"Kinecting" With Microsoft

Steve Clayton is the first to tell you that he is Microsoft’s director of storytelling, not director of spin.

I was struck by Steve’s candor during a 30-minute presentation at an IABC Seattle meeting.

He said his job is often to convince people that Microsoft isn’t “boring”.

And that his job would become irrelevant if everyone understood Microsoft – and that he doesn’t see that happening.

And that the Xbox controller is a "barrier". Conversely "by waving at a TV with Kinnect, one billion more people can experience technology".

"Kinecting" With Microsoft
"Kinecting" With Microsoft

As background, Steve works with teams across Microsoft to highlight work of product groups, Microsoft Research, incubation teams and individuals–all with the aim of providing an insider’s view of Microsoft and showing people what’s next in technology.

Steve spends time with the company’s developers, researchers, ethnographers, sociologists, cinematographers–and even race-car drivers–and highlights their work through speaking engagements and the Next at Microsoft website. http://blogs.technet.com/b/next/

One of Steve’s main assignments is to provide daily content for the site, which he says has seen days with 100,000 page views.

Of course, he isn’t going direct to the masses.

To provide the biggest impact, Steve is attempting to sway 50 bloggers and media members “because they can influence 50 million or 500 million”.

Steve is on Twitter @stevecla.

Revisiting Seattle Social Media Club Talk on Combining Mobile & Social

If you judge engagement purely on the number of tweets, the recent discussion of social and mobile at a Seattle Social Media Club event was a success.

I was honored to share the stage with Dan Anderson, Emerging Media Manager for T-Mobile USA (@dananderson); Paul Booth, Digital Marketing Manager, Web and Mobile, for the North America subsidiary of Microsoft (@paulboo); and Wyatt Lewin, Online Communities Coordinator at HTC (@wylew).

Much of the talk is captured here.


Paying Price For Customer Service

During the recession, shortsighted businesses competed on price rather than level of customer service. It turns out that the consumer noticed and in big numbers is reacting now by taking his or her business elsewhere.

According to the American Express® Global Customer Service Barometer, 78 percent of consumers have bailed on a transaction or not made an intended purchase because of a poor service experience. Further, three in five Americans (59 percent) would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. Most surprising and disturbing is the finding that consumers are willing to pay a premium for a good interaction.

According to the study, seven in ten Americans (70 percent) are willing to spend an average of 13 percent more with companies they believe provide excellent customer service. This is up substantially from 2010, when six in ten Americans (58 percent) said they would spend an average of 9 percent more with companies that deliver great service.

As to whether “help” is enough, two in five (42 percent) said companies are helpful but don’t do anything extra to keep their business. Also, one in five (22%) think companies take their business for granted.

The survey is generally in line with global findings from Accenture which reported earlier this year that satisfaction with customer service has decreased since 2009 in each of 11 characteristics measured. Also, 64 percent of consumers have switched companies in the past year due to poor customer service. Accenture findings point to a high level of distrust. Only one in four respondents say they trust the companies with which they do business, according to the survey.

Missing from the survey is detail on what consumers do with their mistrust? Do they use their mobile phones to get on social networks or text when companies fail at so-called “Moments of Trust”? Do individual tweets, blog posts and Facebook postings influence sales and loyalty? I’ve commissioned a study and will release the findings in June when I speak on the subject at Jeff Pulver’s 140 Characters Conference in New York. (Article first published as Paying The Price For Customer Service on Technorati)

Getting Close To Legends

I’ve got the number 470 on my mind tonight.

Huh, you wonder? It’s not only the number of years since the saying “you’re known by the company you keep” was first uttered (according to Wiki answers), it is the number of times I smiled today since I got web close to legends Jeff Pulver and Craig Newmark.

Jeff graciously has given us his 140 Character Conference speakers a spot on his highly read blog http://140conf.com/blog. My turn was today http://bit.ly/kY3hKS. Hours later, I shared the page with Craig, the founder of Craigslist. http://bit.ly/j24HW9. I encourage you to read Craig’s post about giving voiceless people a voice.

And, if you’re so inclined, please read my preview of the new Moments of Trust presentation set for June 16.

I also suggest you smile 470 times before bed. I had my reason – I’m sure you have yours.

