Friday, October 29, 2010

Got an idea to help us Brits (especially those in Norfolk) save time?

Hotmail has teamed up with Ladygeek TV’s Belinda Parmar and Lisa Rogers from scrapheap challenge to try and help busy people save time in their lives. New research from Windows Live Hotmail – the email service for busy people from the folks at Microsoft – reveals that us Brits want to squeeze more into our daily lives but are leaving only one hour a day to dedicate to ourselves. On average, Brits say they have eight and a half hours less free time than they did five years ago. Surprisingly, it’s not Londoners who are the most time poor. It’s the people of Norwich who only dedicate a measly 45 minutes a day on what they want to do. Who’d have thought?!

Hotmail independently researched 3,000 people in the UK to find out how they manage their time. Over 50% of Brits are in the office for a full five-day working week, yet almost half of the nation still brings work home, so employment is the biggest time guzzler. Following work, Brits spend the most time focusing on personal relationships, family and kids, exercise, organising holidays and leisure activities, only leaving one hour to spend on the all-important ‘me’ time.

With that in mind, Hotmail has kicked off a nationwide search to find the nation’s best timesaving invention.

About the competition:

Hotmail is searching the nation to find out what Brits dream about to help them save time – the time-saving device of the future. The lucky winner will be selected by a team of esteemed judges and will receive £10,000 to spend on some all-important ‘me time’. Hotmail has also enlisted a team of experts to develop a prototype of the invention. Find out more, be inspired and enter the competition at

It seems to me that this competition is crying out for a mobile solution. So if anyone out there in mobile land has the time to devote to this, then I think you’d be making a lot of people happy and maybe winning some cash and getting your invention made in the process. Or maybe you have an idea already that just needs a bit of dusting off to make it competition-fit? Either way, why not give it a go? I would love to see something innovative in this area that connects with your phone somehow. There’s already been an idea about having a Hotmail app for your phone and a fashion matcher so your wardrobe decides for you what to wear each day (now that’s potentially a mobile app) but I’m sure there are many more good ideas out there.

The competition is open to UK entrants aged over 18 only and closes at 4pm on Monday 8th November. More terms and conditions at – and don’t worry, Microsoft won’t be claiming any IP on any of the entries and they’re not looking to invest in a new business.

One thing I need is something to make my email life faster and easier to manage. Maybe I’ll have to give the new look Hotmail a go…

Kemp Little Guide To UK Employment Law 2010-2011

I know this isn’t mobile at all. And if you’re wondering what my relationship with Kemp Little is, well, they’re one of our long-term supporters at Mobile Monday London. I’m also on their mailing list and they pinged me over information today about their annual Guide to UK Employment Law 2010-2011 which I thought might be of interest to some of my readers as I know some of you are running your own businesses or are managing people. This newly updated guide will hopefully serve as a practical guide to lead you through the latest in UK employment law and how it affects you. The aim of the guide is to provide practical, easy to use materials for HR professionals and people managers and is an interactive format (pdf). It covers everything you need to know from what needs to be in an employment contract to rights during employment and how to deal with business transfers and unions. And it’s all laid out in an easy to read and easy to digest manner.

The guide is free but you need to request a copy from the Kemp Little website and contact them with the details of the guide you’d like to receive.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

56 Sage Street - a game to help youngsters get to grips with managing their money

56 Sage Street   |   free game

Barclays has a bit of a history with games. They did incredibly well with their Waterslide iPhone game - "With over 16 million engagement minutes to date and thousands of reviews, interest in the waterslide campaign has really peaked again and we are thrilled," says Paul Troy, Head of Advertising and Sponsorship, Barclaycard, UK.( Source: Pocketgamer) and the subsequent Rollercoaster game which racked up a huge 1.2 million hours of gameplay with over 10 million downloads worldwide (Source: Barclays). So it's no big surprise that it's come up with a game aimed at young people to help them manage their money better - 56 Sage Street.

Barclays says: 'The question the game asks is: ‘How does someone with nothing end up with everything?’ The answer: 56 Sage Street, an addictive free game in which players roam a vast city finding work, or places to stay, meeting new challenges and picking up contacts to help players make it to the top. If you reach 56 Sage Street you'll have proven yourself to Mr C and he'll give you his empire to run. Score!'

