As you remember from here, a few weeks back, I decided I wanted to to upgrade my older G1 to the new G2. I was getting tired of having to delete things every time I wanted to add a program and it was getting a little slow on me. Plus, honestly, I haven't had the coolest, latest phone since I bought the original iPhone a few years back.
The problem was that as an existing customer, I wasn't able to get an upgrade until August of next year. While that would be good for whatever phones were available then, it certainly didn't help me now. And paying $500 for the phone seemed like a pretty dumb idea.
I had been to several locations in the city and they all told me the same thing -- I needed to wait until August or cough up $500 bucks. So, I went to my local T-mobile store to see what they could do.
Carlos was on duty and he punched me into the system to see what upgrades were available to me and, as expected, there were none. But as he continued to look at my account, he realized that I've been a customer for a number of years and on the spot gave me the phone for the $199 price (Yes, I probably could've pushed for a better price, I know others who did.). He started right away on the paperwork with no questions asked. His comment was that it was important to keep existing clients happy.
The entire staff there was great, with everyone helping me whenever I came by with questions or problems. The battery life was really terrible, but that seems pretty standard for smart phones these days. But a few days in, my entire contact database started disappearing. Since it's always synched with my Gmail account, I didn't lose anything, but it was kind of annoying to suddenly not have any contacts with me. I took it back to see what I should do and they swapped phones for me. Again, their attitude was "Yes, we could have you call customer service and go through that whole process or we can just take care of the problem."
I know that I can go back there at any time and they'll take care of me. That's what great customer service is all about. They know me, they take care of me. They don't make me jump through hoops to get something done. Hats off to Carlos, Rob, Alden and the whole crew there.
An interesting side note, I've now spent a lot of time looking at sites like TmoNews (The unofficial T-Mobile blog) and other sites, listening to what people are saying about T-Mobile and the service they provide. While they seem to be working to catch up with larger cell companies like AT&T and Verizon, most of their customers think they should be zigging when everyone else is zagging.
For example, I think they should offer An Early Adopter Program, rather then charging existing customers more to upgrade their phones. This would be something very different then what other cell companies are doing and maybe get them some positive attention.
Recently there have been lots of rumors about T-Mobile letting its customers tether through the phones. Some phones, like the Nexus One already does it. The phone I have has the software on it, it's just been disabled by T-Mobile. Just read what existing customers have to say about this at T-Mobile Launching $14.99 Tethering Plan November 3rd. Other then wanting to make more money, no one can understand why we have to pay extra for something we're already paying for if you have a data plan. How I use my data shouldn't matter and T-Mobile knows that. I'm OK paying for different levels of usage, but if I'm paying for 5GB (which I am now), it shouldn't matter if I use it on my phone or by tethering to my iPad.
I would love to see one of the telco's step up and try something different. Since I'm already a customers of theirs, it would be nice if it was T-Mobile. With AT&T rumored to be losing iPhone exclusivity in 2011, people will be willing to move to new carriers. T-Mobile could pick up a lot by offering things like free tethering and continuing their excellent customer service.
It's funny when I watch an older movie with Sydney and she can't understand why they just don't look something up online or use their cell phone. She sometimes forgets that those things didn't exist when I was a kid.
Now College Humor is out with a funny clip showing what would happen if smart phones were in those older movies. Need to watch them more often!
What does an abundance of information create? Basically a scarcity of attention.
We spend a lot of time trying to figure out how all of this information impacts us today. We talk about the ability to multitask, but I'm not sure we've mastered it as much as we think we have.
And the interesting thing about the quote from Samuel Johnson was that it was written in 1751. So, one hundred and fifty years ago, people were complaining that there were too many ads in the world.
A study out today shows what happens when we place ads everywhere, without context or relevance to the audience. Now, I know that they're writing to be excited about the data, but let's look at what it really means. With ad networks and video content almost everywhere we go, 70% of the people surveyed didn't remember seeing any of it. 70%. And thirty percent only remembered that they saw something. Maybe they did ask about what they saw, but that's not listed here in the article. So, only 30% of people surveyed about a completely ubiquitous form of advertising remember seeing something in the last 30 days.
