Marketing Technology » Personal Combining marketing and technology to develop new markets and grow existing ones Tue, 11 Jan 2011 16:47:54 +0000 en hourly 1 Augmented reality: the next killer marketing technology Fri, 10 Jul 2009 14:10:05 +0000 admin Since becoming the proud owner of an iPhone 3GS I’ve annoyed family, friends and colleagues silly be flashing it around and telling them which direction North is. I’ve also been marveling at the ecosystem of third party applications available (which, apparently, would cost over $140,000 if you bought them all).

But the apps – as these programs are called – that currently exist only just scratch the surface of what is going to be possible now that the iPhone knows where it is and even which direction it is pointing.

Welcome to the world of augmented reality.

Whilst at the time of writing there are no true augmented reality applications available, there are a number in the pipeline – and their developers have not been slow to post videos showing what they can do online.

The first I came across is Nearest Tube, and app that will quite literally point you in the direction of the closest London Underground station when you hold up the iPhone. Watch the video below to see it in action.

Today I discover TwittARound (geddit), or at least a video of the first beta version. In the words of the developer, “it shows live tweets around your location on the horizon. Because of video see-through effect you see where the tweet comes from and how far it is away.” Again, seeing is believing:

So why I am suggesting that augmented reality is the next killer marketing technology? Quite simply because as these apps show, the physical and virtual worlds have just moved closer together as a result of devices like the iPhone 3GS and the ingenuity and creativity of application developers.

How long then before we have augmented reality apps that do things like:

  • Show messages left by others at the same location (in fact, there are map-based apps that already do this)
  • Display internet ratings or reviews (or alternatives) for products in shops
  • Call up news/opinion about a company when you pass by their premises
  • Provide interactivity to any outdoor ad by pointing the mobile device at it
  • Help you find the nearest outlet for a particular brand (in fact, ING Direct already did this on Google’s Android platform with their ATM Finder)

To paraphrase the ad, there’s bound to be an app for that soon.

I for one am going to be watching this space with interest over the coming months. If you have examples of companies using AR as part of their marketing or communications, please let me know.

Update: Just discovered that Apple has already filed a patent for something called ID App for identifying objects in the user’s surroundings. Mashable has more on this.

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A brighter shade of green Fri, 30 May 2008 18:21:00 +0000 admin The green movement is a little off-colour, according to research from pollster Ipsos Mori. In the UK at least, environmental concerns reached a peak in January 2007. A year on they have dropped by more than half, replaced by increasing concern over the economy.

Along a similar vein, the International Herald Tribune reports that the market for clean, green technology is showing signs of overheating, too. It must be the greenhouse effect.

At a time when I am actively doing more than I ever have before, this comes as quite a surprise to me. Maybe people are less concerned because they are now starting to do something about it?

>Whatever it is, I think the whole “green” space is now hotting up rather than overheating. It’s certainly in no danger of meltdown. And I think it’s down to the increasing influence of “bright” greens, the latest shade of green being used to categorise different types of “greens”.

Dark greens believe that environmental problems are part of industrialised capitalism that can only be solved by political action.

Light greens see protecting the environment as a personal responsibility, a lifestyle choice. (They are not to be confused with “lite green”, used to describe companies engaged in greenwashing – misleading consumers about the environmental practices of the company.)

But now we have the bright greens, who believe that better designs, technologies and social innovations are the means to make the required changes in society.

I’d like to think I’m sitting between the latter (and lighter) two at the moment. I don’t know what that’s called on the colour chart, but it sure is a good time to be green right now. And it’s a damn sight more interesting than worrying about an economy you can’t fix.

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You May Prefer to Give us a Call… Part 2 Fri, 28 Mar 2008 10:41:16 +0000 admin If you enjoyed my last post, you’ll love this one.

I’ve been trying to transfer my electricity supply to another supplier since I moved into my house last September. A catalogue of errors on the part of the incumbent supplier mean that it has only just happened – or so I thought (but that’s a different story involving an erroneous transfer – it is as painful as it sounds).

The situation is further complicated by the fact that I have two supplies at the same address – one for a self-contained annex next door. With the first transfer out of the way, I started the second. Online, of course, bound to be the quickest way right? Wrong!

Whilst trying to provide the supply number yesterday, I was informed by the new supplier (Scottish Power) that applications they receive online take around 7 days to enter their system. Yes, you heard right, 7 (seven) days. Apparently “they have to go through several departments”. And even then they are only flagged as “pending”.

However, if I call up and apply over the phone my account will be set up straight away!

So the moral of the story is that if you’re thinking of transferring your electricity supply to Scottish Power, you may prefer to give them a call. If, like me, you’ve already completed an online application within the last seven days, don’t worry. You can just apply over the phone instead and this will automatically cancel the “pending” online application when it eventually hits their systems!

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You May Prefer to Give us a Call… Tue, 25 Mar 2008 16:26:30 +0000 admin I should have known better than to attempt to use public transport the first day after a bank holiday weekend. In the UK, they’re the times when demand is high yet supply decreases as a result of “engineering works”. Over Christmas there was an outcry when these engineering works overran (not an uncommon scenario), effectively leaving those who needed to get into work stranded. After that, the train operators vowed that “lessons will be learnt” and it wouldn’t happen again.

So it was with some trepidation that I braved the snow and ice on our road to drive to the station and pick up my usual train into London. After an hour I had made it one stop (usually a 15 minute hop), to be informed that just about everything into London was suspended. To cut a long story short, I ended up back at home.

