Monday, March 28, 2011

Mobile Monday - the Future of Mobile

We have a coming divergence in Mobile. Not today. But in 3-5 years. We will all have two screens. And no the second screen will not be an IPad. It will be a Tablet. I see really dumb articles discussing if anyone can catch the IPad. If you have a college degree the answer is 100% yes. I don't view the IPad like the IPod because we won't need an ITunes for Tablets. They will be full web devices. So I look at the segment more like Laptops today. Many options with high to low end choices.

A year before the IPad was even whispered about I was discussing Tablets as the future. With screens about 6"-10". Cheap. $200 or under. Almost disposable. That we can throw in a backpack or our handbag. Rugged. Lots of memory. Connected to the Internets.

The difference will be the Tablet will be an extension of the web while your phone will not. The uses of the devices will split. You can't put a Tablet in your pocket. So think of the Phone being what you use when you can't have the tablet with you. 

Think of the Tablet being used for what you want a bigger screen for: 
Web surfing. Games. Video. Shopping. Possibly Work. 

The Phone for Talking, Texting and Twitter type communication, Payments, Navigation, Photos, Music, checking Movie listings, finding Restaurants etc. It will still have everything else but it will not be the default choice and only for when we don't have a Tablet with us.

Both devices will be capable of doing everything but look for the experience on each device to be different for each task. I feel both will have video calling.

The reason I thought of tablets was video. In 2009 the Trade Pubs were talking about mobile video and how much people were watching on their phones. What they failed to state was this was the only choice. If we were out and about and had 15 minutes to kill and wanted to watch the Daily Show we could. But is a 2.5" to 3.5" screen what we want or prefer? Alien's are logical. The answer is no. Because at home everyone has and prefers big screens.

The biggest obstacles are price and bandwidth. But those will be over come from various sources. 4G. Moore's Law etc. So we will have tablets thrown in our car glove box (does anyone really put gloves in this box anymore?). Or under our seat. In our beach bag etc.

What does this mean for developers? Does the IPad need Apps if it was a full computer? If that is the case why aren't we buying Apps for our Laptops? Or is the trend the reverse? Will all software for us become Apps? And we migrate to only Apps formatted to different screen sizes?

UPDATE>>>> Staples now has a Tablet Center: LINK

In a future post I will discuss the future death of MP3's due to Moore's Law. Yes it's coming and it is going to be the best thing that has happened to music.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Do You Use the Facebook Commenting Plugin? NO COMMENT!

I go to the Yahoo front page a few times a day. I go there because they are my main source of Sports Scores, Game Schedules, etc And right on the bottom of the news box there are buttons for each sport. So much more clean than ESPN which has horrible navigation issues.

But Yahoo also plugs into local news. Usually nothing there to pique my curiosity but sometimes there is. WRGB which is the CBS TV Affiliate here uses the Facebook Commenting Plug In. You have no idea how much it freaks me out and sends me aggro when I go to a Non-Facebook site and see this:

I am technically logged into WRGB.COM because I am logged into Facebook 24/7 due to running a Clients Brand Page for the time being. First of all I will never ever comment on your site if you use this plug in. You can be offering me $500 and I will say no. I would rather drive to you, beat you over the head and take the $500 by force than use this commenting system.

But here is the kicker. If you are not logged into Facebook this is what you see:

You have no idea that you can even comment! That blank space to the left is where where that box you see above with my logged in info and the comment box? Missing! So by using this system you only are giving people currently logged into Facebook the chance to comment!

Now you can say that the box shows to log in to see your friend's recommendations. Right. Great. Uhm. But it still says nothing about me being able to comment on this site! And a MEDIA BRAND that has a ton of content, that wants me reading article after article, the box highlights two articles.

Since April 2010 per person usage of Facebook is down 31% from 55mins to 38mins per day. As a Brand with a Web Presence , especially a MEDIA BRAND, do you really feel it is of strategic importance to help Facebook reverse this trend by forcing your readers who are on your site directly to use Facebook more? Wouldn't having a box showcasing most read articles by readers be better for your business? Vs trying to help Facebook who's real intention is not to help you, but take readers off your site and onto Facebook?

