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We’re all guerrillas now

Rory Sutherland, thnx TheGuardian

The Institute of Direct Marketing invited Rory Sutherland to talk to his meme, Behavioural Economics  [video here: kudos to the IDM 😉 ] It’s worth 90 minutes (yes, *minutes!* of any marketer’s time), so I won’t rehash his subject matter here. The audience was left hanging, wanting more; and asking themselves what they might do differently.
[Rory’s excellent & extensive reading list ]

Here’s a thought: think like a guerilla. [ See Ries-Trout’s Marketing Warfare for more on Guerrilla Strategies ] Not the majestic mountain creature – rather, think like an opportunist. Where niches appear, and can be taken on quickly & profitably, then do. Go get those sales. (& then bug out when the opportunity is gone)

And that thinking applies equally to major corporate brands as it does to sme organisations.

Diamond Shreddies isn’t a long-term product – they’ll be gone from the shelves after the sales bubble deflates – as did green Heinz tomato ketchup, and the myriad of Marmite variants. [hate it]. These are not just products that happened “because we can” – they’re the product of a fertile imagination, that encourages purchase with raw emotions – fun and being different, for example.

Half-hearing a radio debate on the inability of sales promotion to affect long-term brand loyalty, I’m left wondering how often brand managers calculate the impact of a campaign that puts value into their product, by changing the shape, colour or taste of their product – for a limited term – might not be a better use of budget.

In this social media era, maybe it’s better to spend money on adding value & interest to a product, so that it fans promote it through their personal, social media.

Trusting Communities

It’s not where you’d expect to find a perspective on our digital world, but Thought for the Day on BBC Radio 4 today gave just that.

Neatly encapsulating how eBay works: “we buy from people we don’t know, paying them up front, and believing in the best of human nature, wait for them to send our goods.”

Given that this is how the vast majority of e`bay transactions proceed, without dispute, it’s more than fair to describe eBay as a trusting community.

Amazon kindle allows some e book sharing

Keeping a promise made in October, Amazon implements Kindle e-book sharing – http://pulsene.ws/CcJa
Very good, but why on earth was it blocked in the first place? All digital media tends to free, shared formats, so this is inevitable.
Sharing doesn’t need to equal ” giving away”. It can also mean
Rating
Social promotion
Donating
Trial before purchase

All of which reward the originator by promotion or money. Which is a fair trade.

Just when you thought all was fine on the BT front…

“ah, well, there it is”, as one of my island ancestors might well have said.

Clearly, I’m not *meant* to have a fully functional broadband line at home/office.
Last night a drunk driver succeeded in poleaxing the telegraph pole that carried our line: instead of being 20+ feet high, it’s now in two parts. Astonishingly, and a testimony to the stability of the installation that BT (finally) achieved, both phone and broadband were working, while the pole was in two parts, and the lines variously lying in the road and hanging in mid air (carrying the weight of half a pole!)

Of course, to leave the accident scene safe, the lines had to be cut clear of the road – at that point (no surprise) we lost connection.

@btcare on twitter got a heads up last night before the connection was lost.

So now, I try to report the fault. All my old & new BT accounts are now consolidated into a single online account, so that I ave full visibility of status.
1 I try the online fault check: no fault is showing for the line. OK, so if a neighbour reported their broken line, it didn’t trigger a fault on our line, A pity, but fair enough.
Past extensive phone experience with BT
2 Try the Report a fault options: there’s several Live Chats available, however none works in Chrome, Opera or Safari, in full, high contrast or accessible views. Pity – & with a soupcon of irony I was lecturing this morning on making websites accessible & well-designed. #fail
3 (with a sigh) I call BT. First call goes through to Billing: odd. They transfer me to Faults, who flat refuse to do anything because there’s a “billing issue”. I’m looking at the consolidated online accounts, and the total due on the one bill outstanding is… £0 The man in Faults isn’t budging. I hang up.
4 Calling again, I’m put through to an entirely different BT department; apparently random assignment of callers has been happening a lot today. The chap kindly puts me through to Billing. The lady confirms that there’s no billing issue, and puts me through to Faults. I hear a ringtone: I’m on hold. Again. The call disconnects some minutes later.

So that’s another 45 minutes of my life that’s passed by dealing with BT – the majority of it spent on hold. A minority spent trying to unravel BT information errors. And at the end of it, the Fault’s not been reported. Probably. (You can never be quite sure)

I’ll try again later. Of course, the fault isn’t BT’s: they’re not to blame for drunk drivers! And the process of trying to restore my service? That’s starting out to be as tortuous as before.

In the meantime, having spoken to BT People 75-77, I have to go earn a living. If only to pay for my phone lines.

