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.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

48 Hours in Denmark

48hours-banner01 I’m fortunate enough to have friends across the globe thanks to the power of the internet and I met Anders and the Seismonaut team a couple of years back when Anders invited me to speak at a conference he was organising looking at the future of music. I have to say it was one of the best conferences I’ve ever been to and made many friends and contacts there, including Anders and we’ve stayed in touch ever since – most recently with me speaking at one of his Wake Up and Smell the Coffee Sessions talking about what’s happening in the world of mobile media.

Anyway, the Seismonaut team advises companies on strategic innovation and as part of one of their projects, they’re running the 48 hours in Denmark campaign.

The goal is to reach the so-called 'first-movers,' who already use digital media when researching their travel and holiday plans. This way they hope to learn how to cater for the the tourist of the future by looking at early adopter behaviour now. And this behaviour includes the search and discovery element of planning your trip but also the content creation and distribution of others whose advice you might follow.

So what do you have to do? Well, you have to create a short video about why you think you should get a free 48 hours, all-expenses paid holiday in Aarhus in Denmark. Put your effort up on YouTube and then tell the campaign team that your video is up so they can include your entry. They’ve also set up a twitter account (although I think they probably would be wise to work a bit harder to find the right people to chat to and engage directly in conversation – time-consuming though that is) and there’s a facebook group too. So if the internet, social media, blogging, twittering or facebooking is your thing, then why not enter? The closing date is 20th April and the prize is well worth having – Aarhus is a great city, a friendly atmosphere, good restaurants, fresh sea air and a ton of culture to boot.

Update: Deadline extended to 27th April 2009

Bluetooth Marketing doesn’t have to be contentious, controversial or annoying

bluetooth-Vista_256 No, seriously, it doesn’t have to be this way. Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m not the biggest fan of bluetooth proximity marketing and that’s because implementation to date, has usually been a bit cack-handed with little thought to customers, their privacy and what they might actually want.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel with Troy Norcross’s latest report entitled Proximity Marketing with Bluetooth. The report is available to buy for $295 – I’ve seen it and it is a comprehensive best practice guide for marketing via bluetooth to ensure it doesn’t become bluespam. In addition, there are some key findings from the research the authors conducted, including

  • Consumers are 50% more likely to accept Bluetooth marketing if you have a poster describing the activity than without
  • Bluetooth Marketing is able to target an audience with pinpoint accuracy, based on location
  • While it is legal to broadcast Bluetooth messages to anybody, without permission, the Direct Marketing Association recommends more strict guidelines for this sort of communication
  • The public's understanding of Bluetooth technology has improved greatly in the last two years
  • Big media agencies are still wary of the technology, and traditional media buyers are yet to routinely include it in their media planning
  • When best practice is followed, there is little chance of users considering the communication as spam
  • The area in which you use Bluetooth is very important, it should never be a public space, only commercial
  • The cost of implementing a Bluetooth campaign is always more predictable and usually lower than SMS campaigns

If this is an area of interest for you, then you could do worse than buy the report or at least check out the teaser.

Credit crunch thoughts

This one’s going to be a bit off-topic and a bit philosophical and possibly a bit rambling so feel free to stop reading at any point. I won’t be offended. This is just my way of gathering my thoughts together.

The credit crunch is often on my mind as I’m sure it has been on yours. Not least because I’m in the midst of organising the next Mobile Monday London event which is about how to finance your business in a credit crunch on 20th April (– do come! /plug). Clients, colleagues and friends often ask me if the credit crunch is affecting me personally and the answer is probably yes and no. The good news is that my mortgage has come down dramatically and my mortgage company is actively encouraging me to overpay my mortgage so I can pay it off early. I’m lucky. I bought my house some years ago so the fall in price I know is cyclical and it will come back. Of course,  different story if you need to sell and need to move. And on the work front, I am (happily) very busy and feel pretty upbeat about opportunities. However, a few people I know are struggling a bit when a year or two ago, they probably wouldn’t have – or at least not as much. And certainly if you’re a business trying to raise money, it isn’t pretty as your valuation is probably rock bottom or at least you’re being pressurised on your valuation (there’s still money around btw and VCs are pretty busy at the moment looking for bargains as far as I can tell). And the whole pension thing is simply terrifying.

I’m also interested in what’s happening over at G20. A couple of my friends, Vikki Chowney and Lloyd Davis are amongst the 50 chosen bloggers who are covering the Summit for the G20 Voices campaign and I’m very interested to see their coverage of it. The riots yesterday, the death of a protestor, the bad pennies who always turn up at these things was, for me, very upsetting and seems so unnecessary. Roo Reynolds did a very good birds-eye view write-up and photo blog of the demonstration.

