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.