Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Deloitte's 2016 UK Mobile Consumer Report is out 'There's No Place Like Phone'

And it's a treasure trove of the latest consumer trends when it comes to mobile usage in the UK. Well worth a look if you're interested in the British consumer at all.

From the executive summary (emphasis my own and some minor edits):

"This year’s report marks the end of the smartphone growth era, and the start of its consolidation. A mere nine years after the launch of the first full touchscreen smartphone, adoption is nearing a plateau, at 81 per cent of UK adults, and 91 per cent of 18–44 year olds.

The smartphone user base is approaching an unprecedented peak. No other personal device has had the same commercial and societal impact as the smartphone, and no other current device seems likely to. While the base may plateau, relentless innovation continues at device and network levels. Devices are likely to incorporate more functionality and get even faster. Biometric sensors, particularly fingerprint readers, are likely to see widespread adoption.

Over a quarter of smartphones now have a fingerprint reader, of which three quarters are in use. The majority of phones are now connected to 4G, and cellular networks are getting ever faster, with headline speeds now at over 300 Mbit/s.1 As speeds rise, ever more latent, high bandwidth applications become viable. It is now as easy to read the news on a phone as it is to live stream a breaking news event from a smartphone.

Businesses and consumers are still determining how best to use these devices. For the former, a common dilemma is over whether to use apps or websites. The typical UK user downloads 20 or fewer apps.

Our research suggests that apps are not the right approach for every business.

Consumers, who collectively look at their smartphones 0.4 trillion times per year, still need to identify how to use their devices in a balanced way, at a level that suits them, their other halves and colleagues. It is the sleek digital Swiss army knife that can be used at every stage of the day. How people will use their devices to communicate will be driven by consumers.

The traditional voice call has become steadily less popular over the last four years, and usage of email, social networks and instant messaging has risen in tandem."

Click here for the PDF.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Page 52, Sentence No. 5

"This is a generalised feeling of envy and resentment about life: Just as in a passionate age enthusiasm is the unifying principle, so in a passionless and over-reflective age envy becomes the negatively unifying principle."
(Robert Ferguson: Life lessons from Kierkegaard)
Grab the nearest book, look up page 52 and share the 5th sentence. For no reason whatsoever.

My friend, Heli, posted this on her Facebook page this morning. Just for fun, I grabbed the nearest book and did the same. This is what I got. 'Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better' Samuel Beckett. The book is 'It's not how good you are but how good you want to be'. (Apparently I bought it in May 2004 and it's still a best seller - the joys of a digital footprint...I'll leave thoughts on that for another time.)

We all fail in life from time to time. It's inevitable and part of our human nature to get things wrong and to make mistakes. I know I've made many mistakes and failed at things more times than I care to remember. The trouble is, society is not very accepting of this. Schools don't really prepare us for failure. I know my schooling didn't. It was all about who could come top of the class. If you come top of the class, you haven't failed so you're not prepared for the inevitable failures that come later and may be ill-equipped to deal with them. If you are not top of the class, you feel a constant failure and under pressure to do better in exams which leads to stress and, likely, even less ability to perform or conform to what's expected of you. Most people don't perform well under extreme stress. In the corporate world, failure at work means getting fired or the intense feeling of shame - either scenario is debilitating and stressful. Failure and shame are often swept under the carpet or glossed over. Yet, if we don't make mistakes, it's almost impossible to learn or improve.

I'm not sure what else to say except maybe to have less judgement and more compassion when people make mistakes for it happens to us all. We all need to take Samuel Becket's advice and fail, fail again and fail better.

What's on page 52, sentence number 5 of the nearest book to you?


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Ladies in Mobile Dinner in London next week - 28 Sept 2016

With 10 years of ladies in mobile meet-ups in Barcelona and one in Leeds last year, I thought it was time to host a dinner in London. I know some terrific ladies in the industry and I know that they know some terrific ladies in the sector too. So let's gather, exchange notes, have something nice to eat and drink and meet friends old and new.

I have not yet found a venue - it largely depends on how many of us there are. We may be a handful of people we could be 30, I don't know yet! However many we are, I will book a venue that can do us a fixed price menu for the evening at a reasonable price and afford us some privacy, but not necessarily a private room (unless we need it because of numbers). As a picky pescetarian myself, I will make sure that different dietary requirements can be catered for. Please let me know when you register of any specific needs. You can register on the form below or by clicking this link and registering on the Eventbrite page.

