Yet more moves in the gradual blending of old TV and newTV. For ages rumors and speculation of Apples move into TV have been swirling around. Whilst some people expect Apple to develop a range of TV sets, we don’t. The economics aren’t that attractive and the replacement cycle is pretty slow.
We think the set-top box and the software is the sweetspot for Apple and it seems they are about to do a deal with Time Warner Cable to stream all their content through the Apple TV box. The 12 million people with the Apple TV would still need to be Time Warner subscribers but this sort of arrangement helps move Apple TV up the list of options –on the way to becoming a gateway.
One company already committed to the TV market is Samsung and they too are making waves – this week they bought Boxee to help them improve their connected TVs. Boxee started as a software business focused on streaming video then launched their own hardware – a settop box.
With bidding for Hulu coming to a head we may have a better view on the likely shape of this market in the next few weeks.
One of the players with most potential to disrupt TV is Tesco and the interview with their CMO that we featured last week sparked a few interesting conversations this week.
McKinsey have a very good interview with the CEO of retail giant Ahold – who are big in Europe and across the US. This interview has a biog focus on multichannel and its fascinating to hear how they see online as complimentary to supermarkets. And their ideas around remote pick up points are really interesting. Of course, they are very focused on mobile.
Still on mobile this is a good look at how Amazon have put the band back together from dotcom boom and bust Webvan. The Webvan experience of building the first online grocery delivery business (spending $800m before closing down) is proving very useful as Amazon expand their grocery business. Lots of learning for the UK players here.
Old tech players still contenders
We have been pushing the GAFA theory for a while now – how nearly all tech innovation either starts ( or ends up ) within Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon. Of course there are exceptions; Twitter has resisted temptation and Yahoo are buying people like Tumblr.
But the old guys are still pretty influential. Microsoft have now got 100k apps developed for Windows phones and they continue to support Bing. One area where Bing is having some success in battling Google is social – where both Twiter and Facebook have partnerships with Bing
And this is a good look at all the things IBM are up to and how that could give them a strong position in mobile. The transformation of IBM is remarkable – back in our Modem days they were a client, partner and a competitor – and they have divested their hardware business and become a major player in consulting.
Old tech still contender
We should also recognise that old tech still has a bit of life. Fix is a great example; back when we were doing mobile, social and content at Big Picture in 2005/6 ( not a very lucrative business model then) we used our blog to air our thinking. It was highly respected and with RSS we got a pretty good readership – it’s still there and at least some of the thinking still stands up.
But for Fix we went back to email because it works incredibly well. Wired point out that for ecommerce businesses email outperforms social and the core part of any digital service remainss the email address
And Bluetooth is about to get another day in the sun – it is starting to look like one of most disruptive things in iOs7 is AirDrop – which uses Bluetooth and WiFi.
Whilst the new new thing is always appealing clever ways of using old tech can be just as interesting.
End of advertising?
Rei Inamoto of Akqa has written a good piece on the End of Advertising as we know it. He sums up his well thought through argument by saying;
Brands should aim to solve real problems by providing connected services over 365 days and by inventing new businesses that benefit people, not just the brand.
The sort of thinking that inspired our Skratch project.
On a similar topic there is an interesting deck on Slideshare on the evolution of advertising – it’s really long with over 470 slides, but is interesting. It ends up promoting the idea of brands creating their own content. Which we agree totally with – the question is where they go help to do that properly.
Book of the week
Book of the Week
Whilst we talk about tech, mobile and social we are still really looking at advertising. Most of the tech firms are essentially ad businesses in that their revenues come from brands looking to influence peoples behaviour. And if we want to get good at advertising that makes the most of these new opportunities, we should have a good sense of whats been done in the past.
The History of Advertising is an update of a book that came out 5 or 6 years ago and it’s a pretty comprehensive look at the key players and their stories. It is also a rewlly good read and we think its the perfect book for the beach – and ours will be read on Porthmeor in a couple of weeks time.
Forbes have a good round up of the trend we have been focusing on for the last year or so – how tech and consultancies are annexing marketing services. As mentioned earlier IBM scores well here too.
Mobile operators are (finally) getting better at launching mobile focused services. Orange have their TVCheck app. Vodafone have invested in VoucherCloud and now O2 have launched an interesting travel related service called JetSetMe. This uses location and the wonderful IFTTT – “If This Then That” – to allow their customers to automate useful services like send a tweet when I arrive in a new country or update Yammer so colleagues know not to call as you are in different time zone. Well worth watching.
The CEO of Groupon who was sacked earlier this year (and wrote this great resignation letter) has a new career – singer songwriter. His album Hardly Working is apparently management hints delivered as soft rock. All sounds a little David Brent for our taste. Maybe that’s the idea?
Finally….. if the tracking and privacy issues we talked about last week concern you at all you should check out this MIT project – where linking the service with your gmail account allows you to see your own metadata. It’s a very good demonstration of how much can be gleaned from not much information.