This is a roleplaying game and you choose your character and you are set tasks to improve yourself and your bank balance by working - and you need to choose the right kind of job, improve your chances of getting work or somewhere to live by looking after your appearance and doing good turns like walking an elderly neighbour's dog, being friendly, being good at your job etc. And this all affects not only your bank balance, but also your energy levels, appearance and reputation - all of them count so it's not just about money which is a good life lesson in itself. There are also some scams along the way to avoid.

I'm not a big gamer, online or otherwise, and I'm certainly not in the target market so I'm interested to see reviews from real players rather than reviewers like myself. Since the game links to a virtual mobile, it would be interesting to see how this would play out on a mobile - maybe the messages and tasks come through to your mobile phone? Or the game is ported to compatible devices (it would have to be devices with a decent-sized screen)? And let's not forget the Sony PSP as I know *a lot* of mobile traffic comes by way of that device. But I digress. The game is not currently available for mobile and maybe that's sensible since it's not teenagers and young people who are obsessed by the iPhone, unlike some of their older siblings.

Anyway, I've played the game. It is engaging. It does teach you the basics about managing your life and your money and it seems to be good fun. You don't have to play the whole thing at once as you can connect it to Facebook and save your status. And if you're so inclined you can share some of the medals and awards you win along the way via Twitter and Facebook. I didn't, but I can see that teens and tweens might like to do just that. Whether or not it's good fun for the teens and tweens they're trying to reach, I can't tell as I'm not in that age bracket, but the game felt pretty slick. Mild criticisms would be that it's not that easy to navigate and some of the tasks are repetitive. And the car noises definitely got on my nerves very quickly, but you can turn those off. And I think the ending needs some work too. But I won't reveal that to you in case you'd like to try it. Nevertheless, it's worth a look. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how many young people play the game, what they say about it and on top of that, choose to share how they're getting on with it with their friends. I shall be watching with interest.

Sponsored Post

Share hosted by Wikio

Phone Pay Plus consultation–your chance to have a say

For folks running premium rate services in the UK, you should already be familiar with Phonepay Plus (formerly ICSTIS) as they’re the regulator looking after that particular area of our industry. I know they’re not always the most popular folks in town, but they do have consumer interests at heart and I think it’s a very good thing that they exist.

Anyway, I’ve just had an email from my friends at the Mobile Entertainment Forum to alert me that there is now a consultation period for the new code due to come into force next year. The consultation period was announced today and closes 19 January 2011. I’ve copied pretty much word for word what was in their email a it’s useful stuff.

The 12th Code is radically different from the current Code and seeks to deliver outcomes rather than prescribe how services should operate. The premise is that as long as businesses deliver these outcomes for consumers, they will be more free to design their services in a way that suits them and their customers. (Sounds like a good approach to me.Ed) This makes it all the more important that the industry has a good understanding of PpP’s expectations in applying the new rules.

PpP’s consultation on the Guidance Notes shows what the Code means in practice so companies can be confident about what is required of them. The idea of the ‘new’ Guidance is to provide a consolidated source of information so providers of PRS (premium rate services) can easily find what they need and it should also allow for a quicker response to newly-identified risks or unacceptable practices (since Guidance can be updated without the need to amend the Code of Practice itself).

Alex Haffner at SNR Denton has now prepared a Guide covering the most important Guidance Notes for MEF members. (It seems to me that anyone can download a copy of the briefing notes by entering your contact details on the site. If that’s not the case, let me know and I’ll see if I can get a copy I can publish or link to from here so anyone interested can access – Ed.)

MEF has previously published a Guide to the PpP Code consultation.

For more information on MEF’s work please contact Suhail Bhat or Miranda Roberts.

And if you’re in the world of Mobile Entertainment in the UK and beyond, you may want to consider joining the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF). This is an example of the good stuff that they do for their members.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

HP viral video campaign – Be the Star - is pretty neat

HP Be A Star

OK, I know this one isn’t mobile at all, but I still like the idea of using personalised video as part of a marketing campaign, and I think Hewlett Packard does this one pretty well. I’m not a big fan of online video – I don’t usually have the patience for it, but I like this one. They’re not promising that they’ll make any of us rich or famous, but they do show us what it might feel like to be in the paparazzi limelight by including your image in a video segment – you can see mine below. And it does this on the fly, and adjusts headlines and copy too. It’s not the first time this has been done (check out my post from 2007 explaining the Get The Message campaign) but it still delights and it is done very well.

