Moment To Get Started In Mobile

Mobile marketing has proven to be one of the best ways to not only reach customers and prospects, but to also engage them, thereby increasing sales and customer loyalty. However, many brands don't know where to begin. The first step is selecting the best agency partner for you, and, afterwards, getting the most out of the relationship. When selecting a firm, some areas of probing are obvious and involve traditional agency-client queries such as chemistry and bandwidth. But given mobile's relative nascency, others are more subtle yet just as important. Some questions to get you started are in my new iMedia Connection feature -

Confusing Route To New Wireless Router

(Article first published as Confusing Route To New Wireless Router on Technorati) Akin to wearing an Italian suit with Buster Brown shoes, I’ve paired my new MacBook Pro with a wireless router I bought in 2005. It isn’t that I’ve run out of money, though have you ever priced a 15-inch Pro with “aluminum uni-body enclosure, advanced longer-lasting battery, and brilliant LED-backlit display”? Wireless routers are as confusing to consumers as chemistry class is to seventh graders. I.P. addresses, port forwarding, D.N.S. servers, 802.11b/g/n. Alphabet soup that all adds up to a disconnect. According to David Pogue of the New York Times, 65 percent of homes in the U.S. have high-speed Internet service, but only half of those have gone wireless. Further, according to Pogue, 25 percent of routers are returned because they prove to be too complicated to set up. I’m frozen in fear, content to run my new laptop and the other computers in the house with a NETGEAR model that I know is outdated. Well, not content, but willing to keep the status quo to ensure connectivity and to maintain the health of my marriage. My options have included the hiring of an “expert” (that has proven in the past to be a disaster), asking those in my network for recommendations (my informal poll has already produced mixed results), and buying a router and hoping for the best (what a way to ruin a Sunday). I’ve long considered wireless routers one of personal technology’s great deals. Routers aren’t overly expensive and you pay once (how come the Internet providers never stuck us with monthly charges for the privilege of having wireless throughout the house?). Further complicating matters are questions of whether I need a repeater (presumably for stronger coverage in far-reaching areas) or a particular router to create a home network. Recent improvements by router makers have brought 24-hour customer service and promises of a positive user experience. But no one has solved the problem. My old router may not be broken but I can hardly say the same for the process of replacing it.

Mobile and the Holidays

Mobile's prospects in the upcoming holiday shopping season can be summed up in two words - Great Expectations. So how are we going to get it right? Once you get a mobile subscriber to a site or application, remember that it’s all about the experience. Consumers expect simplicity, speed, product information, competitive prices and the ability to purchase.
  • Entertainment is important but on such a day as Black Friday, shoppers more want to get in and get out
  • Simple is especially important given the wide disparity in mobile device capabilities
  • You want to ensure you are delivering a brand-worthy experience regardless of whether your customer is on a feature phone or smartphone. It should just work

Smartphones, Netbooks & Aspirin

Because turnabout is fair play, I figure the consumer electronics shop can sell Aspirin if the drugstore can sell netbooks. Crazy idea? Crazier than asking the consumer, or heaven forbid, the stockboy to be informed about products being introduced virtually every hour in the Technology-on-Steroids era? According to an InformationWeek article, CVS began selling a $99 Sylvania netbook over the Labor Day weekend – and quickly sold out in many locations. The 7-inch-display netbook features 128 MB of internal memory and 2 GB of NAND flash. The computer runs Internet Explorer on Windows CE 6.0. Let us pause here. If you walked down the street, or into your CVS – otherwise known as your consumer electronics destination of choice – do you think more than three in 100 could tell you the upside and downside of 128MB of memory and 2GB of NAND Flash? What the heck is NAND Flash anyway? 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.” Yeah, you get all sorts of flexibility for $99. Other users said they bought the netbook for their children while others said they would give the machines as holiday presents. Should this treatment of children not be illegal? The netbook cannot run Microsoft Office 2007 but gives lucky buyers Wordpad, docviewer, pdfviewer and xlsviewer. Not to mention the headache that can be treated by that Aspirin.

Smartphone. Feature phone.

I call them all megaphones. And, as brand marketers, they are tools to hurt us – or make us. 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 -- told us when a car salesperson pulled a bait and switch. And that their friends should get to the store quickly before the “must have” sold out. And that there was 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 a blog about 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. We’ll examine the importance of customer service and integrity in business. We’ll salute some brands and chastise others for taking Moments of Trust for granted. It used to be that you could lose the battle for public opinion in two hours. Now it takes two minutes in an era where, according to comScore, 65 percent of the nearly 300 million mobile subscribers in the United States use text messaging. Without even making a call, those voices are being heard. This blog is intended to create a dialogue. Your megaphone is likely no more than four feet away at any time day or night. Use it. And hang on - my 80-year-old mother-in-law reads on a Kindle and she is eying my iPhone. The corner drug store is soon to carry a netbook and e-reader. Interactions with brands have never been so interesting.