The Moments of Trust Implications of the iPhone Going To Verizon

The amount of speculation over the years on the sale of the iPhone on Verizon is about equal to the number of dropped iPhone calls seen on AT&T. But it’s wrong to believe that the great majority of current iPhone owners will burn their AT&T contracts and storm Verizon’s doors. Why? Mobile subscribers are uncommonly loyal. Part of it is the nuisance and time it takes to switch. More that that, many contracts are tied to family plans (for instance, my brother has four BlackBerrys on Verizon with minutes shared). Plus, the iPhone no longer runs unopposed as the phone to have. I’ve been as fed up as anyone with AT&T’s poor network. But a switch to Verizon is by no means a sure thing. First, I have a grandfathered contract, providing for 1,500 monthly minutes for $49.99. Further, I have an unlimited data plan since I’ve had an iPhone since the beginning. Whether Verizon offers an unlimited data plan – and for how long – is the subject of rumor. So is pricing, colors, whether more carriers will get the device, and which one, if any, will have the next version – iPhone 5 – before the others. While Tuesday ends the will the iPhone be sold by Verizon questions, the news brings a set of whole new ones. As to the Moments of Trust Implications, many who buy the Verizon iPhone will be buying a smartphone for the first time. This is important for brands since these consumers will have more access to product and other information via the mobile web and apps as well as the ability to use their devices as megaphones. In the last few days, we learned that 40% of Twitter use is via mobile. This number will rise with more iPhones in consumer hands.

The Danger of Getting Our "News" From Twitter

I’m old enough to have gotten my news from Walter Cronkite. Now it comes from @fillintheblank. And @fillintheblank hardly has the gray hair, much less the resume, to warrant the job. Like many, I learned about the horrific Arizona shooting via Twitter. It came sandwiched between my attempts to bring something new to the iPhone/Verizon saga and my rewarding experience of identifying and following some of the leading social stars through Of course, my activities halted as I monitored news of the fate of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. She tragically had died. Then she hadn’t. It immediately took me to the 1980s and my days as a wire service reporter. For some reason, I thought of the time when someone called our newsroom to say that Frank Sinatra had been shot dead by his wife. Only he hadn’t. But if Twitter provided the megaphone those days, might someone had jumped at the faulty information and created a “story”, not to mention heartbreak in the Sinatra family and beyond? Little more than 24 hours after the awful events in Tucson, like most, I’m left with more questions than answers. Was someone -- or more than one -- irresponsible or reckless in reporting the news that spread amazingly fast on Twitter and the Web? After all, the tweets primarily came from reports from CNN and NPR, two reputable news organizations hardly known for their poor journalists. Did personnel at CNN and/or NPR fail at their Moments of Trust with us by reporting the “death” faster than they would have before the advent of Twitter and the 24-hour news cycle? Does Twitter pressure journalists to rush to judgment? Who’s a journalist anyway? Anyone can be an iReporter, iWitness or iKnowItAll and have ample channels to “report” on something as important as life or death. NPR is asking its own questions today, including whether you can – or should even try – to unring the Twitter bell by removing a tweet We’re too chronologically close to begin to have the answers. Suffice it to say that each of us with a voice that can be heard – and that means everyone with a Twitter account, blog, Facebook page, etc. – has to think before pushing the send button. You never signed up for that task, you say? Tough. It’s our responsibility to be responsible.

Tabletpalooza or Just Loozas?

