Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mobile Marketing not living up to its promises?

A lot of good stuff came out of the recent Battle of Big Thinking competition it seems and I’ve been taking a peek at the video of the event. Organised by APG (Account Planning Group) in association with Campaign magazine, the idea behind the event is to celebrate big thinking that leads to big ideas. Attendees heard more than 20 of the biggest thinkers in seven specialist areas – marketing, planning, innovation, the free space, global thinking, social media and mobile - talk about the most interesting things going on in their worlds.

peter sells bobtThe format is simple: three speakers per round, each given 15 minutes, with the audience voting at the end of each round. The winner of each round goes into an eliminator to find the supreme champion at the end of the day.

I didn’t attend, but Peter Sells, who heads up mobile for BBH, and who I met at Mobile World Congress this year in Barcelona, was the overall winner. And deservedly so. You can see a video of his speech and slides here and it’s well worth 20 minutes of your time if you have even a passing interest in mobile marketing. Enjoy!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Futureproof 3 – The Business of Mobile

futureconf_logo Just as I thought all my travelling for the year was done, I find myself on a short jaunt to Dublin to speak at the Futureproof conference on The Business of Mobile. It was a whole day devoted to various aspects of mobile from mobile applications and entertainment to mobile marketing and a look at the future of mobile. I was asked to do a keynote on mobile marketing and advertising which, I’m pleased to say, seemed to resonate with the 100-strong audience. It was also great to catch up with friends old and new in Dublin. I do feel very much at home in Dublin’s fair city since I do have strong Irish roots. Next time, I’ll plan to stay longer so I get to see more of the city.

Anyway, I was asked if people could have a copy of my slides and rather than send out a chunky file to everyone, I thought it would make more sense to put it up on slideshare. So here it is.

And a big thank you to Jimmy, Steve and Valerie who invited me over to speak and who looked after me so well.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You can still get involved…and be a mobile hero too

In case you hadn’t noticed, it's less than two weeks to go until Heroes of the Mobile Screen ... and there's still new stuff to announce... I haven’t been this busy with a project since launching ZagMe with Russell Buckley back in 2000. Anyway, I digress… back to Heroes.

So, first up - lovely sponsors who are helping to make all this happen for us. We can now confirm that Blackberry is a gold sponsor and Windows Live and Windows Phone are silver sponsors. WINplc is event sponsor. Smaato is sponsoring the lanyards, Kemp Little LLP is supporting the event and we'll have a few more to announce this week. And not only that, Blackberry has given us a bunch of Mobile World Congress passes to give away to delegates coming to the conference. Keep an eye on the Heroes twitter feed and blog to find out how to get your mitts on those lovely free passes.

Secondly, we have lots of lovely new speakers announced including Hugo Barra from Google, Oded Ran from Microsoft, George Nimeh from Iris, Phil Cox from Silicon Valley Bank, Giles Rhys Jones from Ogilvy, Mark Watts Jones from Orange and still more to be confirmed. Read all about them over at

Thirdly. You can still get involved. Well, of course you can buy a ticket (everyone who buys a ticket really makes our day and lots of lovely people have already bought tickets!). But there's also a way you can score a free one... We're still looking for companies who are targeting teens (age 17/18) with their mobile product, service, game, application or device and who want to get some constructive feedback from their teenage audience. Don't worry, it's not scary. julia shalet bw lgeJulia Shalet (pictured) is running this session and she knows what she's doing and has briefed the teenagers thoroughly. And she'll also brief the companies we choose thoroughly too so it becomes a useful experience for everyone involved. Anyway, we've had some people apply already, but we want to remind you that there's still time to apply and we really do want to see what you're made of. If you're interested, please email me ( helen [at] mobileheroes [dot] net ) or Dominic ( dominic [at] mobileheroes [dot] net ) to express your interest or to find out more about what's involved.

And finally, there are still some sponsorship opportunities to support the networking party afterwards. If you want to get involved in that, then please talk to me - ( helen [at] mobileheroes [dot] net ).

*Also a big thanks to our media and association partners for their support. Mobile Marketing Association, AIME, Mobile Data Association, IPC Media, Mobile Entertainment Magazine, Mobile Europe, Mobhappy, Mobile Zeitgeist, GoMoNews, Mobile Industry Review, The Really Mobile Project and many many more*

Don't forget to spread the word as well to your clients and colleagues. This isn't just for mobile industry insiders.

See you all on the 7th!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Heroes of the Mobile Screen – 7 Dec 09 at the BFI Southbank, London

logo_building copy lge jpg Some of you may be wondering what I’ve been up to of late. Well, if you have, then I can reveal to you that I’ve been working on a new conference, Heroes of the Mobile Screen, which is on next month on 7 December at the rather wonderful BFI on London’s Southbank. And I’d love for you to spread the word (like our wonderful media partners), buy tickets and join the conversation.

The team behind the conference, Isabel Fox, Neil Robertson, Carlo Longino, Dominic Travers and yours truly are also involved in running Mobile Monday London, Swedish Beers Mobile Networking, Future of Mobile, Over The Air, Mobile 2.0 and Tech Media Invest events amongst other things.

The day-long event at BFI Southbank will differ from anything else around (at least that’s what we’re aiming for) and get the stakeholders of mobile involved in discussing the issues affecting them and their customers. Uniquely the event also has teenagers on stage to tell the industry what they want from their mobile, what they expect from their network operators and what’s most important to them in terms of their mobile life.

20051204                                  onEdition Copyright image 2005©

Doug Richard, David Whitewood of Hotxt.
For further info please contact:
Isabel Fox
020 7062 1192
This image is copyright the photographer 2005©.
This image has been supplied by onEdition and must be credited onEdition. The author is asserting his full Moral rights in relation to the publication of this image. All rights reserved. Rights for onward transmission of any image or file is not granted or implied. Changing or deleting Copyright information is illegal as specified in the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988. If you are in any way unsure of your right to publish this image please contact onEdition on +44(0)20 7978 1459 or email: <> InmaMartinezPic1 - Copy jp keishimada jpg belinda parmar Heroes of the Mobile Screen is already attracting a number of high calibre ‘heroes’ with speakers and panellists answering the call from around the world, including Kei Shimada, JP Rangaswami and Kevin Marks, Belinda Parmar, Julia Shalet, Doug Richard and Harald Neidhardt are all confirmed. The speakers are listed here and the agenda can be found here.

