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Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Business Blog
This Focused Performance Weblog started life as a "business management blog" containing links and commentary related primarily to organizational effectiveness with a "Theory of Constraints" perspective, but is in the process of evolving towards primary content on interactive and mobile marketing. Think of it as about Focusing marketing messages for enhanced Performance. If you are on an archive page, current postings are found here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Horror Story: A $90 Million Text Message -- Unsolicited SMS text message leads to $90,000,000 in fines: Stephen King Horror Story: Simon & Schuster Text-Messaging Case Sent Back To Lower Court | mocoNews.

Moral of the story...Make sure you get permission in your mobile marketing programs involving SMS.

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Billboarding Mobile -- In yet another step down the path of mainstreaming mobilized marketing, Mobile Marketing Watch reports that CBS Outdoor Launches Large-Scale SMS Services:
"In launching txt2go, CBS Outdoor becomes the nation’s very first out-of-home media company to provide a complete text messaging solution for its clients. The add-on feature creates an affordable new avenue for advertisers looking to package into their media features like digital couponing, sweepstakes, direct response and point of purchase. The technology will allow advertisers to track responses to their marketing in real time, and do so on a scale they’ve likely never been able to before."
This combination of the oldest of old school out-of-home, on-the-road advertising and the newest ubiquitous channel should help solidify in the minds of marketers the need to include the unique communication benefits of mobile as part of a complete program of outreach to their target audiences.
You've laughed
At our signs
For many a mile
Be a sport
Give us a trial
Text Burma to Shave

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Five Things About Mobile -- On ClickZ, Eric Bader considers a few things marketers may overlook when evaluating mobile marketing plans.
  • Mobile Is More Than Cell Phones...

  • Mobile Isn't Just a Digital Medium...

  • Mobile Is a Computer in Your Pocket...

  • Don't Forget About Voice...

  • Apps Are the, um, Killer Apps...
  • Read the whole thing.

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    Thursday, April 09, 2009

    Text Dominating College Mobile Communication, But... -- Sometimes I run across a story that points to a predecessor, and when I do, I often try to dig back to the original. I guess it's a matter of editorial decision-making, but in more than a few cases, the original story is, if not distorted in the latter report, occasionally quoted without the full context. Here we've got a case of a text-oriented blog ( Text Overtakes IM, Email, Voice Among College Mobile Users) quoting a voice/VOIP-based original (Text Overtakes IM, Email, Voice Among College Mobile Users):
    "...99.7 percent of students have a mobile communications device and the rates of sending text messages, e-mail, photos and videos are increasing.

    "Text messaging has overtaken email and instant messaging as the main form of communication for college students, 94 percent of whom send and receive text messages.

    "When using their mobiles to keep in touch with family and friends with 59 percent text, 17 percent call, nine percent send IMs and seven percent use email."
    Sounds real promising for mobile marketing firms; a ready-made audience comfortable with text as a regular communication channel. However, as we at Again Mobile are careful to educate our clients and prospects, considerable care must still be taken in addressing this or any other group via mobile methods like text, as is pointed out by the rest of the Business VOIP piece. Benefiting from reaching these frequent texters may not be the slam dunk that the raw numbers suggest...
    "As lucrative as many believe mobile marketing will be, there are warning signs. The study indicates 52 percent of respondents received ads on their cell phone in the last few months, up from 24 percent in 2005. But a backlash might be building.

    "'In 2005, we found that 30 percent of students said they were annoyed at getting an advertisement, and that has grown to 48 percent in the most recent survey,' says researcher Michael Hanley, Ball State journalism assistant professor.

    "'What good is an ad if nearly half of your target market is not happy about receiving it?' he asks."
    A couple lessons here. One - and this should not really be a new one given our recent passage through a long political silly season - is that you can't always take at face value what someone says or writes, despite how much you want it to be true and relevant. (duh...)

    Another - more specific to the subject of mobile marketing - is that, as in the realm of email communication and other "social marketing", the idea of "permission marketing" is paramount if you don't want your message to be dismissed or vilified as spam.