This week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was billed as an introduction of new products. But what’s really new? And — more importantly — what really matters? With more than 80 tablets introduced in Las Vegas, some called it atabletpalooza. However, many of the products are destined to be loozas(losers). This should be a warning to marketers that have been (in my opinion) ill-advised to spend their time and resources trying to reach consumers (and engage with them) via these second, third and fourth-tier tablets devices. More than 100,000 people made their way to CES, a trade show that provides a platform for thousands of manufacturers to bring their products to the world stage. You could say that the attendance signals an improved economy and increased business confidence. Or you might also conclude it shows a little foolishness on the part of companies who jockeyed for our attention by showing off products that were little more than tweaks on what was previously shown. In any case, the progressive companies were able to have their day in the sun (figuratively that is since it actually snowed in Las Vegas). Others, such as Intel, were deemed to be behind the times. (In other words, loozas). It used to be hard to drive headlines during busy trade shows like CES. Today, in the Twitter era of instant and often communications, it has become nearly impossible. In fact it could all just be too much of a good thing. It’s conceivable that wireless products shown in Las Vegas that fail to get the attention of the press/blogosphere will matter to marketers down the road. And keep in mind that still more products will be introduced next month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  What we hope to see in Barcelona is a CATEGORY breakthrough, not just so-called enhancements to existing product lines within existing categories. The tablet device was a game-changer and marketers have had to get smart fast as they consider the product for their marketing mix. But they are fast on their feet. I’m still waiting for the next something that really changes the marketer’s world and transforms the messages we deliver. More from my weekly column.

Dreading The Post-Holiday Inbox

Like many of you, I will spend most of an hour tomorrow morning clearing a holiday inbox overrun by unwanted email. It will take me zero seconds to rid myself of spam delivered via text message since the total was none. This is no accident. Parties in the mobile ecosystem worked with the Mobile Marketing Association to create Consumer Best Practice Guidelines that are designed in ensure that mobile does not duplicate spam hell that many email users visit. Included are explicit instructions to protect mobile subscribers. Among them, are the following guidelines: • Content providers must obtain approval from subscribers before sending them commercial SMS (text messages) or MMS (multimedia) messages and other content. • Upon entering a program, the subscriber must be told how to opt-out of the program. • Selling mobile opt-in lists is prohibited. • It is fundamental to the concept of control that a subscriber maintains the ability to stop participating and receiving messages from a shortcode program when desired. • A subscriber can stop participating and receiving messages from any program by sending "STOP" to the shortcode used for that program. Violators are subject to penalties by the mobile operators, including rejection of subsequent programs submitted by the brand and/or the mobile provider that licensed the shortcode. I’ve received only one spam message in the five years that I’ve been carrying two mobile devices – ironically it came from AT&T when the carrier violated the Moments of Trust by breaking the rules and sending an unsolicited SMS about American Idol. AT&T sent the following to many of its 75 million subscribers: “AT&T Free Msg: Get ready for American Idol! AI 8 starts this Tues (1/13) at 8pm on FOX. Check out AT&T's official AI web site from you [sic] PC - for the latest info on our $1MM sweepstakes, test your AI IQ by playing the trivia game, and much more. Reply stop to end mktg msgs.” You may remember that AT&T received quick and loud criticism. However, and most importantly, it has never repeated the stunt. Back to our email inboxes, several reports say that unwanted emails worldwide total between 100 billion and 200 billion daily. Microsoft has said that approximately 97 percent of all emails sent are neither requested nor desired. If only there was an effective STOP button on our keyboards. (Article first published as Dreading The Holiday Inbox on Technorati.)

Assessing Mobile Predictions To See If I Was Seer or Fool

Before I forecast the next six months in mobile, I revisited my last series of predictions to see if I was a seer or a fool. Happily and perhaps surprising to some of you, I envisioned much of what went down over the second half of 2010: Last June, I said that more ads were coming and so were questions and concerns about privacy. According to a new report by Millennial Media, verticals stunningly got active in mobile marketing during 2010. The financial services category grew an eye-opening 802 percent year-over-year, while retail and restaurants moved by 745 percent.  The telecommunications vertical was right behind with 719 percent growth. Overall, according to market intelligence firm IDC, spending on mobile advertising in the U.S. grew 138 percent to reach $877.2 million in 2010. As for privacy, Facebook, among many others, continued to be cited for lapses (if not downright intentional information sharing). According to an October report in the Wall Street Journal,\ many of the most popular applications on Facebook had been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people's names and, in some cases, their friends' names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies. The issue affected tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook's strictest privacy settings. Still, Facebook had a stellar 2010 with a high-profile movie, appearance by Mark Zuckerberg as Time’s Person of the Year, and the site eclipsing Google as the most visited on the Web. In my last set of predictions, I said that mobile loyalty clubs will continue to gain favor given their success to date. According to Hipcricket’s third annual survey ,both interest and participation in mobile loyalty clubs remained steady at 35 percent and 9 percent respectively. However, the research found that 90 percent of those who had participated in a mobile loyalty club gained value from being a part of the club, representing a significant untapped opportunity for brands. In June, I said that complexity was returning to phone bills positioned by the carriers as more transparency. In 2010, Verizon and AT&T moved to tiered data pricing. Has anyone stopped to think that text messaging became a mass activity – 72 percent of all U.S. subscribers – and super easy, if not easy peasy, when unlimited plans were introduced and suitably priced? Now we are going to ask mobile subscribers to count “MBs” and “GBs.” Yeah, you can go to a Web site or send a text and get an update, but who has the time or interest to do that? Finally, I predicted that Google and Apple were in back rooms trying to wrest additional influence from the mobile operators. A story in late December suggested that Google could become a mobile carrier in 2011. The report was widely dismissed by Google and mobile watchers, but it doesn’t change the fact that Google and Apple are all about gaining additional control from carriers who need them. Their maneuvers in 2011 are likely to be among the most intriguing. (Article first appeared on iMedia Connection --

