What Wikipedia Can’t Tell You About Wearable Technologies

October 26th, 2014 No comments

ces 2015I was at the CES unveiled Paris earlier this week, and unsurprisingly most of the trends for 2015 are evolving around wearable technologies. The difference between digital and physical space is getting smaller, creative 3d printing is shaping industrial design, and anything that can be connected will be connected and sensorised. 2015 is a year of fragmented innovation, with companies rethinking basic logic and bringing new ways to do old things. It is also a year of Internet of Me and big data.

One of the most interesting examples of rethinking new processes by using wearable data was Netflix. They already provide recommendations based on data (such as your genre, age, past behaviour and taste), friends’ recommendations, segmentation and complex algorithms. Let’s imagine that Netflix could also detect via your wearable bracelet that you are returning home depressed, and suggests movies based on your mood. Let’s imagine that Netflix could see via web cam whether you are alone, with your friends or with your partner, and base film suggestions on that. Let’s imagine Netflix could put all this data together to bring you very accurate, customised suggestions based on your mood and the person who you are with.

All this sounds far fetched, but is it really? We are already starting to get used to more and more customised browser experience, especially on Google. We get suggestions and information based on our calendar, previous searches, social likes, location, personal taste, key words we are using in social posts. websites we have visited, and much more. Plus, thanks to cookies and re-targeting, we also see advertising based on above across all the channels, from social to websites to mobile.

We allow this to happen, because we are curious beings and have always wanted to know who we are and what we really want. Why do you think personality tests and horoscopes are so popular for decades? Why do you tend to click career advice posts on LinkedIn? We are extremely fascinated to find all about us, and to know how we can perform better. We want advice, which is personal and customised just for us. We want products and services, which suit us as individuals. We want offers, which are tailored for us.

We are equally becoming more obsessed with sharing our “Internet of me” results with the rest of the world. We want to shout the world: look this is ME, this is who I am, this is what I do, this is MY life. It is not any more enough to satisfy our own curiosity, but we want to offer an idealised picture for the public – even if it means taking hundreds of selfies. Wearable technologies allow us to satisfy both our curiosity as well as our need to broadcast our personal life. This doesn’t mean that we will share everything – although there is always someone who will – because we want to show that we are smart, funny, and successful, and therefore will share only information that will enforce that idealised picture.

Wearable technologies have been criticised for being slow to kick off, but if you manage to tap into these two obsessions of ours, your product might become a hit. As a marketer I’m excited of the new possibilities, but as an individual … I’m not. The line between private and public information is getting blurred, and we are already sharing more information than we should, especially among younger generation. It would not surprise me if within 10 years Netflix will actually have a video camera access to our living room.

Wearable technologies will boost our narcissism, and help us discover who we are. However, the ironic fact here is that for companies we will always be part of a segment, however individual we would like to be.

Customer Retention: How much are your customers worth?

September 12th, 2014 No comments

customer-retention-statisticsAccording to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to a new customer is 5%-20% while the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60%–70%. It also costs 6–7 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one, yet marketers seem to be still more focused on acquisition than retention. Econsultancy Cross Channel Marketing Report states that only 15% of companies surveyed were ‘more focused on retention’.

But maybe this is because only 42% of companies were actually able to measure their customer lifetime value.

Why to measure CLV

Measuring your customer lifetime value can be complicated especially in International environment, but if you do not measure it, you cannot use the precious insights to build your customer retention strategy and to skyrocket your profits. Having a clear idea how much your customers are worth can help you improve your marketing campaigns: these figures allow you to analyse which segments, channels and digital touch points bring you the maximum engagement and highest ROI in each country.

In the end, when you are planning your yearly budget, it is important to determine whether a consumer is going to be profitable or not and for how long. When you have your CLV numbers, you can decide how much you should invest in retaining existing customers, how you should divide budget between retention and acquisition, and how you should split it across each channel, market and country.

But before you kick off the project, please make sure that you have correct, up-to-date “big” data as old or incorrect data will not give you the right insights. Sounds obvious, but unfortunately it is a much more common mistake than you think.

How to measure CLV:

There are many ways to measure customer lifetime cost and the simplest way to calculate it is by taking customer revenue minus the cost to acquire and then serve the customer. Do not just take the average gross profit and assume that number to be the lifetime value of your customer: remember to include customer acquisition cost!

When you want to be more specific, add on the Retention Rate, the rate at which your company retains its customer base. According to a study by Bain & Company, increasing your RR by 5% could potentially increase a company’s profit by 25% to 90% (now that’s something top management and finance team would love to hear!)

(Gross Profit – Customer Acquisition Cost) * (Retention Rate / (1 + Discount rate – Retention Rate)

What is important though is to also identify moments where value is created, pull the customer data together and create a view of the customer journey – and of course measure profit at each point. Which brings me to the next point…

Segment your customer base (please…!)

