Tag Archives: SMS

Mobile is dead. Long live mobile. 5 tips for brands in an untethered world

mobile is dead

I recently heard a director of digital and e-commerce of a retail brand say, “we don’t really care about mobile” and nearly shat myself.

I’d recently had Mexican, and it wasn’t agreeing with me.

I’m kidding…their statement did almost cause an involuntary bowel movement.

Luckily I have a strong sphincter (read: I do kegels) and the crisis was avoided.

I was, however, momentarily stunned by the statement of someone I assumed knew that mobile commerce was one of the largest contributors to retail revenues in 2015 – to the tune of a projected $104 billion according to Internet Retailer.

With mobile accounting for more than 30% of all US e-commerce traffic, I chalked the executive’s statement to early morning alcohol consumption, clandestine drug use or undiagnosed Turrets.

But as I thought on it further, I realized that perhaps the functional addict of an exec was actually on to something.

A decade ago websites were the holy grail for e-commerce.

Five years ago SMS was an absolutely essential component of brands’ marketing strategies.

A few years ago having a mobile site or app was critical to a brand’s success.

And now brands are weighing the importance of having a wearable strategy.

All this to drive traffic, increase engagement and conversions on websites, mobile sites, and apps.

With the advent of IoT, wearables, ‘smart’ devices, and thin clients are going to enable incomprehensible levels of engagement – making the actual platform used to connect virtually irrelevant.

This shift is changing the way we interact with the world around us and the brands that want to reach us.

So in honor of the wayward exec I maligned, here is my top 5 list for preparing for an IoT world.

1. Accept that people are always on.

We are always reaching for our devices. Sleep seems to be the only time we’re not literally on our devices. But with devices like the Apple Watch doubling as a nightstand clock/alarm clock, we’re closer than ever to achieving actual ‘always-on’ status. At a glance, we can get weather updates, stock tips, heath status, schedule and virtually any random piece of information one desires. No longer are we required to ‘boot up’ a computer or suffer some cumbersome process in order to get information. Today, we can just ask Siri, Cortana or any of a dizzing number of virtual assistant (even on our damn tvs!) and activate/initiate some desired action. With IoT, there’s no going back.

2. Be diffuse but don’t dilute.

water down

Once upon a time, mobile sites we trimmed down versions of full desktop sites. The thought process was that with the smaller real estate, users wouldn’t be able to process the same amount of information, and that information overload was the equivalent of a poor user experience. So many brands opted for ‘brochure’ mobile sites, stripped of the functionality available of desktop sites save a few basic options. Today we know better. With smart phones housing increasingly powerful processors, greater real estate for presenting content from larger screens, and loads of data about mobile user behavior, having a mobile site that functions like a full desktop site or offers the same utility, and is adapted to mobile user behavior ensures that you’re enabling your users rather than hampering them. In the age of IoT, brands will become adept at applying the lessons learned in mobile to wearables to avoid watering down utility.

3. Meet your audience where they are.

meet people where they are

I’m sure you’ve heard of brands adopting a multi-channel or omni-channel strategy as it relates to targeting their users. Basically, these terms refer to the evolving mindset that you can no longer build it and expect them to come. Today, you’ve got to meet them where they are, which increasingly requires that you first understand where they are, and second how to engage them in those spaces. You cannot simply say, “I’m going to make my website available on mobile and tablet devices and wearables” (unless you want to fail miserably). Yes, you should have an approach or strategy for intelligently being present in the spaces your users are, but don’t blunt the efficacy of your presence with a one-size-fits-all mindset.

4. Build bridges back to you.

hyperlink

I once received an email offer in my inbox with no hyperlink to a landing page or the website for the offer itself. There was no specific call to action or clear indication of how to take advantage of the promotion. Outside of communicating that there was a sale, the brand didn’t make it particularly easy to take advantage of it. Major miss. If you’re a brand with a compelling offer, make sure that you make it super simple for recipients of that offer to take advantage of it. For example, if you’re offering 20% off at checkout and that ad is my entry point, make sure there’s a cookie that auto fills the promo code box at checkout and the user doesn’t have to backtrack to find the code.

