Thursday, June 20, 2013

Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2013

The rather good Reuters Institute Digital News Report 2013 is out now. It’s quite a long report – you can download a copy here and below you’ll find the PowerPoint charts that support the report.

I won’t lie, there’s a lot to read here and, clearly, a lot of work went into it and I will be taking my time to go through it all.

The short version based on what I’ve read so far is…

  • News is becoming more mobile, more social, and more real-time
  • Digital patterns becoming more entrenched – particularly amongst the younger half of the population
  • Audiences increasingly want news on any device, in any format, and at any time of day.
  • Digital revolution is not proceeding at an even pace in all countries.
  • Social media take-up varies across countries
  • Ever-greater competition and more disruption to business models to come
  • More people say they've paid for digital news in the past 10 months so there’s still hope

Some of these points are no surprise to those of us working in mobile. And it just confirms that the pace of change is fast. Even if you’re not in the newspaper industry, I think this is worth a glance as it reveals some key trends that are relevant and of interest to other sectors.

Based on the methodology, the UK findings are perhaps the most pertinent as that’s where there were the highest level of respondents. Of course, they did only survey a limited amount people so it’s a representation but the data was weighted to targets set on age and gender, region, newspaper readership, and social grade to reflect the total population of each country. The sample is reflective of the population that has access to the internet.

As if you need any further convincing that now is the time to get your mobile strategy sorted, maybe this reports will be the nudge you need if you’re not already on the case.

Interested to hear your thoughts and examples of other recent reports that back up or contradict Reuters’ findings.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

There’s a skills gap in mobile marketing

And here’s my bi-monthly column in Mobile Marketing Magazine about it. I’m on the last page. I’d welcome your thoughts. Is there a skills gap? Will the mobile marketing & advertising sectors reach their full potential despite the skills gap? What can or should we be doing about this?

The Drum: Mobile Top 50 nomination. Vote now!

I had a lovely surprise a few days ago when I got an email to say I had been nominated for this year’s The Drum Mobile Top 50 list. They say

A shortlist of 100 individuals has been compiled by The Drum's editorial team but we need your help to decide who will make it into the top 50. The final list will highlight the key players in the UK mobile industry, ranking individuals in order of their contribution to the world of mobile.

I took a look at the list and I’m certainly in good company. There are so many friends, colleagues and current and former Swedish Beers and Heroes of Mobile sponsors and participants on the list that it almost looks like they raided my address book to choose.

Anyway, voting closes this Friday 21 June 2013. You can vote for your three favourite from the list of 100. It’s free to vote, you just have to register and then you can pick three names. I don’t know how you’ll manage to pick just three names though as there are so many good and worthy recipients on the list. Anyway, YOU decide!

Read more and vote at

I stand by my words

IMG_20130618_164209I’ve been staying with my Mum for a few days. My father died earlier this year and we’re all still grieving and getting used to him not being around. It’s a little bit weird to be sitting at his desk, in his chair, using his things – where he would have been writing (there’s a lovely large ink blotter on the desk) and of course, where I’m tapping away at my laptop with a mobile phone also close to hand.
I happened to glance up from my screen and in the letter rack I spotted this clipping. My Dad’s written on it ‘Times July 1’. I don’t remember being in it so it was a bit of a surprise to see it. My father clearly took the trouble to buy a copy of the newspaper (he was a Telegraph reader as a rule) and then cut out and kept the clipping. It’s at least 5 years old – maybe older judging by the picture. I’m touched, and a little bit teary, that he did that.
And then I read the piece and I stand by my words. I think it’s from a talk I gave at a conference but I don’t remember. As it doesn’t appear to be available online, I’ve transcribed it here:
‘The future of mobile is that mobile will just be a normal part of the marketing mix. It will be almost invisible, in that people won’t know whether they are browsing on the mobile web of (sic) the ‘full fat’ web; they will just be looking at Facebook or the BBC, or checking email, so their consciousness of how they are doing that will disappear. The focus will be on making brands’ services and products accessible, however anyone wants to get hold of them and that’s the priority.
Mobile technology is moving forward, and there are some exciting innovations around and we will see mobile being used in some interesting ways in the future, but we should not get carried away with the new shiny thing, when a good, reliable mobile website and old fashioned SMS are still really important. There is a lot of mileage left in messaging for customer service, saying thank you, getting feedback, the simple things. It’s not about push advertising, it’s about having a proper relationship with customers who want to have a relationship with you.
It’s easy to get carried away with the technology, but good marketing begins and ends with good service. You have to make it easy for people to find and buy your stuff and do it again.’