So if you fancy giving it a go, then click here to create your own video (this takes you to the facebook app). It's really easy, you can either upload one of your own jpg's from your computer (although I had to rename my photo as the file name had spaces in it and/or was too long) or connect with your facebook account. If you upload your own picture, it asks a few basic questions. If you connect with facebook, it knows the answers to those questions already. And once you've done that, please share it with me by sending me the relevant link - either by adding it as a comment below or tweet it to me or email me. I'm curious to know how far-reaching campaigns like this really are.

There's also a facebook group if you're that way inclined too.

This is a Sponsored Post.

Share hosted by Wikio

The search for a kettle commences

Yes, that’s right. The search for a kettle has started for the Russell Hobbs K1 from 1955. So yes, it’s an old kettle, but not just any old kettle if you see what I mean. Apparently the K1 was the first kettle in the world to turn itself off once it had boiled rather than you having to wait to turn the kettle off yourself before the kettle boiled dry. The K1 solved the problem with a valve switch that turned the power off when the steam from the boiling water passed through it.  Cool, huh!

K1 kettleSo the folks at Russell Hobbs are asking people to tweet their pictures of their K1 to @russellhobbsuk, put them on the Russell Hobbs UK Facebook page or upload them to the Russell_hobbs_uk  Flickr group. Each person who sends in a picture of a kettle they think might be the K1 will win a 10% discount off a Russell Hobbs purchase and Russell Hobbs promises the lucky owner(s) of a K1, the full Russell Hobbs unique Heritage Collection.

Jason Steer, European Marketing Director comments: “Despite all the nice stories we hear about the newer K2 product we sadly haven’t been able to track down a working version of its older brother the K1, and this is why we have decided to launch this competition to find a fully operational version. We would like people everywhere to check in their relatives’ attics and basements – anywhere they think one could be hidden”.

Sadly, I know my Mum will have been too fastidious to keep an old kettle lying around but maybe your Mum or your Gran still has one and it’s still making a good cuppa?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Monday morning linkage – 11 Oct 2010

I’ve been offline for a couple of days – radical I know. But it means I have a bit of reading to catch up on. So instead of keeping it to myself, I’ll share some of the links I need to catch up on with you.

* 10 tips for designing PowerPoint presentations – I know this isn’t to do with mobile technology, but since most of you reading this are in business and therefore are likely to be doing presentations at some point or other, then this article is a great resource. And it also links to a crash course on colour theory.

* Got the Monday Morning blues? Fed up with the same old same old? Then give this article a read from the folks at Coolhunting. It might just inspire you to think and be different and do your own thing.

* Now on to mobile stuff – here’s a lovely article and really easy to understand graphs showing how market share for handset manufacturers has shifted in the last three years. Well worth a look.

* Next up is the presentation that Bryan Rieger gave at the recent Over The Air event in London to share Yiibu's experience in designing for the mobile web and the fact that it's not all about Apple and it's not all about Apps. The way the presentation is put together is also worth a look bearing in mind the link above about designing presentations.

Rethinking the Mobile Web by Yiibu
View more presentations from Bryan Rieger.

* Jolie O’Dell’s take on the state of web app start-ups (arguably applicable to many mobile start-ups too). Some of the language is NSFW.

* And finally, Some insight into DoCoMo’s mobile apps strategy and positioning including lessons from iMode. Worth a look.

Friday, October 08, 2010

comScore: Comparative Report on Mobile Usage in Japan, United States and Europe

Japan Mobile Audience “Most Connected” with 3 of 4 Users Accessing Mobile Media in June 2010. Social Networking Shows Highest Reach among U.S. Mobile Users, While Europeans Text the Most.

comScore’s latest report from its MobiLens service examined multiple dimensions of mobile usage between Japan, US and Europe including content consumption, demographic comparisons and top social networking brands across markets to provide a comparative look at how consumers interact with mobile media across various geographic markets.