Shouldn't Facebook be PAYING YOU for this? And if they aren't why are you doing it?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Big Marketing Fail

I spent the first 40 years of my life as a consumer. I either made decisions on purchases or I consumed things others decided for me. Like those crappy tasting pureed carrots from Gerber when I was 9 months old. I had jobs that paid well. I traveled for work. I consumed everything out there in some way or another. I am now 43. Most people in Marketing/Advertising who had a career in Marketing/Advertising who are 43 could easily have spent more than half their life either in School or working in the Industry.

As an outsider my view of Advertising/Marketing is much different than Sales which I have 14 years of work experience in, Advertising is very limited in it's scope/role but the Industry feels differently. They have spent decades convincing Brands how important they are in the role of the purchasing decisions. By doing this they over sell and under deliver. They also set themselves up for failure.

Advertising can make people aware of a product or service. Once someone tries the product, that is it. Job done. If the product sucks or perceived value is not there, no advertising can change that. The Brand can. They can reach out, give great customer service, fix quality issues. But Advertising can not fix that. The Vaunted Chrysler Superbowl Commercial did not change in my view that Chrysler cars fall apart and have horrible quality. It will take years of JD Powers rankings to fix this.

So my observations are that Advertising fails to ask people why and how they use devices and whether Advertising fits the way Consumers want to use devices vs how Advertisers believe the use them. Advertising likes to force their way in whether we like it or not.

1] People do not want ads online. They use the net to consume content/entertain, utility and work. They do not come online to consume Advertising. Trust me. I can find your brand online. I don't need your help. Caveat I do open some email fliers like Staples. But I personally block most  digital ad server ads because they do not bring me value.

2] People do not care about Brands via Social Media. We don't. Get over it. We use Social Media to connect with things we are passionate about. If we are passionate about a Brand off line we will engage via Social Online. But if we are not passionate about your Brand, Product, etc offline we don't give a flying pigs ass about you online. I have been bribed to Like a Brand on Facebook and after Payout Unliked.

I have said this many times. I need to Trade Mark this statement: Social Media is a Revolution of Interpersonal Communication Technology. Note Marketing is absent from that statement.

You want to get a big bang for Social Media in your company? Use it to improve your operations and communications. But if your view is to sell. You are choosing the lowest ROI Choice.

3] More Advertising more places is not the answer. That just enriches Media Buyers, Media Channels, and Ad Agencies. Stop invading everywhere my eyes look.

4] People do not want push advertising on their phones. They don't. It is an invasion of our privacy. We will consider value proposition call to actions where WE INITIATE CONTACT. But stay off my phone.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Social Tuesday - Ad Contrarian Right Message, Wrong Case Study - Pepsi

This week Bob Hoffman one of my favorite bloggers took shots at Social Media and specifically Pepsi as his case study. I am ok with his bashing Social Media. My view of business is from the CEO/CFO standpoint. Not marketing. Marketers are suckers. They snow each other all the time. It drives me crazy. Social Media Marketers tend to be the worst over all. It is very hard weeding through the Bull Shit. You want to know why I am such a dick sometimes by bashing my industry. Because I am CEO not CMO not someone making a cool commercial that is nifty.  


It is why I refuse to read Mashable. It's like reading Fox News but for Social Media. It is why I don't read Chris Brogan, Brian Solis as much as they are nice guys. Their views help small businesses. But not Big Business move their stock price. It's why I laugh at Klout and the Edelman Trust Barometer. Big Picture people! What will move stock prices of a Fortune 2000 Company? Not a Facebook page. Not Fan Engagement on Twitter. Not identifying key online influencers.

Read Bob's Pepsi Posts. Also read his Febreeze Post. Because for Febreeze he is dead on. And his Pepsi's posts are not off mark, except for using Pepsi as a case study.