Three Wishes For 2011

Proving to still be in the holiday spirit, a genie (OK, my sister-in-law, Jeanie) granted me three wishes for 2011. Without consulting a mobile app or my Tweeps, I offer them up one-by-one: Wish one -- To do my part to boost adoption of smartphones, I recommend the sale of mobile devices at the barista stands I pass (really, honey, I drive by them) on the way to work. Unless you live in Amish Country, you know the coffee shacks I’m taking about – those with scantily clad girls mostly blocked from our views by the dudes in the F-150s. Crazy idea? Nothing could be wackier than selling netbooks and other personal technology in drugstores. It’s illogical to ask the consumer or the drugstore stock boy to be informed about consumer electronics products being introduced virtually every hour in the era of technology on steroids. But those baristas? They can pass the Microsoft entrance test, I’m sure. … Wish two -- Four months ago, I blogged about the continued confusion in buying, then setting up a wireless router. Akin to wearing an Italian suit with Buster Brown shoes, at that time I paired my new MacBook Pro with a wireless router I bought in 2005. I’m still confused – and still with the 2005 device. 2011, please bring simplicity to this situation so those 25 percent of us who buy, then return a router, can have a nice day – and the connection and security we desire. … Wish three: I wish that manufacturers would build scam-proof devices so inept journalists don’t give airtime in 2011 to some idiotic publicity seeker who manufactures a lie about some exploding phone supposedly causing damage to a body part. Of course, we fell for the trick again about a month ago, driving inane stories about “unsafe” technology and how we need to think hard before we put a mobile device in the hands of a loved one. As sure as I’ll have to tweet about AT&T service 8,000 times in 2011, a TV crew will find some clown who tells a tall tale about a destructive mobile phone.  After I lose it, we’ll categorize that incident as a true explosion.

