Tomi Ahonen Almanac 2009 A comprehensive statistical review of the total mobile industry, in 171 pages, has 70 tables and charts, and fits on your smartphone to carry in your pocket every day.
Tomi's eBooks on Mobile Pearls
Pearls Vol 1: Mobile Advertising Tomi's first eBook is 171 pages with 50 case studies of real cases of mobile advertising and marketing in 19 countries on four continents. See this link for the only place where you can order the eBook for download
Rolex ran an ad campaign to drive visitors to its mobile website. The magazine print ads used a technology by Pongr that recognizes images - so the reader of the magazine need only take a pictue of the magazine ad, and send that to Pongr who use image-recognition to see what ad it was relating to. Pretty clever, although I think in the near term, QR Codes will still be the main way to do magazine interactivity with mobile. The Rolex campaign was covered in Mobile Markter.
We have just heard about the Hilton Hotels international chain new iPhone app as their way to give customers mobile phone based service. It has been downloaded 126,000 times and has satisfied users, whose fave use is... to order room service.
First - remember once again, that 'if the only tool you know is a hammer, every problem will look like a nail'. Second, this iPhone app needed planning and development and 'design' to fit the look-and-feel of Hilton and their branding etc. And what do they get for it. 0.7% - under one perent, zero-point-seven percent of all the phones on the planet are iPhones.
If the iPhone was the world's first mobile phone with interactivity, that would be fine. But it is not. In fact all 100% of mobile phones can do SMS - and you can create a service to allow travellers to order room service via SMS - at FAR LESSER cost than it took to design an iPhone app. And fully interactive, web-like experiences can be deployed on WAP - 95% of all phones in use on the planet support either WAP or a better browser. If the service is designed to run on WAP, the same service can easily be adapted to xTML ie design once and use that concept to deliver browser based Hilton services to 95% of all phones. Now, who stays in a Hilton Hotel? It won't be a super-poor African family that bought a 15 dollar phone. So yes, out of travellers to Hilton hotels - certainly 100% can do WAP.
And in many cases the same or equivalent result can be delivered via MMS - why not show the room service menu on MMS (MMS is interactive just like SMS) and do it at less development cost - and reach 80% of all phones on the planet, and at least 90% of the phones used by Hilton level hotel guests.
You say its impossible, WAP is crap, nobody uses MMS etc. Totally lies. The fact is - more people use browser based servies on phones than on PCs - don't take my word for it, Nokia CEO Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo said so earlier this year. Only 500 million phones are smartphones - so most of that browsing is done on WAP. And WAP can bring totally satisfied users - witness award-winning Flirtomatic. So you say thats flirting, how about travel? UK's Kizoom has been giving UK public transportation users up-to-the-minute travel details via WAP for a decade.
And now the kicker. Finnair launched SMS based mobile check-in in 2001. They expanded it to include WAP. Today, on Finnair's busy routes, more than half of their passengers use mobile check-in. Travel. Passengers. SMS and WAP. Totally satisfied repeat customers. If Hilton can find 126,000 people to download an iPhone app - they could easily have 10 million satisfied users of a well-designed travel-oriented service on SMS, WAP and/or MMS. And yes, to build an iPhone app, so that 0.7% can order room service - when 3.5 Billion people are active users of SMS - and text messaging can just as easily order room service this is very bad strategy by Hilton.
Don't misunderstand me, apps can be good, apps can be great. But who in 'customer service' will select a platform that reaches under one percent of potential users, when rival platforms reach EVERY ONE ? And the development costs are equivalent (usually SMS and MMS cheaper than iPhone app actually). Not to mention, iPhone apps for international travellers - this is going to kill them in data roaming charges! Again the reason to go with SMS and MMS (they too have roaming charges but far far less) and WAP forces you to be very precise and limited in your design, again minimizing data transmission costs. I wonder how many of those 126K Hilton travellers will suddenly call up very angry when they do their first international trip and get the sticker shock of having used the Hilton app in a taxi for example. Its CRAZY...