    And going beyond the recommended double opt-in and frequently offered options to opt out, for the text portion of your campaign to be "sticky" and appreciated, it needs to be designed with benefit for the recipient in mind. It needs to provide what they want or need in the mobile context. Location-specific, timely, incentivized, connective (social), or entertaining content are the primary appreciated uses of mobile marketing. To be valuable for you, it needs to be valuable for your target audience as well.

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    Monday, April 06, 2009

    Pricing Culture: Mobile vs Web -- A quick link for a slight tangent from my recent piece on web pricing, from a piece in today's NY Times, Micro-Billing Suits the Phone Companies Just Fine:
    [On mobile platforms,] "There’s been no expectation that anything would be free," said David Chamberlain, an analyst with In-Stat, a market research firm. "The telcos have been very careful not to give stuff away."

    By contrast, he said, "a lot of people on the Internet are wondering — why did we let all this stuff go for free?"

    It may have to do with each industry’s origins. "Information wants to be free" has long been the rallying cry for many Internet pioneers. As the mythology goes, the designers of the Internet envisioned it as utopian and open — two words rarely used to describe the phone experience.

    One example of the stark difference between the phone and the computer is the concept of micropayments. Newspapers and other content producers have examined the method — getting people to pay for content with a nickel here and a dime there — as a possible answer to their revenue problems on the Web.

    But the phone industry has had a micropayment system for decades. Ever since the local telephone company charged a customer an extra 35 cents to hear a recorded weather forecast, the phone industry has been charging for content.
    [Thanks, Pam, for the link pointage.]

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    Ambivalent Networkers -- Ben Kunz of Thought Gadgets recently commented on a recent Pew Internet and America survey and analysis of mobile users. One of the interesting cadres were identified as "Ambivalent Networkers". Kunz says...
    "This group represents 1 in 5 of heavy users of mobile internet -- the people who text on phones most often -- and they aren't happy. Pew reports this group feels overwhelmed with the need to stay connected, out of fear they may miss something, and are growing frustrated with the constant variations of social media options to communicate."
    I suspect the "ambivalence" this group feels is probably related to marginal value received from what they feel is "forced participation" in a range of channels. As Ben implies at the end of his post, those of us who live in the world of mobile and interactive have one perception of the experience, getting value from these activities in the form of exploration, entertainment, and excitement about possibilities; "We're still adding icons to our iPhone."

    It's important for us to remember that there are others out there who are into the technology not for its own sake but to solve specific problems, and who may not be excited about the possibilities but rather confused or overwhelmed by them.


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    Friday, April 03, 2009

    Friday Fun: The Mobile Edition --
    Bring Your Cell Phone to the Opera, Please
    "A coming production of [the Mozart] opera "Cosi fan tutte,"...will ask audience members to vote at intermission for which characters should be married in the opera's final scene."

    - Just turn them off between the intermissions.

    SitOrSquat iPhone/Blackberry App to be sponsored by Charmin
    "According to P&G, SitOrSquat for iPhone and BlackBerry is a Wiki for recording and accessing bathroom information, including data on where to find bathrooms, changing tables, handicap access and other amenities--users may add new content to the service and provide feedback on featured toilets. So far, SitOrSquat has compiled information on more than 52,000 toilets in 10 countries worldwide--in addition, more than 1,600 users have downloaded the app to their mobile device."
    - I guess if you have Yelp and Urbanspoon to help with the input...

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    Wednesday, April 01, 2009

    When Mobile Sites Are Done Right -- This note from Mobile Marketing Watch - CNBC Mobile Traffic Explodes Tenfold - suggests the growth is related more to these current economic news-heavy times, but IMHO, if the site were not appropriately designed for mobile (and limited in functionality compared to CNBC's standard web presence), it wouldn't have garnered that growth.

    I know it probably wouldn't have earned an icon on my iPhone.

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    Saturday, March 28, 2009

    Myths of Mobile Marketing...
  • Not enough scale
  • Ads are too small
  • No creative standards
  • No tools
  • Can't measure mobile
  • No one clicks anyway
  • CPMs high, economy underwater
  • Mobile only reaches young adults
  • I'll wait until others do it
  • Oh yeah. Did you notice that I mentioned these are myths?