“Mobile media usage continues to accelerate across the globe, driven by advancing technologies and the growing number of content options available to consumers,” said Mark Donovan, comScore senior vice president of mobile. “As we look across markets, dramatic differences in mobile media consumption, brand adoption and user behaviour become evident. These differences are even more pronounced than they are for PC-based Internet usage due to the complex nature of mobile – including various device capabilities, operating systems and methods of accessing content. For brands seeking to establish a multi-market presence, understanding usage dynamics across geographies is essential to implementing a successful global mobile marketing strategy.”

Mobile Behaviour Varies Across Markets

A cross-market analysis of mobile activities in Japan, the U.S. and Europe revealed significant differences among consumers by geography. Mobile users in Japan were the “most connected” of the three markets, with more than 75 percent using connected media (browsed, accessed applications or downloaded content) in June, compared to 43.7 percent in the U.S. and 38.5 percent in Europe. (I’m wondering what the range is across the different European countries. And I wonder if this would be further skewed if it was beyond the EU5 of UK, Spain, France, Germany and Italy.)

Japanese mobile users also displayed the strongest usage of both applications and browsers with 59.3 percent of the entire mobile population accessing their browsers in June and 42.3 percent accessing applications. Comparatively 34.0 percent of mobile users in the U.S. and 25.8 percent in Europe used their mobile browsers, with 31.1 percent in the U.S. and 24.9 percent in Europe accessing applications.

Messaging methods also varied with Europeans displaying the strongest use of text messaging with 81.7 percent sending a text message in June, compared to 66.8 percent in the U.S. and just 40.1 percent in Japan. Japanese users exhibited the highest reach in the email category at 54 percent, while consumers in the U.S. were most likely to use instant messaging services on their mobile (17.2 percent). (With the introduction of i-mode in Japan, peer to peer messaging was based on email rather than SMS so these figures are not the least bit surprising. Europe was the first to adopt SMS and the US was pretty late to the game to implement cross network compatibility for SMS, hence the lower figures.)

Social networking/blogs reached the greatest percentage of mobile users in the U.S. at 21.3 percent, followed by Japan at 17.0 percent and Europe at 14.7 percent. Japanese users were most likely to capture photos (63.0 percent) and watch TV/video (22.0 percent) on their mobiles, while Europeans were most likely to listen to music (24.2 percent) and play games (24.1 percent).

Select Mobile Behaviours in Japan, United States and EU5 (UK, DE, FR, ES and IT). June 2010.
Total Mobile Audience Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Percent of Total Mobile AudienceJapanUSEurope
Total Audience: 13+ yrs old100%100%100%
Used connected media
(Browsed, Accessed Applications
or Downloaded Content
Used browser59.3%34.0%25.8%
Used application42.3%31.1% 24.9%
Messaging Usage
Sent text message to another phone40.1% 66.8% 81.7%
Used instant messaging service3.3% 17.2%12.6%
Used email (work or personal)54.0% 27.9% 18.8%
Social Media/Entertainment
Accessed Social Networking Site/ Blog17.0%21.3%14.7%
Listened to music on mobile phone12.5% 13.9%24.2%
Took photos63.0% 50.6% 56.8%
Captured video15.4%19.2%25.8%
Watched TV and/or video on mobile22.0%4.8% 5.4%
Played games16.3% 22.5%24.1%
Financial Information
Accessed bank accounts8.0%9.4%7.1%
Accessed financial news/stock quotes16.1%10.0% 7.2%
Accessed online retail 7.2%5.5% 4.1%
Accessed classifieds4.2% 6.6% 4.2%
Accessed travel service3.3%4.7%4.1%
Accessed maps15.7% 16.0%10.8%
Accessed traffic reports 12.6%8.2%5.9%
Accessed weather34.1%22.3% 13.7%

Mobile Media Usage by Demographic Segment

A demographic analysis of mobile media users across markets showed that mobile media consumption was more balanced across age segments in Japan when compared to the U.S. and Europe. In the U.S., 25-34 year olds were 44 percent more likely to access mobile media than an average mobile user, with 18-24 year olds 39 percent more likely. In Europe, 18-24 year olds represented the most-connected segment, 54 percent more likely to be mobile media users, while persons age 25-34 were 35 percent more likely.