Back in the 1980s when Coca Cola launched New Coke then quickly withdrew it in the face of consumer reaction, Pepsi ran an ad in the New York Times showing this letter; saying “The other guy just blinked”
Tim Cook Phil Schiller say “Can’t innovate anymore, my ass,” on stage at the Apple developer conference we thought of that line.
Clearly the criticism is getting to Apple. The Samsung ads seem to be working – in at least they are rattling the Apple team. And a lot of the new features for iOS7 seem to be inspired by other apps and by Android.
With iOS7 having little real substance we wonder if this is a similar moment for Apple? The redesign seems to be insufficient to appease the critics and perhaps enough to discomfort users.
The much trailed iTunes radio looks good and leverages the huge amount of data that iTunes gives Apple. With 8000 tracks burned into in my iTunes, Apple are better able to serve up music I will like than Amazon Google or Pandora. But essentially it’s a version of Pandora.
Whilst there will clearly be a new device announced to coincide its the release of ios7 in September, there seems to be a real loss of momentum at Apple. And with new Android devices due from Motorola and others (probably at a much lower price point) the new iPhone is going to have to be pretty special to regain momentum
The significant change in user experience will be a key issue. Years ago we worked with Motorola when their key problem was the fact most people were very familiar with how a Nokia worked, so were reluctant to start and earn a new operations system
Come September when your experience on your current iPhone changes, making the shift to a Samsung or other Android may not seem such a leap.
We keep saying we expect Apple to switch search away from Google at some point. It’s the one piece of Google still baked into the iPhone (now that Google Maps and YouTube are no longer pre installed ) and we know Bing (and Yahoo) would love to get the search volume that the iPhone delivers
So we were fascinated to see that search in Siri now defaults to Bing. Will the default for Safari on ios7 still be Google or will they switch the 3 choices (Bing, Google and Yahoo) to alphabetical order with Bing as the default?
Whilst on search, one of the best sessions at the econsultancy Future of Digital Marketing event we spoke at last week, was on search. Neil Perkin has done a good write up on this and the deck from Will Critchlow is worth a read.
Apple maps didn’t get a mention at the WWDC event, but other news dealt a further blow. Google are to pay more than $1bn for Waze who Apple were rumoured to be buying last year for $500m. A key reason for Apples interest is that Waze supply data to Apple Maps – and that must be in some jeopardy now.
Not everything at Google is going well. There some well documented problems with Google Wallet and this interview with a rival gets into some of the issues. His company Braintree is a big player in digital payments, handling money for Airbnb, Fab, Angry Birds and many more.
One technology in the money space that isn’t doing so well is NFC. For some time now the promise of iPhone support has kept NFC as the next big thing. But in talking about AirDrop the Apple team seemed very uninterested in NFC and it seems unlikely that it is going to feature in the next Apple device.
Weve – the UK partnership between the mobile operators is extending their offering to ads in mobile apps. Having built a strong business in permission SMS, they will shortly start using their data to target ads within 3rd party apps. With good relationships with media agencies they are well placed to have real impact, but is their data any better than the other ad networks they will be bidding against? They talk of 17 million people agreeing that data on their location, gender, age, device, district address etc can be used –we wonder how many of those know they have given this permission?
We all know the old notion of the purchase funnel doesn’t make much sense anymore. The McKinsey rethink on the Decision Journey seems more realistic, but this HBR article argues that, with mobile, people are shopping constantly.
The hashtag is an idea who’s time has come and Facebook now concedes and enables them.
As the ad world schlepp to Cannes we are seeing some of the promotional ideas. Deutsch are supplying late night pizza (…us neither) but our friends at Clearchannel are adding some value by facilitating a debate on Twitter –which then culminates in a mural on an outdoor site.
Finally we get some good feedback on Fix, so we guess most readers enjoy it. Can we ask a favour, then?
The Drum is running an online poll to find the most influential people in mobile and, given there is no such thing as bad publicity, we’d appreciate it if you voted for me.
The list has all the usual subjects – many of whom are Fix subscribers – so you can support others too.
Getting Digital Right
Dan Ho of ad agency Weiden & Kennedy has written a great piece on Tyranny of Digital advertising – essentially blaming media agencies for pursuing formats that reach a gazillion eyeballs if they happen to look at it. He goes on to point out that the more interesting things in marketing are around making products and services – something that traditional agencies don’t really get. Well worth a read.
Now, we get some flak for our constant riff around clients now wanting more than agencies can/do deliver. To some friends (many of whom work in traditional agencies ) it looks like a new biz tactic..
But maybe more people will pay attention now adland bible Campaign is saying Why ‘ad agencies’ could be on brink of extinction.
The danger to ad agencies is that if they can’t convince clients that they offer a shortcut to such thinking, then brands will find it elsewhere.
Digital is of course the key issue here. As Dan Ho points out the response to digital has often been to mould analogue thinking to make it fit digital – such as the banner. The other week we heard a senior marketer lament that her traditional agency was only interested in making big budget TV ads – that weren’t going to be shared by anyone – whilst her digital agency didn’t have the insight to do more than push the latest online fad.