Heroes of the Mobile Screen opens with a keynote from Kei Shimada sharing his experience of what’s happening in Japan and what we can learn from that here in the West. And continues with four core pillars supporting discussion throughout the day.

The money
What's making money, who's making money and what's being invested in and where the money's going to be in the future? The answers to all the questions we want to ask of successful mobile service providers and VCs.

The impact of social/location
What is the impact of social media and location technology? What do customers want, what are the business models, what are the solutions to privacy issues. Carriers are placing their bets in this area, but will they pay off?

julia shalet bw lge Teenage heroes
Led by digital youth marketing expert Julia Shalet, this is a new format where we invite four companies to pitch their product, service or device live on stage to six teenagers and they tell us what they really think.

Real customers, real applications, real marketing
A double session with the first half covering customers and what they really want on mobile with a focus on women in particular with some new research and insight into what women want from Belinda Parmar of Lady Geek. The second half will cover mobile marketing and advertising, what's working, what's not and what's coming next.

I came up with idea around the event because we realised that most of the events I attend throughout the year all talk around the same subjects, with the same people and bring up the same issues, without resolution. It’s time for us to stop talking to ourselves, look out beyond our industry and make some changes for the better. I believe it’s important to engage our colleagues in marketing, web 2.0 and media as well as more of our mobile colleagues from throughout the value chain. The exciting stuff is going to happen when industries cross over – that’s where the innovation is. In putting the agenda together, we believe we have something that will appeal to a wide audience – whether you’re a director of marketing for an FMCG brand or a web developer toying with the idea of developing apps for android or iphone.  And to do that, we need to share real customer insight that we can use to make ours and others mobile lives better.

Tickets are now available online now for £99 (ex VAT and booking fee) at . We’ve kept the price deliberately low and it’s subsidised by sponsors who we’ll be able to announce shortly.

If you’re interested in sponsoring the event in some way, please get in touch with me via email.

If you’re interested in pitching your gadget, application or service to our teenagers, please email Dominic Travers to put your name forward.

We are keeping a waiting list for potential speakers and panellists. If you’d like to be considered, please contact me.

So get your tickets now and become a fan on Facebook or follow us on twitter too.

The Mobile Premier Awards opens – and there’s an award for female entrepreneurs

MPA_Logo You might be familiar with the Global Peer Awards that Rudy de Waele has been running in partnership with Mobile Monday for the last few years in Barcelona. Well, he’s now extended the concept to include more networks, including the Women in Mobile Data Association (see us on Facebook and LinkedIn) and has launched The Mobile Premier Awards 2010 and it is now open for entries.

The Mobile Premier Awards recognize the year’s best in Mobile Start-up Innovation and are the largest open, global start-up competition in the mobile industry. The awards are the point of reference in start-up premiers during the Mobile World Congress on February 15, 2010 in Barcelona (yes, it’s nearly that time of year again) and are organized in collaboration with some of the main networks in the mobile industry.

We’re particularly excited about the award for female entrepreneurship… Anyway, more details about the whole shebang here. It’s free to enter and it seems to me to be exciting to be involved in it with both my Mobile Monday London hat and my Women in Mobile Data Association hat on. (Good job I like wearing hats eh).

The Mobile Premier Awards 2010 will include the following awards:

* MPA in Innovation - The best grassroots start-up innovation chosen by their peers in partnership with Mobile Monday. The Mobile Monday chapters will vote for their local most innovative start-up. An international jury of the most recognized mobile industry experts will select the 20 finalists from all the local chapter nominees to pitch at the event in Barcelona in front of investors, operators, media companies, peer entrepreneurs, and press and influential bloggers.

* MPA in Marketing - The best start-up in Mobile Marketing

* MPA in Entertainment - The best start-up in Mobile Entertainment in partnership with the Mobile Entertainment Forum

* MPA in User Experience - The best start-up in Mobile User Experience in partnership with MEX.

* MPA in Social Change - The best start-up using mobile for social change in partnership with Mobile

* MPA in Female Entrepreneurship - The best woman-led mobile start-up in partnership with Women2.0 and the Women in Mobile Data Association

Participation to these awards is free and open to any start-up with a mobile angle. Go to and take your chance to walk the red carpet in Barcelona!

Monday, October 26, 2009

The postal strike isn’t bad for everyone

Bear In case you’re not from around these parts, the UK postal service is currently taking strike action across the UK in various degrees of seriousness. Of course there are two sides to every story and it’s not fair to blame the humble postie for what’s going on there. As I understand it, the postal service isn’t actually in decline but it’s busier than ever due to e-commerce and that’s why the postal workers don’t understand the cuts that are being made to the business and the subsequent changes to their working terms and conditions.

Anyway, the strike isn’t bad for everyone. Yes, it’s annoying not to get your birthday cards or letters from your loved ones but I can’t say I’m missing the bills and statements much. And it seems it’s not been a bad thing for Sharpcards either.

Sharpcards, the world’s largest provider of mobile ecards, reveal how during the recent postal crisis people have turned to its mobile ecards service as a way of getting in touch with loved ones.
Interestingly, since the postal strikes began they’ve seen:

•    A 103% increase in visitors using Sharpcards ecard mobile application
•    A 63% increase in unique buyers compared to the monthly average
•    The highest amount of traffic on the ecards service on 22nd October – the first day of the national postal strike.

And it’s not the first time the company has witnessed such an increase because of a disruption to the postal service. During the three-day London postal strike in July (8th, 9th and 10th), earlier this year, this is what they discovered:

•    An 82% growth in visitors using the mobile Sharpcards application
•    A 64% increase in unique buyers over that period compared to the monthly average.