5. Think like a user.

personas

I recently read an article about a shopping app, in which the app’s creator was the first user/shopper. The article went on to explain how the app’s creator continued to use the app to shop, even though he had thousands of shoppers and a staff of thousands. Why? Because knowing the user experience from a first person perspective was critical to ensuring that the app contained to meet the needs of shoppers. As a brand, it’s one thing to have an idea and quite another to see how you idea manifests in the real world. Make sure you’re putting down your marker, stepping away from the white board, and walking in the shoes of your users to know exactly what their experience is in the real world. As a corollary to this point, make sure you build personas which speak to the different types of people who will engage your brand, so you’re thinking through not one user journey, but the many possible user journeys of the various users.

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Sales tips from a guy who hates to sell. You gotta believe.

Believe-logo

I used to see a career coach who told me that in order to get to where I wanted to be, I had to start from the bottom.

While I waited for folks to get on board and agree that I was the greatest thing since sliced bread – and pay me handsomely for my opinions and presence – I had to get a job.

And since I was transitioning from law to tech, I should use my gift of gab in an area that he thought would be a natural fit: sales.

The thing about his advice, while 100% accurate – I can sell – was the fact that I hate selling.

Well hate may be a bit strong.

I dislike it greatly.

And it’s not the act of selling that I dislike. I am a hunter.

It’s the things I have to sell that I generally dislike.

It wasn’t always this way.

When I was in high school I worked at Macy’s in the ladies shoe department as a shoe salesman.

Selling was a cinch.

To be clear, shoes sell themselves to women.

All I did was shuttle different sizes back and forth from the stock room until my client decided which pair (or pairs as was often the case) she wanted.

I’d ring her up, bag her goodies and she was off to shop some more, or to her car with the balance of her shopping spree.

Sure, I was masterful at upselling.

Transitioning a patron from a low priced item, say some 9 West black slingback pumps, to a higher prices one, like an elegant pair of Via Spiga heels that just arrived, was my forte.

But for the most part, I didn’t have to hard sell (or upsell) anyone.

Fast forward to 2008, the heyday of mobile marketing and SMS, when I worked for one of the three largest mobile aggregators selling mobile marketing to brands eager to get into texting.

The services sold themselves, and I simply guided green content creators through the short code acquisition mobile marketing campaign activation wireless carrier gauntlet.

In the process of demonstrating my expertise, I also upsold premium services and our platform, which allowed brands to publish their own compliant mobile ready campaigns.

As a captive audience, who had already taken the plunge to embrace the brave new world of mobile, selling (and upselling) was like shooting fish in a barrel.

But here is where my love affair with selling abruptly turned for the worse.

You see, my third sales or “business development” role was with an app development firm.

It was here that I understood that sales was not for me.

While I fully believed in the future of mobile, and was prepared to assail anyone who would listen with the wonders of developing mobile applications with us, my heart wasn’t in it.

I didn’t believe what I was selling.

Or rather, the thing that I was selling didn’t sell itself.

As a salesman, you can sell anything.

If you’ve got a silver tongue (as I did) a freezing man will buy ice from you.

And if you’ve got something that sells itself (or you believe that you do), the world is your oyster.

You can flit in and out of offices, meetings, conferences and presentations with a self assuredness that allows you to throw caution to the wind.

I’ve got it, you want it. Now, what will you pay me for it?

Selling was simple.

As was prospecting.

Lead generation was never an issue as we were on the leading edge of new technology.

Apps were everything.

Simply say the word “apps” and folks were rapt with attention.

And I sold lots of apps.

But then the company didn’t deliver.

Project after project became trapped in a bottleneck.

Features that were sold as standard became “premium” or required “custom development,” and I started to see the wizard’s cape showing behind the screen.

And that was it. I learned that I wasn’t built to sell just anything.

Actually, what I really learned was that I excelled at selling what I believed in.

Before the veil was pulled back, I would have sold anything to anyone.

