Monthly Archive: July 2011

Customers Are Mobile Content Hogs — Are You Satisfying Their Hungers?

You carry around a phone that cost hundreds of dollars, and more than a grand in service fees each year. No doubt, your phone is amazing in many ways, but there are too many content and functionality holes in need of a solution for it to truly rock.

When you search, for instance, something good better happen, or your investment in mobile technology loses a bit of its luster.

Natalie Wuchenich, writing on Search Engine Land, points to a new study that indicates 77.1 million mobile subscribers are accessing local business content across the U.S., up an astonishing 34% from a year ago.

The study found that among all mobile subscribers surveyed this year:

  • 26% accessed weather, up 41% year-over-year
  • 18% accessed maps, up 41% year-over-year
  • 12% accessed movie information, up 32% year-over-year
  • 10% accessed restaurant information, up 40% year-over-year
  • 8% accessed business directories, up 26% year-over-year
  • 8% accessed classifieds, up 51% year-over-year

There’s also a spike in the number of local mobile content users with GPS-capable devices, which grew to 87% from 76% last year. And 64% of local mobile content users own smartphones.

Local businesses should invest in building mobile-friendly websites so consumers can easily access their content in mobile browsers, Wuchenich concludes. Restaurants, for example, should prepare mobile-friendly menus and reservations tools.

Last week on AdPulp, I surveyed six local grocery stores. Only two had a mobile-optimized websites. Now, let’s look at local Portland-area restaurants: Higgins, Mother’s Bistro, Tasty and Sons, Buggati’s, Meet Cheese Bread and The Chart House.

Only one, Mother’s, has a mobile-optimized website. And The Chart House — the one national chain in the bunch — is requiring a flash plugin, which ain’t gonna happen. When you access The Chart House’s site via a laptop or desktop, the experience is just as bad–music starts blasting and the user has to search to quiet the unwanted intrusion.

To recap, seven million Americans are using their mobile handsets to retrieve restaurant information when they’re on the go. But from my random sampling, only one in six restaurants is mobile-ready. Clearly, this is a market opportunity for mobile developers and for agencies who work with small businesses. It’s also work that needs to be done. In fact, it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to call it a public works project.

Please see my photo set on Facebook for more.

Milton Glaser On The Act Of Making Things

I saw a BIG film this week. A film that keeps unfolding in my mind a number of days after my initial viewing.

To Inform & Delight is a documentary about legendary designer Milton Glaser. The title is a reference to the Horace quote: “The purpose of art is to inform and delight.” It’s a powerful thought (and call to action), particularly for those working in marketing communications.

Glaser, who has run his own design shop in New York City since 1974, may be best known for co-founding New York Magazine and for creating the enduring I ♥ NY campaign. But he’s a prolific designer who also designs restaurants, books and provides design for advertising, among other things.

There are several themes in the documentary that deserve deeper exploration. For one, Glaser explains how he doesn’t want to be defined by a style. It’s a topic he has discussed before. As part of his “Ten Things I Have Learned” talk at AIGA London in 2001, Glaser said, “It’s absurd to be loyal to a style. It does not deserve your loyalty.”

Discussing his monoprints and the surprises that can come from purposefully working in a limiting form, Glaser says, “Works that are too preconceived tend to go dead, become inert and less lively. Work that responds to the peculiarities of the moment tend to be more energized.”

Think for a minute about how many preconceptions we bring to our work every day. In advertising preconceptions are fundamental to the business. Notions like “you can’t measure TV’s effectiveness” or “of course, the customer wants to hear from us again” are starting points in many a misguided journey.

Glaser’s declaration about “peculiarities of the moment” makes me think of theater, and how the best design is like live theater in that it creates an inviting experience. Factor in “the energized moment” and you have improvisational theater, and therein lies the new model.

Marketing is a real time activity today. Brands no longer need agencies who know well their lines, brands need actors who can stand and deliver, no matter where the story goes or how fast it travels.

Do You Want Pull With Customers? Then Pull Them In With A Steady Stream Of Branded Content

According to Custom Content Council, which is focused on promoting the growth and vitality of this dynamic marketing discipline, ‘custom content is grabbing ever-larger shares of marketing budgets as marketers become more convinced of its value.”

Four-fifths of marketers said they were “increasingly” incorporating custom content into their marketing plans. The survey queried 100 CMOs and other senior executives at large and midsize companies in 20 industries ranging from finance to communications to retail, travel, and health care. The average portion of respondents’ marketing budget allocated to custom content was 20 percent.

The top three channels for custom content—customized websites, e-newsletters, and print newsletters—have remained the same over the past five years, but social media and video now take the fourth and fifth spots.

“There are now so many channels through which to disseminate branded content, and so much more understanding and acceptance of it, that it’s really a perfect storm for content marketing,” says Mike Winkleman, president and chief creative officer of custom publishing company Leverage Media.

All of which is music to Bonehook’s ears, since branded content is our area of expertise.

Are You Hungry For Some Meaty Goodness?

I’ve been talking to my friend Tom Asacker about the need to feed people’s hungers (metaphorically speaking).

To effectively feed these hungers, first one must find out what people who come to you are hungry for. For instance, there’s quite a difference between readers looking to eyeball the latest breaking ad campaigns, and those who visit AdPulp.com for more meaty content that can help them teach a class, or construct a content or social media marketing strategy.

On AdPulp, we cater to multiple audiences and they’re hungry for different things. The same can be said for the audience here. Small business owners who visit this site are hungry the things that help them build their brand and grow their business. But a creative director at an ad agency who wants me to write copy for a client, has a related, but different hunger.

The question is can I don my chef hat and deliver made-to-order content? That’s what I’ve been doing, but perhaps I’d be better off, saying you know what, I’m really good at making this one thing — creating lifestyle content, for instance. It’s the difference between being a full service restaurant and a food cart. Both are totally legitimate business models.

It’s an important problem to work out for any provider of products and services. Because you want to lead with your strongest offering, so you become known for that one thing.

Being known for more than one thing is asking too much from people bombarded by messages from every direction. So, while I want to appeal to at least two different audiences here–small business owners and managers and creative directors at ad agencies–I might be asking too much. I may need to rebuild this site so visitors come to a landing page first, and then get redirected based upon their particular hungers.

But enough about me. What are your customers hungry for?

Scott And His Followers Are Turning Approachability Into Profitability

Scott Ginsberg is the author of 12 books. He’s also a popular speaker and the guy who turned wearing a name tag into a six figure income.

He gets lots of press and he creates lots of press. Writing on RainToday.com, Ginsberg compares content to contact:

People can get information anywhere, anytime, immediately, and for free. But that’s the thing. We don’t need more access to information. We need more access to each other. That doesn’t make information irrelevant, but contact offers an unquantifiable humanness that content can’t provide. And if your brand fails to deliver that interaction in addition to the information people need, customers will quickly switch to another brand that will.

In other words, brands need to do more than play in the social sandbox. Their real life representatives need to be on the communications front lines, talking to people and creating lasting bonds between customer and company.

Ginsberg does this for his own company by regularly speaking in public and by making instructional videos available to people who aren’t in the physical audience.

I like how Scott warns of the dangers of falling in love with one’s own product or service offering. “Customers want to buy something that solves their urgent, expensive and pervasive problems.” That’s such an obvious, yet often overlooked reality, of the marketplace.

I also like how he says, “Nobody notices normal, nobody buys boring and nobody pays for average.”