It is so important that it deserves its own headline. Not all customers are the same. Customer lifetime value is a very – very – useless number if you do not segment your customers.  You will also need to continuously measure and compare it with the previous numbers. When you compare the results, you can see whether your marketing campaigns have worked or not, for example by making sure your CLV ratio is higher than your Customer Acquisition Cost. Long way short: make sure you are not throwing money out of the window.

Share your knowledge

In international environment, one of the biggest challenges is to ensure all departments in the business as well as local market units work together to create a seamless customer journey across different channels, from call centre to social media to point of sale. With big data, CLV numbers and insights these two bring, you can understand the customer journey much better, seeing how, when and where people are buying, researching and engaging with your brand.

These numbers will help you to explain all parties from top management and finance team to local market teams and customer service managers why customer retention is so important and why their contribution matters in each touch point. Each team can also provide precious insight and ideas from their experience with customers back to the management.

Understanding the consumers’ on-line and offline behaviour is one of the pillars for establishing engaging – and profitable – relationships with customers, but it is as important to share the insights with all the departments.

Having insight is great, but if it is not implemented  … what’s the point?

 

Why Mobile Optimisation Can Boost Your Business. Globally.

June 19th, 2014 No comments

With the growing, yet already maturing Smartphone market, companies are finally starting to invest more in mobile advertising and search. However, not all departments are convinced that they should spend a part of their precious marketing budget in mobile optimised sites or specific mobile applications – especially for International markets. I thought it would be interesting to look at it from a perspective that will delight your financial team and investors. Do mobile optimisation investments actually make money?

More Smartphones and Tablets = More Multitasking and Shopping

Smartphones are most viewed / used medium in many countries, which is hardly surprising as Smartphones and other mobile devices are the only means of accessing the Internet in many emerging countries. This is for example the case for 40% of Indonesians and for 34% of respondents in both India and South Africa.

mobile-statistics

According to KPCP, 84% of the international mobile owners use devices while watching TV. Average global daily screen media time is 417 minutes of which 147 are on smartphones (35%), 113 on TV (27%) , 108 (26%) on PC, 50 on tablets (12%). But what do people actually do when multitasking?

Interestingly in the US, 24% of the mobile users spent their time shopping and 7% purchasing the product that was advertised, while 44% of the tablet users used their time shopping and 14% purchasing product that was being advertised. Tablet usage is highest from 8pm to midnight.

mobile-statistics-usa

The above statistics show how important it is to align the marketing and campaign message across all the channels, from TV ads and print, to search, website, CRM, Social Media, POS, and Apps, to ensure a smooth customer journey.

Increasing global mobile purchases 

We want to make money, so let’s concentrate on mobile shopping. According to the InMobi 2014 Mobile Media Consumption report, 60% of global mobile consumers use mobile devices as their primary or exclusive way of going online, and 83% plan to purchase on a mobile device in the next 12 months. 68% of respondents have already spent money on an activity via mobile, and their purchases are extending past digital goods, now including also physical and financial goods

This survey researched 14,000 mobile device users in across 14 countries, including UK, France, Italy, China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Kenya, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, and the U.S.

48% of surveyed mobile users consider mobile to be the key channel that affects purchasing decisions, and 52% of them have already made a purchase in response to mobile advertising.

Of those who  reacted to mobile advertising:

  • 78% have downloaded mobile apps
  • 68% have visited the web site of an advertiser
  • 56% have visited a store for more information
  • 44% have located an advertiser on a map
  • 43% have called an advertiser by clicking on the phone number in the ad.

Mobile devices also top the list of media with the greatest impact on purchasing decisions at 48% of survey respondents, and importance of mobile is even higher in developing markets, such as India, at 60%.

Mobile optimisation – or lack of it – can make or break your business

People using smartphones in subway trainIn mature, developed markets consumers are starting to use more sophisticated tablets and smartphones to shop both in-store and online, while in developing nations mobile can really be the only way to access the Internet and shop online. If you sell products online, focusing on mobile sites and apps in developed markets such as Europe and US is important, but when you are targeting developing markets it is essential to optimise for mobile to ensure long term success of your business.

It is important to keep in mind the difference between the two types of markets: consumers in more mature Smartphone and tablet markets are expecting well designed, smooth and faster shopping experience as mobile and tablet shopping is seen as enhancement to e-commerce experience. Meanwhile, consumers in developing markets expect fast, easy experience on your site/app, not being that fussy about fancy designs.

The fact is, if these multitasking mobile users land on your site and have a bad experience, or search for your app and do not find it, they will most likely go straight to your competitor.

Mobile optimisation is not anymore something nice to have. It is something your business needs.

8 Reasons Why You Should Always Thank Your Fans (Even if They Sometimes Drive You Crazy!)

June 4th, 2014 No comments

thank-you-fansFans, customers .. with increasing number of channels to review and talk about your brand, the power of their opinion of you has increased exponentially. Some of your fans use this power for good, but at times it feels like they have turned to the dark side of the force.