After I saw the wizard, I became increasingly selective about what I’d co-sign, pitch or promote.

This isn’t really a “proper” tips post, but to stay true to it’s title, here are a few tips for being better at sales.

  1. If you need a script, don’t sell it. If you need a guide to sell, it’s not for you.
  2. If you wouldn’t buy it, don’t sell it. It’s hard pushing something you wouldn’t take/use yourself.
  3. If you agree with buyers’ objections, don’t sell it. When you find yourself agreeing with all the objections a potential buyer has for not buying in, you shouldn’t be selling it in the first place.

In the final analysis that’s the key: sell only what you believe in.

Because then selling comes naturally.

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Google Wallet makes mobile payments a reality.

Years ago, when I was working in mobile marketing, mobile payments were all the rage.

Brands were just starting to experiment with SMS, and premium SMS messaging offered content creators an opportunity to monetize their mobile campaigns.

If someone with a text-messaging enabled mobile device saw your call to action, “Text WAYNE to 12345 to get Lil’ Wayne’s newest single!”), they could type in the keyword, send it to a short code and Voila! they were listening to Weezy right from their mobile phone.

Of course, it didn’t always work that smoothly or all the time.

If you had Verizon phone, for example, which restricted hyperlinks, good luck trying to click through to the URL provided on the link you received.

Or if you hit your monthly messaging limit, you wouldn’t be able to send or receive text messages at all.

And at the time, mobile payments were restricted to paying for premium mobile content on your wireless carrier bill.

In order to complete a purchase, there was a double opt-in process, where the user had to validate that they wanted the content and understood the costs and conditions associated with the offer.

Typically, taking advantage of these premium offers involved giving your wireless carrier AND the aggregator AND (in some instances) the content platform provider a portion of the fees associated with that purchase.

Subscription chat lines and information services, like KGBKGB, sprung up to tap into users’ voracious appetite for texting.

You couldn’t buy tangible things with your mobile device.

Outside of wallpapers, ringtones and music downloads, mobile content was the only thing you could really purchase.

Today, that’s no longer the case.

Smartphones, mobile web sites, and mobile apps let you use your mobile phone to purchase virtually anything.

You’re no longer tethered to your wireless carrier if you want buy something.

iTunes and the proliferation of copycat app stores mean that you can cop plenty of compelling content right to your device.

And not have AT&T or Verizon Wireless mucking about in the transaction.

But there’s a different mobile payments space growing and maturing.

We’ve seen early glimpses of that with PayPal.

Apps like Square that have turned your mobile phone into a payment processing center.

In Europe and Asia, paying using your mobile device is commonplace.

But here in the states, the growth of mobile payments has advanced at a snail’s pace.

Until now.

Google Wallet is a mobile payment system that allows its users to store their debit cards, credit cards, loyalty cards, and gift cards on their mobile phones.

Using near-field communication (NFC), Google Wallet lets users make secure payments by simply tapping their phone on any PayPass-enabled terminal at checkout.

Although Google Wallet launched in 2011, it was only this August, that they set up expanded support to all major credit and debit cards including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

What does it all mean?

Well for one, you’re no longer reduced to making mobile payments solely with PayPal.

More importantly, the tedious process of entering your payment information, name, address, credit card number, expiration date, security code, etc., is as simple as providing your username and password.

This is a real boon for online retailers, who see the majority of their drop offs occurring at checkout.

The best thing about Google Wallet, unlike PayPal (the carriers) and virtually any other merchant processing system, is that they don’t charge processing fees.

No fees?

That’s awesome!

Mind you, I’m not a Google person myself.

Google Wallet doesn’t work on iOS devices.

So unless there’s an app in the works, hundreds of millions of Apple users will be in the dark.

But big up to all you Android users, who have the ability to truly experience what the mobile revolution is shaping up to be…

At least as it relates to mobile payments.

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Are you a carder? The utility of business cards.

I was recently handed a business card.

I didn’t ask for it.

It was handed to me by someone I knew.

