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.

Should a Cable Company Be Held To The Nordstrom Standard?

Comcast isn’t Nordstrom. But can it be? First off, my bad when I didn’t pay attention to the timing of the early bird pricing on the Major League Baseball season package. After seeing the $199 price online yesterday morning, I phoned Comcast, my cable television provider for 10 years and a bundle customer (including Web and phone) for about the past two. Comcast’s customer service rep listened to my ask – to receive the $20 price break – then told me the deal had expired the previous day. “I’m a long-time customer, spend a lot of money with you, and have service on six televisions.” Nothing gave so I hung up. An hour later, I called back and asked for a supervisor. The rep went off the line for about 10 minutes only to come back to chastise me for calling back when I was told no. I again asked for a price break – my fault on the late call but I spend about $250 a month with Comcast – and was told it wasn’t going to happen. “How about a $20 credit for being such a good customer?” No and no. I took my story to Twitter and @comcastcares who quickly responded by asking me to send my story to an email address. On my answering machine last night, Comcast called to ask me to take a survey about my customer service experience. They don’t read their files or Twitter? This morning, Executive Customer Care emailed me and said in part, “We do value you greatly as a customer and completely understand that in today’s economy that there are many ways to obtain entertainment service and it is a choice of our customers to choose Comcast for their phone, internet and TV service. We cannot thank you enough for your dedication to us as a company and for helping us keep our commitment to quality customer care.I would like to offer you the MLB season pass, free of charge to you should you still wish to order this package.” Nordstrom-esque, wouldn’t you say? Of course, I screwed up initially by failing to call during the introductory pricing period. But I expected to be treated like a valued customer at what I call a brand’s Moments of Trust. How do you rate Comcast’s performance? Beyond that, was I right to ask Comcast to correct my wrong?

Looking for The Most Valuable Consumer Search?

Is a consumer’s mobile search more valuable to an advertiser than an online query? The stats say yes, particularly in view of the growth in local mobile search. According to the BIA/Kelsey Group, one in three mobile searches is local in nature and also interactive. After searchers on their smartphones find a local business, 61 percent call the establishment and 59 percent visit the location. Little wonder that the market is more bullish about search advertising on mobile. Mediapost recounts a recent webinar with The Search Agency by sharing some stats and forecasts http://bit.ly/egqJhO.  For a start, Google estimates that between 15 and 30 percent of site traffic will come from mobile devices within the next 18 months. Google says mobile-only campaigns generate significantly higher click-through rates (CTR). Specifically, advertisers who break out mobile campaigns see CTR rise — on the average — 11.5 percent, according to Google. The biggest surprise here is the number of interactions that occur after the search is completed on a mobile device. After all, to influence some 60 percent of consumers to do anything (in this case call or visit a business) is a marketer’s dream. As more smartphones hit the market (a development I discuss in the item below), mobile search will also rise in importance — and cracking the code on how to rank highly in search results (this time on mobile) will (once again) be top of marketers’ minds. More in my MSearchGroove column - http://www.msearchgroove.com/added-value-for-marketers-in-mobile-search-apple-itunes-purchase-data/

Are the iPhone Rumors Part of Another Apple Ruse?