Mobile Wallet With Offers? That's Smart

Like many baby boomers, I have a love/not-ready-to-try-it relationship with technology. Personal technology is as much a part of my lifestyle as golf was earlier in life (talk about love/hate). Not only am I fascinated by the advances, I’m an eager participant with two smartphones, a Kindle, an iPad and two MacBooks.

If you think I’m “all in,” I’d have to say, “not quite.” You see, when it comes to my money and the technological products around it, I’m as careful as a crossing monitor. To this day I have always walked into a bank, waited in line and walked out with my deposit record delivered to me by a teller. So you now want me to adopt a behavior that has me bumping or scanning my money into my account?

On a panel at this month’s Boomer Summit in San Francisco, Intuit’s Omar Green made a case for me to be “smarter.” Intuit’s director of strategic mobile initiatives said his company is building a mobile wallet that guides you to the optimum purchase. Green spoke of a scenario where the wallet advises you on which credit card to use to get maximum return and the times when you should cash in loyalty points and save your money. That is a compelling concept for me, assuming I can get past the reluctance to hand to Intuit or anyone else details of my arrangements with American Express, the retailer in the mall and the like.

But unlike the ATM where I save time (admittedly no small thing) but nothing else, I conceivably would receive real monetary rewards from a “smart” mobile wallet. Are we ready?

In a KPMG study, U.S. respondents who said they were comfortable using their mobile devices for financial transactions grew only to 16 percent, a 6 percent increase from the last survey. Respondents not comfortable with such usage declined to 55 percent, an 11 percent drop from the last survey. Among all U.S. respondents who have not conducted banking through a mobile device, 52 percent cited security and privacy as the primary reason. Consistent with many technology advances, younger consumers are more likely to participate at least in the early days.

Why might a “smart” mobile wallet work? According to the Yankee Group, 73 percent of mobile subscribers want an offer. I’m in that category. So Intuit and the thousands of others chasing this opportunity have a shot. I’m willing to take a look. But the convincing stage has just begun.

(Post first appeared on Intuit Network http://network.intuit.com/2011/05/11/a-smart-mobile-wallet/)

Which Marketers View Mother's Day as Engagement Day, Too?

Mom's flowers are beautiful today, but they inevitably will wilt. Hopefully your marketing campaign around one of the special days of the year won't meet the same fate.

As I told Mobile Marketer, Mother's Day is like many other - a chance to open an on-going dialogue with consumers.

“It’s wise to think long-term,” I remarked. “Engagement during the Mother’s Day period opens the door to remarketing opportunities. “If you treat the customer right and provide value, the mobile subscriber might be interested in ongoing information and offers,” he said.

Read the rest of the article here http://bit.ly/knl59X

Mobile Wallet That Saves Me Money? Now That's "Smart"

You surely will laugh at my resistance to deposit a check through an ATM machine – in 2011. As progressive as I am about technology, to this day I have always walked into a bank, waited on line and walked out with my deposit record delivered to me by a teller. So you now want me to adopt a behavior that has me bumping or scanning my money into my account?

On a panel at last week’s Boomer Summit in San Francisco, Intuit’s Omar Green made a case for me to be “smarter”. Of course, I have a smartphone – actually I carry two. What I don’t have is a smart mobile wallet. Neither do you but that is soon to change if Green’s timeline is correct. Intuit’s director of strategic mobile initiatives said his company is building a mobile wallet that guides you to the optimum purchase.

Green spoke of a scenario where the wallet advises you on which credit card to use to get maximum return and the times when you should cash in loyalty points and save your money. That is a compelling concept for me assuming I can get past the reluctance to hand to Intuit or anyone else details of my arrangements with American Express, the retailer in the mall, and the like.

But unlike the ATM where I save time (admittedly no small thing) but nothing else, I conceivably would receive real monetary rewards from a “smart” mobile wallet. Surely Intuit won’t be the only company to incentivize me to participate. Those chasing the mobile wallet dream include Google, eBay, PayPal, the mobile operators in a joint venture called ISIS, and thousands or more other entities.

Are we ready? In a KPMG study, U.S. respondents who said they were comfortable using their mobile devices for financial transactions grew only to 16 percent, a 6 percent increase from the last survey. Respondents not comfortable with such usage declined to 55 percent, an 11 percent drop from the last survey. Among all U.S. respondents who have not conducted banking through a mobile device, 52 percent cited security and privacy as the primary reason. Consistent with many technology advances, younger consumers are more likely to participate at least in the early days.