I think the mall stats are pretty frightening. I haven't been to a mall lately without there being digital screens everywhere and if 85% of the people aren't seeing them at all, then it would seem to me that's a pretty big fail. Same thing for doctors offices. I was just at an appointment with my wife and they had a screen right in the center of the waiting room. I don't know how anyone could miss it. Come to think of it, I can't remember if it was on or not. And that was about 2 weeks ago and I'm in the business!
For years I've been telling people that you need to create compelling, authentic and relevant brand experiences to connect with todays audiences. But it's easier to just repurpose existing content and slap it up wherever we can. And, since this is one of my soap box items, we keep talking about the consumer being in control while looking for advertising that they can't turn off. Folks, we can't have it both ways. I wrote this in 2006:
So, let’s once again be clear about this. Advertising based on the fact that you can’t turn it off IS NOT A GOOD ADVERTISING MEDIUM. That’s what got the industry into the situation we’re in now. People don’t like continually being force-fed advertising.
You don’t build a relationship with anyone when you start by talking about the fact that they can’t avoid you. You can’t think reach and frequency and relationship building at the same time. They usually, in fact, work against each other.
When we just place content, without thinking through context and relevancy, it seems pretty clear that we create something that a big hunk of the audience ignores. When I did the msnbc.com NewsBreaker Live game a few years back, we scored 80%+ who played the game and 70% unaided recall. That's because people enjoyed the game and we created the right context. Going to the cinema is a social experience, as was playing a group game. In fact, when we did it in the UK, people enjoyed the entire movie going experience if they played the game first.
Not to mention that right now, lots of folks have a digital signage network in their pockets, thanks to their smart phones. With augmented reality, QR codes and bar code readers on the phones, we should be looking for ways to deliver more relevant content. But again, it's easier to just repurpose content we already have then it is to create something that would potentially be of more value to the consumer.
Don’t we understand that the reason brands are seeing a decline in the effectiveness of TV advertising is that we don’t like ads interrupting everything we do? If you’re involved in putting together one of these in-store networks, ask yourself: How many of your friends, not in the advertising business, have said to you—“Hey, can you put up lots of monitors in your store and run commercials on them?” My guess is not that many.
Where does “create a better experience” fall on your list of reasons to install a digital network? My guess is that the top spots are occupied by “increase revenue” or “create opportunities to promote partners” and somewhere further down the line is create a better retail experience. And even when it’s on the list, my guess is that few people have actually defined how it will create a better experience for the consumer.
So, stop what you’re doing right now and look at your experience first. If it doesn’t create a truly better experience for your audience first, you’re not doing it right.
Newly released survey data from GfK MRI confirm the popular wisdom that consumers can run but they can't hide from advertising. Thirty percent of respondents said they'd seen a "place-based" video ad in the 30 days before being queried.
Stores were the venue in which respondents to the polling (conducted this past spring) were likeliest to have encountered video advertising within that 30-day period, with 19 percent saying they'd done so.
Other places registering in double digits were shopping malls (15 percent), restaurants (11 percent) and medical offices (11 percent). Slightly fewer reported seeing video ads within the 30-day period in bars/pubs (9 percent), airports (8 percent) or gyms/health clubs (7 percent). As GfK MRI says in its analysis of the data, the percentages translate into a total of 67.4 million adults who saw video ads in these locations.
I'm helping on another conference in the retail space on November 4th & 5th here in NYC. The Point of Purchase environment is going through some pretty significant changes, both because of the technologies that are available and the changes in retail itself. You can click here to see the full agenda and get additional information about the program.
In addition to speaking at the conference, I'll be leading a retail tour on Friday, exploring how retailers are making changes to engage todays consumer.
Hope that you'll join us!
