Posted By: Mark Challinor
Posted Date: March 2016
The development of real-time location technology such as iBeacons is growing quickly and has important implications for publishers.
Not surprisingly perhaps, Apple was the first to launch with the Apple iBeacon. Soon after, Samsung launched its “proximity” service as the “mobile marketing platform that connects consumers in places via context-aware technology.”
The potential of this technology is fairly limitless, but it’s made mainly for retail sales. That’s important for publishers as many of their advertisers are indeed retailers.
If we are to offer creative, bespoke advertising solutions in the future based on Big Data extrapolation, we need to look at what location technology can offer for us so we can offer it in turn to advertisers. We also need to be able to use it and collect valuable data from events we organise ourselves.
So, to understand the technology here, imagine you are in a major department store to purchase a coat. If the department store used location technology via in-store transmitters, upon arrival, the store could tell you not only what coats are currently available, but also what gloves might match and where they can be found in the store.
It might also send you a discount coupon that could be redeemed for 20% off for the next hour, for example, to encourage a purchase.
Up-selling in store no longer needs to be done by the sales people on the ground, because it can be done via a smartphone in the palm of your hand.
Now, imagine offering this service to an advertiser. They would probably bite your hand off for it. Is this a service you can add to a creative solutions package?
The development of this type of technology is making way for a new breed of thinking, driving really effective and collaborative partnerships that want (and deliver) a much deeper understanding of consumer behaviour and engagement.
This potential need not only be applied to department stores, but also within sports stadia, summer music festivals, museums, expos, conferences, and, of course, publisher events allowing sponsors and organisers to influence and engage with their audiences at a level never seen before.
Additionally, this is an opportunity to collect data based on the behaviour witnessed.
The data angle of this technology is requires understanding the actual information location technology generates. Rewarding loyal, frequent customers with bespoke awards offers brands an extended and real asset to target and communicate to specific demographics whether by age, social profile etc.
For example, a relationship with a news media organisation may provide a discount off a subscription to the local newspaper redeemable at a news kiosk in store or a free trial copy of today’s publication.
And of course, the rise (and continued rise!) of the smartphone phenomena makes it all the much easier and, well, smarter!
News media organisations need to take greater ownership in the events and advertiser solutions they support and offer. Data gleaned leads to greater insight into the future and better commercial solutions that ultimately drive sales of both advertisers’ and publishers’ products and services.
This is what is beginning to excite many senior-level marketers round the world today.
We can learn from those marketers who are driven by media content because they know it works for them. However, our own creative solutions shouldn’t be restricted by this alone.
Instead, news media professionals need to start analysing and questioning the real value of the company’s overall goals and ensuring involvement in location technology initiatives drives the common purpose. This would normally include getting closer to readers with more tailored future interactions.
Using location services not only helps news brands do their jobs better, but, more importantly, adds huge value to the customer experience, which is what matters most.
In the future, I believe that it will all be about the experience. Creating a better experience leads to a whole new breed of ambassadors for our brands. Never forget the power of mass endorsement from the people who matter most — our loyal customers.
Posted By: Mark Challinor
Posted Date: February 2016
Mobile messaging is the ability to reach readers (and consumers at large) on a one-to-one basis via their mobile device. The process, though, presents a unique challenge for media marketers interested in developing integrated reader experiences.
In 2015, as new ways to mobile message begin to emerge, we can expect to see more integrated campaigns, more clever targeting, and more creativity, but also much confusion as to what the best way is to target mobile users from the options available.
But let’s first take a step back.
Is SMS still relevant?
SMS, for example, is still a powerful mobile channel for many wanting to reach a range of users. But newer options such as push notifications inside news apps are emerging.
So, in getting closer to our readers, we need to consider how the mobile media landscape is going to change in the foreseeable future to identify the most effective ways to reach therm.
While location technologies are very likely to change the mobile advertising market significantly, the purchasing path is a still a poor experience in many cases.
The truth is, while mobile is playing a big part, readers and consumers generally are spending chunks of their day on desktop and other digital devices as they research products before coming to a buying decision. It’s all very fragmented.
Brands are increasingly recognising this, yet we all want integrated loyalty and communications programmes that not only deliver consistent brand experiences (across devices) but also make the most of existing marketing schemes.
Some marketing technologies are more effective at enabling information sharing and allowing for “digital harmony” than others. Guess what? SMS still wins here as one of the best ways to reach mobile users at scale.
What’s more, wireless networks and operators worldwide are increasing SMS geo-fencing capabilities for location-based targeting. However, many brands are not convinced anymore of SMS’s future potential due in part to the growth on platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Whats App.
Alternatively, the challenge for push notifications is that not all readers and consumers download (and regularly use) a brand’s mobile app.
Can you see the possible confusion I mentioned at the start here?
The new kid on the block
And what about beacon technology? The linking of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology with apps could be a powerful combination, particularly for our own outdoor marketing and our retail advertisers, by using beacons in stores and at events.
A beacon initiative that incorporates a smartphone app with immediate coupon redemption and a mobile payment could reduce much of the fragmentation and could be a powerful, bespoke campaign opportunity we could monetise as part of an advertising package to brands and agencies.
With beacons, we just need to be careful not to turn off consumers by sending too many messages. This is potentially a very powerful technology if we use it wisely.