Only casually, I’ll admit.

But I had corresponded with this individual a number of times before we met that day.

I had communicated with this person over the phone, texted and shared emails.

We had interacted so often and over so many different medium that it made it hard for me to understand the utility she felt, in that moment, offering her card.

I clearly already had her office number, cell phone number, email and address (I was in her office at the time).

But she still felt compelled to offer it to me.

Not to be rude, yet still feeling perplexed, I obliged.

Took her card.

Gave it the perfunctory once-over.

Before promptly stuffing it in the right front pocket of my waistcoat.

That’s a vest for the haberdashery-challenged.

But why did she offer the card in the first place?

Force of habit?

The card held no more information on it, than she knew I already knew.

And it made me reflect how impulsively we all often give out cards.

I’m a card giver.

“Do you have a card?”

Sure…fumble fumble…here you go.

“Can I have your card?”

No problem…sift sift…I’ve got one right here.

I’m so over sifting through my wallet, fumbling around in my briefcase or digging in my pockets to hand or deposit a business card.

And then what happens?

You’ve got a stack of people’s cards cluttering your office/home/desk.

Or you’ve got unused boxes of your own business cards from every job you ever had.

I’d prefer to just exchange information via our phones and keep it moving.

If asked, I oblige.

But cards get on my last nerve.

So much so, that years ago I began looking for alternatives.

I played with Bump, to tone down the whole card game.

Unfortunately (for me) it took more steps to Bump than open my phone, enter ten digits and press send.

So I tried other strategies to extricate myself from cards.

When I worked for MX Telecom (now OpenMarket) I had a short code you could text “Stephen” to and get all my contact info via SMS.

It was very novel a trade shows, but people weren’t generally up on texting for such utilitarian purposes then (I’m talking 2008).

I even gave folks the old “trying to save trees” line to avoid giving or receiving cards.

And it was all so PC and Eco friendly, that it worked – for a time.

But folks still extended their hands, with those wretched slivers of card stock and ink.

Nowadays, and as much as possible, I try to stay ahead of the game by always affirmatively getting contact details and by-passing the card-exchange ritual altogether.

With my iPhone, I cut to the chase and simply shoot my vCard to anyone requesting my info.

And I try not to cringe whenever I hear those dreaded words or see an outstretched hand – with a card in it.

Is it just me?

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Filed under iPhone, opinion, rant, Smack talking

The Digital Divide

A snapshot of the Moodle we developed to teach out digital curriculum.

When you think of the digital divide, the first thing that comes to mind is the standard issue of the gap in access and exposure to technology, between children of different economic circumstances.

This lack of access and exposure, leaves lower income and minority youth at a marked disadvantage, by depriving them of skills which are becoming increasingly valuable in the workplace and essential in various industries.

But there is a deeper issue.

Lack of adequate instruction.

Unlike us, children today are exposed to technology and digital content, regardless of economic background, to a far greater extent than any other period in history.

Internet capable mobile devices, social media, interactive gaming systems, and a torrent of digital content, are the norm, not the exception.

Youth today immerse themselves in completely virtual worlds, and engage in social interactions and activity, across a variety of devices and platforms.

iPhones, Blackberries, Androids, PS2s, Nintendo DS3s ( and the list goes on) enable youth to play games, surf the Internet, update their status, listen to music, watch videos, text, chat and share content with each other wirelessly.

We need to examine how this exposure is impacting our youth, and what implications the “mobilizing” of technology has on them.

I believe we should be creating curriculum, which addresses the responsible use and utilization of technology, and programming that harnesses the inherent familiarity with handheld technology that youth have, regardless of economic circumstances.

Ever since I began teaching at the PAL Digital U.N.I.Verse.City, I have been able to see what youth of today are doing with technology.

Most youth know how to surf the net.

Any kid knows how to get to YouTube, or send an email.

They know how to use Google, Bing, Ask.com and Yahoo to conduct searches, and find pretty much anything they’re looking for.

Their mobile phones are extensions of their hands, and their fingers were built for texting (I’ve even seen a few texting without even looking at the phone).