Your in-store marketing strategies may have included point-of-purchase displays, digital signage or even interactive displays in the past. But today’s consumer-driven technology continues to evolve, placing the at-retail environment in the best position to utilize these new tools to influence shopper behavior. Yet, many companies are overwhelmed with the rate of technology change and challenged to find ways to adopt technology into the right state.
You need to stay current with the latest technology, understand new research on shopper behavior, and develop a fresh perspective – All to ensure a winning strategy!
POPAI’s Marketing at Retail Technology and Shopper Behavior Conference will help you find answers to many pressing questions, including the following:
How do you incorporate smartphone apps, mobile advertising, near field communications, location based services, instant messaging, mobile couponing, interactive digital signage, augmented reality and more into your brand or retail strategy today?
How do you align your current business and marketing objectives with the opportunities presented by these new technologies?
How do you adapt externally and re-organize internally to capitalize on this emerging technology?
For this Breakthrough Thinking conference, we are assembling technology leaders in this space along with current practitioners to help you formulate stronger marketing strategies which includes effectively deploying such technologies.
Who should attend? Senior Brand and Retail Marketing executives; Communications and Strategy Officers; Buyers of displays, digital signage, mobile marketing; and Executives from companies providing products and services to the Marketing at Retail industry.
I'll be participating in the upcoming RAMA Creative Summit 2010 in Dallas next month. Another great lineup and as its designed to be a small group, a great opportunity to engage in real conversations that will impact your business. Click on the link above for additional details and registration information.
I'm very excited to be attending the Pivot Conference, starting tomorrow evening in NYC. There's a great line-up of speakers, including:
Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief, The Huffington Post
C.C. Chapman, Founder, Digital Dads
David Kirkpatrick, Author, The Facebook Effect
Deb Schultz, Partner, Altimeter Group
Douglas Rushkoff, Author, Program or Be Programmed
Esther Dyson, Chairman, EDventure
Henry Blodget, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, The Business Insider
Porter Gale, VP Marketing, Virgin America
Samir Arora, Founder and CEO, Glam Media
Stefan Weitz, Director, Microsoft Bing
And many others
You can go to Agenda « Pivot to see the full agenda for the three days. Topics include:
The Activist Consumer - Consumers will pay more for brands that support their social concerns. How can brands leverage cause-based efforts in their marketing with authenticity?
The Extrovert - Is privacy generational? Or is a shift taking place? How must brand managers respect the privacy of consumers who apparently have little regard for their own?
Motives and Motivations: What Drives the Always-On Consumer? - What makes some brands more successful than others? They understand who’s buying.
The Cynic - Gen Y approaches the market with a keen eye toward authenticity and candor. Are you up for the “bullshit-free” branding challenge?
Mixed Media - While some would pit a battle against “old media” and “social media,” the real struggle is on the “omni-media” frontier. How can brands win using the entire arsenal of media types?
Wherever You Are, There You Are - “Place” has become “media.” Foursquare talks about how location is contest for news, information and social interaction.
The New Marketing Organization – How must marketing organizations change to implement strategy of inclusion and two-way conversations?
CLOSING KEYNOTE: Branding Doesn’t Work! So Now What? – Douglas Rushkoff is a keen observer of current culture. His Program or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age gives us a blueprint for navigating the current times.
I'll be life blogging and Tweeting from the event, so look for updates throughout the program. Have any questions for the program, let me know.
Join Pivot, the marketing conference for Brand Marketers that seeks to understand the style, attitudes, technologies, and preferences of the 18-34 year-old consumer. Learn what motivates young consumers to make brand choices. Adopt the language that resonates with them. Engage in the experience of social marketing. Reach the always-on consumer.
Using a format designed to emulate the social conversations that occur every day in the consumer marketplace, the conference will deliver the context and understanding to enable Brand Marketers to map a strategy of successful engagement with this market. The conference will be attended by 500+ Brand Marketers with $1 million in annual spending authority.