Mobile's Misses in 2010

Asked to play the Bah! Humbug! role in this season of celebration, my job is to identify and try to explain some of the mobile misses in 2010. But before I throw stones, I will say that mobile matured this year. I saw evidence of that often, especially while judging the worldwide Mobile Marketing Association awards. Programs were smarter. Results were better. Mobile subscribers benefitted. We, however, were not without our low moments, which I will break down by category: Lack of consistent mobile integration in marketing campaigns. As I wrote in a Mobile Marketer column, advertisers received failing grades for mobile marketing during the Super Bowl telecast. There simply was not much mobile marketing despite the massive Super Bowl audience primed to participate with mobile devices no further than four feet from them for the better part of four hours. My biggest disappointment was with fast feeder Denny’s, which gave away Grand Slam breakfasts without employing mobile to create a loyalty club. My advice then? Why not have viewers text in for the offer, then create a mobile club where customers can opt in for future trackable offers and product information? Contrast this with another fast feeder, Arby’s, which has built a large database – actually 172 local ones – by offering free products in exchange for consumers texting in and subsequently joining the loyalty club. Another Super Bowl fumble came from domain registrar, which easily could have directed viewers to a mobile Web site or even an iPhone application to watch the series of “too hot for TV” shorts. You do not think those would have been shared at water coolers for weeks to come? Ill-conceived products or products that failed because of weak marketing plans. Do we start with Microsoft’s Kin or with Google’s Nexus One? Designed to be your social networking companion, the Kin lasted less than three months before the next of kin were notified. Kin phones did not provide access to the Windows Phone Marketplace application storefront, preventing customization. Also, the marketing did not adequately explain the features and benefits. The Nexus One had other issues, the largest being an ill-conceived sales strategy that made the phones only available online. What is wrong with that? Try selling a new product and operating system without giving consumers a chance to give it a test drive at retail. Better yet, do not try. Another product that did not make it to the holiday season is Flo TV, which failed to gain enough subscribers despite a hefty TV spend on Super Bowl Sunday and beyond. Why? Consumers have many video options via mobile and are not ready in big numbers to pay for television broadcasts. Increased messaging fees from carriers. T-Mobile’s pricing structure increased the charge for standard-rate messages – both mobile-originated and mobile-terminated – sent over its network by $0.0025 per message. By doing so, T-Mobile upped the cost for brands to run campaigns, hardly a wise move in these early days of mobile spending. The carrier also gave brands a reason to exclude T-Mobile from contests and other programs. This is problematic because the carrier does not want to be in a position to have its customers excluded. One of the big questions entering 2011 is whether other carriers will follow T-Mobile’s lead. The introduction of tiered data plans. How about we rally around children’s rhyme “Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezie” to stop the insanity of metered data plans? In 2010 Verizon and AT&T moved to tiered data pricing. Has anyone stopped to think that text messaging became a mass activity – 72 percent of all U.S. subscribers – and super easy, if not easy peasy, when unlimited plans were introduced and suitably priced? Now we are going to ask mobile subscribers to count “MBs” and “GBs.” Yeah, yeah, you can go to a Web site or send a text and get an update, but who has the time or interest to do that? Will we make mistakes in 2011? We are doomed if we do not. Innovation is not without risk – and some failure. (Originally posted for Mobile Marketer -

Perfect Bundle From Drugstore? Netbook & Aspirin

I’ve always thought that a drugstore was a place to treat a headache, not to receive one. But we’re in dangerous territory these days. No, not the kind of danger where your wife or girlfriend asks you to pick up a feminine product that will be in your hand just when your buddy—armed with a mobile device and Twitter and Facebook feeds—is in line for his daily dose of beef jerky. Consumer electronics have found a home at CVS between the deodorant and Pepto Bismol. How convenient, you say? How crazy, I say. Why? It’s illogical to ask the consumer, or heaven forbid, the stockboy to be informed about consumer electronics products being introduced virtually every hour in the era of technology on steroids. CVS began selling a $99 Sylvania netbook computer over the Labor Day weekend and quickly sold out in many locations, according to news accounts. It features a seven-inch display, 128 MB of internal memory, and 2 GB of NAND Flash. The computer runs Internet Explorer on Windows CE 6.0. How wonderful. If you walked down the street or into your local CVS store (otherwise known as your consumer electronics destination of choice), do you think more than three in 100 could tell you the benefits and downside of 128 MB of memory and 2 GB of NAND Flash? What the heck is NAND Flash anyway? None of your Facebook or Twitter followers can help here. Consumers were driven to CVS by Sunday circulars that proclaimed the “New Netbook… Wow! $99.99.” InformationWeek reported that “several users said they hoped to find a way to eventually download some Android apps to the netbook.” If you are going to hold your breath for this one, please consult the pharmacist. Other users said they bought the netbook for their children, while still others said they would give the machines as holiday presents. Shouldn’t this treatment of children be reviewed by the authorities? The netbook can’t run Microsoft Office 2007 but gives lucky buyers WordPad, DocViewer, XLSViewer, and PDFViewer. Not to mention the headache that can be treated by CVS’ aspirin. Which brings us to the consumer electronics stores. Whole new categories and operating systems are—or soon will be—for sale. Tablets are being offered that promise an iPad-like experience for a fraction of the cost. Smartphones are so plentiful that you have to wonder if every device can be that smart. The better retail experiences will feature informed, patient salespeople educating the eager and uninformed. They will deliver on the “moments of trust” for the store and manufacturer. But that will likely be the exception, given staffing levels and the near impossible task of having anyone keep up with all the products and services that the tech world is introducing. You’ll be hearing all about the pain on Twitter, Facebook, and a blog near you. It’s fortunate that aspirin is as mobile as the netbook and smartphone. (article first appeared in Social Media Magazine -