As such, their behavior, adoption and use of technology is distinctly different from ours, and requires a distinctly different approach for educating them on using technology responsibly and appropriately.

Most classroom instruction on technology teach kids the basics.

But kids today need real lessons which go beyond the basics.

They need instruction that helps them see technology as an extension of their inherent creative capabilities.

In our course, we’ve married the theoretical with the practical.

First off, our course lives online. We developed a Moodle, which each student can access, where each lesson, document, evaluation, reference, and assessment can be accessed.

When we teach about Canon EOS 60Ds cameras, the kids are shooting on those cameras.

If we talk about data transfer and tagging, the kids are transferring content from the cameras and putting descriptive tags and meta content within the files.

Our classroom instruction recognizes that these kids need a level of engagement that challenges them, and expands their horizons.

More importantly, academic institutions need to accept that technology is changing at an ever increasing pace, and we have to be prepared to meet the youth where they are (which is far more technologically savvy then we were at their age).

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Home Shopping Apps. HSN’s got the goods. Literally.

Home shopping on steroids!

I’m not an avid shopper.

Every once in a while, I’ll hit the store to pick up an item or two.

Most of my shopping is done online, and in response to a real need.

Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, etc., are when my shopping cap goes on, and I generally handle my business.

So shopping (outside of essentials) is never high on my list of priorities.

But that’s just me.

There’s a whole other world of shoppers, who take shopping very seriously: the home shopper.

If you’re into home shopping, then anytime is a good time to shop.

If there’s a bargain, you’re looking for it.

While shopping used to require getting into the car and heading to a mall, strip mall, flea market, or consignment store, the home shopper now has a number of different outlets for getting their shopping on (and I’m not talking catalogues either).

QVC, HSN and ShopNBC are probably some of the most well known brands in home shopping.

They’ve each got channels devoted entirely to giving shoppers steep discounts on everything from watches to sewing machines.

They also have websites, which allow visitors to browse items featured on the network, as well as other special offers.

But more importantly, each of them has a branded app, which allows you to shop directly from your iPhone, iPad or Android device, while you’re away from your television or home computer.

ShopNBC does the best job of promoting the fact that they’ve got apps.

ShopNBC does the best job of letting you know they've got apps.

The link to the iOS or Android version of their app is conspicuously located in the bottom left corner of the home page, alongside ShopNBC’s other social media links.

Although you’ve got to scroll to the bottom of the page to see this section, the iPhone and Android logos point to the fact that they’ve got apps.

And while they don’t promote the fact that they’ve got a mobile version of their site too, they do.

HSN’s apps are promoted in a similar fashion as ShopNBC, but not quite as well.

Although it's not explicit, HSN lets you know they've got something for mobile.

The mobile phone logo, appears in a banner below the fold of the page, under the title “HSN Everywhere”.

But where HSN falls short in the visual promotion, it more than makes up for it with the breadth and depth of it’s mobile app offering.

HSN has apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Nokia, Windows Mobile 7 and offers a mobile web version of their site and an SMS service.

QVC does the worst job of promoting the fact that it’s got a mobile offering.

C'mon QVC! You've got to do better than this! Site map, really?

The link to their mobile app is buried in the site map, located at the bottom of the home page, with no icons and even less fanfare.

QVC only offers an iPhone version of their app, and they don’t have a mobile site at all.

I took each of the apps for a test drive to see how well they were built.

I didn’t buy anything mind you, but I did check out what they had to offer.

As expected, each of the apps let you to make in-app purchases.

They also have a ‘watch now’ or ‘live’ feature that lets you to follow along with the network programming directly from your device.

There is a short time delay between the live show and the mobile version, but it’s not material.

But there are material differences in how the live viewing options work on the respective apps.

HSN does the best job for a few reasons, including the fact that it utilizes the accelerometer of the iOS devices, allowing you to watch in both landscape and portrait modes.

HSN's app is the hands down fave!

The menus and content streams, that frame the viewing area, adjust, letting you expand or collapse the screen to watch in full screen/partial screen mode.