Payforit Summit 26 June 2013

logoThis is one for my London readers.  It’s the Payforit Summit on Wednesday 26 June which is the one-stop shop for everything you need to know about incorporating mobile payments – why you should do it, what’s in it for you, how best to implement, privacy and security concerns and a lot more besides. It’s organised by my friends at AIME and they’re such lovely people, they’ve given us a 50% discount code. Check out the listing and get your bargain £49.50 ticket now and find out how you will make more money with Payforit.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tesco Groceries–a case study

ribotLogoBlue_white_bg june 2013My friends at Ribot have just had a site revamp and a new look and very nice it is too. More importantly though, they’ve shared their Tesco case study. It’s essentially a history of how Tesco’s mobile shopping services started and evolved and it’s a very interesting read. Whether you’re in retail or now, it’s well worth a look. And yes, I do get a little mention!

And while we’re on about interesting things, I thought this article by Jerome Ribot was really interesting about cognitive biases and their effect on developing products. Applying psychology to the process is very relevant, especially since it is so hard to stand out when it comes to digital.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tuesday Tidbits

A few links and articles that I’ve been looking at recently that you may enjoy too.

How not to be Alone by Jonathan Safran Foer in The New York Times. This is a good read looking at empathy in the digital age. Definitely food for thought.

A new tumblr site listing global app contests powered by Loudsource. They claim to be the best for app challenges, but I suspect that f6s is still more comprehensive (even if it isn’t particularly user-friendly yet).

Four reasons why some companies are late to the mobile party from Mobile Marketing Magazine’s, David Murphy. I would counter that fear of failure is the biggest reason, but that’s a discussion for another day.

Is the death of the bookshop a sign of progress? Damien Walter laments the death of the bookshop but questions as to whether this is progress or regression. What do you think?

Good new for arts and digital.. There are two upcoming initiatives that look to push the boundaries between the two sectors. One is the Art Everywhere project which has an added augmented reality element from Blippr to complement the main element of showcasing great artworks on billboards across the UK. They’re at crowd funding stage and seem to be going pretty well. The second project is Hack the Barbican where creatives of all kinds as well as coders and digital experts and amateurs are asked to come up with projects to be displayed or performed in August in the Barbican. There’s still time to submit your project (closing date 20th June 2013). I applaud the Barbican for opening its doors in this way to encourage participation and experimentation in the cross over between the two sectors. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this. It’s not their first foray into this area. The Barbican have been active in the hack space for a year or so now. Other arts organisations take note!

And finally, for those of you who love infographics, here’s one from the Harvard Business Review showing how people really use their mobile phones. You can see some of this for free, or you can pay for full access.

Think luxury brands can’t do mobile?

Well, think again. Luxury brands have historically been a bit sniffy about getting into mobile feeling that it wasn’t their thing and that mobile media, specifically, mobile advertising, wasn’t appropriate for high-end brands – the banner ad is too small, SMS has no visuals, how do you convey the brand without the large-scale visuals you see in glossy magazines.

Well, British luxury firm, Vertu, who hand make their high-end handsets in the UK, would beg to differ. They worked with Amobee for to drive traffic into their new stores and promote their new smartphone campaign and it was both highly successful and won a rather fabulous Communicator Award. It was a smart campaign using location targeting, rich media, SMS (targeting customers who had roamed – as in travelled abroad and used their mobile – 3 times or more, customer insight and sponsorship to reach its goals. View more about the campaign in this video.

Not only that, but British Vogue is getting in on the act. (There’s a theme here… maybe Brits are leading the way in luxury on mobile?) This lovely video, ‘Typecast and Vogue’, is from the recent Brand Perfect event in New York where Paul McKeever talks very eloquently about British Vogue’s acclaimed digital revamp and how cross-platform typography helped it break new ground. Highly recommend watching even if you’re not a luxury brand.

