Varför jag inte tror på Tile

Vad är Tile tänker de flesta av er? Bild

Tile är den nya sortens tingest som ska hjälpa dig att hålla reda på nyckelknippa, mobil eller andra saker som lätt kommer bort…

Lite som den där saken man visslade på som satt på nyckelknippan och som pep tillbaka, Alltså sånt som vi som är lite äldre känner till…

Tanken är tämligen god och det är ett oerhört lyckad lyckat Kickstarterprojekt där man tog in 2,6 miljoner dollar i crowdfunding.

Basen är att du med mobilens bluetooth ska kunna spåra var dina saker befinner sig och i en större förlängning ska du kunna med en molntjänst be andra Tile-användare att hjälpa till att söka efter dina förlorade saker om du befinner dig längre ifrån området än vad bluetooth klarar.

De vill även att man ska ex Tile-märka sin cykel, mobiltelefon väskor i en förlängning.

Min kritik ligger baserat på just detta ovan nämnda.

  1. Bluetooth är inte optimalt, vi vet idag att oerhört få har bluetooth igång löpande på sina mobiler eftersom det är en ökänd batterislukare och batterikapacitet är guld idag.
  2. Att bygga ett nätverk med Tile-användare över ett större område är inte särdeles enkelt och där med faller hela idén med att ha just cloud search. Framför allt eftersom vi vet att det är så få som dessutom har bluetooth igång…
  3. Att sätta en Tile på cykel eller väska exempelvis gör ju att det syns och tjuvar är snabba på att ta bort saker som är kännetecken…
  4. Att ha det på sin mobil eller surfplatta är som en tautation, du har redan track my device för både iOS och Android inbyggt i systemet.

Så sammanfattningsvis är det en god tanke som ligger bakom det hela men utförandet och verkligt användande känns tyvärr väldigt konstlat.

Hardship while trying to be truly digital…

Back in 1975 there was a prediction in Business Week about the paperless office and since then usage of paper in offices doubled between 1980-2000… However it is now on a decline due to the rise of more efficient storage and retrieving systems, computer, tablets, smart phones and a general awareness on the issues of cutting down forests to produce paper.

Enough with the history lesson… I have tried for many years to be as paperless as possible but due to all sort of hindrances by sources like government, offices&managers etc it has been quite a disappointment and I was on the verge of giving up but… well those who know me also are aware that I do not easily give up… ;D also called an ass… and yes I do NOT own a printer…

I try to use mobile tickets where possible and one trip, while working in Denmark a couple of years ago, I took the ferry between Sealand and Jutland and they sent me a pdf-ticket… I am pretty sure they wanted me to print it but I kept it in the phone and just gave them the smart phone to scan the bar code… At first they looked slightly bewildered but gave it a try… worked like a charm and at that point I decided to not print anything that is not necessarily needed to be print…  Just last week I attended a seminar by a hot digital company in the PR-sector and they sent pdf-tickets to be printed… which I already had teased them for and by default I just displayed the ticket in the iPad and they imaginary marked it with a pen because the bar code on the ticket was only for show since they had no bar code-reader…  😀 *LOL*

Cases where the digital arena is moving forward quite quickly now after been slow are banking where it is almost possible to use a pre-downloaded token for doing all banking tasks in the mobile och computer… except for the fact that my operator Tele2 here in Sweden do not support the official standard token that most banks use… #FAIL to that comes that my bank Swedbank claims to be digital but… they do not have an app tailored to fit an iPad or Android Tablet so using it for paying bills are virtually impossible…

I can give an innumerable amount of cases where the intent is good but the delivery is failing due to the fact that no one is looking at the user and the environment the user are operating in. No one are really thinking it through when deploying a new digital initiative…

I have a couple of great cases on this from the government and private companies in Sweden that would make everything soot much easier…

1. There is an agency called Försäkringskassan that manage most of the public aid system including the compensation that you get if your kid is sick and you have to stay home. You can either call in or log-in to your personal account and report the start date of sickness, how many days etc, make the claim of the money BUT… then they send you a letter that need to be signed by you and the kindergarten/school to verify that the kid has in fact been ill and at home… And there the whole process crash and burn because you create a layer of manual handling that gives that you might see your money in about 6 weeks if you are lucky… So instead why not have a log-in to sign off for those who have to do verify it… The amount of time and resources spent on this process halts all development and creates problems in all instance’s with burned out staff and pissed off citizens that do not get their money…

2. To get a passport in Sweden you need to have a piece of paper call proof of person translated and similar to a birth certificate. All that data exist in the databases and you need to have it sent to your address to be able to go with a your driver’s license or your old passport or with a person that can verify that you are you… why just not look it up in the database directly and put a fingerprint as a verifier or a similar method… no more paper and 3-5 working days extra in the process if you are unlucky…

3. E-business, I can order clothes from China or the US and do every part of the transaction including payment on-line and digitally and everything is kept track of but when the delivery people arrives very nicely at my doorstep with the package I have to sign a paper that I have received it… #Fail

So what do I see as necessary to further the process of being as digital as possible…

  • A national register for digital signatures that are to be used for all public and governmental signage. ONE standard!
  • The above mentioned standard would also include signature at banks etc and give you access to your medical history.
  • A pad/slate or laptop for all children at school for learning and possibility to digitize homework when they learned to write…
  • Force one common platform for ticket system for all public transportation all over Sweden with one swipe-card and one sms-ticketing method

With these initiatives it would be so very much easier to do all public business and go on as a digital citizen without having to receive papers on everything incl you bills.