    To see responses and refutations to these misconceptions, check out the piece on our Again Mobile blog, or the original reporting on a presentation by Paran Johar, from David Berkowitz.

    (BTW - Another interesting example of how mobile interactions are here: ReadyPing)

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    Friday, February 20, 2009

    Mobile vs desktop at Sonic -- This is what I've been posting about this week...

    Check out (from your cell phone, ideally), the difference between Sonic's mobile site, and their desktop web site, On the road, you don't need all the "engaging" flash frou-frou on the .com version. What you need is information, presented in a straightforward fashion. Where's a Sonic?, What are today's specials? The menu. Nice added touch is the nutritional content for menu items.

    Maybe a little location awareness for phones with that capability could simply the location search process.

    [via the Mobi Blog, where there's a few more ideas for Sonic's site.]

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    Thursday, February 19, 2009

    Mobile Web 2009 = Desktop Web 1998 -- Laying out more technical usability detail than I did in yesterday's post, Jakob Neilson, usabilty guru, takes on the special case of the mobile web, distinct from the desktop web...
    "Summary: Mobile phone users struggle mightily to use websites, even on high-end devices. To solve the problems, websites should provide special mobile versions."
    Part of why where I'm working is called again mobile is just this issue of starting again, applying what's been learned in the last 5-10 years about interactive media on the web, but more importantly, translating it and transforming it (as well as trashing some of it) for the mobile world. One of the similarities/problems of both the web in 1998 and mobile in 2009 that Neilsen mentions is a fallback to old-media design.
    "In the 1990s, many site designs mimicked good-looking print publications and offered weak interaction support. Today, sites are designed as, well, websites. More specifically, they're designed as desktop websites, and that's the wrong media form for mobile use; even on the best phones, driving the interaction is painful and simple designs are a must."
    I guess it didn't take that long for the web to be considered "old media".

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    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    Mobile Content Market Getting Huge - Are You Ready? - I think I made a timely move to the mobile industry at again mobile.

    According to the Seeking Alpha investment blog, where they ask Is Mobile Apps Market Already Bigger than Online Advertising?...
    "Many investors would likely be very surprised at the scale of the mobile content industry in comparison to online advertising. The mobile content market may even be larger than online advertising right now. Not only that, it is likely that the mobile content market will show sustained growth higher than the online advertising market over the next 5 years. As well, its sheer potential is probably over 10x greater due to the number of mobile subscriptions worldwide (based on stats from IDC)."
    It makes sense. Despite the excitement over smartphone capabilities from Apple's iPhone and RIM's Blackberry, not to mention up-and-comers Google (G-Phone) and Palm (with their new Pre), there's still a huge number of basic cell phones out there just ripe for upgrading, and thereby becoming new potential users of mobile web and apps.

    Even without relying on full-on smartphones, this week's big Mobile World Conference in Barcelona has news of new moves toward better mobile web browsing on basic phones as well. The trick, however, for publishers of web content will be to make sure that your sites are set up appropriately for the small screen (funny how that used to mean television). Check out your website from your cell phone. If it looks like most, you'll want to get someone mobile savvy involved to help develop the optimum site format for mobile screens. (Having been only a minimal cellphone user until joining again mobile, this bit has been a real eye-opener for me. Never too old to learn, I guess.)

    And this isn't only about presentation. It's about content in the mobile context as well. People (potential customers, by the way) coming to your site from their phones probably have a different set of interests than those surfing from their desks or their couches (although the bulk of my own couch-surfing has moved from laptop to iPhone recently). If you throw your entire internet-based web offering at them, it will only complicate the navigation needed to get to the subset of info that your mobile prospect is looking for. Again, a bit of mobile-savvy strategy is called for.

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    Friday, February 13, 2009

    Bluetooth - Proximity Marketing -- Just took delivery of a Bluetooth broadcast box for development of proximity marketing programs here at again mobile. Neat technology and full of potential application, but interesting hurdles involved in actually reaching and talking to passerby phones. Got me wondering how many folks walk around with bluetooth on and enabled to be pinged.