Working in the luxury sector? Not gone mobile yet? Then these links may be worth a read too.

Talking about App Promotion…

It’s a common theme. Everyone’s talking about apps these days. And that’s why my friend, James Cooper, is organising The App Promotion Summit in London next month.  I’ll be chairing a session talking about how to succeed on the various App Stores and joining me on the panel will be Maureen Scott from Ether Books, Ouriel Ohanen from Appsfire and Stefan Bielau from Zapstreak. I’m not sure how much we’ll cover in the half hour session, but feel free to suggest questions.

Whether you’re an independent developer or making apps for big brands, you’ll get something from the event I’m sure. There are sessions looking at buying, planning and managing mobile advertising, metrics, social app discovery, cross promotion, PR, global opportunities, partnerships and more.

Early bird price £250 + VAT are still available this week until 14th June and then they go up to £350 + VAT each. As a speaker, I have a few discount codes available which will give you a further 20% off the list price. If you’d like one of those, please get in touch. First come, first served.

My speaker interview is here.

Hope to see some of you there.

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Everything Guide to Mobile Apps

The Everything Guide To Mobile Apps has brought together the insights of more than 25 mobile professionals, practitioners and pundits to identify market trends, best practices and key lessons learned in developing, distributing and promoting mobile apps. I’m pleased to say that I’m one of them and I contributed to the sections looking at social media and networking. The guide is aimed at SMEs to help them learn how to make and app, get discovered in the app store, create a successful marketing strategy and connect with customers and boost their businesses.

Mobile app downloads are set to reach 81 billion by the end of this year according to eMarketer, so the pressure is on for companies to tackle the business and technology challenges of making and marketing a winning app. Published at the end of March in print and on kindle in the last few weeks, this is probably the most up to date guide on the market.

The book is in an easy to read style, with key points highlighted as well as pointing readers to further useful and mostly free, resources. Even if you have some experience, you’ll probably find some useful insights in there that you hadn’t come across before. And it’s less than £10 in the UK at the moment!

The Everything® Guide to Mobile Apps is available now at Amazon in Paperback or Kindle

Monday, June 03, 2013

What will work look like in the 2020?

A tricky question, but one that I was asked recently. My answer…

It's hard to predict the future of work, and seven years is not that far away. Seven years ago was 2006. I had moved to a Symbian Smartphone - probably the N70 at the time. I was using the odd app and game and had limited use of mobile web. I had started to use Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Fast forward to 2013 and I'm using an Android smartphone with email, web, games, music, alarm clock, messaging, social networking and more. I'm still using my laptop for 'work' stuff but my media consumption is primarily mobile. By 2020, we'll have devices that are lighter and smarter, with better battery life. We may have broadband connectivity across the whole of the UK. All sectors will be affected in some way by mobile technology - whether it's remote monitoring of our health or checking that our washing machines are working properly. People will need to adapt and learn and not be afraid of technology. It should be seamless and invisible to take the fear away and proper respect should be given to privacy and data. Whether we've worked that all out by 2020, time will tell.

I think others had better answers, so go and read the full article here. You may also find Russell Buckley’s thoughts on the topic interesting from last April.