Oh, and Sitaram Shastri ie @seetu commented on Twitter that also we can use IVR. YES ! every single phone can do voice IVR (ie interactive voice response)
So, if I was Marriott or Inter-Continental or Arcor or whoever runs hotels, I'd look into it, then check out some other travel-related innovations, and do a proper travel-oriented CUSTOMER focused service. Get competent WAP and SMS and MMS development support, and get all of my travellers to use the service. Put a little sign at the reigsration desk of the hotel - and another at the conscierge desk and one more in the room - and within two months I'd have 100 times more active users than Hilton has with its 'iPhone app'. This is what I mean, the obsession with iPhone apps right now - when the only tool you know is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail. Very bad idea, Hilton Hotels. Why not do like Lufthansa did, they launched mass-market services first in 2001 on SMS, then on WAP and now today they release a premium apps oriented service. And even if you do that, idiots over there at Hilton - business travellers have Blackberries, not iPhiones, and the world has 10 times more Symbian based smartphones than iPhones. Wake up...
My keynote presentation to Picnic Amsterdam was video recorded, very nicely too, side-by-side showing my slides as well. It is at this link Tomi speaks at Picnic.
The presentation covers first basics of the mobile industry in context of other industries and the growth of the mobile phone through the 'Ten C's. Then it shows how mobile is a new mass media channel, different from the internet. I also briefly address the myths of screen size and tiny keypad. After that I show where the next global growth will be, the so called 'next four billion' (as distinct from the next 2.7 billion, ie that mobile phones will exceed human population on the planet even accounting for poverty, illiteracy, lack of electricity etc. And I discuss ways to build services, show some cool examples and ask for magical innovations. I end with a great example of mobile advertising using MMS. Many have said this is an excellent video and a must-watch and brilliant etc. I can't say haha, its always painful to watch yourself on video.. But enjoy, Tomi speaks at Picnic.
This has been predicted in many places, but nice to see one of the big brands doing it. The user-generated content by sports fans. Yes, CNN is now recruiting i-Reporters for major football (soccer) teams to provide 'fanzone' content. Just a moment ago, CNN said they are for example looking for someone to do i-Reports from Inter Milan the Italian powerhouse football team.
A brief comment only now, will probably write a blog at CDB about this topic in more detail later. But yes, today I had a dialogue of several messages with a friend on Twitter about engagement marketing, and the friend said then that yeah, Amazon is an excellent case of engagement marketing.
And I went through my usual explanations. And I was reminded, so many people now think that Amazon is a good example of engagement marketing. No. Amazon is a GREAT example of interactive marketing, and a FANTASTIC example of data mining of consumer behavior. But it is not engagement marketing. Engagement is when the target of the marketing efforts, is invited to personally get involved in co-creating the marketing experience, for him or herself. Not for the benefit of others.
So, Amazon is interactive advertising. They get us involved on the site. They ask us to post our reviews. That gives NO benefit to me, or the benefit I gain out of Amazon. It ONLY benefits any other buyer of books etc on Amazon, my ratings. And I can get the full benefit of all the ratings on Amazon without ever posting my own review.
Yes, it is interactive, no it is not engagement marketing. Now, Amazon does make magnificent recomendations to me. That it does with its data mining engine. That is not engagement marketing, that is diata mining. They learn more about me based on my interactions on the site - what pages I view, what I buy, and based on that they make clever and very accurate offers for me. But that was done with me passive. I never told them how I want them to communicate with me, the engine works on analyzing my behavior. Amazon does not engage me in a UNIQUE dialogue. Yes, they created a unique profile, but not a unique dialogue. That is the difference.
What is engagement marketing - L'Oreal asks a girl which supermodel she likes, and then ADJUSTS the dialogue from that point on, that all communciations of make-up pictures, feature that fave supermodel. Then asks what is the fave color, and gives that supermodel only in the colors preferred, etc. Asks who is the fave rock music band, and offers the girl a chance to win tickets to see the band live. That is engagement marketing, a whole order of magnitude more deep involvement - where the target of marketing communications becomes actively involved - to 'co-create' the marketing experience. I don't mean to make ads for L'Oreal with a cameraphone - that would be 'user-generated advertising'. I mean co-create - meaning, that the advertiser had previously desgined an engagement marketing dialogue 'script' with all possible outcomes and options. If she says Kate Moss, then show this picture, etc...
This is engagement marketing. Engagement Marketing is the first new advertising format to capitalize on mobile phones, and works tremendously well on MMS picture messaging, and was pretty much invented where picture messaging was invented (and the world's most advanced mobile advertising market) - Japan..Amazon is brilliant interactive advertising and data mining, but it is not engagement marketing..
German E Plus network will be offering some additional SMS text messages and voice minutes, to users who sign up to receive about 25 ads per week. Sounds like a Blyk-clone or perhaps Blyk-variant, or most likely a Blyk-wannabe. Story from GigaOm.