Will Walsh, CEO of Sharpcards said: “Greeting cards help people to express themselves, show their love for someone and say something truly personal. In times like this when the ability to get that message across is restricted, people are recognising that they can do all this on their phones too.”

little world gifts xmas_lwg I think this shows that there is a move, in some circles, towards virtual greetings and virtual gifts in general which is going to be a good thing for companies like Little World Gifts too. It’s not going to be everyone’s thing for sure, but in an age when we’re conscious of climate change and being green coupled with the economic crisis, buying lots of ‘stuff’ to show your appreciation of a friend or loved one may be becoming passé and perhaps the virtual gift is the way forward? That said, I still like giving and receiving real presents too, although I do less of that now than I did when I was younger due to being strapped for time as much as anything. And I’m not sure a small child will appreciate a virtual card in the same way that they’d appreciate a cuddly toy. I suspect there’s room for both for some time to come yet.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It’s Wednesday, there must be mobile stuff to write about…

Whilst I have a bit of blogging mojo going on, best share a few links with you and why I think they’re worth a look.

There’s an app for that. Or so the saying now goes.

The English National Opera joins the iPhone bandwagon and have put together a rather nice mobile application for opera buffs. I would test it, but I don’t have an iPhone. But since iPhone apps are essentially skins to a browser it shouldn’t be *that* hard to make a mobile web friendly version. I await with anticipation. And if the ENO can do this, surely it can’t be long before the rest of the West End realise that mobile is core to their digital strategy. I live in hope being partial to live theatre ‘n all.

And for the tiny tots in your life, there’s an app for potty training too. Read all about it here.

And with 65k other applications in the iPhone app store, marketing is even more critical to get your app noticed and sold. So there are some tips in this article ‘How to get to number one in the App store’. My caveat being that there is more than one App store out there and there’s more than one device where you can use and download apps. Also, the article isn’t as in-depth as one might like, but it’s a start.

There’s another ‘top tips for the iPhone app store’ type article over at AdAge as well which is also worth a look. It includes a handy checklist which they expand on in the article:

  1. Make it useful or entertaining.
  2. Use an analytics tool.
  3. Make your app free, at least initially.
  4. Release your app midweek.
  5. Promote it.
  6. Make it social.
  7. Collect feedback.
  8. Refresh continuously

wimd xmas07 Where are the women in mobile? Well Mobile Marketer wants to know and are asking the mobile community to nominate some lady experts in mobile marketing in particular. Of course, they’re hot on the heels of Mobile Entertainment Magazine’s Top 50 Women in Mobile Content 2009 list (I’m thrilled to be in the ME list, 2nd year in a row no less, alongside some eminent colleagues and friends). My take on this is simple.

And last, but by no means least, I’ve uploaded The Tanla Guide to Mobile Marketing and Advertising 2008 I wrote up to Slideshare. I wrote and compiled it at the end of 2007 so it’s a little out of date, but there are enough case studies and examples to keep you going that are still more than relevant today. The guide also includes essays and articles from fellow mobilists including Tomi Ahonen, Russell Buckley, Jessica Sandin, Daniel Appelquist and Mike Short. The font size is miniscule so make sure you increase that before you print off or read off your screen. Go download it, it’s free!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vote for your favourite start-up and help them win Vodafone Mobile Clicks

Some of you may know that I’ve been working with Vodafone UK & NL on the Vodafone Mobile Clicks competition. I helped to organise it and was also one of the judges for the first heats.

We're now coming to  the end of the Vodafone Mobile Clicks competition now and we have our 6 finalists. They'll be off to PICNIC next week in Amsterdam to fight it out to win hard cash for their start-up. There's 150k Euros up for grabs so it's a tough one. And there are six excellent finalists to choose from too. It wasn’t easy to get to the final six, but we did. There are three finalists from the UK and three from the Netherlands and there are 3 cash prizes up for grabs out of a total prize fund of 150k Euros.

The jury for the final is Richard Titus, Lee Epting, Rudy de Waele, Vincent Everts & Heike Scholz.

But it's not just down to the jury. Mobile Monday London members have a part to play in the process too. There has already been public voting which closes this Friday which is open to anyone but in addition, we have been asked to create a poll so you can choose your favourite start-up and who you would give a prize too. The votes from Mobile Monday London members will be weighted more heavily than the public vote, so your vote really does count.

I've opened up the poll over at Yahoo Groups (I couldn't find a better way to run it so that it was one vote per person). If you're not already signed up to our Mobile Monday London Yahoo Group, then please sign up and make sure you fill in the bit that says why you want to join the group so we know you're genuine.
Our friends at Mobile Monday Amsterdam are going through a similar process and have already been busy voting.

There is just one vote so use it wisely, but please DO vote! The poll will be open for a week only and will close on 22nd September in advance of the finalists heading off to Amsterdam.

And in case you're wondering who the companies are and would like a bit more info, then here you go...

Woobius (UK)
A service for the construction industry allowing them to collaborate by gathering all info & data in one place with access for the team. With the help of Woobius Eye for mobile, it is possible to solve problems & reduce build costs & the number of mistakes made.

Rummble (UK)
A service that recommends content to the user, based on people with the same interests and hobbies. By sharing information and creating a trust network, the customer will get more interesting & relevant content.

Mobypicture (NL)
Share photos, videos & audio with friends at social network sites like hyves, facebook and twitter with one press of a button.

Audioboo (UK)
Directly record audio (eg interviews or quotes) & share it with social network sites like twitter and facebook. The last recorded, most popular and featured "boos" from the community can be played as well.

Layar (NL)
A browser that uses 'augmented reality' so a user can see what is in their surroundings by looking through the camera of their handset.

MyNameIsE (NL)
Connecting people on & offline by gathering their profiles on various social networks in one place. These can be shared in real life via mobile or bespoke device, The Connector.

Thanks everyone and please get voting!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Over The Air – two days of mobile goodness

After a short hiatus, Over The Air is on again this year. It’s a veritable 34-hour mobile fest starting on Friday 25th September at 9am at Imperial College, London. Proceedings close at 7pm on Saturday 26th September.

“Over the Air is a grass-roots mobile developer event that is completely unique in the mobile industry events calendar – it is free to attend, is hands-on in the style of hackdays and barcamps, covers the cutting edge of current mobile development (as opposed to glossy future-speak or sales-pitches), and features bean bags, a big party and an overnight sleep-over. There will also be a competition at the end of the event for the best categories of applications created during the event, with many great prizes.