Create a better consumption experience

Create a better consumption experience”
Jason Goldman, Twittter advisor at leWeb++

That’s the game!
The torrent of social media is overwhelming – it is impossible to keep up, even with a Facebook average/ Dunbar number 130 followers. {Seth Godin on Dunbar : TheGuardian on Dunbar }
Twitters’ lists is a decent effort – but it’s manual labour, and takes considerable time investment to create useful subject lists. Of course, the twitter ecosystem is starting to offer automated answers: Formulists for example. But it’s not quite doing it for me.
The best solution I’ve seen turned up today – by coincidence the same day as Justin Goldman’s quote: LinkedIn Signal needed Zero though to sign up & use. Just a regular LinkedIn sign-in, and I’m presented with a list of status updates. The left column gives checkboxes to filter by my LinkedIn network proximity, Industry, and Company, + more. Hey presto, instantly & usefully filtered  status update lists.
I could use it for the first time, without thinking “how does this work then”?
Which is a better consumption experience.
++Quoted by the ever-excellent @Adders

2011 prediction: Make it mobile

December: it’s the month for next year’s prediction lists. Ten or so nuggets of forecast wisdom about the world we’re about to live in. As 2010 ticks over into 2011, I think there’s just one mantra for marketers: “Make it mobile”

PerfectMarket on Slideshare

For a decade “mobile” has meant phones. Not any more – at least not exclusively. Apple’s iPad broke the barrier between phones & computing screens, but it’ll be android, Windows mobile et al that deliver the volume. The change will be astonishingly swift. The iPad set new marks for growth, and the arrival of iPad2 will keep the momentum high (iPad2 in February 2011?). Entry level 7″ Android tablets are heading under the $100 mark early in 2011. Between that sub $100 price point, and mobile contract subsidies , we’re going to see an explosion in tablet sales, on all platforms.

The consequences? Mobile data will grow: “Bruno Jacobfeuernborn CTO Deutsche Telecoms says near future Data traffic will grow 60x in mobile, while only 5x in fixed” @tomiahonen #wsamobile
Sixty times!

Royal Pingdom summarises the operating systems thus:

Worldwide mobile OS usage

The detail is:

Mobile OS market share based on web usage

These ‘share’ bars don’t of course show the relative numbers of active handsets, or their economic  value.

Tomi Ahonen, again:

” 20% of the Kenyan GDP transits a mobile phone today. It was only 10% as late as May and m-banking is only 4 years old. It passed 50% of all banking users just this spring. Meanwhile M-Pesa the biggest mobile banking service in Kenya has projected that 25% of the Kenyan GDP will transit a mobile phone before the end of 2010.”

That rate of growth challenges iPad!

The African symbian handsets are already handling huge proportions of GDP: developed countries are (relatively) tinkering with App sales and Near Field Communications. The ‘developed’ world will catch up on the transaction potential of mobile platforms in 2011.

Or rather, the more mature computing markets will bring their established computing behaviours to mobile screens – large & small.

In 2011.

Virus warnings usually a hoax

Time & again personal & digital bandwidth is soaked by well-meaning friends alerting you to a virus is almost certainly a hoax.

Today’s email warned my of a Christmas Parcel Delivery Scam – with duped folk calling a premium rate phone number at a cost of £315.  The scam was shut down in 2005. (That’s five years ago folks!).

Crimestoppers has received reports of a viral email discussing a scam that informs victims of a bogus parcel delivery and charges them a premium rate for the phone call to retrieve the phantom parcel.

We can confirm that this scam was in operation until 2005.

In December 2005 the premium rate number 0906 661 1911 was shut down and the operator of the number was fined £10,000.”

No doubt it’s operating in other countries.

Here’s how to detect hoaxes, & find out about scams… Copy the email’s subject line into google. Add ‘scam’ or ‘hoax’ as appropriate. Press Search. (Go on, you’ve done this before!)

Chances are that the first half dozen results on a ‘hoax’ search will include the excellent Snopes, or one of the anti-virus services: Sophos have an extensive directory of hoaxes.

So before you waste your own time forwarding a scam+hoax email to your address book, take a moment to Google it.

Public service announcement ends
kthnxbi!

My phone was *already* smarter than my satnav

Google’s blog announces local recommendations and takes my smartphone one step further beyond my satnav.

Now, my satnav is in theory a smarter bear. It networks with other users to give realtime, high definition traffic updates. Trouble is it’s only networking with other users of the same service – and that means there isn’t critical mass. Sure, it works well on motorways – but it’s struggling with the trunk roads that I prefer to travel on. There just aren’t enough users to give even a 425-line picture of local traffic. Last year I saw an A road closed for 6 hours: nope, nada, niente on my SatNav’s HD service – it reckoned the road was open all the time.

So what’s the alternative? Why, my trusty smartphone. I ran a back to back test on a 4.5 hour trip to Liverpool. The result?
SatNav wins out on managing motorway traffic – spotting it & routing you around it. On A roads, the smartphone wins out. It’s so much faster at recalculating routes, and in a different league when it comes to finding local information. & since my smartphone is an HTC/Google Nexus 1, adding local preferences to my information could be a great help/

The usefulness of results is going to depend on how smart the social engine is – when I’m in a part of the country that only my preferences’ friends’ friends’ visit, for example. That’ll be interesting. Last FM have managed that trick with my eclectic music tastes for years, so it’s certainly possible.

Critical mass shouldn’t be a problem (a final bye-bye to my satnav, then).

Blurring the boundaries of privacy could be the greater issue though.