While HSN gives you multiple viewing options, ShopNBC’s live viewing is only viewable in full screen landscape mode.

And unlike the HSN app, you’ve got to quit the video, in order to interact with any other content on their app.

QVC’s iPhone app works similarly to HSN’s and is viewable in both landscape or portrait mode.

In landscape mode, the dash slides away letting you watch full screen.

Sorry QVC, but watching TV on the iPhone simply isn't the move. Make an iPad app!

But after experiencing HSN and ShopNBC’s apps in the larger form factor of the iPad, watching QVC’s show on the iPhone was markedly underwhelming.

Each of these apps had their pluses. But hands down, HSN is clearly the most progressive and forward thinking of these home shopping networks.

They have the most comprehensive suite of options for accessing their brand.

Notwithstanding my critiques, each of these brands are clearly thinking about how to help shoppers get the most out of their connected devices.

And at the end of the day, if you’re a ‘shoppy’, you should be over the moon!

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Filed under apps, branding, iPad, iPhone, mobile, opinion, technology

Superbowl XLVI and Social Media: A Wish List

Which brands will freak social media this year?

Tomorrow night, the New York Giants will play the New England Patriots in Superbowl XLVI.

While most will be focusing on the game, for marketers, talk always turns to the commercials that air during the game.

With an estimated audience of 111 million, advertisers are queued up to spend $3 million for a thirty second spot, all in hopes of making an impact on that audience.

A well executed commercial can leave an impression on viewers that will last for months afterward and translate into money well spent by the brand(s) that get it right.

Volkswagon’s Young Vader commercial, which aired during Superbowl XLV has garnered over 50 million views to date, and was by far, one of the most popular commercials of the game.

While talk usually revolves around what Superbowl commercials the big brands are planning, I’m more interested in seeing how (and whether) these same brands integrate social media into their campaigns.

Aside from making their commercials available on YouTube (which is valuable), I’m curious as to how many have planned more comprehensive social media campaigns.

I’d imagine that we’re going see a number of calls-to-action involving ‘liking’ this brand or that on Facebook.

Quite passe, if you ask me.

But aside from the standards, like this or follow that, are any of these brands thinking outside of the box?

My wish list for this year’s Superbowl is to see brands utilizing social media in new and innovative ways.

I, for one, am going to be keeping a watchful eye for anything extraordinary tomorrow.

I’m also going to be looking out for which commercials create the biggest buzz during the game.

Which commercials are trending on Twitter?

Which brands get people updating their status with ‘LMFAO’s?

Which commercials get shared the most?

SMS. SnapTags. QR Codes. Spoof videos. Mobile-only content. I’m expecting it all!

Since my Cowboys were unceremoniously drummed out of Superbowl contention by the Giants (damn you Eli!), I’ve got no skin in the game.

So, don’t worry. I won’t be distracted rooting for any team. I know you were concerned.

I’ll keep a scorecard of who did what, paying special attention to the campaigns that tricked out their social media components.

Check in Monday for my post-game survey.

Go <fill in the name of your team here>!

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QR Codes are cool!

I generated this QR Code using QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project.

If you’re not up on anything that’s happening in the digital world, you probably haven’t peeped QR codes.

Although you’ve probably seen these weird squiggly things on business cards, flyers or maybe even the last time you went shopping at Macy’s, it probably escaped you that these little boxes were the wave of the future.

What is a QR Code?

Well Wikipedia describes a QR Code (short for Quick Response) as a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

The QR code above was generated using a free online QR code generator. To see what’s encoded, you’ve got to:

1.  Have a QR reader on your phone. If you’ve got an iPhone, I recommend QRReader. *Download it to your device.

2.  Open your QR reader on your device. If it seems like you’ve turned on your camera, it’s ok. That’s what’s supposed to happen.

3.  Point your camera at the QR reader until it’s centered on the screen.

4.  Watch the magic happen!

You can do really cool things with QR codes beyond simply sharing your information.