Why might a “smart” mobile wallet work? According to the Yankee Group, 73 percent of mobile subscribers want an offer. I’m in that category. If I do join the 21st Century when it comes to financial transactions, I’ll use the phone on one of my mobile devices to record the moment.

(first appeared on iMedia Connection --http://blogs.imediaconnection.com/blog/2011/05/03/mobile-wallet-that-saves-me-money-now-thats-smart/)

Know Anyone Who Wants To Be Targeted?

Do you – or anyone you know – really want to be targeted?

Just the term conjures up images of bulls-eyes, shooting ranges and scenes from the movie Minority Report. Little wonder that we don’t have a desire to be targeted. Yet targeting is core to marketing in all its forms, from creating and maintaining a database to developing an online/offline strategy. And every so often – and it is becoming quite often — the discussion about targeting also triggers a debate about personal privacy.

Understandably, it’s a volatile issue that raises as many tempers as it does questions. Case in point: the backlash when people learned the truth about Facebook’s privacy policies and the company’s tepid initial response. This week we learned the details about how Apple collects location information from iPhone devices (and hence, their users) — data it yields to help marketers target consumers.

Apple’s policy should be no surprise to iPhone users. The intent to collect and share this personal data is spelled out in the company’s terms and conditions. It states: ““Apple and its partners and licensees may provide certain services through your iPhone that rely upon location information. To provide and improve these services, where available, Apple and its partners and licensees may transmit, collect, maintain, process and use your location data, including the real-time geographic location of your iPhone, and location search queries. The location data and queries collected by Apple are collected in a form that does not personally identify you and may be used by Apple and its partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based products and services.” It continues: “By using any location-based services on your iPhone, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its partners’ and licensees’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing and use of your location data and queries to provide and improve such products and services. You may withdraw this consent at any time by going to the Location Services setting on your iPhone and either turning off the global Location Services setting or turning off the individual location settings of each location-aware application on your iPhone. Not using these location features will not impact the non location-based functionality of your iPhone. When using third party applications or services on the iPhone that use or provide location data, you are subject to and should review such third party’s terms and privacy policy on use of location data by such third party applications or services.”

 Detailed? Yes. Completely transparent and understandable? Well, maybe.

Does it comfort people and put their minds at ease? Not a chance. Where this issue is headed it easy enough to predict. Think of the money (billions of dollars) involved in targeting and marketing. Despite politicians getting into the conversation this week, it’s not likely that we can expect dramatic changes forced by regulators, at least not any time soon. You know where President Barack Obama went this week, right? To Facebook to get a photo opportunity with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. Zuckerberg also moderated a town hall event — no doubt to show off Obama’s social media savvy just as the run-up to the 2012 elections begins.

So, where will the debate about personal privacy likely lead? It will likely stall, a development that will only accelerate demand by consumers for terms and conditions (related to targeting, advertising and location, for example) that are clearly visible, completely transparent and 100-percent understandable. What will work? Ultimately, it’s all about the consumer and getting their permission. If they want to be targeted (because it ensures they will get offers they really want) or enter into a reward arrangement such as a mobile loyalty club, then they will tell us. Any other approach (that doesn’t require opt-in) is likely to backfire.

(More from my MSearchGroove column here http://bit.ly/f1O7RI)

The Next Chapter in The Question of Whether A Twitter Following Brings Clout

Not that I was thinking this way, but what if I believed, Gosh, I have a lot of Twitter followers and I want to be treated like royalty. To end my week of interesting interactions, last night I ended up with a rather uncooked expensive piece of halibut at a nice restaurant called bin on the lake in Kirkland, WA. This despite my ask to have the halibut cooked medium well rather than the usual medium rare restaurants in the Northwest typically choose to prepare. The establishment did not ask me if I was a big shot. It did not (as far as I know) go onto Twitter to see if I have a following. What did it do?

  • Apologize profusely
  • Prepare a new piece of fish the way I wanted it cooked
  • Send me a salad while I was waiting so my wife and I wouldn’t eat at separate times
  • Offer us free dessert
  • Take the price of the halibut off the bill (despite the fact that it was the most expensive item)

My point in telling this story? The restaurant performed admirably. It had nothing to do with my clout or any supposed influence that I have. It was purely good business. And worthy of a return visit – we already have a date picked out.