This year’s programme is currently being put together, but will once again feature technical presentations, tutorials, workshops, and break-out rooms. Expect topics such as Open Source, Java, Symbian (Series-60), Mobile Web, Mobile Ajax, Android, Mobile Linux, iPhone, Windows Mobile, Blackberry, etc. If you would like to run a session at Over the Air, please take moment to fill in our session suggestion form ( ). (I believe there may be a couple of slots left if you’re quick - ed.) The sessions will be 55 minutes in length and while the focus of the event is on mobile development, we are also accepting sessions on user experience and design and we are putting together some sessions on mobile art including (hopefully) a mobile film festival.”

This year’s sponsors are Betavine, Lonely Planet, OMTP, Forum Nokia, Yahoo! Developer Network.

There are still places left so do sign up and join the fun with fellow mobilists from the UK, Spain and beyond.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Everything you need to know about being a presenter or panellist

Well, almost everything you need to know at least. Here are some links to interesting blog posts and articles about being a presenter or panellist which some of you folks out there might find useful, regardless of whether you work in tech or fashion – these tips are all relevant for you.

How to write a successful speaking proposal

Jeremiah Oywang – how to moderate a panel – a comprehensive guide (this is a *must read*)

Benjamin Ellis gives us tips on working more quickly…

and how to write a speech in 5 minutes…

and finally, a presentation checklist

Forum Oxford round-up

Apologies for not posting this up for absolutely ages. Even though it’s from back in April, I think it’s still worth a look.

I was invited to speak at the Forum Oxford annual event at the University of Oxford back in April and a very good day it was too. It’s always great to hang out with Tomi Ahonen anyway but on top of that, there were a great range of speakers and topics covered – probably ones that I wouldn’t normally be exposed to – and it was all the better for that.

Rather than rehashing the event here for you, I’ll share some links from other people who covered the event so you can experience a taste of it for yourself.

Martin Sauter from Wireless Moves gives a comprehensive round-up of the event here.

Jonathan Marks, the roving ForumOxford reporter compiled a series of videos about the event:

· Impressions from Forum Oxford 2009 (including a couple of soundbites from yours truly)

· Interview with Professor William Webb, Head of Research and Development at OFCOM

· Interview with Simon Cavill, Chief Technology Officer / Director of Strategy, Mi-Pay

· Interview with Graham Trickey, Senior Director, GSM Association

If you have still not joined ForumOxford, which is free by the way, click here for details (if prompted, use the enrolment key forumoxford)

Smaato Mobile Advertising Awards

Apologies for blog silence for the last few months. I’ve been busy twittering, but haven’t quite managed to write anything over 140 characters in length. Hopefully normal service will be resuming shortly.

Anyway, back to mobile business. My friends at Smaato have just announced their Mobile Advertising Awards and it looks pretty impressive to me. It’s the second year they’ve run it and entries are now open to find ‘the coolest ad-enabled mobile content on the planet.’

There are three categories – iPhone (inevitably), mobile website, and finally, mobile applications and games running on other platforms. It’s free to enter and there’s more info available on the Smaato website.

Smaato will invite the winners of each category to participate at next year’s Mobile World Congress, taking place in Barcelona, Spain in February 2010. In addition, they will also make a number of introductions for winners to VC's at partner level.
Additional prizes are: a booth at M-Days in Munich, Germany in January 2010, free tickets for Mobile World Congress, and many more.

The jury features a plethora of experienced mobilists and I’m quite sure they’ll have their work cut out for them with 100 or so entries for the first year’s awards. They’ll be looking at unique approach, traction in the marketplace, the idea itself, originality, company positioning and more.

The main prize of a presence at Mobile World Congress is not to be sniffed at so if you’re working in this area, I suggest you seriously think about entering. And if you do, good luck!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mobilists on twitter

Carl Martin has done a couple of interesting posts on why he follows mobile folks on twitter and he’s included me which is very sweet. I happen to follow a lot of these folks too, so if you’re in to twitter and mobile stuff, then these two posts are worth a look. And if you’d like to follow me, then you’ll find me here. I can’t promise that you’ll find me interesting, useful or entertaining mind you!

Blyk announces Vodafone as its exclusive partner in the Netherlands

I’ve just got this press release in from Blyk. I couldn’t see it on their website so I’m publishing it verbatim (something, I don’t usually do).

Aligned to its global expansion strategy, the mobile engagement media will launch its brand in the Netherlands in partnership with Vodafone

Helsinki, London and Amsterdam, 23 July 2009 – Blyk, the mobile engagement media, today announces Vodafone as its exclusive partner in the Netherlands.

The partnership between Blyk and Vodafone builds upon a relationship between the two companies, which started in 2008, with a view to expanding the Blyk brand. The partnership will bring the Blyk brand and media model to the Netherlands and it is aligned to both companies’ strategies for growth and leadership in mobile advertising.

“We’re extremely pleased to be extending our relationship with Vodafone. For Blyk, the partnership is part of a global strategy to bring scale and speed to our operations, while continuing to provide an innovative and valuable proposition for both consumers and advertisers. Together with Vodafone, we intend to build a game changing engagement media in the Dutch market.” says Blyk co-founder and CEO, Pekka Ala-Pietilä. “Our relationship will include a co-development of the consumer proposition for the Netherlands and audience management. Blyk will have responsibility for the advertising sales and technology.”

Eric Kip, Managing Director Blyk Netherlands, says: “The Netherlands has the third highest advertising spend per capita in Europe and is a hub for many global companies and ad agencies, so it is an obvious territory for Blyk’s expansion. The advertising market, whilst both creative and dynamic, is also cluttered and we believe youth brands will welcome a highly engaging communication channel like Blyk. We are confident that both Dutch advertisers and global advertisers will make use of Blyk’s unique ability to connect them with an important consumer segment.”

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Links & a recommendation

I have way too many tabs open on more than one browser so it’s time to get through them and share them here with you.