Regular readers of the blog (or the book) will know the secret of Blyk's amazing 25% average response rates, after 2 years, over 2,000 ad campaigns in the UK to over 200,000 customers - note that advertisers had run on average 10 campaigns already in the first 18 months, think of how much it must have successful if giant global brands do 10 campaigns on a new media - but yes, the secret is not to give free ads, it is to build the engagement. I calculated at the CDB blog in March that an average Blyk campaign had a microtargeted focus of only 8,000 users, and generated an average dialogue length of 14 outbound messages from brand to consumer and received on average 4 separate replies. To do that kind of engagement campaign - plan the dialogue for a 2 week discussion - is VERY creative new media work. THAT is the key to Blyk's success, not just giving free minutes and messages. But lets see how E Plus's service turns out to be. Will it be Blyk clone or wannabe. Stay tuned
I just love the creativity at Flirtomatic. Their latest silliness, the virtual ice cube. Of course you want to send your friend an ice cube to his or her phone! Maybe your friend is at a bar, you send the ice cube for the drink. More likely, when the friend is having a bad day, or is in some hot situation (overcrowded bus for example or elevator) then send an ice cube. Wouldn't that be a wonderful way to note that your friend cares, and shares your heated situation, as you see the ice cube arrive onto your phone screen? And yes, like real ice cubes, Flirtomatic virtual ice cubes melt (of course). How cool is that? And how many did they sell - 5,000 in the first week... Yes, mobile is the magical money-making machine.
PS Remember that Flirtomatic and its creative money-making is one of the 16 case studies in the signature book for this blog (Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media) and that Mark Curtis (their CEO) wrote the Foreword to my latest eBook, Tomi Ahonen Pearls Vol 2: Mobile Social Networking. And Mark's own book, Distraction should be in the book cases of every one reading this blog...
Yeah, better late than never. The Canadians have been doing this for some years. The Japanese for most of this decade, and it was invented in Finland in 2001, but yes, American Airlines is now finding mobile phone based check-in the convenience for travellers and the cost-savings method for the airline, and is expanding its mobile check-in to three more airports (Las Vegas, Atlanta, Minneapolis). Meanwhile, back where it started, in Finland Finnair reports on some of its busiest business-passenger routes more than half of passengers now use the service. Yes, this is one of those magical services we can't wait for them to become ubiquitous.
Finnair was the first airline to introduce mobile phone based check-in back in 2001. Now I have updates that up to half of Finnair's passengers on some routes already check in with mobile phones.
I liked the idea and discussed it in my 2002 book, m-Profits. The concept spread and I've occasionally returned to the idea, from reporting that many other airlines from flag carriers like JAL in Japan to Lufthansa in Germany and even discount airlines like Ryanair and Norwegian adopting the concept. I've also given updates from time to time on the Finnair pioneering mobile check-in. And I made it the seventh case study in my current hardcover book Mobile as 7th of the Mass Media. There I report that on some of Finnair's busiest short-haul business travel routes (that have a high percentage of Finnair's frequent fliers, obviously) up to 20% of passengers use the service.
Well, I heard from Book It CEO, Jukka Salonen in Finland. Book It is the company that has developed a more intelligent SMS based interctive system that deploys many innovative services. And they run the advanced version of the Finnair mobile check in today. It has evolved a lot since the first SMS text messaging based mobile check-in that I reported about in 2002, and today includes MMS messages and 2D barcodes and is operational in several airports outside of Finland as well, such as Stockholm and Copenhagen.
But the most amazing numbers. Book It reports that now on some of Finnair's busiest business routes, over half of the passengers use mobile check in. Yes! Magic. Wonderful. This is the future, and it is spreading. Coming soon to an airport near you... Thank you Jukka for the update. If you want to read Book It's press release about the latest in the mobile check in for Finnair, see this link Finnair Introduces 2D Barcodes.
A friend, Matt Harris, wrote to me about a company his friend had set up, which is called My Mobile Witness. Very simple, but elegant service, that helps turn pictures (and I guess videos and sounds) recorded by phone into evidence, with a time-stamp and permanent storage in a safe location. Clever, simple, elegant and fits a particular purpose. It deals with the "available at the point of creative impulse" ie 5th benefit of mobile as the seventh mass media channel. It also works with the personal, permanently carried, and always-on (first, second and third) elements of mobile. Very good. Thanks Matt, let me know how your friend's company is doing so we can celebrate its success in the future.