I currently do not have a sponsor but am very happy to welcome a sponsor or two that would help subsidise the price to make the event open to those less able to afford it and/or to provide some additional wine on the night. If you'd like to sponsor this event, please get in touch with me, Helen Keegan, by email.

Once I have an idea on numbers (currently about 20), I'll go ahead and book somewhere and advise on the price. You may be asked to pay in advance in order to secure our reservation. If that's the case, I will contact you with details of how to pay by by paypal, TransferWise or invoice/bank transfer.

Men are welcome to attend the evening but must be accompanied by a female colleague.

Know of a suitable place for us to go? Please let me know! I'm all ears.

Looking forward to seeing you all.



This is a Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Event.

Photo credit Becky Gorman / aql. Taken at the Heroes of the Mobile Fringe Ladies Lunch in Leeds, November 2015

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The Ten Book Challenge

So there's this meme going around on Facebook about ten books that have stayed with you over the years. This is the sort of thing we used to do in the early days of blogging, so I'm going full circle and bringing it back to my blog.

So this is the challenge:
List ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don't take more than a few minutes and don't think too hard. They don't have to be great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way. Tag some friends, and leave a comment with the link to your post, so I can see your choices...
My list (in no particular order) :

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
1984 - George Orwell
Under Milk Wood - Dylan Thomas
E - Matt Beaumont
Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell
Northern Lights - Philip Pullman
Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
H - The Story of Christiane F (It's harrowing. As is the movie.)
Flowers in the Attic - V C Andrews
Charlie & The Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl

There's a bonus 11th as it's a recent one that I only read in the last few weeks so I don't know how long it will stay with me but I can recommend it - Reasons to Stay Alive - Matt Haig

I found the challenge really hard as although I read all the time, I don't read that many books. And I didn't read that much when I was younger as it was too passive an activity for me. I preferred acting or singing or sewing or just going out. I wasn't particlarly one for sitting still and reading. Even today, I don't read that much as I don't commute any more. Having said that, I've read at least 26 of the books on this list and has highlighted a couple of others that could have made this list - The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgeson Burnett. And there are others as I read friends' lists too.

However, as with most people, there are some books that have stayed with me for one reason or another. And these are they, or at least the first 10 that sprung to mind.

If you don't have a blog, feel free to add your ten books list in the comments below.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Do you really need to upgrade your phone?

Ah, it's that time of year when the annual new iPhone announcement comes out. I'm not particularly bothered. I've never bought into the cult of Apple products or services. If you don't think it's a cult, then I recommend your read this brilliant article about a journalist trying to get their press pass to attend. I digress. Judging by my timeline and the flurry of press releases about iPhone 7 compatible headphones and cases that I got within moments of the press conference finishing. A few people I know are upgrading the software on their existing iPhone and some have stated their aim to buy the new handset despite the high price point. I also note that Brexit appears to have put the price up due to our currency devaluation of late.
Do you really need to upgrade your phone? 
You might think that's an odd question from someone working in the industry and actively promoting mobile apps and services. But I am serious. I am conscious of the environmental impact the industry is having. And I was reminded of it this morning when following this discussion on TEN and this related article from Quartz from a couple of years ago, the reminder that the Coltan needed in all our phones, and not just iPhones, is sourced from troubled nations like Congo and Rwanda, that most of our phones are made in China where workers' rights are not necessarily a priority, putting it politely, and the retail workers selling the phones are on low wages too. And that's despite the £599+ price tag for the latest iPhone. And then there's the whole recycling issue - not just of the devices but of the cables, plugs, adapters and gizmos that we use alongside them. Is there anywhere near you where you can recycle cables and gadgets safely and easily?

My lowly Nexus One
I meet with friends from the mobile industry regularly. They joke with me that I usually have a really old phone. They're not wrong. I still use my Nexus One which I got in 2010 (although I can only use it for phone calls, SMS, alarm and, at a push, maps. It can't take the pressure of much else). It still works so why not still use it until it stops working?

I currently complement it with a Samsung S4 (3 years old) and a Google Nexus 7 tablet (also 3 years old). My laptop is also 2 or 3 years old but serves its purpose. Shouldn't our devices and gadgets be built to last? Until I actually need a new phone, I won't be upgrading any time soon.

How about you?

Friday, September 09, 2016

Is Google our Mobile OS Overlord?

I stumbled across this chart earlier today. It's from Statista using data from Gartner and it shows the global smartphone operating system market share.

Infographic: The Smartphone Platform War Is Over | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

If you're looking at the UK only, then the market share is still dominated by Android but not as steeply. This is my source for the UK data for the chart below and I'm guessing their source will be Gartner or similar.