However, there are plenty of reasons why you should keep calm and thank them.

1. Even their negative feedback is usually constructive

Isn’t it better to know if there is a problem in your product before it’s too late? It doesn’t matter how well you test the new product or new version before it hits the mainstream, nothing is perfect. If there’s a problem, your fans will be the ones telling you first. If you take their feedback seriously, you are able to react much faster to identify and fix the problem, and/or to create an adequate public response for it before it is blown out of proportions. Yes, you should definitely thank them.

2. Their ideas might become a gold mine

They are using your product / brand every day, and sometimes the greatest ideas are based on simple, practical improvement ideas your fans send you. You know what? Go completely crazy. Ask for their opinions and ideas in a specific survey, analyse the responses and pick the best of the best (oh and remember to thank your fans for their ideas.)

3. Their opinions can avoid a disaster (if you actually listen to them)

Your fans love to tell you their opinions and ideas. Listen to them, get to know your fans, learn to read between the lines. If you get it right, you hit it big. If you get it wrong … well you are going to be in trouble. Not all changes are for the good.

4. Enormous Up-sell potential

They love you, they love your product, and they are ready to spend more money on you. New purchase channels and increasing number of Smartphones and tablets have increased the potential to upsell your product to your existing customers, and with a proper CRM program in place, your customer base can become a cash cow that will finance your other, more ambitious projects.

5. It is always cheaper to retain a customer than conquer a new one

A cliché maybe, but it is still true. A little bit of customer care and patience is much cheaper than marketing campaign aiming to acquire new customers.

6. Never underestimate the power of Word of Mouth

Your fans love to tell you their opinion of your product. They also love to tell others their opinion of you. This is why it is essential that you ensure they will tell positive things about your brand to others. With internet and numerous social media and review sites, WOM has even more power than before: according to a survey by Reevoo, 88% of consumers ‘sometimes or always’ consult a review when making a purchase, and 60% were more likely to purchase from a site that has customer reviews on. More than half of respondents (52%) said friends’ recommendations were influential, followed by consumer reviews (48%), advertising (24%) and advice from sales assistants (22%). Customer loyalty pays off.

7. If you don’t thank them, they might turn into long-term trolls

Trolls … no one becomes a troll by accident. Someone, somewhere in the chain upset them, whether it was the cashier at the point of sale, your customer support, sale representative, community manager or even the spam folder that made them think they got no reply from you. Whoever and whatever it was, main thing is to thank them for their opinion/feedback (very quickly!) and direct them to the person who can help them out. In the end, the most nagging fans also have the highest potential to do the positive marketing for you if you answer them well. If you don’t, you will experience some serious trolling.

8. Can’t stand them? Can’t live without them.

Fans. Sometimes you love them, sometimes they drive you crazy. Yet however annoying they can be at times, remember they are the ones that got you in the position where you are at today.

Always thank your fans, because without them your business wouldn’t exist.

6 Tips on how to stand out: a slight difference makes no difference

March 11th, 2014 No comments

tip-how-to-stand-outLast night I participated in the SpitzBiz networking event, which included a 15-min presentation from Alan Morrice, art director in Ogilvy. After spending two minutes desperately trying to spot a difference between stripy grey circles, it was a real relief to see a blue circle. The question was – which one of circles stood out. Blue one, of course.

Simple, yet effective. It worked.

As Alan said, our brains are programmed to search for a difference … and the easier it is, the more you get noticed. Makes sense. But we tend to forget about it, concentrating on fine tuning the message, using benchmark to copy our competitors (who hasn’t said at one point in their career – this is what I want: I want to be like them?) and being too scared to push the boundaries, to get out of the comfort zone. But how can you possibly stand out from the rest if you look just like them?

Here are six tips on how to stand out, inspired by the circle example:

Tip 1: Stop trying to fit in when you were born to stand out.

Nice quote. Actually a fantastic quote. Think about the beginning – you did not create your brand or product to be like others. Most probably you were sure your idea or concept was unique and that you were going to make money out of it, be noticed, be talked about. Blending in is not going to make it, being like your competitors is not going to make it – maybe you will have a decent income, but … what happened to that dream? Go back to the beginning and remember your roots. Remember who you wanted to be. Your dream. Now write it down and it is not a dream anymore. It becomes a goal.

Tip 2: Stop fine tuning and be bold

Fine tuning is safe and nice, but ineffective if you are fine tuning a message or brand image that has not actually worked in the past. Be honest to yourself … it most probably won’t work in the future either. Remember that a slight difference makes no difference – for you it might seem like a huge leap to go from “thin stripes” to “bold stripes”, but if the change is still inside your comfort zone, a normal person is not going to spot a difference.

