Posts filed under ‘Mobile’
The third screen is just the beginning – the beginning of something totally, completely new and old at the same time. Check out Perez Hilton before you left the house today? Paid your bills while you were waiting for the bus? Messaged a friend to meet you for lunch, did your grocery shopping online once you got to the office, caught up with your mom, watched the latest episode of TorchWood? All of these activities could be a part of your daily life – and all of them could be done across a variety of devices. We are truly living in a world of converged technology where we’re connected to the content we consume, create and transact across a variety of networks. We do the same things that people always did – socialize, conduct business, shop – but we now have the freedom to do them wherever we like when we like and on any device we like.
How will all this freedom change the media? We’ll continue to see more content creators emerge and they’ll produce greater quantities of material; the Mobile Web will boost the expansion of the greater Social Web – social search, the blogosphere, and social networking; and people will get what people crave – more access to each other on more devices. Additionally, the balance between paid and unpaid perspectives will continue to shift – as soon as one ecosystem is consumed by commercialism another will emerge to take its place – i.e. the blogosphere emerging out of Web 1.0. Lastly, and most importantly, more and more power will continue to shift to the consumer. Because of this, brands will search for new ways to reach consumers – not just across new devices, but through building communities, providing value through outreach – in both cultural (games, information) and monetary (coupons, loyalty programs, etc.) terms. Old-line media will also look for new ways to reach audiences – through V-blogs, Twitter feeds, Mobile Video, and many more yet-to-be-imagined ways. It’s truly a time of change, and to be part of this change is – as they say in Boston – Wicked Pissah.
The attention economy is alive. Interruption marketing is dead. But are we getting permission marketing?
Tony Fish (the Mobile 2.0 man) and I debated the impact of mobile technologies on the attention economy at last week’s Mashup Event. We are particularly intrigued, although not entirely convinced, by the Blyk business model. Having been started by the former president of Nokia, Blyk could not have much better credentials for a new UK mobile phone service, but what are its prospects beyond the initial novelty value?
The concept of the attention economy is that human attention is a scarce commodity and therefore the approach to getting information in front of them is subject to economic theory. This scarcity is amplified by the increasing control we have over the media we consume. For example, simply interrupting the transmission of TV and radio programming with advertising is increasingly frustrated by the features designed in to consumer electronics allowing us to skip the ads.
The cure for this apoplexy of the advertising industry has consisted of product placement, procured content and permission marketing – a term defined by Seth Godin in his 1999 book of the same name. In simple terms, permission marketing seeks the target’s permission to advertise to them. Obviously, the advert has to have real value to the recipient for them to give their permission.
So back to Blyk. The idea… give free SIM cards to 16-24 year olds with which they can make free calls. In return, the Blyk customer must complete a personal profile questionnaire which is used to determine exactly what products and services he or she might like to know about. Blyk then sells this channel to advertisers and forwards the adverts to their customers’ phones.
Is this permission marketing? Godin talks about developing a relationship with customers, “turning strangers into friends, and friends into customers”. To me, Blyk is not primarily about adding value through the content and information, but fundamentally about buying airtime. It may not be paying cash, choosing instead to make a payment-in-kind, but ultimately it is just buying a new kind of media space. I’m into digital photography, but with the day I’ve just had if you sent me an ad for the latest camera it would simply have got in my way.
Advertisers must ask themselves whether this is simply hyper-targeted advertising (of no insignificant value of course), or permission marketing. Isn’t it just simply that young adults want free calls? That’s where the primary value lies, not in the ads.
Interestingly, Blyk may have some big competition soon. Whilst Google has not publicly disclosed any intention to launch a mobile phone service, the fact that their job boards advertise for mobile engineers might betray their ambitions. Could a GPhone follow the same business model?