For example, you can launch a video, send text, trigger an SMS or direct viewers to a URL.

Here are a few more that I think you’ll enjoy:

Point your phone at this QR code for a sexy experience.

In this example our QR code launches a video on Vimeo of a short film produced by Firststar Films/Viral Cinema for Black Box a custom accessories boutique in Tribeca.

QR Codes can be used to generate text messages too!

Although this is just a sample, QR codes can generate real SMS/text messages, delivered right to your phone.

QR codes can trigger much more sophisticated actions, beyond simply opening a URL or driving simple text messages. In fact Google’s mobile Android operating system incorporates QR readers natively into it’s architecture, allowing it to trigger more complex processes.

Brands are only starting to flirt with QR codes in the States, but I project that as they start to proliferate, you’ll find more exotic and innovative things being done.

I hope this has been instructive, and feel free to reach out to me if you’ve got questions on QR codes, mobile, apps or whatever!

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Go mobile or go the way of the dinosaur.

Ad & Marketing Industry News

Last night, I read an article in AdAge about how both Google and Facebook were staking their respective futures on mobile, and how mobile was increasingly becoming the foundation of their efforts.

The Marksmen are a production unit ahead of their time.

Since 2005, when I started working with The Marksmen, developing applications that could be accessed and utilized from mobile devices (it all started with the Treo), I knew that mobile represented the future of computing.

Notice I said “computing” as opposed to content consumption or the internet, because with the advent of the smartphone, there are fewer and fewer things that one can do exclusively on a PC that can’t be done on a mobile device.

It was while at DOT.TUNES that I cut my mobile teeth.

From there it was DOT.TUNES, the first mobile application developed for the iPhone BEFORE the release of the iPhone SDK, which allowed users to remotely access their entire iTunes library directly from their mobile devices (even if it wasn’t an iPhone – holla!).

I even did a stint at MX Telecom (now OpenMarket), one of the largest mobile aggregators in the world, to learn about the ins-and-outs of the mobile industry, from the perspective of the underlying technology behind SMS/MMS/PSMS/Wap, mobile billing, etc.

Ever since, I have been preaching about the importance of mobile to anyone who would listen.

I tell virtually all the clients I consult, that they need to adopt a mobile strategy.

Set up a basic SMS service.

Build a mobile version (or mobile optimized version) of your website.

Create a brand specific mobile app.

Do anything to incorporate some mobile elements to your brand identity or risk going the way of the dinosaur.

I’m saying, if Google and Facebook are banking so heavily on it, doesn’t it seem to make good business sense?

They’re only multi-billion dollar companies.

Clearly, there is some wisdom to their actions.

WeHarlem knows mobile. Do you WeHarlem?

Recently, I’ve been speaking with Sergio Lilavois, one of the founding partners of WeHarlem, an interactive e-community for those that live, work or socialize in Harlem.

WeHarlem has launched several innovative initiatives directed squarely at harnessing and applying the power of mobile devices.

They have a social media website, WeHarlem.com, which links residents and local businesses.

In addition, they developed device specific applications, for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices, giving WeHarlem users the ability to access all of WeHarlem’s features on-the-go.

One of the most valuable features of WeHarlem’s mobile app, is the Wi-Fi locator, which enables users to find Harlem businesses offering free Wi-Fi in their establishments.

WeHarlem’s strategy involves providing Harlem residents and businesses with bi-directional utility, generating foot-traffic, loyalty and retention.

We’re in discussions right now to help bring businesses even deeper into the fold, by offering services to enable them to more closely connect with their target audiences using mobile and social media technology.

There have been other shining moments, when the strategies I propose actually gain a foothold.

Vincent Morgan, for example, knew immediately that he wanted it all, a mobile version of his primary website and an SMS alert service.

Although he failed in his efforts to dethrone Charles Rangel, he succeeded in rewriting the way candidates utilize the web, social media and mobile in their campaigns.

Anyway, the AdAge article renewed my passion for evangelizing mobile and I will continue to preach the value of mobile to all who will listen!

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