It is like the awkward moment when your friend shows you a pair of curtains and asks you whether you prefer beige curtains to a slightly-whiter-but-still-beige curtains. Ehm. However, if the other pair of curtains was a completely different colour or had patterns, the choice would be more immediate and easy.

Tip 3: Find out what makes you, your company and your brand unique

This applies to companies, brands as well as your personal career. There is something unique in all of us, and sometimes we are too closely involved in the project to see what is our unique selling point. Why do your customers prefer you over the competition? Ask them, ask your friends, ask people on the street, ask people online, ask people in a networking / LinkedIn group – do a quick poll. When you hear an external opinion on your selling points and where you could improve, it is easier to be objective and make a realistic, up-to-date list of your strengths and weaknesses. But watch out – sometimes what we hear is not what we want – or expect – to hear.

Tip 4. Use benchmarking as an inspiration, not as an excuse to copy

Benchmarking and campaign / CV / social media / App Store best practices and examples are great source of inspiration, but the point is not to copy them. Knowing what your competitors do is essential – do they go for quality, do they go for price, do they go for reliable, do they go for exciting and cool? When you know what they go for – do not even think about using the same message or a slight variation of the message. Again, a slight difference makes no difference in the eyes of the consumer.

Make a list they are good at and what they focus on and compare it with your own list of strengths and weaknesses. In which areas you are better they are, do you do something they are not able to do?

Using a personal example – I am a person. Well there are billions out there. Ok, I have a business degree and master in management. Less people, but still very high competition compared with the career opportunities. OK, I have over 6 years working experience in various industries. Yes and …? I am Social Media, Mobile and SEO expert with a thesis on Social Media. But we are looking for someone who has also International experience. Ok, I have international experience on EMEA roles. So do some of the other people. Yes, but I have lived in 5 countries and speak 7 languages, and it is quite difficult to compete with that. Now we are getting there.

Tip 5. Use that data, but use it well.

Once you have written down who you are, what you want to achieve, what makes you unique, why people prefer you or your brand or product over others,  what you are better at than your competitors and what can you offer others cannot – it is time to play.

This is the fun part, brainstorming. Meet up with friends or colleagues and have fun throwing in the air even the craziest ideas. It does not mean you have to use those ideas, but it is a matter of pushing the boundaries. And sometimes the more you look at an idea that seemed silly to you in the beginning, the less silly it looks like. Maybe that will be the big idea that is going to skyrocket your business or brand. Make sure that the brand identity and messaging also suits your target audience – be bold, be brave, but don’t go completely crazy.

Tip 6: Make a plan how to get there, but start with simple steps

Once you know what you want to achieve and who you want to be and what you want to say – the question is how to get there. While you are still excited, use that energy to make an overall plan with targets for a year. Then split it in quarters.

With the targets and timelines, make another list of actions to be taken to achieve these results. Important thing is to start with little steps – allow yourself little victories every quarter, that make you feel like you are achieving something and getting closer to the target. These little positive achievements will keep you motivated all the way to the top.

It is like doing a house renovation project. First you are excited and make big plans, but the more the work advances, the more tired you get – it seems like the project is getting nowhere and you will never reach a target. Nothing is ever that simple, there are always complications on the way. However, if you write down a list of little things to do to push it forward, that you can physically cross off the list when done, then you are well on your way without even noticing. Allow yourself for example an hour every two days for the task – it is more productive, motivating and efficient than dedicating a day for a huge list of things to do.

A bonus tip – stop being a hamster.

Most of these things are of course obvious, but sometimes we need someone to remind us of the things we know make sense, but  have forgotten in the pile of day to day tasks and worries. It is tough to step back and leave the familiar hamster wheel even for a minute, as we are reluctant to give up the things that we consider important and a priority. If the week is too busy – start with little steps during the weekend. A slight difference does not make a difference, yet a small – bold – step towards the right direction might change things for the better.

Anyway, it is worth a try.

Google vs. Apple: Next Battleground … Cars. Open Alliance or iOS in the Car?

January 11th, 2014 No comments

android in carWho doesn’t love CES Las Vegas? Every year there are interesting announcements and CES 2014 is no different. This time I’m not talking about Smartwatches, Devices or weird geeky high-tech stuff. The most interesting news for me was Google’s announcement of the Open Alliance – a project to integrate cars and Android OS.

Connected Car: the next OS battleground?

OS in a car? Haven’t we heard it before? Yes indeed – back in June 2013 Apple announced it was working with car manufacturers with a project called ”iOS in the car” to integrate cars and iOS. Great stuff. Now let’s mix it up a bit: Ford happens to be using Microsoft technology in their Sync system and Mercedes has QNX by Blackberry.

