Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Vote for Weymouth Carnival Queen 2005

Do you love a traditional English Carnival? Well, Weymouth Carnival is for you. It's held on 17th August and is the largest carnival in the South. The local Weymouth Round Table run it and it's a huge charity fundraiser and lots of fun to boot. And you can vote for your Carnival Queen too. Check out the pictures on the website and then follow the instructions. Anna, Kirby and Amy are waiting for your texts! The text vote lines are open until midnight 16th August 2005 and each text costs 50p + your usual charge. Profits are going to the carnival charities. The service is being run by BeepMarketing.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Blah blah blah

I stumbled upon the lovely weblog by illustrator Paige Pooler. And clicking through to her portfolio site I stumbled across the above picture which just about sums up where my head is at today. The picture below is where I'd like my state of mind to be - a state of tranquility.

Friday, July 22, 2005

How not to do mobile marketing. Lesson 2, Coca Cola.

oh dear oh dear oh dear.

You'd think Coca Cola, with all its experience in running mobile marketing campaigns would get it right wouldn't you? Their latest campaign is an on-pack promotion offering free 'coketags' (which is basically Shazam rebranded) and music downloads. And it's a pretty good concept - get your code from the pack, enter it online for a chance to win ringtones and coketags. Relatively simple? One would have thought.

So I gave it a go and lost a couple of times, but I persevered (I like Coke you see!) until I eventually won a free ringtone. The trouble is I wasn't able to download it. I clicked on the link and got a communication error. OK, this happens. So I tried again a couple of days later only to find that the system thought I'd already downloaded the ringtone, which I hadn't. Very disappointing.

As I work in the industry, I put this down to serendipity - very often when I test out other people's campaigns, and if there's a bug, I usually find it. This doesn't appear to happen to *real* customers in the same way. So I figured that it might be a one-off.

Then a couple of weeks back, when running one of my mobile marketing sessions for the IDM, we were discussing current mobile marketing campaigns and the Coke one came up. And a couple of people in the room had given it a go, and one of them had exactly the same problem as I had.

Ok, so technical fulfilment can be tricky sometimes. It's technology, it's not perfect.

But then I get this message yesterday at 15:44:

From: Coca-Cola [no reply path]

"Last chance 2 win ringtones or music downloads in Coke promo. All who entered in last 2 wks won. Last draw Jul 24@3pm. Pick up promo pack now. Rply stop 2 unsub" 160 characters.

Except, that I can't reply stop to unsubscribe because there's no reply path. D'oh.

I wondered if they bothered testing any of this stuff before it went live?

tags: & & &

The image is from Ohio University's advertising archive.

MTV and Motorola offering free mobile content

From Brand Republic:

Motorola and MTV have got together to provide MTV fans with free mobile content. The only charges to the user will be their data charges from their network operator. To try it for yourself, go to MTV Load.

This is a wap-based service (and you can opt to get a wap push message from the MTV load site - which I did and it was super-fast). From my testing this morning, it seems to be a relatively good site - the charges are made clear, there's a variety of content available (although there are some links not live yet) and I've been able to download stuff to my lowly Sony Ericsson K700i very easily. Although I haven't been able to view or download any of the video clips (even though my phone's pretty good on video as it happens). It keeps telling me there's a communication error.

But I really like the concept and I'm interested to see how or if they build on customer relationships using this facility. I'll keep you updated. Oh and the picture is an example of the free content available. Although they call this a MMS - dunno why - it looks like an animated picture to me and when downloaded goes straight into my picture folder.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Quote of the day

I was just sorting through my email and found this quote that I'd saved from last year.

"Most of the stress that people feel doesn't come from having too much to do -- it comes from not keeping agreements they've made with themselves."

-David Allen, David Allen and Co.

I don't know who David Allen is but there's an article on Fast Company that's related to the quote. The picture is from the BBC's page on how to deal with stress.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Glasshouse is back with craigslist

The wonderful Glasshouse is back and I went along to their networking event yesterday evening. Not only did I catch up with old friends and meet some new ones but I also listened to Craig Newmark (who's quite short) and Jim Buckmaster (who's really tall) from craigslist telling us their fascinating story of how it all happened for them (wiki link), how the concept grew, how it's community based and driven by customers needs and wants, how they're growing globally and why they do what they do. It's also a relief to meet entrepreneurs like Craig Newmark, who are genuninely nice folk. Check his blog to find out what he thinks of haggis (I'm veggie so don't partake in this kind of food)...