Ultimately, it is the customer who is dictating where marketing monies are being spent with adoption rates. We as media brands need to understand the reader profiles we’re dealing with and engage with them in a consistent manner (e.g. an e-mail to our most loyal readers needs to have the same voice as a direct mail piece or an SMS or push notification).
The message needs to help tell the overall story, and each of these things should be a piece of it.
Mobile needs to be at the centre of a multi-channel strategy. It is just a case of which of the mobile offerings to use and how to use them that is still to be determined. This year will help make some sense of it, I believe, as case studies start to emerge (such as this space regarding beacons, for instance).
And which offerings media companies decide to use in their mobile marketing strategies should always synchronise to their audience’s behaviours, needs, and desires.
If you don’t have a simple and easy to use/understand, mobile-optimised method for readers to get relevant editorial and ad content, updates, and information — especially in the way they would want to receive it — they will go to a competitor that is thinking about them ... and “subscribe” to them instead, both literally and mentally.
Experiment with mobile messaging to see which is right for you. Don’t be afraid to fail but fail fast and move on. And always remember the extremely personal nature of mobile. Get the right message at the right time to the right audience. Be contextual, be relevant.
One thing is for sure, though: Mobile messaging in whatever form is here to stay. Embrace it as a powerful tool to reach your audiences.
5 errors media companies make with mobile — and a lesson from The Beatles.
Posted By: Mark Challinor
Posted Date: Autumn 2015
When I present (which I have been doing at many media companies and conferences over the past few years), I always find myself focusing on the power of creativity.
As a “mobile evangelist,” I have come to realise the importance of using a creative approach to increasing the impact of your efforts in a world where “average” is awful.
Today, with rich media, HTML5, touch screens, and the Internet of Things, expectations are sky high from your readers and advertisers in mobile, where an increasingly creative world is being formed.
The question, therefore, is, are you changing your approach enough to match those expectations? In essence, does your approach reflect the environment around you?
General psycho-analytical research over many years has shown that traits and behaviours are actually extremely flexible, meaning you are able to develop, enhance, and improve on them to better serve your readers and advertisers. We just need to have the right attitude and belief in ourselves.
Here are five – perhaps stupid – errors we sometimes make by taking a fixed, “static mindset” approach, and some suggestions of ways in which you can become more creative:
1. Believing you can't think creatively.
If you want to become better creatively, research ways in which you could complete tasks differently. Hunt out the people in and around your organisation who reflect a more positive and alternative approach. Don’t surround yourself with negativity and negative people. They will bring you down.
John Hegarty, founding partner of worldwide advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty (BBH), once said cynics destroy creativity. Don’t associate yourself with them. “A cynic,” he said, “is a man who, when he smells flowers, looks for a coffin!” How true! Avoid these people at all costs.
2. Wanting to be viewed in a specific way.
So many of us are guilty of adapting our behaviours and actions so that other people will think of us in a certain way. Usually those people are our bosses and peers.
Be your real self! You’ve been hired to deliver great results based on what you’ve brought to the scene previously. Believe in yourself. The people who appreciate your efforts most are the people with whom you should surround yourself (see point number one above).
As the Nike brand tag line says, “Just do it!”
3. Avoiding challenges for fera of failure
Challenges (and sometime failures) are crucial in helping us grow and learn. If you don’t fail atanything, you’re less likely to grow. Take a few risks, look for challenges, and try to do things a bit differently.
Too many media companies have cultures that don’t allow for failures on their mobile development road maps. You need to allow for this. Creativity then flourishes. Fail if need be, as part of an experiment culture (mobile is still a new environment, after all). But fail fast, learn, and move on!
4. Giving up too easily.
Persist! Don’t let barriers stop you (usually internal politics, fear of failure, etc.). Rather, let them be your motivation. Remember that many creatively excellent examples never came easily!
Thomas Edison, who invented the lightbulb, once said that, in getting to the point of a truly functional, working lightbulb, he had to refine it many, many times. “I simply found 10,000 ways where it didn’t work, at first,” he said wryly. But he kept going ... and ultimately, changed the world.
5. Ignoring useful negative feedback.
No matter how hard it can be to hear, negative feedback is helping progress. The people who give you the feedback usually want to help you. Really! Embrace this. To improve your efforts, ensure you listen to their feedback and consider adapting what you’re doing appropriately.
A good example: I was born in the great city of Liverpool, England, the birthplace of The Beatles. Sir Paul McCartney was once asked, just as he was about to take to the stage at the famous Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, amid intense noise and screaming from fans, “Aren’t you nervous?” “No,” he said. “Everyone is here to see me do well, so I need to deliver that. If I thought about it too much, I would be, but ‘fearless’ is the key.” I can honestly say, I have always remembered and taken inspiration from this in life.
Are you fearless?
Take inspiration from key people and learn from them. Ask how they got to where they are today and the secrets of their success.
Try and break the mould of how you think about your mobile efforts. In mobile advertising today, there are many ways to engage readers that weren’t possible a few years ago. Smartphones offer amazingly creative
possibilities. The mobile environment will only get more complex as time elapses with all manner of smartwatches and other connected devices.
By thinking creatively, you will not only be capable of achieving better results, but you will also enjoy what you are doing more. I know this to be true.
Sometimes it can be hard to shift the “static mindset” thinking. But by learning to challenge this, you’ll be able to adapt the way you approach and think about how you best deliver creative excellence to your audiences.
Remember the words of The Beatles.