Motorola goes carbon free with the Motorola Renew. I didn’t spot this when it was announced in January and since Climate Change is such a big deal then I think mobile phone companies (network operators and hardware manufacturers) will have to be more transparent over their green-ness. Recycling phones alone is not going to be enough.

An interesting essay on mobile widgets and their impact on our personal timelines and communications from mobile futurist Paul Golding.

Turkcell puts mobile marketing at the centre of its strategy. Here’s an explanation of Turkcell’s Tone ‘n Win from MobiadNews.

Videos of some of the sessions at the Nokia Summit that was on last week in Monaco.

The Gizmodo lowdown on the various mobile application stores, including iphone – essential reading for anyone venturing into distribution via any of the app stores. And if app stores are your thing, then there’s a comprehensive review of the Blackberry app store from Terence Eden. Meanwhile Urban Spoon, an iphone app, is acquired. And if that’s not enough for you, then Pinch Media shares some of its secrets regarding the iphone App Store.

Investment in digital infrastructure could save or create 700,000 jobs in the UK with links to the relevant reports via the LSE (that’s London School of Economics).

Vodacom Thumb Wars – a mobile reality series. Teams will travel across South Africa, relying on their wits, Vodacom’s advanced communication technologies and their Samsung mobile phones as they take part in the treasure hunt of a lifetime launching on 4th June. An interesting concept, but is this simply extreme product placement or engaging television?

Mobile web usage still on the rise according to Opera. [Well, I would hope so, we’ve barely even scratched the surface yet for mobile web usage bearing in mind the number of web-capable handsets out there.]

Had enough of reading blogs about mobile, then how about making some skittles vodka instead? Or I believe crushed fisherman’s friends mixed with chilled vodka is popular in Finland – what’s the name of the drink again?

Or if you’re suffering from hayfever, like I am, then I can highly recommend Luminescents very own Hayfever Relief tea. It is the proprietor’s own recipe and he blends it himself so it may not always be in stock. I bought some from his shop at Merton Abbey Mills and it’s been brilliant! I haven’t had to take any anti-histamines since I got it.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Diabetes support via mobile phone

mpro care screenshot Diabetes, or at least, Type II diabetes seems to be an affliction of modern, sedentary life. It has very serious implications with heart and sight problems associated with it and a strict dietary and medical regime in order to regulate and manage it. A member of my family has Type II diabetes and the associated heart condition and mood swings as well as a plethora of drugs and blood testing paraphernalia. You never quite get used to seeing someone you love inject themselves with insulin. What it must be like to actually have diabetes, I can only imagine. And I only hope that it remains imagination with me and that I don’t succumb to it.

Anyway, the bright folks at Mobile Health Tech, a mobile healthcare service provider, has rolled out its first commercial trial of mPro Care at Clarkstown Medical Associates PC in New City, NY.

MPro Care is the first two-way mobile diabetes solution that provides automated reminders and accepts readings using standard mobile phones on all major U.S. service providers.

Diabetes patients text back their blood-sugar readings, which are captured and plotted on a patient diary card graph in a secure portal for online access by either patient or physician. Nifty.

mPro Care was developed to help improve patient medication and treatment compliance for improved health care outcomes and reduced cost of care for patients with chronic conditions such as diabetes, coronary artery disease and hypertension, asthma and obesity.

More information about it in this article on Mobile Marketer.

I suspect many of these patients are in the latter halves of their lives so I hope that the people creating and running these services have taken that in to account. As a refresher, you may want to have a listen to this podcast of Dick Stroud’s session on marketing to the Over 50s.

Today’s spammers are…

I don’t have time to name and shame all the email spam I get but I will continue to highlight a few in the hope that it might actually make a difference and make the industry sit up and take notice and change their ways of doing business and running campaigns. It feels like there is a complete disregard of consumers as *real* people. These companies are suffering from TDC, aka Thinly Disguised Contempt – often seen in retail environments but is now spilling over into digital. They seem to have forgotten that *data* isn’t just *data*. It is actually attached to someone real, with a heartbeat and thoughts and feelings and who is ‘not just a number’ or a record on the database. It’s not just about conversion rates and click throughs and a numbers game. This is about real live people. And these email spam companies are wasting real live people’s time, bandwidth and testing their patience.

So an update on Daily Picture / Mikkelsen Media. Their UK MD did call me an did apologise and did assure me I’d been taken off the database. He even rang me to check that I hadn’t got anything from them. So I thought, ok, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt…. And then today, they send me more junk email. If their systems are so broken that an email address cannot be removed from the database, they have no business in sending out any emails at all I would suggest.

And another new spammer on the list is Cabestan who allegedly do email campaigns for the likes of Symantec. Well they send me an email to a *completely made up address* today selling me life cover so this is very much a consumer-based service not a work-related one so consumer laws do apply as I understand it.

Here’s the small print from the email:

Click is a brand licensed to Castle Publicity International Ltd registered in Gibraltar, company registration number (84755) at 932 Europort. Click Financial Ltd is the service provider for Castle Publicity International Ltd. Click Financial Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, registered number 311877. Registered in England and Wales at: Click House, Bear Lane, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7LG. Registered Number: 04183791.
*Policies from £2.50 a month, premium subject to individual circumstances.

If you don't recognize who used the Cabestan UK service to send you a given message, you can report it to us as spam by sending it to We receive, investigate, catalog, and take action based on these complaints. If you're worried that we would simply "list wash" your address without further investigation, feel free to report the message to whatever spam reporting entity you feel most comfortable working with. Spamcop at provides an easy way to report unwanted mail as spam.

Interesting that they suggest I tell spamcop. I’ve emailed them and suggested reporting them to the Information Commissioner.

Spam, spam and more spam. Companies like these are spoiling it for legitimate email marketers and will ultimately make email marketing, and arguably email itself, a very unattractive proposition indeed.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Monday Morning linkage – 27 April 09

How to make money on the mobile internet – a presentation round up from Sergio Falletti’s session at The Mobile Internet Forum in Vienna.

Comprehensive case study from Guinness and their use of mobile marketing for the Hong Kong Sevens (a rugby tournament for the non-rugby fans out there).

SMS biggest riser as mobile marketing recall increases significantly in early 2009 according to recent GFK research into advertising and marketing.