So please hear my plea and give me the possibility live without any unnecessary paperwork…

Why agnosticism is good for Mobile Marketing Initiatives

Mobile marketing comes in so many shapes and forms that they might be hard to distinguish from all other initiatives that are linked in to mobile marketing efforts

What would be my personal take on it… I think that every time you try to set a tag on something in the marketing world you make a mistake… based on the assumption that you think you own or understand the consumer of a medium, tool or message you will do something not so well thought through or at least something that would be misinterpreted by those you wish to target or build a relationship with.

I am going to be provocative and state that most mobile marketing initiatives, campaigns and apps are only to be viewed as an add on to other on/off-line marketing.

You might disagree with me to this statement but let me put it into a perspective…

Out of a branding perspective it is very hard to build new general brands on a mobile platform but to extend and add value or test new initiatives, then mobile marketing is great.

Mobile Marketing spans from location initiatives like Gowalla or Foursquare, search marketing/listings for local guidance initiatives through HTML5, branded apps, general apps, mobile site, QR-codes, sms-marketing, mobile coupons, display ads, sponsored contents… well there is as for any other marketing initiative a broad variety of opportunities to explore and utilize depending on your needs.

When speed is of essence mobile is fabulous to run, reach your audience while they are on the move… it might be a great campaign or it can be total failure all based on your business and your audience.

There is a hype for apps, branded apps (specifically developed for a brand with content that is brand or lifestyle centric) for an example Absolut Vodka and many wish to develop an app for their brand to target their audience with all the content and offering you have. There is however a specific downside to this effort, it might hurt your brand a lot if you are not doing it correctly and the cost for doing a fancy ipad/iphone/android app is not insignificant either and to really rub it in… the usage (approx 26% of all apps are used once) of an app is seldom in par with the cost of development…

How could you do it then?

I would have the approach of looking at my customer and their needs, how do the interact with us a service or a product, what can we do to make their contact and usage easier. Not with our own brand as a focus and how WE want them to interact…

  1. Understand in what context your users are interacting with you through mobile devices today and plan for how to move them to the next step based on their needs and your ideas for services
  2. Platform agnosticism – i.e. develop for usage no matter what vehicle used to interact. Do not focus on specific delivery vehicles immediately
  3. Focus on UID – usability and interaction design are of immense importance to any service or product and yes a webservice is exactly that purely depending on usability and interaction design to make you come back for more!
  4. Think scalable as always with everything
  5. Fast iterations, better with more minor updates than few major (some of the minor stuff is really annoying)
  6. Motivate mobile usage with all methods at hand if it is of importance that they use it… for an example look at Target and how they use mobile in-store incl bar codes to show demonstration videos etc.
  7. Finally test, test and test with potential users, not employees and people from your development team because they only will do what you already are thinking about… and do not test like a real user…
And as for closing words to this blog post… this goes for all marketing… 

The Race for the Money and Audience in a Digital World

Traditional Advertising and Media have been declared dead for quite a while and that the web/social/mobile arena will draw all the money and all the users/readers/watchers from all other media groups… and eventually in a distant future that may be the case but so far both 2010 and 2011 the traditional media usage and ad spend has been pretty good in holding its own… If you look both in the US  and Sweden TV and other media groups has received a rather large proportion of the media spend and in Sweden for an example morning dailies is still the largest advertising medium, followed by internet and TV. Outdoor has been surging in virtually every country as far as I can find statistics and my prediction is that it will keep growing.

In my opinion TV and Outdoor will keep holding its own very well and I base that on one specific assumption. They are to be one of the few media groups that will have the possibility to deliver a large audience to large brands. Why is that then important? Well to be a big, generally well-known brand, you need to expose your message to large audiences and deliver it fast and easy-to-get messages. TV and Outdoor are perfect for that! In certain parts of the world like the nordic countries, japan and some more Dailies are strong carriers of advertising due to habits of reading that die very hard. We will see a different type of mediums like Tablets and similar devices but they will still be fed with the news from large publishers with titles like New York Times, The Guardian, Ashai Shimbun, Dagens Nyheter etc… just not necessary on printed paper. We did back in 1999 at Dagens Nyheter (big daily in Sweden) a study on how to deliver on digital paper and found the business model very attractive and highly possible to execute if we had access to just a digital carrier that were sturdy enough… it could easily compete and outperform printed paper and deliver very special qualities like video, targeted content and advertising etc.