Social Media is not moving sales for big companies. But I will not be baited into saying it has no value. I have a Finance Degree. I put a value on EVERYTHING and everything has a value. Starbucks with 18 million Fans on Facebook, the value isn't 18 million fans. It's not even the number that they engage. The value is how many Fans because they engage with Starbucks on Facebook buy more Starbucks, or at least shift their purchasing to increase Starbucks market share of their total purchasing. And how many get friends, family etc to buy more Starbucks or increase Starbucks market share in their life So using this formula I bet it's safe to say Facebook has zero value to Starbucks at this time. Look at their page. They get about 200 to 400 people posting to their wall saying they love Starbucks. Divide even 1000 by 18,000,000. It comes out to almost zero. And we have no clue about sales.

Now let me look at Pepsi.

1] I have no idea their total Ad Budget for 2010. But safe to say $20mil for Pepsi Refresh or the Superbowl is less than 1% of spend. Why bash them for giving back to the community. Bob's taunt on this is almost saying Sales trumps doing good. And trust me. He is not that type! And I doubt Facebook Fans were the goal here vs having Communities look at Pepsi as a Do Gooder Company.

2] Pepsi has 19 Divisions that each bring in $1bil. So they are a much more complex company than Coca Cola.

3] Maybe their Creative Agency is doing poor work? Maybe Pepsi should put their Advertising Account under review that currently is with TWBA/Chiat/Day? This would be one place I would look hard. At their 'Traditional Marketing'. I see Pepsi Out of Home but don't watch much TV so not sure what the Commercials are like today. (Please note I like TWBA and it grieves me to write this)

4] Maybe Coke is discounting more at point of purchase. I got a TON of Coke Coupons Superbowl week at my store. Zero from Pepsi. For every person who will not substitute I bet 100 will. I don't care what surveys say. So if my Supermarket has Club Card Specials more often for Coke vs Pepsi then yes Coke will see a sales uptick.

5] Maybe Coke drinkers are less healthy and are more obese and willing to suck pure sugar into them diabetes be damned and all these years Pepsi drinkers were more likely to switch to water? Granted Diet Coke has done well.

6] Maybe the Media Buying Agency for Pepsi is sucking. Maybe they have been blowing it big time on the Ad Spend and wasting their money? I see Pepsi still everywhere Out of Home. This would be the second place I would look hard.

7] Maybe operationally Coke is doing better from Supply Chain Management to their Direct Sales group?

My point is this is a very complex situation and you can not point the finger to Social Media for the Pepsi situation. Point all you want at Social Media. Social Media deserves the scrutiny. But you can not simplify a very complex situation like this by blaming Social Media or Digital Strategies.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Mobile Monday - Shopping Anyone?

I had to run out for ear plugs Thursday night. The birds are back. Spring is almost here. I get woken up at dawn by as many as hundreds occasionally thousands of birds. Crows. Black Birds. Doves. Wild Turkeys. Grackles. Starlings. Cardinals. Blue Birds. Robins. Kill Deer (the worst). Blue Jays. Woodpeckers. Finches. All come to the bird feeders and the fields outside. Plus now all the Geese are flying over head coming back from Miami Beach. Yes it is crazy. Louder than Manhattan during rush hour.

So I went to Rite Aide because it is much closer than the Super Market. And I am pretty sure at Price Chopper the foam Ear Plugs were $3. Rite Aid was $4.99. But I wasn't sure. I have a Droid2. Sad I could not check using my phone. In fact why can't I load into an App or Web easily everything I normally buy and allow instant price checks and comparisons so that I can buy items at each place that had the best price? We aren't there yet. But we will be eventually.

I can already compare big ticket items. anything I can Google  and compare with the Shopping feature I can do on Mobile. My folks just bought a 42" Panasonic HDTV from Best Buy. After they set it up my mother found it for $150 less on Amazon. They do not have smart phones. I am curious if Best Buy would of cut the price to buy it right there. They should. And shouldn't we all be doing this now?

If anyone knows of such shopping list Apps in the works please share. I have used SpringPad which has a slick barcode reader to pull up product information. You can read the barcode, and add a note with a price and then go to another store and check prices but I don't know of anything that pulls in data from Supermarkets, Drug Stores etc.