Rory Cellan-Jones meets Malcolm Barclay, the inventor of one of the many home-crafted applications being sold for the iPhone (short BBC video) and Rory also discusses the birth of the new mobile applications industry (including a short interview with James Whatley aka Whatleydude).

Are we living in a Totalitarian State in the UK? Political correctness going over the top? And what about the Government snooping on our every email, telephone call and web visit? [My personal opinion is that the government is neither equipped to deal with the data, nor has the justification to go down this track since there is no evidence to suggest it will make our lives safer and will be prone to abuse since it’s humans who will be running it not robots.] I agree, give us back our private lives.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Mobile Phone Security Challenge

Today sees the launch of a national search for designers to develop new ways of securing mobile phones against thieves and fraudsters, as research shows that 80% of phones contain data which can be used by criminals to access bank accounts, steal identity, or sell on personal data.

The Mobile Phone Security Challenge is offering a total of £400,000 to designers and technology experts to come up with new ways of securing handsets, the data they contain, and their future use as electronic ‘wallets’ when m-commerce technology is introduced in the UK.

The Challenge is part of Design out Crime, an initiative from the Home Office Design & Technology Alliance Against Crime and the Design Council.  The Mobile Phone Security Challenge is supported by the Technology Strategy Board.

Applicants will submit a tender outlining how they will approach the challenge and identifying any relevant experience they may have. Once selected by a panel of experts, the teams will be allocated money for research and development from the £400,000 fund, and spend six months developing designs and working prototypes in one or more of three key areas:

· Making mobile phone handsets harder or less desirable to steal

· Making the data stored on mobile phones harder or less desirable to steal

· Making future m-commerce transactions secure and fraud proof

They will produce market-ready applications which may include hardware and software for handsets, new services and other innovations, which will be showcased and promoted by early 2010, with a view to their widespread and rapid take-up by the market.

A recent survey found that 80% of people carry information on their mobile phone handsets that could be used by criminals to commit fraud - and 16% keep their bank details saved on their phone, yet only 4 in 10 people currently lock their mobiles using a PIN. Such data includes website passwords, bookmarks, emails, personal security data and locations/addresses on map applications.

The deadline for applications is Friday 22nd May. Short-listed applicants will present to the expert panel on Friday 27th June, and the four finalists will be announced on Monday 29th June. The teams will develop prototypes over six months involving a process of review and advice from the expert panel. Four prototypes will be showcased in early 2010. More details of the Challenge can be found at

Sebastian Conran, chair of the Design & Technology Alliance Against Crime said: “This challenge is the result of work undertaken last year when we engaged young victims of crime, police, mobile industry experts and designers to understand current and future issues regarding mobile phone crime.  The Alliance has prioritised five areas and is working hard to deliver insights that the UK’s design and technology sector can use to deliver innovative solutions to reduce the instances of crime and antisocial behaviour.  This is one of the early results of our work – there’s more to come.”

Previous advances in technology have led to unexpected new forms of crime; email heralded the phenomenon of ‘phishing’, ATMs precipitated the new crime of ‘card catching’ and online banking gave rise to ‘key logging’, used by fraudsters to track the input of secret passwords and account numbers. However, there are also many examples of technology being applied successfully to reduce crime – for example, British Crime Survey figures show theft of vehicles has reduced by 51% since 1997 as a result of improved security being designed into the vehicle, and an evaluation of houses built to the ACPO Secured By Design (SBD) standards showed that these experience 26% less crime than non SBD houses, and residents fear of crime is lower.

The Mobile Phone Security Challenge will be steered by a group of leading specialists:

· CHAIR: Simon Waterfall, Co-founder, POKE

· Steve Babbage, Security Technologies Manager & Group Chief Cryptographer, Vodafone Group R&D

· Mark Delaney, Director, Connect Design, Nokia

· Josh Dhaliwal, Co-founder, Mobile Youth

· Richard Martin, Business Security Consultant, APACS

· Joe McGeehan, Managing Director, Toshiba Research Lab and Professor of Communications and Engineering at the University of Bristol

· Dr Walter Tuttlebee, Executive Director, Mobile VCE

So that’s not bad then, a prize fund of £400k and will be supported to get to prototype and production stage. If this is your area of expertise, then I’d say it could be worth a shot.

I would like to see a woman in the steering group though. My hunch is that women have a very different response to security concerns than men do. I also believe that women and men respond differently to technology and that should be accounted for in the design process, but that’s one for another day.

And today’s spammers are

Trifle Solutions I’ve tried to get off Shahida Afzal’s list for at least a year to no avail. And of course there’s no-one to speak to to sort it out. Let’s see if the message I left gets actioned.

Vitesse Media – these guys have bought a dud email address as it’s one I don’t actively use. Shame on the email sales house who sold it to them.

Fleet Vehicle Tracking – ditto

The National Business Awards which is run by  CMP Information also used not one but *three* dud email addresses using one of my domains. They’re an information house. They sell this data on. It’s ridiculous. They’re selling out of date, made-up data and there’s no way to tell the difference between good data and bad.

Message Takers – particularly insidious as it’s disguised as a personal email from someone who sounds like he’s quite high up in business. This could fool some of the more naive SMEs out there.

There’s more email spam and email spammers. Unfortunately.

Email marketing is so very very broken.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Don’t spam me please otherwise I’ll get nasty

and write about you here. You have been warned.

I’ve had enough of DailyPicture. I get rubbish from them every day in my inbox. I’ve no idea how or when or if I ever signed up to their email list. I routinely unsubscribe every day and it’s never worked as they keep sending me spam email. This has been going on for weeks, if not months. And I’ve had enough already. I don’t like email spam or email spammers. Wasting my time and wasting my bandwidth.

There are no contact details on their website. The only clue as to who they’re owned by is in their Terms and Conditions which says they’re owned by Mikkelsen Media.