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    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    So Many Links - So Little Time -- It's link-a-palooza time...
  • What Would Google Do? - The PowerPoint - excerpts from the book.

  • Epiphany: Virtual Teams And Social Media Tribes Are The Same - Yup. That they are, but only if the tribes have some sort of goal that ties them together.

  • 2009 - The Year of SMS, Again - An underrated, under-appreciated, underused channel for communication with your customers.

  • again mobile - Where I'm at these days, working on SMS text campaigns, "mobilizing" web sites, and iPhone/smartphone apps.

  • Mobile Couponing - The Time Could Be Now... - From Mark Taylor, my previous boss' boss' boss.

  • Top 10 Dumb Project Management Questions - Questions from Hal Macomber.

  • Dumb Project Management Questions - Glen Alleman provides some answers to Hal's questions.

  • Why You Shouldn't Copy Us Or Anyone Else - A nice piece related to one of my favorite pet peeve subjects (no, not multi-tasking) - the lack of value in benchmarking and following others' "best practices".

  • Which Comes First? The Product or the Marketing? - From Seth Godin - "Marketing is not the same thing as advertising." True, very true. (My take on shooting sitting ducks from 2006.)

  • Rocks Into Gold - A parable for our time from long-time blog buddy Clarke Ching.

  • Sopranos, Uncensored - NSFW - A little diversion featuring very bit of foul language from every episode of HBO's classic series, but not including the curses coming from the audience at the end of the final episode, when they thought their cable had gone out at the most inopportune moment possible. Someone somewhere has too much time on their hands. Surprised, though, that it's only 27 minutes long.

  • The Human Feed - How Twitter and Networks Filter Signal from Noise

  • The New Work Ethic: Just Paying Attention - Your knew I couldn't finish a list like this one without an anti-multi-tasking link? Of course you did.
  • There's more in the queue, but that's enough for now.

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    Saturday, January 24, 2009

    Again Mobile - Beginning Again -- I've just finished up my first week in my new position as Director of Account Operations at Again Mobile, and I am jazzed. I'm working with a great group of people on a marketing technology that is both proven and in early days. We were there at the beginning of the commercial web, and now we have a chance to do it "again" in the mobile arena. There's also the aspect of doing it "again" with a team of people I've worked with before and in whom I have immense confidence that in a little while, we'll be a premier player in the mobile arena.

    Again Mobile [Whoops/Note: As of Jan 24, the website is suffering from a DNS glitch. It should be up sometime the week of Jan 26.] is a full service mobile marketing agency dedicated to helping companies of all sizes leverage the incredible one-to-one marketing opportunities within the mobile channel, offering complete end-to-end solutions including:
    Mobile Marketing & Advertising
     * Mobile Text Messaging Campaigns
     * Mobile Search Placement and Optimization
     * Mobile Web Advertising
     * Mobile Near-Field Marketing Campaigns

    Mobile Technology & Development
     * iPhone Application Development
     * Smart Phone Application Development
     * Mobile Site Development
     * Analytics & Reporting
    My role will involve the project management of mobile and interactive projects serving the needs of clients and partners. I will also be responsible for the development and management of operational processes related to Short code management, SMS campaigns, eMail campaigns, Search campaigns. Projects and processes - yes - "again".

    However, in the start-up mode of this new firm, made up for now of a small group of seasoned interactive professionals from DigitalGrit, Temel, and Adverb Media (great people all), we'll all be involved in most aspects of getting the business up and running.

    If you know of anyone thinking about adding carefully designed and implemented mobile aspects to their marketing mix, either as an agency or PR firm looking to partner with mobile experts, or as a B2B or B2C firm that wants to communicate with their customers and/or field staff wherever they are, reach out to me and we'll explore the possibilities.

    Actually, as I think of it, the laser-like nature and impressive results of mobile marketing may very well layer a new meaning on the name of this Focused Performance blog.

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