If you look at either chart, you can see that Google is currently winning the battle both at a Global level and in the UK. Whether they've won the war or not is a different matter in different countries. There is still much to play for and it's a dynamic market. Nokia was once as dominant as Google is now.

Understanding your market

However, it is also important to note that when you're running mobile activity that you understand the nuances of the market(s) in which you're operating and the habits of your customers. And it's not just an Android vs everyone else story. There are so many shades of Android and such a wide variety of handset capabilities within Android that you also need to understand that at a deeper level. There's everything from the high-end devices from Samsung, Sony Experia and their ilk down to the sub £100 handsets to even cheaper devices in developing countries.

It is still important to avoid memory and RAM hungry apps if you can as many of your customers simply won't be able to access them or if they do, it's at the expense of other apps - a one-in and one-out scenario.

I'm also musing if the first chart will do a full circle and go back to the multiple OS environment we had 7 years ago. Probably not anytime soon, but it could happen. Look at Nokia.

Email Marketing Fail from Monsoon this morning

I don't shop for fashion very often on the High Street these days. This is partly due to fashion overload from my 10 years spent in fashion retail and my love of a second-hand bargain from eBay, a charity shop or my Mum.

There's also this small thing of not knowing what the right price is to pay for something and the potential of triggering 'buyer's remorse'. It's a horrid feeling to buy something and then find out you could have got it a lot cheaper the next day or in the next door shop. With the proliferation of promotional offers, never-ending sales and discount days, it's difficult to know what is the 'right' or 'fair' price to pay for something. My Mum also passed on her bargain hunting gene to me so I can't help but look for the yellow stickers in Marks & Spencer's food department!

My love of a bargain sometimes leads me to the Monsoon Accessorize Sample Sale. Non-UK readers may not know the brands. They're ladies and children's fashion brands at mid-range price, generally good quality, fashionable but not overly fashion-forward. Historically, they were known for great-priced evening wear but they've moved on from that (although that's still a big part of what they sell in Holiday Season).

I've been to their Sample Sale a couple of times and got a few things there and I'm on the mailing list. And the email dropped this morning to let me know that their next sale is on 21st and 22nd September. This is the image I received.

Umm, Monsoon - where is the event? It would be nice to know! The image didn't even click through to a website. (FWIW, I'm guessing it's at The American Church in London again, but I could be wrong.)

Lessons learned today:

  • Even the big, experienced companies get it wrong from time to time
  • Make sure all the key data is included in your email flyer, including the location!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

From the archives - It's Throw Back Thursday time again

So this time ten years ago, I was just back from my second visit to The Electric Picnic in Ireland. By all accounts, I'd had a fab time despite rain and the ensuing mud. My review of the weekend is here.

Location Based Services

Meanwhile, 10 years ago, DoCoMo was trialling in-mall location based marketing. It's weird that this was 6 years AFTER we'd done this at ZagMe and even weirder is that it was 10 years ago and we're only just beginning to see location based services (or proximity as it's known now) come to fruition. Brand Republic wrote a half decent piece on the potential of mobile for marketing and advertising. Remember, this is pre iPhone App Store days and Nokia was the best selling manufacturer by a country mile.

Branded TV Channels

In September 2006, Anheuser Busch announced they were setting up and investing US$30 million in their own TV channel for Budweiser drinkers called Bud.TV. 10 years ago, this was forward thinking and arguably, ahead of its time as it closed down in 2009 as they deemed it too expensive to sustain and the audience couldn't easily access it. Critics suggested that it closed down as the content wasn't relevant and limited in its appeal. More on the demise of Bud.TV and other branded content channels here.I would suggest that timing is key. Branded channels per se are not necessarily a bad idea. Look at the content that Red Bull comes up with that now hits mainstream TV. Bud.TV may just have been ahead of its time.


Stephanie and Bryan Rieger are long-serving designers and mobilists. They are mavens of what works in mobile design and this presentation, 'Letting Go', from 5 years ago is well worth a look to remind you of what's what in mobile design. It's also a lesson in how to create beautiful presentations. 

But what about the children?

Throughout my time in mobile, there have been people thinking about how to use mobile devices to monitor and track where their kids are. They are generally a terrible idea - if a teen wants to escape your digital clutches, they are more than capable of doing that with or without the fancy tracker you've bought. I'm not really sure why they keep resurfacing. However, this one that friend and mobile ally, Carlo Longino, wrote about back in 2004 takes the biscuit name-wise. Read all about '' over on Mobhappy. It's a great takedown and well worth a read.

