In part 1 (episode 24 - https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/art-mobile-persuasion-podcast/id1156481550?mt=2), we talk about the increase in maturity, but also the distance that we still have to go to deliver on the one-to-one communication that so many hype.
“You see marketers taking something of a crawl, walk, run approach,” he told me. “There is this promise that if you are fully invested in personalization, it promises great things from a business results perspective. But most marketers really are starting with one channel. You’re starting with basic e-mail personalization, for example. I have a lot of calls with our marketing clients about just taking those baby steps about how to do better customer segmentation. That’s a long way from being able to personalize across the entire customer experience.
“There are cost implications. There are complexity implications. The technology is there but one thing we see not just with personalization technology but with marketing technology in general is that marketers buy it with intent to fully deploy it, but there is lag between when they adopt it to when they fully utilize all the capabilities of the tools that they have.”
To believe that drastic improvement is coming is, in Elkin’s view, a bit too optimistic.
“The way marketing technology weaves itself into organizations tends to be more incremental than rapid,” he said in the interview. “We see marketers in to the 2 range (the developing phase) in the marketing maturity model and they want to get to a 4 (the advanced phase) (out of 5). Marketers really want to move up that maturity curve but the challenging part is how do you change processes, how do you bring on board new technology while you are still running your business day to day?
“That’s where some of that energy around maturing areas of marketing can fall down because it’s hard to be working on those parallel paths. How do you do these changes that have significant implications for how your marketing department is run and how it is structured, the technology it uses, the skills that you require while you are still doing the day to day and still being measured on where you are expected to deliver.”
Hear more of Elkin’s insights in part 1 and in a second part posting later in January.