BTW if you travel or live anywhere loud, these ear plugs are golden. They will make crying babies on planes almost bearable. You will never hear traffic or birds. will hear your morning alarm! They also are great at concerts!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Google Circles, Social 2.0 and Choice is Coming

Great article on Read Write Web about the rumor of a new Google Social Network called possibly Circles. LINK

I have written before that Social Media and Marketers via Social are still at 1.0
We have Fan Pages and Twitter Accounts because those are the platforms that to date Marketers have been able to convert to Marketing Channels. Remember for MySpace it was just digital advertising that was the Channel. So you see lots of Social Media Agencies focusing on Facebook and Twitter Marketing.

But the chances of these still being the main platforms in 10 years is Zero. In 5 years? Not sure. People move fast. We are very public on twitter because Direct Messaging is one on one vs for groups right now. I run a Facebook Page for a client. Over 80% of all accounts that are Fans are private. This doesn't prove we want privacy. It proves we want choices. And without the choices our default is 100% private. And we are cautious what we share!

I only publicly check in on FourSquare with Twitter rarely now. Same with Gowalla. In fact for Gowalla I am very picky who I accepted as my friend because I want to keep it a circle of people I am ok seeing I checked in where ever I decided too.

Circles and possibly Diaspora could be offering us this choice. And it just takes enough of ones friends to start trying a platform to get us all to move. This is a BIG threat to Marketers but not Brands. Brands do not bet the house on one Marketing Channel. They use them all and allocate resources where needed. But there are a lot of Agencies and Freelancers betting the house that Social Media will always be a public forum to reach people for marketing. There are add on technologies doing the same like Klout who if everyone goes private they can not measure Social Influence!

Stay tuned for the next chapter and Social 2.0 because it is coming and while I do not see it disruptive for Brands, I see it very disruptive for Marketing/Advertising/PR. Remember the people only care about having a great communication platform for Friends and Family. They do not care about talking to Brands via Social. That is not why we are using Twitter and Facebook. I bet 99.9999% of Communication on those two platforms is between people not people-Brands.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Social Tuesday - Mash Mish

Just a few thoughts:


I clicked on their Sponsored Tweet

It took me to their Facebook Page which is a BIG NO NO!

So I tweeted them telling them they failed and now I won't use the coupon. Surprise they responded and fast:

Kind of a gnarly new sandwich which is not something I would eat once I viewed it. But I do like  their food so anyone who wants the coupon here is the LINK. I was very impressed with their response time and the fact that in discussion they were not using Twitter to funnel to a Facebook Page. If I follow you on Twitter that is where I want to engage. If I wanted to engage on Facebook I would be doing that. In fact the quickest way for me to un-follow on Twitter is when I follow getting a Direct Message saying to Like a Facebook Page.


Please Oh Lord or Goddess under heaven and above the stars. Please make this real. Please make it worthy of canceling my Facebook account!

From Read Write Web LINK

This proves why speed is important. What if this is the bee's knees and Diaspora comes out later? What if Diaspora is good enough to draw millions from Facebook, but Google beats them?


Marketing Profs has a great article with 6 reasons to be very careful about Facebook: LINK

Social Giving! 

Lastly we just went live yesterday for a client choosing Heal LA instead of Groupon. LINK

Why? The only thing Groupon has right now is reach. But Heal LA blows it's socks off in every other aspect:

1] Your donation goes directly to charity. 100%

2] You pay for the deal at the Brand. Meaning you get a coupon you take to the place that made the offer and use it. This gives the Brand the money right away. There is ZERO commission. ZERO money in escrow. 

3] It's FREE. They do everything from the graphics to the copy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mobile Monday - Mish Mash

Sorry about the almost 2 week hiatus. The Chief Alien was sick for almost a week and a bit of writer's block. What can I say? It happens. Just because I am a significantly advanced life form does not mean I can not have writer's block!

