This week lots of the ad industry has gone to Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show. We’re not sure why people schlep there to wander around something like the Worlds biggest Currys store – but with even more annoying staff. Seeing the latest hardware seems to miss the point that most of the innovation is now around software. The futility of the event seems best summarized by the Qualcomm keynote, which looks truly terrible.
Along with all the crystal ball gazing of 2013 predictions, we worry that this fixation with the latest and greatest gizmo is ultimately self defeating. Focusing on what’s next means you risk missing out on what’s already here.
In the last 100 days we have seen amazing new devices bought by millions of people – with the ‘old’ devices expanding the total reach of smartphones. In the US it’s estimated that 40% of homes now have tablets; wondering what will be the next big tablet seems less useful than writing a strategy to get your brand onto the tablets already out there.
Around half the population now have smartphones (and they are the half most brands need to reach). Around half of all social media users access Facebook and Twitter through mobile. And around half of all emails are read on mobile devices.
So our 2013 advice for brands is;
Park the future for the next few months and instead deal with the current ecology.
Make sure your marketing is truly Fit For Mobile. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing our Fit For Mobile audit which we have trialled with a couple of clients.
Lots of startups are looking to disrupt your industry. Do you know who the key ones are in your sector. Have you a strategy for how to benefit from these opportunities and limit the risks of new gatekeepers emerging?
As VC Saul Klein pointed out last month the average business in the UK is doing 8% of their business online – how do you do versus your competitors?
The latest Most Contagious covers loads of great marketing innovation – all delivered using the current ecology. Creative guru Steve Henry calls out some of best examples here. How does your marketing compare?
When you have got all this sorted, then you can start thinking about driverless cars and watches that act as phones.
Old media not dead yet.
New new thing myopia can also lead people to forget the strengths of traditional media. As this reports shows most old media business did very well in 2012 – with surging share prices – largely driven by the fact that money hasn’t followed audience. One of the ironies of this is that a lot of the money being made by old media is from selling access to new media – as the TV players still control lots of broadband access from the days they were selling the triple play – TV, Broadband and Telephone.
One of those three legs is very shaky as people move from landlines to mobile and the opportunity to sell expensive broadband is probably closing too. Not least because people like Google are getting into the business – launching a service in Kansas offering a service 100 times faster for around twice the price of ‘traditional’ broadband. They also offer a slow service – the same as the competition – for free.
Most media businesses have a strategy for how to evolve in a digital world – and some actually seem to be working – so for brands the opportunity is to get the best of both worlds. And you do that by focusing on the here and now, rather than the now and next.
Santa delivered for some retailers
As the sales figures for the Christmas period come out it’s clear that the high street is a tough place right now. We were interested in how online sales have been a defining factor for lots of sectors. John Lewis were a clear winner - with online sales up 44% year on year and now accounting for a quarter of all sales. Debenhams online sales grew by 10% and now account for12% of all sales.
In the supermarket space the proportion of online sales continues to grow – Sainsbury online sales grew by 15% masking the poor performance in their stores and players like Morrisons who don’t have online (yet) are suffering.
The big problem that traditional retailers have to wrestle with is that online sales can be much less profitable. In Grocery most people accept that a delivery costs around £20, yet most customers pay around £5, if they pay anything. Some argue it’s a business model supermarkets like Morrisons should ignore.
eBay report their figures next week so we’ll see how the pure plays did – and an analyst expects that mobile will be around 16% of the total sales at $10bn.
Amazon is reported to be doing 8% of their sales on mobile – which seems low to us.
Nexus 4 As good as the iPhone and half the price.
One of the key devices launched in the last 100 days is the Nexus from Google (and LG). With a great spec and a great price, the sales of these devices was not handled that well, with the product coming in and out of stock and delivery dates a little opaque.
But the phone itself is very impressive. It’s had great reviews and we tend to agree with this former iPhone lover who is swooning over the Nexus 4. Is it better than the iPhone? Not so sure. But there is not much in it and it’s half the price. We still tend to carry the iPhone around, because lots of apps aren’t yet available on Android. But that is changing. Fast.
We’re convinced that the Nexus5 – which we think will come from Google owned Motorola – could be a real game changer. They just need to get the retailing bit right.
And one of the reasons we switched to Android is to try Google Now – which is really impressive. An app that anticipates your needs is quite compelling; transport advice on how to get to the next meeting, share prices when stocks on your portfolio move, the weather forecast and by how much Leeds are losing. All ‘pushed’ to you.
The next generation of this will be amazing. We are seeing apps evolve into real services.
And Field Trip – another Google app – is also very cool; it throws up information on interesting places around your location – and will now include offers from ScoutMob. An iPhone version is on the way.
OK – some trend thinking
In amongst the shiny object hype, there is some good thinking out there on how 2013 might shape up;
The smart people at Deep Focus in New York have a really good deck out with their forecast for 2013. Their thinking on the ‘Confluence of Mobile, Social and Content Marketing’ makes a lot of sense.
PayPal have some good observations from their CEO – and we love their recognition that paying for stuff is not the problem that needs solving – it’s about the context of the transaction. Hailo works because it gets me a cab – not because it’s an easier way to pay the fare. Starbucks works because it gets me my double espresso quicker – not because I can pay for it with my phone.
John Battelle is one of our favourite thinkers and his predictions for 2013 are based on what he hopes to see.
Fast Company has collected the thoughts of some of tbe best strategists on how marketing will change in 2013. We loved the views of ex P&G CMO Jim Stengel
We will drop social from social media as all media is social; we will drop digital and mobile from digital & mobile marketing as all marketing is digital and mobile; we will drop advertising from advertising agency as their future is in helping clients creatively realize opportunities; we will drop global from global marketing officer as all marketing leaders need to be global in thought and intent.
Facebook continue to pioneer measuring the effectiveness of digital. They are doing some fascinating work with Walmart.
Ad blockers are still active. In France the Government had to tell ISP Free that they can’t block ads. It seems that Google ads were the target as operators look for a share of the revenues earned by people using their dumb pipes.
eConsultancy research shows brands see mobile optimization as the top priority for 2013 – we agree and our imminent FitforMobile audit should help here.
Finally – one of our house IP projects is launching but still in beta. We have been working on a social business aimed at facilitating communities. SkratchMyBack.com is a service that connects people with some spare time and skills with people who need a bit of help. It is still a little raw but we’d love your help on getting this working. Have a look and sign up, tell your friends and let us know what you think.
And next Thursday we’re going to see Seth Godin who is in London to talk about his new book. If you are going to be there let us know.