Also in the audience was Charles Handy, yes he of management guru fame. I chatted to him and his photographer wife Elizabeth after the event and they were both charming. I was so tongue tied though that I not only didn't ask him any pertinent questions nor did I take a picture with my cameraphone. d'oh. But I did find out that Elizabeth and I were both mature students at the University of Westminster. Still, meeting two authors in two weeks, that's not bad going. Wonder who'll be next?!

Hearwear – The Future of Hearing

There's an interesting exhibition coming up at the V&A in London about how "fashionably designed 'hearwear' can be as desirable and accessible as 'eyewear', and will change the way people think about hearing". And this includes mobile headsets. I'll be checking this out once it's open. Developed by RNID and the magazine Blueprint with brand consultancy Wolff Olins in association with the V&A.

Phobile - Museum piece meets mobile accessory

I met Michael Smith, the founder of firebox, last night and he's lovely. So I thought out of courtesy, I should check out his very successful website. And the phobile caught my attention being a mobile technology kinda thing. Enjoy the irony.

Update: Indeed, it seems that firebox nicked the idea - check out the full story here. You might also want to take a look at Pokia - I particularly like the DJ Convoy set! Thanks to Steve for the links.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

New website promises to help consumers fight rising tide of mobile spam

According to Brand Republic Pocket Reach Solutions have come up with a new way of combating mobile spam. Unfortunately, I've looked at the service and I don't see any difference between this and say something like My Offers which is all 'permission based' and they send you emails and text messages according to your preferences. However, even experienced permission based marketers get it wrong as I blogged a few days ago here.

Russell Buckley, over at MobHappy, goes into some detail as to the flaws in Pocket Reach Solutions' proposition so I won't repeat it here. And also has some good ideas as to how that kind of service could work.

As for the claim to fight rising tide of mobile spam, I think Grumbletext wins hands down on that score. For those of you who don't know, Grumbletext is a website I set up a couple of years back with Adrian Harris to help customers fight the spectre of junk text messaging as well as scams on mobile. I'm pleased to say the site has gone from strength to strength and Adrian is doing a fine job maintaining it. Two years on, the site now has support from ICSTIS and the network operators so we are making progress.

This little mobile went to market...

I was interviewed recently by Paul Skeldon on behalf of World Telemedia magazine talking about mobile marketing and the resulting article can be seen here. You can subscribe to the magazine for free and it comes out quarterly.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Text messages double young smokers' quit rates

Ok, so I'm a little out of date on this one, I still think it's worth mentioning.

Source: New Scientist / Tobacco Control, June 01, 2005

Smoking cessation programmes that use text messaging can double the quit rate in young smokers, according to a clinical trial at the University of Auckland in New Zealand. In the study, over 850 young smokers who wanted to quit received five supportive text messages a day for a week before their 'quit day', and for the following four weeks. Then they received three messages a week for a further five months. They were also given one month of free personal texting, starting on their quit day, as an incentive. A similar group of young smokers received one month free texting six months after their designated quit day, but no supportive text messages. Six weeks after quit day, 28 per cent of the group that received the texts claimed to have quit, compared with 13 per cent of the control group. After checking these self-reported results, the team found that in both groups about half of those were actually still smoking. Quit rates appeared to remain high after six months, although the results are less certain because many of the participants were lost to follow up.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A lesson in how not to do mobile marketing

People just love their mobile phones for all kinds of reasons. They are intimate objects of desire. They allow us to be connected to the outside world, they're incredibly convenient so we have them with us all the time and we can also control whether or not we take or make a call or text.

So if you have permission to market to someone using their mobile phone, it makes sense to treat that permission and relationship with at least as much, if not more care than a relationship via direct mail piece or personal selling in a shop.

Whatever you send to someone to their phone, with or without permission, has to be relevant, entertain, inform or add value and preferably at least 2 of these.

So why is it, 5 years in to this whole mobile marketing game that marketers are still getting it fundamentally wrong? Case in point below.

I received this message on 14 July 2005 at 11.04 am.

From: MyOffers [no reply path so this was done on the cheap]

Message: H&M Re-Opening Party2day 12pm! 1st 200 customers receive £10 off when spending £30 or more. Churchill Sq, Brighton. 1 discount pp. Unsub @ MyOffers

That's 147 characters in total.

So why am I so frustrated with this one?

1. I don't live anywhere near Brighton. My postcode is Croydon although the location is actually London Zone 3 so not central, but certainly not Brighton.

2. I'm working, so receiving a message midweek, 56 minutes before the party starts does not allow me any planning to get to the shop and join in or get the discount so it leaves me feeling left out and a loser

3. There's no reply path so I can't unsubscribe from the message (check your legals MyOffers) nor can I engage in a two-way conversation. Mobile marketing is a two-way street, not a one way dead end.