Avis: Instead of Trying Harder, Try Smarter

One year from the 50th anniversary of the We Try Harder corporate motto, Avis may want to try smarter. My first experience as an Avis Preferred customer (it ain’t that big a deal – anyone can be one by asking and having a credit card) leaves me to wonder whether there will be a second. For peace of mind, I reserved an SUV for a one-day trip to Minneapolis earlier in the week. My flight arrived in a snowstorm, giving me more reason to believe that I was wise to pay $15 or so extra dollars for the “safer in bad weather” vehicle. That’s when things got dumb. Despite confirmation of a Ford Escape or similar, the guy at the Preferred desk offered me only a Dodge Nitro. “Is it four-wheel drive?” I asked. “No, it’s all-wheel drive,” he responded. “But I reserved one,” I said. “They’re all gone – everyone wanted one in the snow,” he said. Upon entering the Nitro, the first knob I saw was one that allowed me to shift from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive. Dumb. Twenty-four hours later, it got dumber. As I always do, I returned the vehicle with a full tank and was prepared to pay $80 and be done with it all. A different guy at the Preferred desk handed me a bill for $161. I received a correct bill after pointing out that he charged me for an empty tank. The only thing empty were Avis’ promises in one grand failure at the Moments of Trust.

Mobile Subscribers To Brands: Can You Hear Me Now?

Brands are still not fully taking advantage of consumers’ willingness to participate in mobile marketing, specifically in loyalty clubs, according to Hipcricket's third annual survey The survey found that 35 percent consumers are interested in joining mobile loyalty clubs. However, despite this interest, 80 percent of respondents stated that they still have not been marketed to by their favorite brands via their mobile device. This represents huge missed opportunities to engage with willing customers on an ongoing basis.

Saluting or Chiding Salespeople Via "Megaphone"

In a post called Let’s Start A Movement, Glenn Ross implores satisfied customers to salute extraordinary employees. “When you experience truly exceptional customer service, grab your smart phone and send out a tweet or post it on Facebook, MySpace, or your favorite social media platform.,” Ross wrote. “Give the employee's first name and the name and location of the business (if you have enough characters.) Also, before you leave the store (or get off the phone) take the time to compliment the employee and if the manager is nearby, let him or her know. Let's start a movement here. We're always talking about how bad customer service gets social media exposure, I challenge you to step up and make the effort to recognize exceptional service.” The post is in line with my belief that it’s immaterial whether it’s a feature phone or smartphone – consider them all megaphones where consumers have influential voices. According to eMarketer, social networks are becoming the primary way mobile users exchange information. As of summer 2010, 63 percent of Twitter users posted via a mobile device. They instantly – and undoubtedly impulsively — tell us when a car salesperson pull a bait and switch. And that their friends should get to the store quickly before the “must have” sold out. And that there is a cockroach crawling up the restaurant wall and you would be insane to ever go there. And don’t forget to tell your friends. This is the intersection between personal technology and what I call Moments of Trust, those critical touchpoints between a brand and a consumer that make or break businesses and impact sales and loyalty. Mobile is key to it all.