But that’s kind of the point isn’t it. The greed and obsession with *making more money* feels kind of unnecessary to me (I’m no hippy, but I don’t buy into the Gordon Gekko ethos of ‘Greed is Good’ either). But there seems to be little alternative if you want to be successful in the system, be able to provide returns on investment, shareholder value and the like. I don’t want to live in a little cottage in Wales off-grid and growing all my own food. Nor do I have ambitions of owning a fancy schmancy penthouse apartment in Manhattan. Innovation isn’t just needed in technology, it’s needed to reinvent what we man by value.

Even on a consumer level, we’re still encouraged to buy more not less with the proliferation of Pound Stores, Primark and Peacocks. And that’s what’s been fuelling growth globally from Rio to Beijing. I admit I shop at all of these stores from time to time but they do still encourage you to buy what you don’t need just because it’s cheap and available. And because of the volumes we’re global coolbuying in there, it means they can keep the prices low but let’s not forget this is at the expense of having more stuff in landfill, more waste that can’t go anywhere and pressure on the suppliers to find ever more ways to produce more cheaply – sometimes meaning illegal labour or illegal means of production and waste management. So all that ‘ooh, isn’t that jacket really good value’ is very superficial when the real costs to our psyche and society are factored in. I balance my Primark bargains with making good use of eBay and charity shops (thrift stores for my US readers). And organisations like Global Cool are doing a great job raising awareness of this particular area of waste in our lives and have some very simple ideas of what to do about it. And I’m not even going to go into the climate change thing – not enough time here.

What I’d like to see come out of this revolution, for I think it is a revolution we’re in right now, is for people to find stability and for us (the world, that is) to find a collective way forward to managed our global economy. But also, I hope it’s a time when people take stock of their own values and what they want for their businesses, their colleagues, their families and their own lives.  This probably means redefining ‘success’ and rethinking what ‘money’ means as a concept and the values we attach to it. And what that means in a business or corporate environment, which is much harder to work out. Maybe shareholders will be happy to make ‘enough' money rather than ‘loadsamoney’. Maybe we’ll be able to find ways of not having to be in a race in order to compete. Maybe we’ll find inner peace and in finding an inner peace we’ll find global peace. After, what, 6000 years of civilisation, we should be able to work something out by now, right?

Anyway, I’m rambling now and this isn’t quite the post I had planned in my head, but I’m going to put it out there anyway. Feel free to comment, or not. But do check out Vikki and Lloyd’s G20 Voice stuff and let’s hope that as I write this, in the middle of the G20 proceedings, we will see some change for the greater good and not just the financial good.

Here endeth my ramble.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Links ‘n stuff cos it’s Wednesday

As usual I have too many browser tabs and emails open so it’s time to close them down by documenting them here. Forgive them being a bit random but hopefully there’s a few things here that might catch your eye to take a further look.

T-Mobile is using bluetooth to attract customers into store with special offers. I’ve written about bluetooth marketing bluespam before. On private property, I have no problem with it but when it’s catching random people in the street, because they happen to have their bluetooth switched on it makes me feel uncomfortable. Anyway, it seems T-Mobile doesn’t feel uncomfortable with it (or uncufderbull as my 8 year old neighbour once wrote to me describing his boarding school bed).

BMW spend $30k on an engaging MMS campaign and sell $45 million of accessories to existing customers… now that’s pretty cool.

connected Young people who embrace technology can feel overconnected (well, I would add, that you don’t need to be a teenager to feel this – I’m definitely in that number… I’m frequently overwhelmed by information and communication coming in at me from all directions).

The latest Pew Internet Report is out. Essential reading for all folks working or interested in digital and mobile.

The economic downturn bodes well for mobile couponing companies according to RCR Wireless. I suspect few of the services on offer are really delivering on the mobile couponing promise – I know a thing or two about mobile coupons and there are a lot of skittles to get in a row before it succeeds. That said, Planet Funk sees 377% ROI on their mobile couponing promotion so when you get it right, it can be very powerful.

Orange UK also announces key findings from their mobile marketing research:

• 81% of mobile media users access mobile media once a week with strong usage in the home, as well as on public transport and around town
• Mobile media users are very much open to mobile marketing with 70% of participants attracted by interactive marketing formats
• The most popular forms of mobile marketing currently are click-through advertisements and voucher redemption codes
• Mobile is viewed as the most innovative and personal media channel compared to all other traditional and digital channels

Other key findings on mobile media usage included:

  • The average age for mobile media users is 36, and 81% use mobile media more than once a week with 46% using it daily
  • Men generally use mobile media more, although women are much more likely to use picture messaging
  • The mobile internet pages viewed most often are search engines, email, news, music and film although, interestingly, a high proportion (55%) of people browse the mobile internet with no specific agenda, providing an opportunity for marketers to attract their attention

The research also confirms that customers are after value and relevance. No big surprise there then. Marketers take note.