Day One features an opening keynote which will be followed by a fantastic party and the opportunity to engage with your brand-marketing peers. Day Two explores the attitudes, culture, and preferences of the emerging consumer, and Day Three takes a deep dive into strategies, language and tools to engage effectively.
Big announcement yesterday that Bing & Facebook have created a new search partnership. In addition to regular search results, you'll also get Liked results, showing you what your friends have thought about whatever you're searching on. Look at one of the critical conclusions that Fast Company has drawn based on this new partnership:
Companies have to focus on creating great customer experiences. Because when their customers go searching online—for a movie, a camera, a travel destination—their friends’ recommendations are going to be front and center. Launched a store that no one "Liked?" you’re not going to show up in the search results.
Silicon Alley Insider has a pretty clear look at how it might work. "For example, Microsoft online veteran Yusuf Mehdi demonstrated that if you're looking for a steak house in San Francisco, Bing wil be able to look at your friends' likes and dislikes to rank certain restaurants higher or lower. Same thing with videos: a video that a lot of your friends have posted will show up higher in Bing results than a video that hasn't."
Google algorithms have been great, but they can be easy to game if you know what you're doing. Plus, they're based on connections, so it's possible that the really best results turn up on top because people click it first. Many times, I find that the top results aren't always the most relevant.
But adding how people are really ranking the business is pretty interesting. And this is closer to how we search for things in real life. I ask friends and family what they think. Combining that with other search information, gives me a potentially much better picture in the results.
Interesting to see where search goes from here and how Google will respond.
Among the features Bing is rolling out to users in the coming days is a module called “Liked Results” to its search results. Looking for information on that new Tom Cruise movie? On Google, your search engine would serve up the relevant pages it has calculated are the most popular. On Bing, as of now, it serves up the regular Google-style results and a module that shows you pages your friends have liked -- including, for example, movie reviews. You no longer have to do the work of trolling through search results to figure out which of the pages might tell you whether the movie’s a hit or a bomb. Trust your friend Sara’s taste? Click on the page she Liked.
So, as the ad industry continues to talk about how the consumer is in control, they also spend a great deal of time trying to figure how to take away that control from them. How's this for a quote:
"At the end of the day, there's very little difference between what a DVR and VOD allows you to do. . .there's overlap between them, but [a DVR] allows you a lot more control as a viewer."
So networks want to push VOD over DVR's because DVR gives a lot more control to the consumer? Yep, that certainly sounds like we're putting the consumer first, eh? When you add the fact that many networks now take up 20% - 25% of the screen to hype a show other then the one you're watching -- now complete with sound & motion -- and I start to think that maybe the ad industry doesn't really believe this "consumer in control" thing.
Now, I do believe that there is a value equation here, but I also think it's changing. Before cable, when we really didn't pay for TV, we excepted commercials as the payment for getting our shows. With cable, that equation changed. After all, we are paying now to get the cable and those channels. But, we tolerate commercials anyway. And it seems that we'll watch commercials in exchange for more freedom to watch shows when we want. Right now, that might still be an acceptable value exchange for consumers, but we'll see how long that lasts.
Of course, there's no mention of creating better commercials that people actually want to watch. And that's the challenge with any ad that's delivered without consumer control. As long as they don't have any choice, we don't really worry much about the content.
I wonder what would happen if agencies got paid based on the Nielsen ratings for their commercials. If most people skip your commercial, you don't get paid. If it draws big numbers, you get paid a lot. Betcha' that would change the industry a lot.
In the meantime, let's stop pretending the consumers in control. Because really, that's not how we treat them.
TV networks are scrambling to come up with a way to force viewers to sit through commercials.
If they had their way, you'd never be able to fast forward through an ad again.
Right now, their best bet for keeping viewer eyeballs glued to those all-important cash cow ads is to supplant DVRs -- a paid service-- with fast forward-disabled video on demand (VOD), which is included in your cable bill. Believe it or not, networks are actually finding that viewers are more than happy to put up with commercials if it means being able to watch shows whenever they want and not having to pay extra to do so.