The U.S. and Europe also showed greater gender disparity among mobile media audiences. Females were 9 percent less likely to be mobile media users in the U.S., while females in Europe were 16 percent less likely.

Mobile Media Usage in Japan, United States and EU5 (UK, DE, FR, ES and IT) by Demographic Segment. June 2010. Source: comScore MobiLens. Connected Media Audience Index*

Total Audience: 13+ yrs old100%100%100%
Person’s Age:

* Index = % demographic segment / % demographic base*100

Top Mobile Social Media Brands

Across markets, local and global brands showed varying levels of adoption by mobile audiences. In all three markets, the top mobile social media brand mirrored the top PC-based social networking brand with Facebook leading in the U.S. and Europe and Mixi leading in Japan. Local brands Gree and Mobage Town were the #2 and #4 most accessed social networking brands in Japan. Twitter was the only brand to be ranked in the top four in all markets.

Top Mobile Social Networking/Chat/Blog Brands in Japan, United States and EU5 (UK, DE, FR, ES and IT) by Audience Size June 2010.
Total Mobile Audience Age 13+.
Source: comScore MobiLens
TwitterYouTubeMSN /Windows Live/ Bing
Mobage TownTwitterTwitter

Update 11 October 2010: Friend and mobilist, Kei Shimada, who is based in Tokyo commented on the above from comScore and says: "Somehow I very much doubt the outcome of this report. Banking services can't be this high, because of the lack of banking services in Japan on mobile. Much more versatile abroad. Other financial services, I agree somewhat.
Text messaging in Japan at 40.1% is still very high even if its the lowest among the 3 regions, as its almost non-existent because of interoperability issues among carriers, and email being dominant. By the way, email is "free" (included in data plan) in Japan, and not charged like SMS is abroad.
Social Networking Sites can't be this low comparatively, among the (especially) US and EU, with 120+ billion PV per month on the big 3 SNS in Japan.
Japan is the most connected, I agree, but the details are a very odd."

About comScore
comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and the preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit


Follow comScore on Twitter

Technorati Tags: ,

What if Tesco decided to really take on mobile?

It has struck me that the mobile industry, despite being enormous, has a lot to learn still and some growing up to do when it comes to diversifying their business, increasing revenues and creating a sustainable ecosystem.

Mobile technology is central to our world these days and is a remote control for life. It’s our access to our friends and family. It’s the route to information at the click of a button. It’s how we find our way around the city streets. It’s how we communicate and it’s how we consume media of all kinds – interactive or not.

My background is retail (although not grocery, which I know has some unique characteristics) so I’m slightly biased here, but I think we, in the mobile world, have a lot to learn about from other sectors like retail and FMCG when it comes to product development, wholesaling goods, customer service, merchandising and display, marketing and lots more besides. It is said that Britain is a nation of shopkeepers yet we don’t seem to have applied that thinking enough in the world of mobile.

Looks familiar

Photo credit: Tom Arthur

Think about a supermarket - And let’s face it, most App stores are essentially supermarkets for apps. Supermarkets stock 1000s of lines – but they are all carefully selected and chosen based on customer insight and buying trends, the products are placed carefully, if not scientifically, on shelves to maximise their potential for sales. Certain products are promoted in a variety of ways – sometimes by the supermarket, but more often than not by the producer, or even if the supermarket does the marketing, it’s paid for by the producer. Next time you go to the supermarket have a look at how things are promoted - 3 for 2 offers, buy tortilla chips and get a certain brand of salsa dip free, recipe cards encouraging you to try certain ingredients, free samples, on-pack promotions – there’s a lot going on and this list isn’t exhaustive. Products and brands are competing for physical space, customer mindshare and ultimately for sales.