So I call Mikkelsen Media to find out how to unsubscribe. Someone answers the phone. I say ‘Please can you tell me how to unsubscribe from Daily Picture as I press the unsubscribe button every day but you still keep sending me sh1t’ [Excuse the French, but I’m really cross about this]. Her answer, in a fairly disinterested, I get this all the time, kind of manner, ‘oh, I think it’s broken, I’ll look into it’. And as far as she was concerned that was the end of the conversation. I just managed to get a word in before she hung up to ask her why she hadn’t taken down my details and that if something didn’t happen, I’d be reporting them to the Information Commissioner for breaking the rules. So reluctantly, she took down my email address. What she will do with it, who knows.

Let’s see if I still get spam email tomorrow then…

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Meffys Awards entry deadline extended to 24th April due to popular demand

And yours truly, Helen Keegan, will be on the judging panel for the Mobile Advertising Award. Something I’m actually rather excited about.

Anyway, the key point is that the entry deadline for the awards has been extended to the 24th April so you still have another week to get your entry in. The official blurb and details are below for you all. It is pay to enter the awards, but don’t let that put you off entering, it’s still worthwhile and I do know that previous MoMoLo members who have entered the awards in previous years have benefitted, so please do consider it. There are a wide range of categories to choose from and think carefully about which ones to enter. I’ve judged other things before and am frustrated when something is submitted into the wrong category and fails when had it been submitted to a more appropriate category, it would have stood a chance of winning. So think on!


MEFFYS_extended with dateMobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), the global association for the mobile media industry, today announces that due to popular demand, the call for entries for the sixth international Meffys Mobile Entertainment Awards has been extended to Friday 24th April 2009. Companies wishing to enter should visit:

MEF is also pleased to announce that Hardeep Singh Kohli, a leading social commentator, BBC presenter and comedian, will host the Meffys ceremony on 23 June in London. As a columnist for The Scotsman and The Guardian, and a great fan of mobile games, Hardeep is passionate about the increasingly important role that mobile entertainment is playing in our everyday lives and says, “I am delighted to be hosting this year’s Meffys awards to help celebrate the leading companies in an industry where creativity and cutting-edge technology collide”.

Entering the Meffys 2009

MEF is accepting entries for the 2009 Meffys awards until 24 April. Entry costs have been frozen from last year and are as follows: £100 per entry for MEF members, £200 for members of supporting organisations and £300 for non-members.

For more details and information on entry categories go to:

Meffys 2009 Categories:

  • Games
  • Music Service
  • TV & Video Service
  • Technology Innovation
  • Content
  • Social Networking
  • Search & Discovery
  • Ad Campaign
  • Application
  • Quality of Experience
  • D2C Service
  • ‘Mobile First’ Innovation
  • Business Intelligence
  • Innovative Business Model
  • Handset

If you do decide to enter, good luck!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Carnival of The Mobilists #168 is up

The Carnival of the Mobilists is still going strong and we're at number 168. Mjelly is this week's host for a round up of the best mobile writing this week in the blogosphere and it's well worth a look.

Want to know more about the Carnival? Then head over to the Mobilists website. You don't need to be Einstein to enter a post for the weekly Carnival either so please do try your hand if you have a mobile blog and fancy taking part. And once you've been included two or three times, then you qualify to be a host too.

Next week the Carnival is over at

Friday, April 03, 2009

Technokitten’s upcoming gigs

Despite the credit crunch, there seem to be mobile events and conferences aplenty so I thought I’d let you know about a few where I’ll either be attending or organising or speaking.

momolondon-large Well, it all kicks off with our next Mobile Monday London event in association with DCKTN  ‘Financing your Business in a Credit Crunch on Monday 20 April 09. It’s free to attend and whether you’re a start-up, pre start-up or an established business, there’ll be something there for you. The venue and line-up hasn’t been finalised but rest assured, it’ll be good! More details as they come. Please register on the Mobile Monday London alpha website and RSVP for the event there too.

geeknrolla2 The following day is Mike Butcher’s Techcrunch Geek ‘n Rolla. It promises to be a great day of inspiration and information for start-up tech businesses. I shall be there showing my support. But this is one event where I won’t be on duty for once. I’ll just be a normal punter.

And as if that isn’t enough in one week, I’m very pleased to be joining the ForumOxford for their Future Technologies conference on Friday 24 April 09. This one-day conference will explore emerging technologies with an emphasis on Mobile / Web 2.0 innovations. The idea of this day is to facilitate better discussion between the audiences and speakers which is sometimes missing from bigger, more formal events. It’ll be my first time there so I’m very much looking forward to it and it will be lovely to come to Oxford for the day. My presentation is “Media and Marketing in a Mobile 2.0 world - tips and trends in mobile marketing and mobile media”. And I’m in good company with a great line-up covering all aspects of Mobile / web 2.0. The conference is great value for money too at an unbelievable £205 including refreshments, three-course lunch and post-conference drinks and networking. Hopefully see some of you there!

media on the move banner Then in May, I’m off to Denmark to Aalborg. A city I’ve never been to before. I’m going to be speaking at the Media on the Move conference giving a keynote on what’s happening in mobile marketing and media with reference to the travel and tourism industries. The line up looks really interesting and I know the organisers so I know for sure it’ll be a good conference. I just hope some of the other sessions will be in English too. I guess I’ll find out when I get there!

The skipping on to flaming June, I’m on a panel at The Mobile Web Summit and will be covering new thinking about the future of mobile marketing in relation to analytics, CRM and location based services. The conference is on in London at the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel in Knightsbridge and is on the 3rd and 4th of June. Prices start at Euros 399 for tickets. Osney Media’s format is slightly different from other conferences in that it’s very much discussion based around round tables and then that knowledge is shared with the wider group. Definitely worth a look.

Later on in June, I’m a judge for the Sixth Annual Global Messaging Awards. The awards recognise the important role that mobile messaging plays in the mobile industry today, the technology behind it and the varied applications that it is being put to. Mobile messaging can include entries from text or video-based, email or IM-based organisations. The final deadline for submissions is Wednesday 27th May. The shortlist will be announced on 9th June and the finalists at the 2009 Global Messaging Awards gala dinner that will take place on the evening of the 23rd June in Central London. Full details are here And for enquiries about the awards please contact Mike Grenville,

The categories for 2009 are:

  • Messaging Infrastructure or Platform
  • Messaging Application: Business
  • Messaging Application: Consumer
  • Messaging Application or Service: Public Sector Award
  • Messaging Application or Service: Social Use
  • Mobile Financial Services Solution
  • Innovation in Messaging
  • Best new Marketing Campaign using Messaging

I’m also participating in the Global Messaging Conference on 23 and 24 June. I’m one of the judges for the Messaging Innovation Showcase which is on at the end of the first day. I’ll be with Ken Banks and Rob Mosley and we’ll be looking at pitches from companies to see how they’re making mobile messaging relevant to the modern generation.