First the MISH

In January I covered why you need to format for Mobile: LINK

The wonderful Shelly Kramer (@shellykramer) on her own did a reprise on why you need to format for mobile web: LINK

If you will not listen to me...listen to Shelly. Plus she has a higher Klout than me so she must be important.

I have a client who was involved with a festival done at Santa Anita Rack Track in Los Angeles and when at the Albany Devil's Hockey Game yesterday the Director of Sales Chris Quinn sent a Tweet about a promotion there. I truly was floored and impressed at the mobile website. Pull it up in your phone browser (@santaanitapark) If there was ever reinforcement on why. They prove it. 

If you have a Word Press Blog there is a simple plug in for Mobile Formatting. In fact Shonali Burke (@Shonali) just formatted Waxing Unlyrical which is a PR-Social Media Blog you should be reading.

Lastly the MASH. BTW never ever assume that because the MASH comes last that it is less important than the MISH. 

Shiv Singh (@ShivSingh) of Pepsi shared a presentation that was give by Matt Murphy and Mary Meeker of KCPB one of the big Venture Funds. Mary btw I still have issues with. She was  along with Henry Blodget accused of lying/misleading investors and pumping up Dot.Com stocks while privately in emails saying the companies were crap.  While Henry was banned from working in the stock markets for life Mary somehow escaped. While I have had discussions with many people including Fortune and the Economist on them, who say everyone deserves a second chance (YES!) but lying to me is the worst of all offenses are completely destroys my trust. So when reading this presentation which has some really good stuff remember it is from a VC. They have inherent bias to have the companies they invest in win, even if they don't have the best product, service or solution. In fact the NY Observer questions whether Mary is possibly a sign of a BOOM or a Bubble LINK

Slide Share:   LINK

To be fair I say the same thing about Facebook/Zuckerberg and the Social Media Talking Heads like the Brogan's and Solis' who need Social Media to be bigger than it really is in the scheme of things because it benefits them specifically. I also often attack the Ad Industry for over selling to Brands. Always look at a company or person's angle in business. Whether you are being pitched by a vendor or brand or trying to learn things to improve your business. That is why often this blog brings up bias and hypocrisy or blatant lies and deceit often. Because I hope to give you balanced insight as best as possible. And yes I have bias too. I want more clients!

There were 11 fights yesterday between the Albany Devils (NJ Devils farm team) and Syracuse Crunch (Anaheim Ducks) including helmets flying, two players got bloody faces and were taken into the locker room, and they had one play stoppage to clean up a pool of blood on the ice. I was very impressed!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Social Tuesday - Pop Goes Zuckerberg the Weasel...Again!

Listen we get it Mark. You are in Panic Mode...say it! PANIC MODE! None of your initiatives have been a winner. You have failed to give any details on the success of Places, Deals, Open Graph because you lack the convincing data to show us. So what do you do? You are going to try forcing the Like Button issue at the same time you are going to scare people into not using the Like Button.

Your changes will facilitate, when someone Like's content off site, that it shows on the Facebook user's wall and hopefully spam their friends and family. You never did this with your users in mind. This is pure exploitation. But since it hasn't been working you are trying to change it! LINK And one of the commentators on the article did a test showing how the Like Button is not Viral: LINK

The interesting omission from the first link from Inside Facebook is the lack of data. How many Likes were clicked last year? Per Week? Facebook won't share that because it's doesn't look good! But now to compound the problem, I am starting to see articles informing people that Facebook is now sharing Cell Numbers and Home Addresses with 3rd Party Developers. So anyone using the Mobile Facebook App or who entered their info in their Facebook Profile are going to exposed to even more exploitation. LINK

So basically Facebook's Strategy is Full Exposure and Exploitation of their User Base. Whom if they had no Users their business is worth Zero Dollars. I had exposed the fact that Facebook's network usage per user per day is dropping fast. Will such moves as these stop the slide? Or accelerate it? I think acceleration. If our update feeds start getting more spammy we will eventually leave. As it is we see such a low percentage of posts from our network, the answer is not more posts, it's less posts, or better organized UI. Spam was a huge problem for Myspace and obviously Facebook has short term memory loss.