What has all this got to do with marketing technology, I hear you ask (no, really I can).

Well, rather than spend an hour on hold trying to get the cost of my ticket refunded, I sent an email to their customer service address, only to get the following automated reply:

Thank you for contacting XXXX [removed to protect the innocent] Customer Services, we
have received your email and we aim to get back to you as soon as possible.

Good so far.

Our target is to answer 90% of our contacts within 6 working days.

Hmm. That’s over a week, but I guess they get busy.

However, if your contact is urgent you may prefer to give us a call on 0845
600 7245 mentioning that you have already sent an email.

Who writes these things? So what you’re saying is that you’re giving my email enquiry a lower priority than telephone calls and – having gone to the trouble of putting everything down in the email – I now have to spend an hour on hold just to tell someone that I’ve already sent an email?

I wonder what their response would be?

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Who do you trust most, Facebook or the Government? Fri, 23 Nov 2007 09:32:20 +0000 admin According to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), young people could be putting themselves at risk of identity fraud because of the material they post on social networks such as Facebook and MySpace.

At least it’s information they control (the ICO has even developed a new website to help them out).

No word unfortunately on how they’re supposed to avoid identity fraud when HMRC loses the personal details of every child in the country.

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iPhone iDrone = iPathy? Fri, 06 Jul 2007 09:23:23 +0000 admin Is it me, or is the constant barrage of self-serving blog and twitter posts about the iPhone starting to create so much noise that you just want to tune it all out?

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Help research my book Sun, 27 May 2007 10:44:00 +0000 admin As mentioned previously, I am currently writing a book on social software in the enterprise. To be more accurate, I’m currently researching it. I’m almost done, but I want to ensure I haven’t missed any gems.

What more appropriate way to plug any gaps than by harnessing the wisdom of the crowd, and that’s where you come in:

  1. Review the chapter outlines on my book blog
  2. Post a comment with any links or references that attempt to answer the questions on the appropriate page

Even if you can’t help, please spread the word amongst your networks. The contributors of any suggestions will receive an acknowledgment in the book.

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A new era Thu, 19 Apr 2007 15:19:00 +0000 admin Watch out, Hill & Knowlton has a new global head of digital.

Julie Atherton, previously head of our online communications team in the US, has been appointed to take over the role from Tony Burgess-Webb who founded the practice back in 1995. Tony is now H&K’s chief marketing officer, so as the agency’s marketing technologist I still get to spend (too much?) time working with him.

I’ve also had the pleasure of spending some time with Julie on my infrequent visits to the US, and am sure she will do a great job.

I know she’s been looking for an excuse to set up a blog here on Collective Conversation, so what better time… ;-)

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Some Awards Success Sat, 17 Mar 2007 09:54:00 +0000 admin Update 19 March 2007: Some pics here.

I’m travelling home following the Revolution digital marketing awards in London last night. We were shortlisted for the blogger relations campaign for LG’s Chocolate phone.

Even though the Technology & Telecoms category had no less than 9 nominees (the most of all the gongs on offer) I’m pleased to report that we came away with a Commendation, against some very stiff competition.

When you think that we were competing directly with Nokia, HP, Microsoft, Sony Ericsson, and full service digital agencies like Dare, for highly creative Web 1.0 campaigns you can understand why we’re chuffed to the knickers* that our foray into social media with LG has been recognised amongst the best digital campaigns of 2006.

Congratulations also to MEME London for winning our category with their work for 118 118, to for walking (staggering?) away with the Agency of the Year award, and to Antony Mayfield’s Spannerworks for topping the Search category with their work. Rob Brydon was pretty funny too.

* I have been looking for an excuse to use this phrase since one of the bloggers we invited to our London Eye photography competition launch coined it a day or so ago.

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Catching up: Crayon, Edelman/Wal*Mart and my book deal Wed, 25 Oct 2006 11:57:00 +0000 admin I’ve been away for a couple of weeks on vacation, and have been hit by an ear infection on my first day back in the office (making me deafer than usual), but here are a few things worth mentioning.

Neville Hobson emailed to let me know that tomorrow (Thursday), “a new marketing is being launched… that will offer companies a compelling and fresh alternative to the stale and ineffective marketing that’s typical today.” He continues:

The company is called crayon. It’s a different kind of company that integrates the best of the consulting, agency, advisory, thought leadership and education worlds. You and I know that the world has changed even if many others in the marketing, advertising, and public relations fields haven’t realized that yet. The goal of crayon is to help our clients make sense of these changes and tap into them in order to differentiate themselves from their competition, participate in community-driven conversations, and stand out from the crowd.

Crayon will (apparently) be the first company to hold its launch in Second Life. Good luck, Neville.

Closer to home (metaphorically), I’ve been following the Edelman/Wal*Mart issue with interest. Shel Holtz captures the issues that arise from working in a big agency perfectly. I have no doubt that someone, somewhere in our agency will make a similar mistake one day (and for all I know they may already be making it). Like other specialists inside big companies, all I can do is try and get the stuff I do right and encourage those who ask my advice to do the same.

Finally, closer to home (literally), I can officially announce that I have been contracted to write a business book on using social software in the enterprise for Gower Publishing. This is very exciting for me. I’ve never written a book before, but am determined to make it as interesting and informative as I can. I’m also going to make full use of social media in writing it, including blogging the entire experience, sharing my sources using, and setting up a wiki to post chapter summaries for anyone to contribute to. If you’re interested in following my journey, please subscribe to my personal blog’s feed.

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