It looks like Google and Apple are spreading their OS dominance war in cars, and the first connected cars – iOS as well as Android – are expected to arrive by the end of this year. But what makes this very interesting is the fact that car manufacturers haven’t really committed for a specific OS yet, with Honda and Hyundai openly signing up for Apple’s iOS in the car as well as Google’s Open Alliance.

So which OS car manufacturers should go for? Let’s have a look at the mobile statistics first.

Android dominates Europe and China, Windows Phone grows in Emerging Markets

According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, in September 2013 Android continued its OS dominance in Europe with 71.9%, while Windows Phone accounted for one of 10 smartphone sales across the big five European markets, overtaking iOS in Italy. What comes to UK, the battle of the OS is a bit more equal, with Android holding the top position with 58.4%, Apple’s iOS accounting for 27%, and Windows Phone munching its way to 11.4% of the market.

Now this is where the data becomes even more interesting: The latter OS – mainly thanks to Nokia – has shown strong growth in Russia, emerging markets in Europe as well as in Latin America. In Latin America Nokia has a strong presence and brand recognition even if its popularity decreased in the past few years due to death of Symbian OS. However, with its budget Lumia 520 Nokia is grawling back to the top of the chart, as most of the consumers are upgrading their old Nokia phone to the newer model.

In China Android has a very strong foothold with 81.1% of the market, but not because they are going for the cheap. Actually, Chinese consumers are prepared to invest a lot in their Smartphone and are expecting a great value for their money. The local brands are getting better and better and this is why most of the Chinese consumers are choosing a local Android Smartphone with high specs and good quality – such as Huawei, Lenovo, Coolpad or Xiaomi – instead of an entry-level global brand with lower specs.

IOS in the Car or Open Alliance?

Looking at the statistics, the choice seems quite obvious. However, there are strong differences between iOS and Android consumer behaviour, and what should not be forgotten is that iOS consumer is more likely to spend more money – also on their car. In addition, Microsoft might very well announce something similar this year.

Then again … buying a car is a far bigger commitment than buying a Smartphone, and forcing consumers to commit to a specific OS when they are purchasing a car might affect negatively in their purchase decision. First of all, a family car is used by more than one person and most likely there are at least two different OS per family. Secondly, can you really imagine a pure Android fan buying a car with iOS onboard … even if he loves the car brand?

Personally, the best strategy would be not to commit to only one OS, but find a way – or technology – to support all three OS in the car, leaving the choice for the consumer himself. In the end, connected car should enhance the driving experience, whether it has iOS or Android – or Windows – onboard, and if consumers do not commit to one specific OS, why should the car manufacturers do so?

Interesting times, looking forward to seeing which OS manages to be “in the car” first.

 

Social Media: Facebook is about reach, Google+ is about engagement. Or are they?

October 1st, 2013 1 comment

social-media-week-london-2013During the Social Media Week 2013 in London, or as you might have seen it on Twitter #SMWLDN, two things became clear: Facebook was highlighting strongly that the platform is all about reach, not engagement as it used to be, while Google was claiming Google+ is all about engagement, not reach. Interesting. It seems like these two giants swapped their key messages and were attacking each other’s “weak points.”

Even if Facebook has increased its profits especially on mobile after the IPO disaster, it has cost the platform dearly in terms of usability and user engagement. With the ever changing “Edge rank”, both companies and users are struggling to get their message across – without paying – and news feeds end up looking like a cluttered advertising board with status updates from not so relevant people and companies. However, when “clutter” was mentioned in the Facebook keynote QA, the company was quick to reference to their constant user studies and polls, as well as random user engagement testing on the platform: according to Facebook, some users see 1-2 sponsored stories per day, while others see 12-13. Apparently the amount of ads does not have any negative effect on time spent on platform. Hmm, maybe not the time spent, but engagement yes. But as we “all should know”, Facebook is not about engagement anyway, it is about reach – with tailored ads you are able to reach whoever you want to target wherever you want 24/7. User engagement is so last year.

Google on the other hand has been toughly criticised for the small amount of users it has on Google+ platform – also during #SMWLDN – and it most probably decided to focus on user engagement instead of global reach, because it knows it does not have as many users as Facebook. To boost the stats, the company recently gave YouTube users a Google+ profile as well as integrated Google+ comments last week together with YouTube comments. Still, some people – and company representatives in panels – said the platform is a waste of budget and time. I would have agreed few months ago, before Google refreshed the social network and I started using it personally. I realised that just because you don’t understand it does not mean it is useless. I have collected few key points I have learned in the last few months.