Forgetting or Ignoring What We Learn As Children

As children, we learn the concept of permission. We know to ask (and say “please” even), and we understand that others should treat us the same way. So, why is it some marketers don’t follow these ruleswhen they engage with consumers? This week U.S. regulators floated a Do Not Track proposal for Web users aimed at enabling them to stop advertisers from tracking them online. As USA Today reported, a program like this would allow consumers to effectively ‘opt-out’ and ask not to be tracked by advertisers – a request they would have to respect. Predictably, the program has some powerful forces fighting it. As USA Today observes: there is a catch. “The burgeoning industry of advertising networks and online tracking services that have devised dozens of sophisticated ways to identify and profile specific consumers must be compelled to obey consumers’ wishes.” Coincidentally, we learned in the same week that the vast majority of consumers surveyed by Hipcricket see value in interacting with brands provided it’s on their terms. According to the 2010 Hipcricket Mobile Marketing Survey – a survey of 526 U.S. consumers –57 percent of respondents would be interested in opting in to a brand’s loyalty club via a mobile social networking application such as Facebook. It also found that 90 percent of those who had participated in a mobile loyalty club said they had gained value from the participation, a result that represents a significant untapped opportunity for brands. Marketing is more common sense than brain surgery. The idea of giving consumers what they want – and nothing more – is simple. Permission-based programs are the future (in my view, they are the present as well). The survey clearly shows that people will interact with brands and join loyalty programs if we ask them first. Tracking people online (particularly without transparency into the process) flies in the face of this practice and does anything but encourage interaction between people and brands. So I ask myself:Why is it so difficult for some marketers to understand the requirement for permission-based marketing – let alone implement permission-based programs? Here's the rest of my MSearchGroove column

Santa's Arrival Upstaged by Coming of Holiday Mobile Commerce

I like to think that I get in the holiday spirit as much as anyone, but when I look back at 2010, more than Santa’s arrival, I will remember this as the year that mobile for holiday shopping dramatically came on the scene. Beyond anecdotal evidence, many reports make the case for mobile’s unprecedented success: PayPal saw an approximately 310 percent increase in mobile shopping on Black Friday. Overall, the company reported approximately a 27 percent increase in total payment volume on Black Friday 2010, compared to the previous year. Zong, which powers mobile payments for virtual goods, says sales were up 117% year-over-year on Cyber Monday. Scanbuy claims it saw about 30 times more scans last weekend than it did a year ago. While reaching records, 2010 mobile activity will pale in comparison to next year’s and into the future. While we don’t have many individual success stories or failures, it’s safe to say that marketers who planned, integrated, provided relevance and value are the big winners. Those who didn’t will learn from their mistakes – or won’t be around next year to repeat them. As for my purchases, I made one on Black Friday – a Virgin Mobile Mifi personal hotspot device that I bought at a brick-and-mortar Radio Shack after checking prices and availability on my iPhone. Please see the rest of my weekly MSearchGroove post here

Journalism's Rules Blown Up In "Exploding" Droid 2 Story

Pictures tell 1,000 words but how many of those are lies? Claims of injuries caused by defective mobile devices are not new. Some have shown to be legitimate and others were bogus like this one from the prehistoric era in mobile – 2007. As you likely know by now, a Texas man got TV time to allege that his Droid 2 exploded and caused significant damage to his ear. In this era of immediate “journalism”, headlines across the world read like this one from Alley Insider – “Droid Phone Explodes, Destroys Man's Ear In Bloody Mess”. The Texas television station was as guilty with a rush to judgment. Has the word allegedly been blown up, too? In a high profile “Moment of Trust”, Motorola said it would contact the supposed victim and begin an investigation. Is it possible that the incident happened as the man claims? My mobile device expertise is all about benefits, not components. So maybe yes, maybe no. Having spent 12 years as a journalist, I heard all sorts of stories, including tall tales. During those years, boxing promoter Bob Arum said, “Yesterday I was lying. Today, I’m telling the truth.” The Droid 2 either exploded or it didn’t. Expect this story to have legs – as well as a bloody ear.

Tweet and AT&T Will Listen?

I have no idea how many times I’ve said a bad word about AT&T but a good guess would be two for every dropped call since I bought a first generation iPhone. So we’re talking thousands. While not a replacement for better service, AT&T does deserve credit for its efforts to monitor outages through customer tweets. According to ReadWriteWeb,, “those (at AT&T) monitoring the system then uses the time-stamped tweets and locations and compares the data to customer service calls. Twitter trends can even indicate service problems faster and more efficiently than customer complaint logs, which take longer to log and analyze.” I’ll take the half-full view this time and say this will lead to improved customer experiences. The half-empty view is that this is a publicity stunt that will do nothing other than put AT&T in a good light.