More from the archives soon!

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

It's so funny how we don't talk anymore..

Retro house phones in a hotel in Los Angeles. May 2016.
I have rarely been without a mobile phone for the last 16 years of my life. When I first got one, talking on the phone was the thing I did most of. Mainly because that's what the devices were designed to do and I didn't know any different having been brought up with a landline where it was the height of extravagance to listen to the charts on the phone using Dial-A-Disc (no really, we did do that and you can read about it here). I also used the alarm clock every day. I occasionally used the FM radio and did a fair bit of texting - but I was ahead of the curve on texting back in 2000 as I was working for a company whose only focus was on SMS marketing. If I hadn't been working for ZagMe back then, I'm not sure I would have been as quick to embrace SMS.

Fast forward 16 years and I can count the number of phone calls I make each week on the fingers of one hand. And when I receive a phone call, it's such an infrequent occurrence, it can sometimes feel like an intrusion of my private space. With messaging of all kinds, be that email, Facebook Messenger or lowly SMS, it's asynchronous so I can reply as and when I choose to and it's fair to say, I'm overwhelmed with written communication much of the time - especially email. A phone call is in real time, hence the feeling of intrusion. And if I need to get hold of someone, calling them feels like I'm intruding into their day unnecessarily. Although, that could just be call reluctance.

I'm not alone in this. A recent survey from GiffGaff (sample size 1,500 adults in the UK according to their PR team) showed that not only are we Brits spending 3 hours a day on our phones, but that less than a third of us use our phones mainly as a phone for making and receiving actual phone calls. The UK is a nation of texters with 36% of the 1500 respondents stating messaging (SMS / Messenger Apps) as the main use of their phone. Browsing is surprisingly low at 16% and Social media at 11%. I'm wondering if the last two were under-reported?

Also of interest, depending on the device you own, your use of that device will vary. There were 13% of respondents who own a Nokia device and more than 50% of them said they used their phones for phone calls. Apple users (29%) were the least likely to use their phones to make calls and most likely to play games on their phone. I'm guessing many of the Nokia owners have simple phones that do calling better than anything else and that's why their owners bought them as they have no desire to push their finger around a glass screen aimlessly.

It's something I've been thinking about for a while now. This song that my older readers may recognise comes to mind, Cliff Richard's 'It's so funny how we don't talk any more'.

So what happened? How come we fell out of love with talking? I used to spend hours on the phone talking to my friends after school. Is today's teenage experience with messaging and social media as rich? Do we need to be encouraged to talk more with an updated version of BT's 'It's good to talk' advertising with Maureen Lipman playing Beattie?

Of course, this survey was UK specific so usage trends are likely to be different in different countries, and especially in countries where literacy levels are not as high as they are in the UK. And communication in any form is a good thing - whether that's written or spoken. 

The main impact of all of this, especially for marketers, is about understanding people's preferred forms of communication and playing to it. If I want to get hold of my Mum, it's a phone call. If I want to talk to my friends, it's probably Facebook Messenger. For business contacts, it's Skype or email. And if you really want to cut through the clutter, a hand-written letter will do the trick.

Much as I love written communication, I think there is still a place for voice. A friend called me on the phone the other day. She knew I was having a rough patch so she took the time out to call me. Like people used to in the old days. And I'm grateful that she bothered as it was a much richer experience than the equivalent in SMS or email would have been. I need to remember that and maybe pick up the phone more often, for you know, phoning people. 

Sometimes, it's good to talk.

Update: Slate has picked up on this topic too and published a very good article about it here. Well worth a read.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Linkage on a Tuesday

A few things I've been reading and thought were worth sharing...

  • Why am I being paid less than my male colleagues? TLDR probably because you never asked for more money and didn't negotiate. I've heard this before that women don't tend to negotiate. Men negotiate from their first salary so get ahead early on. It doesn't occur to women to do the same. A lesson in negotiation here for men and women of all ages.

  • This next one isn't news to me, but it may be news to you and is one of the reasons why I keep banging on about gender discrimination. Having women on your team makes for a better business:

Companies with three or more corporate directors who are women (in at least four out of five years) outperformed those with no women on the board by 84% on return on sales, 60% on return on invested capital and 46% on return on equity.
A 2009 study in Silicon Valley found that venture-backed companies run by women had annual revenues that were 12% higher, used an average of one third less committed capital and had lower failure rates than those led by men.
There's more in this article about addressing the gender gap in angel investing. 

Thanks for reading.