 8 Tips on how to use Google+:

  1. Don’t assume Google+ is Google’s version of Facebook – it is not. Google plus is not about friends speaking with friends – they have Facebook for that. Google+ is about communities and social recognition as well as connecting with like minded people across the world. Let’s be honest – how many of your Facebook friends or real friends love what you love? How many of them sigh or start playing with their mobile when you passionately talk about the marathon training you are doing – again for the 5th time? In Google+ whether you love running, Android, Windows, iOS, Linux, travel, or photography, there is a group of people who are interested in same things you are and are willing to give tips, help, and comment AND they even get as excited as you are of your new computer wallpaper or photograph you made with your new Lumia 1020. Getting social recognition with “1+”, comments and shares in the community that understands your passion brings a boost of confidence – as “like” button used to.  
  2. Don’t post same posts as in Facebook – they don’t work. Why? The audience is different. Almost everyone is on Facebook, but Google+ has more selective audience, which brings me to the next point…
  3. Investigate who your audience is and what they are interested in. Test different posts and users’ reaction to them. Do they appreciate funny things, travel, cars, mobiles, high-quality photographs, exclusive information, backstage photos, product images, etc. Have a quick look at users’ profiles – which communities do they belong to? If your post is targeted to that community, the user might very well share the information in that specific community for a large amount of users.
  4. Reach out to communities to offer help, information and support – but do not spam. Don’t even think about posting an offer in an external Google+ community – it will be classified as spam and will result in negative feedback. What however is welcome, is giving your industry – or product – related advice or tips. You are also able to reach out to community creator to see whether you could do a collaboration. For Nike, think running. For Mercedes, think cars. For HTC or Sony, think Android. Use common sense.
  5. Identify YOUR influencers and interact with your users. Google analytics is great, but it is also worth checking who shares and comments your posts most. Also check who has most followers and which communities they belong to. Constant feedback I get is that brands don’t talk and interact with people in Google+. Of course they don’t if they just copy paste whatever they post in Facebook and leave the community alone. Google+ community also needs cuddles. Be different and stand out in community management.
  6. Track performance. Sounds obvious, but is often forgotten.
  7. Remember it is clutter-free: No ads, few competitors. Do I need to say more?
  8. Do not underestimate the power of Google. Google+ as a social network does not have as incredible global reach as Facebook, but don’t forget that no-one beats Google in search. Having an active Google+ community and having G+ recommendations on your site, blog and Android app have a strong effect in search algorithm and ranking. G+ is integrated in whatever Google does. Whether you are convinced to have a Google+ page or not, can you afford not to?

 Even though sometimes sarcastic, I am a strong believer in both Facebook and Google+ platforms. Both have what other does not, and used well together they both can boost your business and social relevance across the globe. Both platforms need relevant content, that makes users tick. In Facebook, instead of massive sale creative, use something related to your industry and tie it together with sale. Make the sale relevant – why do they need the product or service? In Google+, not having a lot of competition does not mean you can send various messages per day – just like in Facebook, test the best time and day to reach your audience and influencers.

When you understand the way platforms work and get into the minds of users – no social network can be classified as “a waste of time.” Instead, you enjoy boosted sales when the other companies “do not get it”.

Google i/O 2013 top announcements: Android, Search, Photos, Social … and Robots.

May 16th, 2013 1 comment
google i/o 2013 announcement top

top announcements google i/o

Equipped with a Red Bull and a bowl full of popcorns, I had a chance to watch the three-hour-long Google I/O keynote yesterday. The event I wait with excitement every year was full of quite interesting announcements – or should I say “improvements” – especially in Google’s key areas of business for consumers and developers.

Unstoppable Android & Android Studio – Google I/O 2013

The keynote started with interesting news about Google’s Android OS, with company stating there had been 900 million activations of Android devices. Great.

Now to the best part: Google announced a new tool for developers called ”Android studio”, which provides more options for Android devs to play with, making the process faster and more productive. It surely looks great and I have to say I’m excited about the beta tester, localization and tracking possibilities. Can’t wait to use it myself!

Google Conversational Voice Search – Google I/O 2013

I’m not sure if this is “end of search as we know it” as it already exists on Android phones, but it is surely very interesting addition to a desktop search. The company announced in Google I/O 2013 that the conversation-like voice search is now moving from Android mobiles also to users’ computers through Chrome, giving people a new search experience where no typing is required.

Don’t be deceived – this is not like Apple’s Siri. It is much better. Why? The real power behind this search function is not in the voice recognition technology itself, but in Google’s data backend and what it knows about you. Apple might have a similar technology, but Google simply knows much more about you -  especially if are signed in to Google and Google+. This gives you a truly personal and relevant “conversation” experience (which can be sometimes scarily accurate…)

It will be interesting to see whether Google will add option “voice search” in their AdWords target options.

Google Photo – Google I/O 2013

Google is also improving its photo services in Android and Chrome with a cool feature allowing it to automatically create a photo album from hundreds of images uploaded to your photo cloud storage. Google picks the best photos based on aesthetic and image quality, landmark locations, friends and family members recognition, and it even checks whether people are smiling or not! It also disqualifies duplicates, blurry and under/overexposed images.