SMS Saves Money If Not Lives

One Kaiser Permanente clinic in California says it has saved more than $275,000 by sending appointment reminders via SMS. While no demographic breakdown was given, it is believed that the patients ranged widely in age, providing further proof that texting is more than a young person’s activity. In other Moments of Trust involving mobile, a Mobile Marketing Forum workshop recently learned from Alcatel-Lucent that the most effective way to build permission-based databases is to offer transparency, bring value, and build scale before you think of monetization. These items and others are in my new iMedia Connection blog post

Second Chance To Make First Impression?

Last month, I wrote how AAA broke our trust by having rental cars reserved on its sites fulfilled by something called PAY FOR IT NOW AND SAVE If you recall, my first rental experience came on a week that my office computer was overtaken by spyware. It turns out that rental went without a hitch – low rate, my reservation was there, and my credit card was not fraudulently used. So yesterday I booked another car.  And the confirmation came from AAA Washington – which is what I expected the first time. In Moments of Trust, do brands have a second chance to make a first impression?

Still Learning From Sesame Street

All these years later and we’re still learning from Sesame Street. The media property that has won more Emmy Awards than any other turned 41 last week. But there’s nothing outmoded about its approach to mobile. To the contrary, the non-profit educational organization that helped many of us learn the basics continues to play a meaningful role in the lives of children – and their parents – worldwide. Moreover, Sesame Street is also teaching the industry an important lesson: the future of our children (and our own future as well) involves mobile. Sesame Street used the Mobile Marketing Forum, which took place earlier this week in Los Angeles, to share its vision for mobile. The discussion sparked debate, stirred discussion and stood out as one of the presentations that gave us the clearest glimpse of just how mobile will affect education everywhere. . Anita Stewart, Sesame Workshop Vice President, Corporate Partnerships, told us that mobile applications have proven to be a valuable learning aid. Sesame Street lessons are delivered via mobile in 140 countries. But it’s not just about reaching kids; Sesame Street also uses mobile to engage with young moms who may not watch TV, but want to participate in the experience with their children. Interestingly, this experience can go beyond education. The Sesame franchise views mobile as the quickest and most effective way to educate youngsters on critical issues such as childhood obesity, healthy habits and financial literacy. HOW I SEE IT: Mobile marketing has a successful and sustainable future provided it can gain and maintain trust with mobile subscribers. Sesame Street “gets” this – which is why studies consistently show that the Sesame properties are the most trusted among parents. In this make-or-break time for mobile, there is no better ambassador than Sesame Street to show that mobile does good. Mobile can reach youngsters (and their parents) with important lessons and skills. Mobile therefore deserves a central place in households across the globe. Please see the rest of the post for

Smartphone Users Dumb To Share Personal Info?

A recent study reveals that the most people feel uneasy about apps and content that access their personal information such as identity data, payment details and messages. Lookout, a company that offers security services for a number of smartphones, reported that more than 91 percent of consumers have some level of concern about the privacy of the personal identity data and information stored on their phone. Only 7 percent of smartphone users feel extremely confident that they understand what private information is being accessed by the apps they download from stores and destinations to their phones. Lookout also found that – on average – users have 31 applications on their phones that can access their identity information. Of these 19 apps can access their location and five apps can access their SMS and MMS messages. Sensing a business opportunity for security software that puts us in control of what personal data our apps are allowed to access, Lookout has introduced a new paid service that allows users to scan every app they download and determine the threat to their personal data. The premium offer is an enhanced version of the free app the company claims has already reached 3 million subscribers. HOW I SEE IT: For the most part, consumers won’t believe that there’s a threat to mobile devices until the first – or several – security issues appear and cause mayhem. Or maybe Hollywood will jumpstart the panic with an updated version of The Net, where the heroine has her identity stolen by the gaming app she downloaded from a brand. In any case, no technology is hacker-proof and mobile is next. In my view, marketers should be prepared for the eventuality. We are selling trust. And whether it’s mobile commerce (linked to the user’s presence in the store) or mobile coupons (connected to a loyalty card), we are the one to blame if our sites or apps don’t do what they promise. Do you have a crisis plan in place just case your mobile business or offer is targeted? Please see the rest of the post here -