Eve Pollard Tells It Like It Is

A few week’s back, I attended the rather marvellous Sound Women Inspiration Festival 2013 held at the BBC’s facility in London’s West End. Soundwomen as an organisation is about supporting women working in audio and radio. Their first festival was a day to celebrate women’s achievements at all levels both within radio and audio, but also other sectors too. No I don’t work in radio, although I do like podcasts and podcasting, but I figured the issues facing women in that industry are very similar to the issues facing women in mobile, broadcast, science and more. And hey, the fabulous Eve Pollard (aka Granny Bonkers) was on the line-up and the ticket price would be worth it to hear her story alone, let alone anyone else’s. I was right. Eve was witty, insightful, engaging, energetic and motivating. I took lots of notes. Here are some of them. Bear in mind the talk was aimed squarely at women!
  • Be honest
  • Be angry (yes, it’s ok to be angry in the workplace or anywhere else)
  • Be real (as in true to yourself)
  • Have an opinion (This was one of Russell Buckley’s key pieces of advice to me when we first started working together back in 2000.)
  • Make trouble (apparently we’re rather good at it, according to Eve).
  • Believe in what you do – yes, women do have to work harder but believe in your work and what you bring to it.
  • Pay attention to detail and to knowledge. You will have to be better at this than your male colleagues and this will give you an edge.
  • Don’t miss out on the networking. Seriously, don’t miss out on the networking. It’s important. Eve would go home after work and put her children to bed (broadcaster Claudia Winkleman and son Oliver Lloyd] and then go back out and hang out with colleagues in her team. The drinking with colleagues thing was really important for bonding and team-building. She also shared some tips about how you don’t have to keep up with the drinking… take your drink into the loo with you and tip it down the sink; take a big bag with you and put your drink in your bag to chuck away later (ok, your bag might be a bit wet and sticky, but better that than a hellish hangover or getting yourself into state). (My personal tip here, don’t feel you have to drink alcohol. Give yourself some rules to stick by such as every other drink being a soft drink or not drinking after a certain time. People don’t really question them. Also, buy the round then you can buy yourself a soft drink and nobody knows.)
  • Don’t use the S-word. What’s the S-word, I hear you ask? It’s the word ‘sorry’. Apologies don’t figure in a man’s world. They figure too much in a woman’s world. Learn from the men and don’t use it. (For the men reading this, we’d like you to apologise now and then where it’s due.)
  • Read the book 'Rich Dad Poor Dad, what the rich they tell their children about money’
. Eve highly recommends.
  • Don’t iron. If you have a baby, put the baby clothes under the sofa cushion and sit on them. They’ll be nice and flat. When the child gets a big bigger, fold them in half and then put them under the sofa and sit on them. Seriously, life is too short to spend it ironing.
  • Marry the right partner. She was very clear on this. You need someone who will really share the home tasks with you and be able to support you in your work and your life as much as you can support them in theirs. Sheryl Sandberg says something similar in her new book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.
  • Live near work. Eve was adamant about this. Don’t waste your life commuting. Little children don’t need leafy suburbs to thrive, they need time with their parents. They’ll get that if you live near work. Of course, Eve did add that that may be more difficult these days in central London…
  • You need your running away money. Don’t tell anyone about it. Don’t tell anyone else where it is. This is more about knowing that you have the stash and could run away if you had to than actually having to do it. It will mean you feel less trapped.
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is too short etc.
  • Stop being judgemental about other women. Even if you hate them. Women get a hard enough time without other women judging them. Sometimes it’s hard but do your best with this one.
  • Worry about your salary – this buys you time. Women typically don’t negotiate their salaries. Men start negotiating their salary from their very first job. Time for women to do this.
  • Don’t feel you have to be moving forward all the time. Things sometimes take a bit longer. Eve stayed in the same job for 10 years before making the leap up the career ladder. Don’t feel you’re lagging behind if you do this. You’re not. You’re just taking your time.
  • Decide early on about your uniform. It will save you masses of time in the mornings plus you’ll always know you look good and you’ll feel comfortable. One less thing to worry about.
  • Eve also noted that she’d dealt with both Murdoch and Desmond during her career and had some tips on how to deal with very rich, very powerful men.
    • Be straightforward
    • Be charming
    • Be well read (so you can tell the multi-millionaires something they didn’t know. She suggested reading the Wall St Journal for this.)
    • Be yourself.
  • On asking for more money… Murdoch once told her that no woman had ever asked for a raise when Pollard first started the Women in Journalism organisation in 1994. One of the most popular sessions the group ever ran (and now run regularly) was the one on how to negotiate for more money. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for that one. Eve told us:
    • Be cool
    • This is what I am doing and what I’m bringing to you.
    • It’s not about you.

  • So there you have it. The notes really don’t cut it compared with being there in person but I hope you found them useful.
    A big thank you to the Sound Women crew who put the event on. It lived up to its name of ‘Inspiration Festival’ and the speakers certainly inspired me. The stories I heard will stay with me for a long time to come.