Social Media: Improved Google+ – Google I/O 2013

Whether you like Google+ or not, its new look and feel is eye-catching. I personally think the way posts are presented is more clear, more attractive and reading and posting in the platform is much more user-friendly.  The new dynamic display does not only allow you to have up to three columns, but you can choose whether you want to show your content in 1,2 or 3 columns. One to watch, as Facebook is moving to a sales focused format in their platform alienating especially younger generation. Watch out Facebook – Google Plus is finally starting to look sexy!

Mixing Social and Search?

Google also introduced a new feature called ‘Related Hashtag’, which allows Google to automatically add its own hashtags to your posts based on the text within your post. What comes to images, by using a new feature called “Image analysis” Google is able to analyze your image and decide whether there is any recognisable content in it. And then add an hashtag such as #Rome. Quite #cool.

If it is too much for your privacy conscious brand / mind, you can opt out for one post or all of them quite easily.

And of course …

… robots fighting with light sabers. How could anyone possibly not like that? :)

In action: http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/15/willow-garage-pr2/

Mobile Marketing Trends: Mobile OS Wars – Is There Life Beyond Android and Apple?

January 30th, 2013 2 comments

apple samsung behind scenes

Back in 2010 I looked at the mobile market dynamics and OS market share statistics in the US and Europe, as all marketers talked about was Apple, iPhone apps and Apple’s products. In reality, was it all about Apple? Not really.

In those days Android had started eating slowly, but steadily iOS market share, and Symbian OS was still dominating Europe.  2010 seems like a long time ago – things have really changed.

Last year was full of lawsuits, clever advertising, product launches, failed mapping headlines, and a whole lot of drama between Google, Samsung and Apple. But … is it really all about Samsung and Apple?

Samsung vs. Apple – a clever PR stunt?

In 2012 Samsung established a very strong position as an Android developer fighting against Apple and received strong support from the Android community … and from a part of the media as well. But is this battle really that strong or did these two companies take advantage of the tension between Apple and Android fans to fuel the fire and get their names out there? Looking back at the big amount of Samsung vs. Apple law suits and the cocky “apology” to Samsung by Apple, it is possible. And if they did, it worked: for a month or two all media and people talked about was Samsung / Google vs. Apple. You had to make a stand – either you were Android fan or an Apple fanboy. It was all or nothing. All nicely timed with iPhone 5 launch as well as Galaxy launches.

Samsung became almost a symbol of fight against overly-confident Apple, but there are much more great Android developers out there including ASUS (creator of the highly successful Google Nexus 7 and Nexus 4), HTC, Sony, etc. But did anyone talked about them in Google vs. Apple battle? Not really.

So what is really happening behind the scenes?

Constantly changing mobile market dynamics

1.5 billion handsets were shipped in 2012, a 2% increase compared to 2011. 700 million of the handsets were Smartphones, yet even if the global smartphone shipments increased by 490,5 million units (43%), the saturation in Western Europe and North America impacted the slower growth.

Samsung, Apple and Nokia were named the top three vendors with Samsung shipping 30% of the handsets in 2012. Company’s Smartphone sales were mainly fueled by its record sales of the popular Galaxy models (396.5 million) yet the total handsets it sold were 400 million. Apple shipped 135.8 million iPhone units (19%) strengthening its position in North America, but the company failed to reach developing markets such as Africa as well as certain European countries. Meanwhile Nokia’s market share dropped in 2012, but the launch of Asha and Lumia 920 / 800 had a positive impact in Q4 2012 with 86.3 million units sold, in which smartphone accounted for 15.9 million units composed of 9.3 million Ashas, 4.4 million Lumias and 2.2 million Symbian smartphones. Chinese handset manufacturer ZTE settled for fourth place.

Mobile OS market share in 2012

According to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, Android has shown strong growth in Europe and Australia in 2012 and is holding now 61.1% of the EU5 and 55,8% of Australian market share. The growth has been significant in Britain, France and Spain in the EU5, but increase has been slow in Italy and its market share has decreased – surprisingly – in the USA. What comes to other markets, in Brazil Android increased its market share to 47.1% and in Mexico to  37.3%.

statistics OS mobile europe us australia

What comes to iOS, despite iPhone 5 and iPad mini launch, iOS market share in the EU5 has increased only 0.2%. The biggest growth in EU5 happened in Italy and France, yet the iOS market share decreased 1.7% in the UK and Spain. The US market share increased 6.3%, while Australian market share shrunk 3,4%.

In Europe Windows Phone’s market share has more than doubled to 5.4%. The strongest market in EU5 for Windows phone is Italy with 13.9% of the market share (11.1% increase from 2011) and Britain with 5.9% market share (up from 2.2% in 2011). However, the growth has been slower in other EU5 countries, Asia and the US. In Brazil the market share has jumped up to 12.2% and to 2.7% in Mexico.

Symbian OS, Bada and Blackberry’s RIM have suffered the market changes most in developed countries.