Developers of innovative messaging applications will have the opportunity to showcase their products to a panel of judges and the conference delegates. Products will be judged on their innovative qualities, usability and potential to drive up messaging revenues.

If you would like to be considered for participation as a presenter in the showcase please submit your proposal to by 22nd May 2009

August, I’ll be busy with my own conference.. more on that another time. Watch this space as they say…

dialog conf 09    

And then on the 24 to 26th of August, I’m in Scandinavia again, this time at Spa & Resort Strömstad in Sweden for the Dialog Conference which brings together thought leaders covering all aspects of relationship marketing, loyalty and CRM. I’ll be covering mobile marketing, obviously!

And of course, in between times, there will be other Mobile Monday London events and there might even be another conference or two.

Phew, I’m tired just thinking about it all!

Is SMS marketing doomed?

doom the end Well, that’s a question I was asked recently. The marketer who asked me feared that SMS marketing could go the same way as email marketing, which in his opinion, is ruined and he wondered how or even if we could stop that from happening and whether or not any industry initiatives held any weight.

Many would argue that email marketing isn't broken - it makes money, can be useful and is now a well-honed, scientific activity. There are plenty email companies out there doing very nicely thank you. And there are even a few of them who take our privacy and customer experience seriously. Personally, email marketing is broken for me. I’m overwhelmed by email (I always have a backlog of emails to read and I don’t get round to answering them all despite best intentions, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day). And I still get junk email to made up email addresses based on my domain names which I find particularly distasteful. That said, I still sign up to email newsletters and from time to time there are some things I respond to. But it’s all a bit random and I really could do without the volume. The same goes for direct mail and direct marketing. It doesn’t work for me. I’m completely overwhelmed by direct mail, both business and personal, and despite being on the Mailing Preference Service’s 'Do not mail’ list, it still keeps coming. I’m also on the Telephone Preference Service list although, you’d never know as I still get a ton of unwanted marketing calls.

But those direct marketing channels still work as most people are not like me. Or the chap I was talking to about this. Not everyone is overwhelmed with paper or digital communications. Different people have different needs and we are most definitely not all the same. Click through and conversion rates in the very low percentage points are all that’s required for a direct marketing campaign to be successful inasmuch as there’s a return on investment. That fact that 99.9% of your audience didn’t respond is largely irrelevant if the 0.5% responding made you the money. Screwed up, yes, but it still adds up financially.

Coming back to mobile marketing, it is inevitable and unfortunate that mobile advertising and marketing will be and has already been misused. There will always be someone out to make a quick buck, find a loophole and exploit it. Junk SMS does make money too - although the economics and science behind it are more limited than with email due to the cost of sending. But even factoring that in, and factoring in the potential of a fine from Phone Pay Plus, junk SMS persists – I know. I still get the junk SMS messages offering me a hot date, filthy video clips or a dodgy loan. The Mobile Marketing Association initiatives *are* worth supporting and savvy marketers and companies will follow them as the short cuts become less and less appealing.

I co-founded Grumbletext SOSSMS back in 2003 which is a site where you can complain about your junk SMS and it certainly helped raise awareness at the time and is still a place where you can name and shame the offending companies and campaigns. Phone Pay Plus (formerly ICSTIS) is the UK regulator for many issues around junk SMS and does fine companies pretty regularly. However, the fines for some companies are simply a ‘cost of doing business’,but if we didn’t have this, then the landscape would be even worse.

We will never stamp it out completely, there will always be someone who doesn't want to play ball and finds a way around it and who is led by greed and not what customers what, but the industry initiatives are worthwhile supporting because, if nothing else, it raises awareness on a wider scale. There are no easy answers.

I think the real problem around mobile marketing ultimately will be more generic. As we move towards unified messaging (facebook, twitter, SMS, email all coming to the same inbox), we will be overwhelmed by marketing messages yet again so it will be a law of diminishing return as we just switch it all off rather than trying to work out which messages we want.

We actually need less advertising overall not more but in this world where creation of digital media and by association advertising opportunities, is almost infinite and only limited by bandwidth (you can create as many web pages as you like and auto-generate emails, blogs, viral message and in turn, on each page there’s the potential to place an advertisement), that isn't going to happen. Automated filtering might be the way forward. Intelligent systems may help. Some customers may even be prepared to put the effort in to manage all of this to keep it under control. And we might think we’re so clever that by understanding past behaviour we can predict future behaviour (which is a myth by the way - “Past performance is no guarantee of future results” as all financial companies will tell you). Even with all the targeting and relevance in the world it won’t necessarily make our advertising lives any better or easier. Serendipity plays a part too and I’m not clear how much that is or isn’t understood in marcomms circles. I guess that’s one for another post.

We're in a period of fast change, a revolution even, and we do need to keep an eye on the ball as to what the future might hold. We don’t have the answers yet but that shouldn’t stop us from trying to work them out.

Image courtesy of sirmikester used under Creative Commons Licence.

Update 3pm 3 April 09: Paul Berney from the MMA has written a post about how to harness CRM using mobile marketing and says,

"...the customer experience and the ensuing results for the brand will only be good if the channel is not abused in the same way as email has been in the past. For any mobile marketing message to really resonate with a consumer, they need to have confidence that what they receive is something of interest and use to them. Anything else on this highly personal medium is unacceptable.

Current internet marketing and privacy standards do not adequately address the specific challenges faced by marketers when marketing through the mobile channel. Strong mobile industry privacy principles must protect the mobile channel from abuses by unethical marketers, to limit consumer backlash and additional regulatory scrutiny."

Check out the full article and the links to the relevant MMA guidelines.