Many persons in the advertising trade keep claiming that the old players will not be able to compete with the start-ups, the faster runners… but I think I will disagree to these opinions based on just the fact that you will not necessarily trust John Doe wanna-be Journalist… Trust come with longer term experiences… The big players will of course have to adapt to the fact that there are bloggers, specialists etc that will be faster, that will provide insights that a traditional journalist might not stand a chance to compete with but journalism as a trade will still be very important as being persons that are trained to try to find at least a reasonable truth and critically go through sources and facts… They will however need to cooperate with other people and trades in a different fashion for the future.

We will see many changes but no group will die and disintegrate if they adapt to the form their subscribers and users wishes to consume the content they produce. Content will still be king and most small players cannot compete with the big ones here… Niches will come and niches will disappear but the big content areas and the brands and their readers will hardly do so…

So the game is adaption to user behavior and their wished for ways of consuming the content… That is the one big prediction I think we can all settle for being the big thing for the future! Then advertising money will follow… that is a bet I would put money on…

Abusing the word Disruptive!

I hate the word Disruptive right now… it makes my throat tickle to a level where retching is very real…

Everything today is disruptive… there are even week-long conferences on disruptive… and just search for an example TechCrunch on disruptive and you get an abundance of the word for every kind of hardware, software, services or just plain ideas.

Few article are truly any good and most ideas are not disruptive… The best article I have read lately is from Fast Company where disruptive thinking is discussed in a reasonable fashion. There is sentence that shows what disruptive is regarding a cellphone and battery life… what if we need no battery at all…

Most things are not disruptive, merely a good thinking and true business development in an arena that has gone stale. Key players that have settled down in their fiefdoms and feel very satisfied with themselves.

In my book disruptive is serious game changers… steam engine, electricity, telephone (both fixed and mobile), radio, television, the internet itself, nuclear power, GPS etc… things that transform a whole society or large business sectors.

AirBnB is not disruptive neither is Craigslist or Facebook… really… they deliver new good development on earlier ideas that move things forward. Google and Yahoo were disruptive in the form that it was made simple to find information in a whole new way on a global scale.

NFC and Square are more disruptive than verified by Visa as they provide a totally new way of manage payment for business. Square specifically for small businesses/enterprises that cannot afford or get a credit card reader.

What kind of disruptive things would I personally like to see then… Spray-on clothing that forms to a shirt or pants would be nice, self-correcting glasses, Cars that do not need fossil fuel (that includes electrical cars yes).

In my world a new website for finding a place to stay on holiday is not disruptive not even if it is unsettling a few travel agencies and local websites…

On being relevant in social media – or plain relevant…

There is a lot of good advice in different fora on the internet and MyNewsDesk together with Mashable has a good sponsorship on PR as for an example.

Mashable and TheNextWeb have a lot of good writers and are linking to many good resources on the net.

So what can I offer that no one else have not already stated… Well probably not much but as for the latest post in Digital Tonto on great ideas all good ideas are usually peer-and-time related.

Relevance is still the name of the game and it is not really confined to the realm of social media.

To be Relevant is the single most important thing for a business to focus on… the problem is who you are to be relevant to… Here is where the mayhem begins for many companies and their marketing departments… The owners and shareholders demand constant growth and maximizing market share… that will make you less relevant to a larger number of potential customers or partners…

It is impossible to be relevant to everyone but finding the core customers, followers and people who like you are of utmost importance for a successful business… and of course you need to convert those followers and likers to customers…

How can you be relevant? I have seen many different approaches and most of them are good ones.

This is my take on the subject in short bullets:

  • Know your business and try to understand your customer, no difference if you are a B2B or a B2C – Knowing your customer mean frequent interaction through a diversity of channels both in person or with good research
  • Share and invite – Share your developments, ideas and knowledge and invite your customer/fan-base to bring their ideas and competence to you and make use of it for real, and yes it includes marketing initiatives! – Open Source!!!
  • Use all means necessary to share and learn: blogs, events, customer meetings, twitter, facebook, mobile, newsletters, customer service department… but see to that you listen to the responses that you get through the channels and dedicate enough resources to manage it.
  • Set objectives that are measurable when it comes to customer engagement, conversions and knowledge about your company… and of course in the end measure the fiscal result! But do not manage it on a quarterly basis… you need a longterm objective with adjustment points say every six months… you do not get results that fast because this is brand value!
  • Make sure that top management knows how to make use of this way of working otherwise it will never fly… the key problem with owners and management is money… always money…
  • Do not use this as a PR-stunt… but I guess you already figured that one out…
I dare any FMCG to try to use this approach… B2B are half on the way since they have to involve customers in development more and more today…