Now let’s look at your typical app store. It’s all very democratic and level playing field, sort of. Pretty much anyone can upload their app (subject to rules of decency, and some limited technical, legal or commercial constraints). There’s no particular product selection process to make sure the product is right for the store or more specifically the customer base of that store beyond having the right device (iphone, Android, Series 60 Nokia etc). Prime shelf space are the app charts in specific categories and it’s very limited. And it’s hard to find stuff – mainly because there’s too much there in the first place. (Can you imagine what your local Tesco would look like if everyone who’d ever had a product idea put it up for sale in the store? How much shelf space would you need and how, as a shopper, would you find anything?). There are limited promotions. I haven’t seen any 3 for 2 offers, or on(/in)-app promotions beyond an annoying advert which keeps flashing at you when you’re trying to play a game and covers up a key touchpoint in it (top tip, turn the wifi off and the ad-funded app is suddenly not ad-funded any more).


Photo credit: Peekaboo

Now let’s look at Tesco in more detail (I choose Tesco because it’s our UK No1 supermarket with global reach, takes £1 in every £3 spent in the UK on groceries and it’s making £6,000 profit a minute, not turnover – profit, and that’s up 12.5% on last year. It’s big.)

Tesco has a lot going for it which means it can enter other markets and do very well in them – banking (including offering mortgages by the end of 2010), music (even doing exclusive distribution deals with artists like Faithless), book retailing, being a media owner in its own right…

1. Physical location – there are Tesco shops up and down the country of all shapes and sizes, serving all markets. It is mass market.

2. It has the biggest loyalty card in the UK – The Tesco Clubcard. The company who numbercrunch the clubcard and sales data provide amazing analytics for the supermarket to inform the product buying process – which products do or don’t get picked , which get marketed, data to support marketing initiatives and valuable market research data for third parties.

3. It has an online commerce operation for groceries, fashion and household and the related expertise in e-commerce, logistics, distribution, search engine optimisation, online marketing, email marketing and more.

4. It operates in the financial services sector so has information about customer buying habits outside of Tesco for Tesco Bank customers.

5. It has magazines, posters, online advertising – all revenue (and ultimately profit) generating.

6. It has a mobile network which is growing fast. And it has all the associated data that goes with that – call and SMS patterns, mobile data usage – all linked to the clubcard and transaction data.

7. It now has mobile apps – and a growing suite of them. And an ethos that “simpler is better”. You can read more about Tesco’s foray into the world of mobile apps at Nick Lansley’s TechForTesco blog.

8. They know how to negotiate deals and how to work with suppliers to drive down the cost of production to improve their profit margins (this is not always good for the producer, but Tesco has this down to a fine art.

9. They’re focused on customers - customer service and getting the in-store experience right (not perfect, but good enough enough of the time that customers are satisfied) is key. They spend a fortune on staff training which includes customer service. And they have staff on hand to answer your queries and give you a smile (mostly) when you shop with them. I don’t know if this is replicated with the online shopping experience or not as I don’t use Tesco for online shopping.

10. It has really deep pockets. Like really deep. Did I mention they’ve been making £6,000 a minute PROFIT?

So what if Tesco were to really take on the mobile world? What might it look like?

Well, the app store would be more focussed and better organised (simpler is better). The apps perhaps could be bought on a wholesale basis rather than a revenue share. That way, rather than piling it high and selling it cheap, a proper selection process could happen and the app store’s shelf space would be limited (just like it is in real life). You’d earn loyalty points with each sale. Points can be used against rewards or money off any of your shopping at Tesco (whether that’s Tesco Mobile or your grocery shopping). Not only that, but the developers might be able to negotiate a better revenue share deal.

And what about if we looked beyond the app store. How about if Tesco provided suppliers (be that FMCG, mobile apps, clothing, whatever) with a full-service marketing option. Customer insight (based on transaction data plus mobile data cross matched with qualitative stuff and all opt-in) with multiple routes to market via mobile, magazine, posters (digital and physical posters), product placement, shelf offers (digital and physical), location-based (based on your usual local store and/or your actual physical location). Add in cross-marketing opportunities between different media and apps across the Tesco portfolio – now that would be a very powerful offering.

And what about if Tesco were to take on some web 2.0 and mobile 2.0 principles and built-in customer collaboration, accessibility to the tools which isn’t just based on how much money you have, and working with producers and suppliers to help them improve the supply chain process to cut costs and improve margins?

Could that happen? Would that happen? Would we want it to happen? (I can see there are a whole bunch of data privacy issues looming with it – will data monopolies be banned like company monopolies are?)