4. "1 discount pp" - the average punter will not understand "pp" to mean "per person" and why is it only the first 200 customers anyway?

5. Since there's space left, why use 'Party2day' and not party 2day. That's just lazy. And the concept of 'party' certainly is not conveyed in this message. In fact, it just conveys 'advert'.

I could go on but I'll stop at this point. IMHO, this message is not relevant, didn't entertain me, it kind of informed me of something I was maybe vaguely interested in but it certainly didn't add value to my day or my brand experience of H&M.

H&M, or your agency, you can do better. If you'd like to know how you can do better, then please get in touch, I'd be delighted to help you.

tags: & &

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

ICE - In case of emergency

Steve Flaherty alerted me to this one. Simple but effective - add an entry to your mobile phone book starting with the letters ICE so the emergency services know who to cal for youl in an emergency. Another idea that has gone viral in doublequick time alongside Alfie's We're Not Afraid site. The beeb has covered it too and I've had several more emails about it from friends and colleagues. Go do it!

We Are Not Afraid

The We Are Not Afraid website has been set up by the lovely Alfie from Moblog - yes, he of the orgasmatones. I think it's a brilliant idea and Russell Buckley on Mobhappy explains why it is so powerful and pertinent a response to the whole 7/7 thing and the BBC has covered it too. Well done Alfie.

Seth Godin comes to town

Despite having just got back from Cornbury and it was a really really hot day, I headed off into town to go to the Seth Godin Marketing Soiree at The Texas Embassy by Trafalgar Square. About a hundred or so people turned up including a few folks I know - Lloyd Davis, Robert Loch and Paul Birch, Deirdre Molloy and my festi pal, Sarah Williamson. And I met some new people too. So there was a real buzz about the place.

We went through to the dining area and helped ourselves to some dinner (more fajitas) and sat ourselves down and Seth started talking. He was a very engaging speaker and had some pertinent things to say about how marketing is dead and long live marketing. Rather than me explain it all here, I suggest you check out the podcasts yourself and read his new book - All Marketers are Liars and check out Seth's blog.

Interestingly, even though there were a lot of women at the event, no female asked a question. Maybe it was due to the fact that if you asked a question, you had to ask it wearing a long liar's nose. Now that nose (as modelled here by Robert Loch) just wouldn't go with my outfit I'm afraid.

The Cornbury Music Festival 2005

What a fab weekend. Sarah and I headed off to deepest Oxfordshire for the poshest music festival in Christendom - Cornbury! We arrived on Friday night in the dark so I had my first experience of trying to put a tent up by torchlight. But hey, we managed it. My brownies had also given me a flashing heart to hang outside the tent which proved invaluable when looking for the tent in the dark.

We spent the first night in the campsite chillout bar and got chatting with fellow festival goers and the Oxfam volunteers. Headed back to the tent at closing time (2am).

We didn't quite know what to expect from the festival but woke up on Saturday morning in lovely sunshine. Sarah was delighted to discover Waitrose on the campsite itself and bought breakfast there. We pottered a bit and eventually got ready to go down to the festival itself. The setting was the lovely Cornbury Park courtesy of Lord and Lady Rotherwick. We pottered some more and read the papers whilst waiting for the music to start.

We checked out the usual festival type stalls and marvelled at the gorgeous tent that was the Waitrose mini supermarket, bar and chillout space (for cardholders obviously). Yes the picture here is the Waitrose tent.

Highlights of the weekend were the weather - brilliant sunshine the whole weekend; Bonnie Tyler - she was fantastic and got the crowd going; Joe Cocker - obviously; the tea and home made cakes tent run by the ladies of the village raising money for their local primary school; the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain (utter brilliance especially when enjoyed with a cup of tea and home made cakes in the sun on a Sunday afternoon); the local children doing their carnival parade; hot air balloons at dusk; Steve Harley doing 'Come up and See Me'; veggie fajitas; making friends.

Highly recommend.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Wikipedia link to 2005 London Transport exposions

You can check the link here. Easier access than the main news sites which are all clogged up.

Explosions in London

Thank goodness my office is in South Wimbledon and that I couldn't get into Central London for my meetings today. And thank goodness all my friends and colleagues are unhurt and not caught up in this trauma. I watched the PM's speech from G8 20 minutes ago and he's clearly distressed and is now on his way back to London to meet with the emergency services and get an update. It's still not clear what has occurred. You can see pictures on Alfie's blog.

The mobile networks are down for calls and have been down since about 9.30am but text messages are getting through so I've been able to reassure friends and family that I haven't been caught up in it.

