In advance of IBM Amplify http://www-01.ibm.com/software/events/amplify/, where I will attend as an invited futurist, I answered some questions for the company’s QUICKBYTES column http://ibmevents.tumblr.com/post/143584665604/what-do-you-see-as-the-hottest-trends-in-mobile:
What do you see as the hottest trends in mobile today?
There has been more emphasis on the customer journey and personalization although I’m still getting meatball sandwich offers despite going to the same restaurant 300 times and always ordering vegetarian. So there’s more work to do there.
We have also seen the rise of the “self-sufficient” mobile user who doesn’t want to talk to humans. This has a major effect on traditional customer service. Retailers like REI have had to adapt since they spend time and resources developing “Green Vests,” experts on climbing equipment, bike helmets, and more. Part of the answer for REI is to equip the Green Vests with wireless solutions to serve the customer.
What are you most looking forward to at IBM Amplify this year?
The exchange of ideas is going to be awesome. I’m also looking to further identify best practices and success stories that prove mobile’s worth. And I’m most interested in seeing advancements in personalization.
What major developments do you anticipate in mobile marketing?
I’ve been in this for 10 years and we are finally getting to the point where we are looking to use mobile to solve business problems. The most successful mobile marketers who I interviewed for my The Art of Mobile Persuasion book are pragmatic–they are attacking business pain points like churn with imaginative, measureable and meaningful mobile programs. A wireless carrier has saved tens of millions of dollars by providing personalized, transparent experiences through the delivery of mobile video.
How can an organization stay relevant five years from now?
It has to stay nimble, be brave, and current. And while it has to take measured risks, it can’t bet it all on one thing in mobile. As Miles Orkin, the former head of mobile at the American Cancer Society, told me, “Not everyone can be Mark Zuckerberg. If you bet it all and lose, you could be selling coffee.”
Data without analytics is like [blank] without [blank].
Data without analytics is like words in an unfamiliar language without a dictionary or translator. It leads to confusion and ineffectiveness.
What do you consider most promising in the era of cognitive computing?
There is a marriage to be made between humans and machines. One exists without the other, but doesn’t realize its potential. Machines help us understand our customers and prospects, but there will always be a role for marketers to maximize the learnings with creativity, experience, and imagination.
What app can you not live without?
My FlightTracker app since I’m constantly not only traveling, but moving flights up and back.
Are you always plugged in or do you sometimes unplug?
I’m like the guy caught on camera in Redondo Beach, CA, who missed seeing a humpback whale two feet from his boat because he was so enthralled with what was on his mobile phone. In fact, whenever I do this, which is often, my wife says, “You’re being the whale guy.” And, of course, she’s right.
What was the worst job you ever had?
The one after I stopped being a sports writer. I used to go to Super Bowls, the World Series, Final Four, and more. My Dad said, “Enjoy it because one day you will have to work for a living.” Of course, he was right, too.
How short is your attention span?