Are the network operators still making so much more money that they make Tesco look like chicken feed? Is Tesco the David to the MNO’s Goliath?

Comments, thoughts?

Monday, October 04, 2010

More mobile news on a Monday morning

I’ve been saving links galore and keeping browser tabs open for weeks now with a view to sharing them or blogging them at some point so here are my Top 3 for the day.

Tech Media Invest 100 – the 2010 list

The companies listed have been picked for their innovation and creativity over the past year in areas as diverse as flirting services, games and music recognition. There are some great companies in there – many of whom I know from the mobile world already like Shazam, Rummble, Flirtomatic, Mippin and Jeego. But there are many others on the list I don’t know and most definitely warrant further investigation. Winners will be announced at the Tech Media Invest 2010 event on 18 October and will receive free legal advice from Kemp Little (who also kindly support Mobile Monday London) and free financial consulting advice from PwC. Enjoy!

Music and mobile

Another one from The Guardian, this article is about the art of building an album as a mobile application from musician, Oliver Blank. It’s an interesting insight into an artist and their take on how to use digital technology, including mobile apps and be creative with it, but also be commercial. Sharing is high on Oliver’s list and he trusts his listeners to pay for his music if they really like it. Well worth a read for some forward thinking in both apps and music.

Common sense advice for  experienced and wannabe mobile marketers

Mobile Marketing Magazine editor, David Murphy, has written up a really good article about best practice tips he learned at the recent MobileSquared Roadshow (which I couldn’t attend due to illness). In the article, David shares an in-depth case study about student recruitment for the University of Hertfordshire (I like to think that maybe my lectures there about mobile marketing a few years back helped this along a bit ;) ). But not only that, David also shares InMobi’s, James Lamberti’s, presentation dispelling some myths and common mis-assumptions about mobile marketing:

  1. Mobile is just like the desktop
  2. Can we talk about what’s new?
  3. Do you offer hyper-targeting?
  4. Where are your best practices?
  5. Consumers are not ready
  6. No thanks, I prefer to wait

Rather than diving deep here, I’m going to let you read David’s article instead.

And I also recommend you take a look at the latest issue of Mobile Marketing Magazine’s print and digital edition – a really good read.

Sustainability in the 21st Century… some food for thought

My twitter pal, Dan Thomas posted this picture the other day on twitter.

In case you’re looking at this from a small screen, it says ‘Approx 1 million tonnes of textiles are thrown away each year in the UK. Only a 1/4 of this is recycled’.

Then I read another tweet that ‘25% of books are never sold and 60% of magazines are never read’. And that means a lot of books and magazines are pulped.

Next I stumbled across Monty Munford’s recent article for The Telegraph on the rubbish that India has to deal with.

So you might assume that maybe going digital is a good thing as it means less waste…. And then I saw this tweet from James Cridland:

"Spotify uses the same amount of bandwidth as all of Sweden has combined; and that's to cover only 7 million people." #radiodays

Hmm. Something to think about. Well, it made me stop and think at least. Maybe you too.

MePlease launches today and shares interesting case studies

meplease logo It’s about time I blogged a few things as it has been a while and I feel no better place to start than with MePlease. I’ve known about MePlease for some time now as I met the founder, Steve Jarrett, over a year ago at The Tuttle Club and it was then that I first heard about his plans to launch a new company to provide mobile and social marketing services to retailers. Some of you may know that this is a topic close to my heart having spent my early career in fashion retail and more than 10 years ago, was part of the start-up team at ZagMe, the world’s first location-based mobile marketing service (sadly no longer). With all that in mind, I am certainly critical of mobile marketing services to retailers – sometimes overly so. But that’s because I’ve been there, done that and can quickly see the holes in a new service. I’m pleased to say that this isn’t the case with MePlease. With several solid and successful client campaigns under their belt, they’re now in full launch mode and sent me their latest press release.

So what is MePlease and what’s so special about them?

MePlease is an integrated social and mobile marketing platform that provides businesses with powerful ways to engage customers on their mobiles, along with easy social media sharing. Just as importantly, their platform gives people using MePlease complete control over which businesses can interact with them and how often. [I like the fact they’re combining ubiquitous SMS with mobile web and social media. No, SMS couponing isn’t unique, they’re not the first to do it, but I believe they’re doing it right, and I know for a fact they have a strong management and investment team.] And you can see how it works in this short video clip featuring Me Please's Cait Roberts (you may recognise her from TechfluffTV and Mobile Monday London.