Mobile market in 2013

Apple seems to be struggling with a falling market share – and shares. The launch of the iPhone 5 in 2012 was a disappointment for many, and especially Apple’s infamous maps have created headlines. iPad mini launch was also the first time when Apple moved from innovator to a follower by comparing openly iPad mini with Google Nexus 7 in the official press conference. Is launching a new model so rarely Apple’s strategy to make the products more special? Or is there perhaps nothing new to publish?

Anyhow, Apple has still a very strong ecosystem and it has done a brilliant job on introducing Apple products in all aspects of user’s life from home stereos and in-car assets to music and apps. Once you have bought Apple related things during years it is very difficult to switch to another Smartphone / tablet. That being said, Apple has made “switching” to other OS a bit easier with the introduction of the new cable, which means the things you bought for your previous iPhone are not compatible with iPhone 5 or any other new model Apple launches.

There has also  been a lot of speculation whether Nokia made the right choice of choosing Windows phone OS instead of Android. Maybe it did. If Nokia would have picked Android as an OS, what would differentiate it from other Android developers in Samsung’s shadow? It will be fascinating to see whether Windows phone platform keeps growing strongly. Other interesting game changers to watch in 2013 are Blackberry 10, and Linux / Ubuntu based devices.

Android is going strong, but we might see a change from a role as a market challenger to a leadership defending OS. And the OS with the biggest market share tend to get challenged by the smaller OS – just what happened to Symbian and Apple. As mobile market is changing so rapidly, it could be possible that in two years time Apple has become a dinosaur, Android / Google the bad guy and Windows phone the new trendy platform … and the fighter of justice.

Apple vs. Google: More Lawsuits, Improvements or Perfect Occasion for Nokia?

September 2nd, 2012 No comments

apple vs google war mobile“Google and Apple are doing more and more things together. We have similar goals, similar competitors.”

Eric Schmidt, Chief Executive Google (2007)

I’ve been enjoying the last few months, as finally the market dynamics are changing and there is a lot of interesting things happening in the mobile space. It is quite fascinating to watch the war between Google and Apple, with lawsuits, new Smartphones and unexpected news. The war has become so huge, that it has awakened the interest even in the non-tech audience – Google vs. Apple makes headlines.

Apple heading for a Google-free mobile

Back in the days Google and Apple worked on various projects together, but ever since Google’s Android started eating Apple’s market share, the relationship between the two got ugly. Now, prior to the new iPhone launch, Apple announced that iOS 6 will not include YouTube or Google Maps. This is a big shift in dynamics as iPhone has had three of its important functions from Google since the iPhone launch in 2007: maps, search and YouTube. There are also rumors that Apple is considering removing Google as default search, as it is said to cost Apple 1 billion dollars per year in shared advertising revenues. In China, the company is already using local search engine Baidu instead of Google – if Apple decides to change Google to Bing or Yahoo in other markets they will be attacking Google’s core business.

This may go in two ways: either Google will pick up the game and improve its Maps and YouTube user experience in apps, or these two will focus on different ways to make other company’s life miserable.

Apple vs. Android Lawsuits

After winning a 1 billion lawsuit against Android-powered Samsung, Apple has decided to ask the court to include other Samsung hardware, such as the Galaxy S III, Verizon Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note and Galaxy Note 10.1 into its complaint against the Galaxy Nexus. Meanwhile, Google-owned and Android-powered Motorola has filed a lawsuit against Apple, stating that all Apple products in the U.S.(except iPod and iPod Nano) infringe upon seven patents, including location reminders, email notifications, video playback and Siri. If Motorola is as successful as Apple against Samsung, all Apple products might be blocked in the US market. Irony.

The question is: what do the users gain from this? While it might be good that manufacturers are forced to think beyond Apple and offer more innovative and different designs, it is a pity that the focus has shifted from developing ground-breaking products to lawsuits. While competition should be fair, the battles should happen in the market – not in the court rooms. Maybe it was the months Apple spent talking to the lawyers, that delayed the new iPhone launch?

Apple vs. Android – perfect occasion for Nokia?

If Apple and Android continue the lawsuit war blocking each other’s mobile devices in different markets and forget what is best for the users, consumers may move to another system. In fact, Nokia is launching a new Windows phone 8 on the 5th of September 2012, prior to the new iPhone launch. As both Nokia and Microsoft have a lot in stake, they will invest millions to make it huge.

Nokia has had a rough path lately, but hopefully the Windows phone 8 system will be more flexible making it easier for the developers to create apps, and shaking power dynamics between the OS. Nokia should definitely not be ruled out, as the conflict and lawsuits between Apple, Google and Android manufacturers may be a perfect occasion for Nokia to get back in the game. Who knows? In the end, even Apple’s Siri said, that Nokia Lumia 900 is “the best Smartphone ever”.