Still not convinced? Accenture have published a fascinating report into marketers thinking – called Turbulence for the CMO. With lots of data on what CMOs think the issues are its an interesting read.
The recommendations are also very interesting. CMOs need to
Fundamentally change the marketing operating model.
Build new skills internally.
Get the right set of partners.
Drive digital orientation throughout the enterprise.
That doesn’t sound too comforting if you are a traditional agency – media, creative or even many digital agencies.
There are some brands who are well equipped for this new climate and the Economist has taken a look at some people doing it well – including Diageo and Nestle. And Heineken have shared their plans to move to real time marketing centred on mobile.
We believe this is an Alice In Wonderland moment for marketing – clients and agencies. Do you take the Red pill and go off and immerse yourself in the adventure of modern digital marketing – or take the Blue pill and stick with the world you understand?
Whilst you decide, Accenture continue to add to their capabilities, with another $300 acquisition; digital marketing firm Acquity. Adobe also added to their marketing capabilities this week, buying app makers Thumb.
At Mobile Engage last week Richard Eyre makes a very eloquent case for mobile as the catalyst for marketing, rather than just another channel on then bottom of the media plan. It’s a 15 minute video, but it is well worth watching as Richard makes the case for brands needing to be trusted, as that is the only way to get the permission from customers, that will unlock the value of mobile. We also loved his quote urging brands to make their sites mobile friendly;
Mobile fluidity isn’t creativity. Its hygiene
Forrester have a new way of emphasizing the importance of mobile – the Mobile Mind Shift Index where they use data from their Technographics study to see how mobile ready people are. They blend data on the devices owned, the frequency they use them and the diversity of locations.
The results are surprising. Across Europe the average score is 25 out of 100. As with nearly all Forrester data its terribly complicated but our take is that, despite all the momentum in mobile, there is still huge upside as mobile crosses the chasm and goes truly mainstream
As US research shows Twitter is getting great traction with young people – use amongst online teens in the US has jumped from 16% to 24% in the last year – they are pushing new tools for brands.
Amplify enables broadcasters to share key video clips on Twitter, with brands able to facilitate the content through a pre roll and letterbox branding around the clip. Along with more focus on 2 screen Twitter is building a symbiotic relationship with TV, and according to a Mondelez tweet, it seems to work;
“When we combine Twitter with our advertising on TV, we see twice the effectiveness. This stuff works.” @boughb at #Twitter4Brands
Following the Google announcement that US users can make payments by email, Square have announced a similar service. With more banks mimicking Barclays Ping by rolling out payment by SMS in the UK, it’s clear that payments are being disrupted.
A smart banking analyst told us a while bank that payments aren’t really about banking – it’s just logistics, albeit focused on money.
iZettle seems to be doing well in the UK – in the last few days we have seen Hackneys’ finest cupcake vendor using one and you can pay for your Shiatsu massage with one too. But Square doesn’t seem to be getting any closer – they have chosen Japan as their first overseas market.
An Australian ex banker thinks we are just at the start of banking disruption, making the point that the network effect of these peer to peer payments methods will make them ubiquitous.
We draw a Venn diagram when discussing big data. One circle is people who talk about Big Data and the other is people who actually know about Big Data. There isn’t too much overlap.
Deloittes have published a useful paper on the subject and McKinsey have a good piece on using data in FMCG companies. In the Richard Eyre talk mentioned above, he makes the argument that we don’t want Big Data, we want clever data. And David Edelman of McKinsey reminds us of the value of insight and intuition when using data.
Tumblr sells out
The Yahoo purchase of Tumblr is going to be interesting to watch. Is it another case of a old(ish) player buying something new in an attempt to recapture youth? News Corp ended up regretting the MySpace purchase and AOL had a similar experience with Bebo.
But Yahoo does seem to have a better take on the world with Marissa Mayer so this may be different. But all those extra young eyeballs are only valuable if they can be sold to advertisers. So we think the future of native advertising will be made or broken on Tumblr.
Their most recent sales deck suggests that advertisers are very welcome – it remains to be seen if users feel the same way. And Yahoo will need to be careful to keep brands well away from all the porn on Tumblr. (Someone suggested that Yahoo was now a major player in porn – but the only people not making any money out of it.)
One of the many announcements at Google I/O last week concerned new features in Google Analytics. This could be a big deal as it appears to track users across devices – the holy grail for many digital marketers
One thing that didn’t get mentioned last week is that the plethora of photo functionality launched included a very clever photo search. Using the visual recognition tech that powers Google Goggles search can find anything in your photos – the best example shows a search for snakes pulling up 7 untagged photos showing snakes.
McKinsey reports on 12 disruptive technologies with the potential to deliver $33 trillion in economic value. And Mobile Internet is the biggest
Finally……if you want to ruin someones life (get them fired or divorced) introduce them to DOTS – a highly addictive mobile game. Consider yourself warned.