If Apple is anything, it is unpredictable. I’ve been quite amused this week by the pundits and industry analysts who claim Apple will delay the introduction of the iPhone 5. I have to wonder where they have been (or how well they really know Apple). Steve Jobs likes a little drama (and fun). Just think how many times Steve closed his speeches with “Just one more thing”– right before springing some of the industry’s biggest surprises on us. Cases in point: the introduction of the iMac and iPod. Earlier this week, and as per usual this time of year, Apple invited software developers to its Worldwide Development Conference (WWDC) taking place June 6-10 in San Francisco.  The invitation said the focus of the show will be iOS and Mac OS. Then the speculation began. A headline at Business Insider (which seems to have gotten one step ahead of itself here) claimed “Apple’s iPhone 5 Delay Just Opened The Door For Google And Microsoft.” Another headline went out a similar limb asserting “Here’s Why Apple’s iPhone ‘Delays’ Might Actually Be A Good Thing.” What’s so “good” about it? Business Insider sees it this way: “While some may see this as an ‘un-Apple like’ “delay, this habit-breaking might actually be a good thing — for would-be iPhone buyers, Apple fans, and investors. Why? Because Apple needs another smartphone breakthrough, like the first iPhone was in 2007.” Whether you are in California, Cancun or Copenhagen, you probably can hear the laughter coming from Apple’s Cupertino office. Of course, I have no inside information but I do suspect a ruse here. Think it through – carefully. Why would Apple deny the rumors now when the company has a chance to surprise us (again) and deliver a game-changer during the keynote? Admittedly, I could be wrong about this. Until we know for sure marketers would be ill-advised to plan strategy and campaigns based on the iPhone 4 (suddenly regarded by some as a stale device in the marketplace) and give up on iPhone 5 just yet. (The above first appeared at www.msearchgroove.com. Please see the rest of the column here - http://www.msearchgroove.com/apple-likely-has-last-laugh-again-googles-in-app-payments-could-change-the-game/)

Two Teachers In the Family -- For a Day

My brother is the teacher in the family and one of the best in the business (check out the quality at http://electionlawblog.org/). I once tried to compliment him by saying that he’s twice as smart as me. “That doesn’t say very much,” was his retort. Today I could relate to his satisfaction in mentoring. For some reason, my comments in Mobile Marketer on common mistakes made in SMS marketing struck a chord with several who reached out to me to say thanks for sharing valuable lessons. The piece is here http://bit.ly/dM94RZ including my comment that “choosing (a mobile vendor) purely on price will likely lead you to the guys in a garage who started a firm last Thursday. “ If you have time, please let me know what you think.

Hype or American Superiority and Worldwide Healthcare Improvement Through Mobile?

Always wary of those who hype the benefits of mobile, I was struck by the keynotes I heard at the CTIA Wireless Show and the assertions that mobile is dramatically improving healthcare and key to keeping the U.S. competitive in global business. “It is clear that America’s global competitors are not standing still,” said Julius Genachowski, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. “American leadership in a global economy is not a birthright. Mobile is critical to America’s future.” And, according to a visionary, mobile is key to positive strides in worldwide health management. “Information technologies now exist that enable real time information to be used by healthcare providers and consumers, thereby giving us better health and a more cost effective system of care.” said Patrick Soon-Shiong, M.D. What should we make of these keynotes and from everything else seen and heard in Orlando? My take is here - http://www.msearchgroove.com/ctia-highlights-mobiles-role-in-healthcare-why-bandwidth-equals-well-being/

Wish List For CTIA Wireless Show Includes Universal Adapter

To newbies, this week’s CTIA Wireless Show in Orlando will likely be more fun than a trip down the road to Disney World.  For me, I have a long wish list but more realistic expectations. Here’s what I would like to see:
  • A universal adapter to charge all devices – this would allow travelers to leave home the bag with all the plugs, keeping them out of the overstuffed overhead compartment
  • Something as out of the blue as Apple’s Smart Covers that immediately brings a $1 billion revenue projection for 2011
  • A simple guide to network speed, giving consumers the ability to cut through the carriers’ liberal definition of 3G and 4G
  • Apple introducing the iPhone 5 – a wireless show without mobile’s biggest innovator leaves much of the story untold
  • A consistently strong wireless signal for the tens of thousands of attendees in Orlando – have you ever tried to play at a piano recital without a piano? That’s exactly how we feel when we can’t demo our products
  • A strong brand marketer presence – this show is known more for its business development opportunities but there are strong case studies to be shared that will be of interest to brands
  • A 25 percent reduction in expenditures on parties with that money instead going to Japan relief efforts
  • Agreement that consumers are ready for the convergence of mobile and social – the stats tell us they already thing that way (Facebook members are twice as active on mobile as they are on PCs, for instance)
  • Sensible tablet pricing models so I’ll stop being asked to spend three times the price for an iPad subscription than I would pay for the print edition
 If Sunday’s news of a possible AT&T-T-Mobile USA partnership is any indication, perhaps there will be grand surprises in Florida. We’ll see. (Originally published at imediaconnection.com http://bit.ly/hpU4hg)