MePlease In Action at PizzaExpress from MePlease on Vimeo.

MePlease Phone Screenshot The MePlease team also tell me that its mobile social platform makes any marketing campaign interactive, measurable and shareable. It has the ability to include voting, competitions, customer feedback, location check-ins and the sending of treats and promotions.  Using SMS, mobile web, facebook and more, this enables companies to help achieve specific business goals such as increasing loyalty, acquiring new customers, and driving footfall. MePlease provides a seamless experience with social media, especially Facebook’s Open Graph, making it easy for anyone to share MePlease treats and invitations with friends.  Importantly, however, with MePlease customers are in control of what companies they hear from and how often. Unlike mobile location or voucher-based applications, MePlease works on any phone and can connect with any business or service, from national brands to small businesses. [Sounds pretty comprehensive to me and worth a look if your game is retail. And I know they also have ways to be location-based without a customer needing to have a smartphone.]

pizza express Pizza Express ‘Create Your Pizza Challenge’ Campaign

PizzaExpress, the UK’s favourite high-street pizzeria (well, it’s certainly my favourite high-street pizzeria and a firm favourite with the Mobile Monday London team), is among the first to take advantage of the MePlease’s integrated social media and mobile platform in an upcoming national campaign.

PizzaExpress is using the MePlease system to enable interactive customer voting during the final round of their ‘Create Your Pizza Challenge’, which has already drawn over 48,000 entries since the competition opened (not too shabby a response I would say). Through on-table displays in every PizzaExpress locations from October 18th to November 14th, customers will be prompted to text-in their vote for one of the five finalist pizzas they would like to see on the menu. Once customers text-in, they will also be able to post their vote directly to Facebook to encourage viral sharing via MePlease.

John Sullivan, Director of Group IT at Gondola Group, (PizzaExpress’s parent company), said, “We really like that MePlease enables us to directly engage with our customers using their trusted one-to-one communication channel.  Recently over 10% of our MePlease users texted in for a special lunch event at our Richmond restaurant; this response rate was very encouraging and happened within 15 minutes of sending the initial call to action.” [We had similar response rates to this when we launched ZagMe so I’m not surprised at this figure. It is most definitely achievable.]

Steve Jarrett, CEO and Founder of MePlease commented, "Most businesses know they should be doing more with mobile and social media. I am hugely proud that our world-class team has created such a powerful, yet simple and fun way for businesses to engage with their customers and friends – while allowing each person to retain complete control about what they receive and from whom. There’s nothing else like the MePlease service available today and I’m really excited about the ways in which businesses are already using the platform.”

MePlease’s current clients include: PizzaExpress, Cineworld, Jack Wills, Nimax Theatre Group, Jongleur’s Comedy Clubs, Ted Baker, Waxy O’Connors’ Pubs, 333 Holdings, Kick Fitness, Tonicity Spa, William Thomas Hair, House Keepers London, Got Fitness and Fancy Dress.

tragus logos And if you think this Pizza Express campaign is a one-off, then they’ve also achieved great results with many more, including the  Tragus Group (Bella Pasta, Strada and Cafe Rouge):

Project: 6 month trial at selected Tragus locations in London in order to prove viability of national rollout to 250+ UK restaurants

Key Results: 

  • 9% average text redemption rate
  • 53% redemption rate for single campaign
  • 20% joined via sharing or signing up online

jongleurs And also Jongleurs:

Project: Promote Jongleurs’ new comedy club Sway, Covent Garden London during August, a typically quiet month

Key Results:

  • Drove up to 25% of the club’s footfall on Friday
    nights during one month, including ticket sales and
    food/beverage purchase
  • Increased ROI by 40% in one month

“We are really pleased with the results of our first MePlease campaign. From a sales and marketing perspective, August is our most challenging month so the fact that MePlease filled up to a quarter of our seats that month is a truly outstanding result.”
- Will Beckett, Operations Manager, Jongleurs