Prayers are with those who have been caught up in the tragedy.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Much excitement in the office

as we've just found out that the Olympics in 2012 will be in London. The team is already planning an awayday in celebration! Wahey - bring it on. Obviously it's my recent commitment to running that has swung it in London's favour [not ;-)] ...

The Digital Marketing Forum

I was invited along yesterday to participate in the Digital Marketing Forum run by Osney Media. There was a good audience there ranging from mobile marketing providers, publishers, film companies, insurance and brands. I arrived half-way through the day and enjoyed Gillian Kennedy's presentation about what Emap has been up to in mobile marketing and she shared some very interesting case studies from a variety of their consumer titles.

Then we had a round-table discussion on a contact strategy for mobile CRM. Probably too broad a topic, but the main point was that you had to think customer and how you can add value to the customer (service provision), then look at the messages that will be relevant and then choose the appropriate channel. We discussed various examples from publishing, insurance and FMCG brand perspectives.

At the panel session afterwards dubbed 'ask the experts' we were asked about the relevance of mobile marketing for older age-groups, the size of the market and where it's going in the future. In short, mobile marketing is relevant for all age-groups - it's about relevance to the consumer and doing proper targeting. There was some discussion about over 35s being in the 'old' category and they don't use their mobiles for texting or whatever. Well, I'm over 35, as are most of my friends and we're all avid mobile users. So I suggested that targeting simply by age wasn't enough and that you needed to determine propensity to engage via the mobile channel. Re the size of the market, the panel was all agreed that it was growing quickly although no figures were available for the UK. And in terms of where mobile is going in the future, the panel and audience agreed that it's not going away any time soon. Also, we'll see more mobile media opportunities, more advanced services using video, music, wap sites, applications and games.

Overall the conference was a great success and there was very positive feedback. However, the audience were pretty much already converted. The challenge is to engage marketers who don't believe mobile is currently relevant for them. Looking forward to the next conference.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Orgasmatones have launched

My pal Alfie, who runs the fabulous MoblogUK, has just set up Orgasmatones.com where you can download a personalised orgasmic ringtone. They've started with the 500 most popular male names (based on UK census data circa 1987), and depending on the success of this project will be rolling out girls names next, followed by regionalised variations. An example (in MP3 format) can be found here. Enjoy!

21st Century Mobile Marketing

I was invited to write a piece for Marketing Week's online technology magazine on mobile marketing and it went live this morning. There should be more articles further down the line as it's clear to me at least that this mobile thing is huge and it isn't going away any time soon. Hope you find the article useful.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Art for Mobile Devices

I stumbled across this online exhibition of art for mobile devices some time ago but I didn't blog about it at the time, so I'm blogging about it now. I love it that artists are thinking about mobile media too. I particularly like Kate Pemberton's work as I'm also a secret stitcher! Enjoy.

Live 8

At the risk of being dull, I felt I had to add something on the record about Live 8. I watched almost all of the UK concert either on TV or on the internet. It wasn't nearly as much fun as Live Aid, when I was a teenager and as my parents were on holiday, I hosted a fab party, even if I say so myself - still talked about 20 years later. But it was enjoyable nevertheless. Best bits for me - Richard Ashcroft singing Bittersweet Symphony, Keane (didn't realise quite how much I liked them, might even stretch to buying the album now), Madonna, U2, Macca, Robbie Williams asking Fearne Cotton out for a date on live TV, Jo Whiley just being brilliant as always, and of course Robbie Williams' performance - he was magnificent.

I think it is also impressive that more than 26 million people from around the world sent text
messages on Saturday in support of the Live8 campaign to cancel the debts of the poorest countries, setting a world record, organisers said. Thanks to 160 Characters for the news.

I wonder what will happen on Wednesday at G8?

British 10k Run 2005

Well I did it. I managed to run 10k in about an hour and a quarter. Now considering I have done no training whatsoever, I'm incredibly chuffed with myself. My family were in a state of shock. I don't think they believed I would do it, especially as my pal Claire bailed out to go sailing instead. I also enjoyed a massage courtesy of Radian B afterwards. And although I can definitely feel that I ran 10k yesterday in my legs, I'm not in pain (thank goodness). I'm even thinking of doing some more runs this year!

Now on to tapping my friends and family for that sponsor money they promised me...

Friday, July 01, 2005

Age Restrictions on Vodafone Live

My friend Steve told me an odd thing today. Apparently on Vodafone Live in the UK you have to be 16+ to look at static pictures of topless women but 18+ to look at video clips of topless women. I wonder how they came to that conclusion that you need to be a man to watch moving breasts?!