Marketing Technology » Software Combining marketing and technology to develop new markets and grow existing ones Tue, 11 Jan 2011 16:47:54 +0000 en hourly 1 Is Enterprise 2.0 a crock? Thu, 27 Aug 2009 07:52:51 +0000 admin Dennis Howlett thinks so (although he doesn’t say whether his hypothetical crock is full of gold or some other raw material).

I started writing a brief, witty response to his ZDNet post whacking anyone who dare use the term Enterprise 2.0 over the head with his stick of experience (and a touch of hindsight, which as we all know is a wonderful thing). Then I realised it would have to be a more reasoned and tempered response. After posting, I guessed that like most comments on blogs owned by big media it would be unlikely to be seen by many so here it is for your delectation. I’d be interested to know if you agree.

Yes, Enterprise 2.0 is a label. So was Groupware. Remember that? New things will always be given labels by the people trying to educate the market. Get over it.

So is Enterprise 2.0 trying to solve a problem? No. Because it’s just a label. Is it a thing you can go and buy? No. Because it’s just a label. Is it going to change the world? No. Because… you get the idea.

But the tech that sits under this label isn’t just about creating community, as this article seems to be implying. There ARE real business problems that this tech can HELP solve (but like any tech, not solve in itself).

Things like streamlining internal communication in businesses when information overload is the norm – in order to ensure employees are informed, engaged and motivated.

Things like getting sales people to share best practice from the field with the product and marketing people – in order to keep the product line relevant.

Things like improving collaboration amongst people who have never spoken to each other before, or work in different countries, cultures and time zones – in order to secure that vital piece of business.

Things like connecting people with each other and information (answering questions like “do we work with this prospect anywhere else in the world?” that no other piece of tech I have seen can do quite as well), and between information – in order to ensure that the company knows what it knows, what it knows it doesn’t know, and what it doesn’t know it knows.

Should tech vendors in the space start focusing on how their products solve some of these real business problems and stop evangelising Enterprise 2.0 as if it is some kind of panacea to cure all ills? Absolutely.

Is Enterprise 2.0 a crock? No. Because it’s just a label.

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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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Obama’s Technology Commitments Wed, 05 Nov 2008 09:08:00 +0000 admin As I write, it appears that Barack Obama will become the first black American President in history – but aside from the colour of his skin, what impact is he likely to have on marketing technology?

Well according to Hill & Knowlton’s experts on the other side of the Atlantic who have been up all night preparing a full report to clients (link to follow), President-elect Obama has already identified three key areas of technology policy that he intends to focus on:

“Open” internet and media
Obama supports network neutrality and will encourage diversity in the ownership of broadcast media. He favours parental controls over what children see on the Internet and tough penalties for those who abuse it. He also aims to strengthen privacy protections, holding “government and business accountable for violations of personal privacy”. ISPs and online media take note.

Modern communications infrastructure
Obama wants to bring “true broadband” to every community in America, planning to better use the nation’s wireless spectrum and promote next-generation facilities, technologies and applications. This is sure to present opportunities for technology hardware, software and service companies.

Technology in government
Obama has stated a commitment to creating a transparent and connected democracy, using technology to “reform government and improve the exchange of information between the federal government and citizens”. To deliver this, he will appoint the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer, who is sure to have a substantial budget and need help from technology providers and e-government consultants.

Will we see the promised change any time soon? I very much doubt that. The biggest change is likely to be fewer blog and Twitter posts talking about the election!

But if Obama is to be believed, technology is going to play a key role in his administration and marketers in all sectors – and technology companies in particular – need to pay close attention to his every move.

If you’d like to receive a copy of the full report produced by our team, please drop me a note with your name, job title, company and email and I’ll pass your details on to them.

UPDATE 6 November: Duncan Burns has written a more in-depth analysis on the new Tech & The District Collective Conversation blog.

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Software as media Mon, 04 Feb 2008 10:49:00 +0000 admin With Microsoft’s unsolicited bid for Yahoo! it looks like the media industry and all those who feed it and feed off it – like advertising, and to a lesser extent PR – will have another predator to fear. Not only is Google eating their lunch, but Microsoft and Yahoo!, in whatever form, look set to help themselves to breakfast and dinner too.

Nicholas Carr reckons it’s because software, and particularly software based on the Internet, is becoming a media business. As he says, “the Net is not only a universal medium… it is also turning into a universal computer”.

He points to the way in which young people in particular buy software nowadays. Rather than popping down to PC World to lay out for packaged software, they’re going online and using the software already running on the Net like Facebook, Flickr, Gmail, etc. Even word processing suites are being offered for free by the likes of Google.

And it’s free that is making software a media business. The media industry has long understood the power of giving utility away (or at least at a very low cost) and subsidising this with advertising. And that’s basically what the like of Google and Yahoo! have always done. Having made its billions relying on people like you and me to buy software to install on our PCs, Microsoft now realises that the only way it can compete with the likes of Google is to acquire online scale, and acquire it fast.

The media industry should be quaking in its boots. Imagine another Google, just as large and just as powerful – taking more and more of the advertising budgets. It’s time to rethink the business model, and that might not be a bad thing.

Note that Yahoo! is a client of Hill & Knowlton, but I have no involvement with that account.

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