Monday, June 21, 2010

Designing for "real people".

Thanks to the Startupcafe folks for organising a fun series of Ignite style presentations at "Barcamp" Glasgow last week.

My five minutes was focussed on a pet irritation of mine, the lack of focus on "real" non-technical end-users in the design and creation of mobile services and applications - both in terms of what they want to and can do.

Obviously this is a key part of what we offer at Mobile Acuity with our Visually Interactive brand marketing work, and our Visual Product Recognition platform. We aim to reduce the complexity of many apps and services to simply pointing the phone camera at something.

The Ignite presentation style is interesting, five minutes with 20 slides that advance automatically every 15 seconds. Certainly helps to keep folks on time!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

What do Marketeers look for in Mobile?

It is sad to see that with one or two notable exceptions mobile has yet to break through as a standard feature of brand marketing campaigns. To help us understand why we asked Phil Adams from Blonde to the June MoMo Edinburgh to tell us how mobile is viewed from the point of view of the non-specialist digital agencies, and more importantly their clients.

In order to provide a solid base for the discussion Phil conducted a survey of his client base which he has since summarised in a slideshare presentation:

Phil started off by giving an overview of the barriers he had identified with the use of mobile in campaigns for his clients:
  • mobile is part of digital is part of advertising is part of marketing is part of commercial - a long way down the chain.
  • most clients practice "OR" budgeting - if they are to spend on mobile they will have to not spend elsewhere - and be convinced that the mobile spend will provide better results than what it replaces.
  • marketing budgets tend to be focussed on time limited campaigns and thus mobile (in common with other digital channels) needs to be packaged up into discrete events as opposed to being considered as a continuous platform with a longer term payback.
  • very little mobile casework available.
... before taking us through the highlights from his survey above.

This led to an interesting forty minutes of discussion including:
  • Tim Barlow of Attacat asked if it wasn't more natural to consider mobile in the context of customer services as opposed to marketing in order to escape the campaign centric view. One counter-observation was that there is typically a much higher barrier to entry to engage with a business core operational activities than there is in marketing.
  • Gavin Dutch of Loc8 noted that there had been a number of success stories in the provision of utility mobile apps within the brand identity - with examples such as the Oakley surf finder and North Face weather app - to give a long lived impact for the investment made. Tim countered that beyond early adopters entertainment was probably more important than utility.
  • Ben Hounsell of Tenbu/Nio observed that there was still mileage in the age old model of users accepting advertising in return for some free service, and with an option to pay for a premium advertising free version. The latter would of course be even more likely on mobile where people are in general more sensitive to advertising!
  • Bryan Rieger of Yiibu asked the advertisers present about their view of mobile adwords, Admob, and iAds etc. Tim reported a small but growing use of mobile adwords, but it was perhaps indicative of the task facing mobile that there were several agency folks in the room who hadn't come across Admob or iAds yet.
  • Anthony Ashbrook of Mobile Acuity struck an optimistic chord when he noted that once brands started to see the less than perfect results their vanilla digital materials had on mobile devices they were likely to quite rapidly raise their game in mobile in order to protect their brand integrity.
  • Anthony also observed that perhaps it was an error to focus on mobile as a discrete element of the campaign, as opposed to an additional channel within a multi-channel environment. Phil mentioned a campaign they had run for Grolsch where a character in an online video sends an SMS which the consumer then receives on their handset thus starting an individual interaction over mobile.
The credit for the ideas and insights in the above belongs to Phil and the various other contributors listed, while the errors and omissions are entirely mine. Please feel free to correct either with comments!