Category Archives: Trends

Is Privacy for sale?

Privacy. What does it mean to you?

At its basic level, privacy is “the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves or information about themselves and thereby express themselves selectively”. Universal and understood across different cultures and boundaries, you would think that people’s privacy would be respected and upheld by those who hold information provided to them.

However, there has been recent scandals around privacy and personal information. Facebook were in the news recently about their “experiments” and how they manipulated news feeds to what expressions of emotions users saw. Other stories around personal privacy include the phone hacking scandal involving journalists and editors at the News of the World newspaper and lest we forget the Snowden revelations of NSA activities last year, which still has an impact to this very day. There are many more stories related to privacy concerns and how it’s handled, which could go on for a very long time, but where does privacy leave us?

Sure, you’re only as useful as the information that you choose to disclose on the internet, but what happens when those details are used in ways that make you feel uncomfortable? What about governments selling your tax data, for instance? In this day and age of big data within marketing, data is an ever-increasing asset – from CRM to manage and maintain customer relationships, to social data to provide insight and understanding of your customer’s motivations and preferences on a personal level. Data is all around us, and it isn’t going away soon…unless…

Forget about me, I don’t exist

Google have recently launched a service that enables EU residents to request that their details are removed from their search results. Now Google is the largest search engine compared to its rivals Yahoo! and Bing, meaning that there’s a likelihood you’re not going to appear in searches made by others. What is interesting is, will there come a point where more and more companies that handle data see this as an opportunity to cash in on an individual’s privacy? After all, we’re only as good as the information we give to these companies, so there has to be a trade-off, so in essence an individual’s demand for privacy depends on how much of themselves they supply online or elsewhere. If there is a market for privacy, who would be the main customers? The wealthy? The powerful? Regular people? How would companies charge? On a subscription basis? A one-off payment? Privacy credits? Will privacy cease to exist in the next two decades?

So many questions, but no one answer is black and white.

What are your thoughts?

Features vs Benefits: Smartwatches

Features: what your product does
Benefits: what these features mean to your audience

In case you missed it (like myself because of the World Cup), Google held their annual I/O event two weeks ago, announcing all things Google-related from Android to Chrome. One part of the event that stood out for me was Android Wear, Google’s custom platform for smartwatch development, with the release of their Software Development Kit (SDK), enabling developers to integrate their own devices with the platform.

When I was younger, the idea of having a watch that done everything on command was exciting. Imagine feeling like Michael Knight being able to call your car to come to you, instead of having to go all that effort to walk to your car and put all your shopping in the boot? Pretty cool right?

Nowadays, I’m not sure about smartwatches. For me, the basic feature of a watch is to tell the time. The benefit of being able to tell the time on my wrist enables me to keep track of time, make estimates of journey time so I don’t miss Game of Thrones when I get home, find out how much time I have before an appointment or a meeting. So in a nutshell, a watch enables me to plan my activities and schedule within the continuum of time. Having a smartphone is enough hassle, it’s pretty much carrying a micro computer in your pocket. Why would I need a watch to alert or notify me about events happening on my phone, which is inches away? Do I need to be connected all the time? Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founder, is dismissive of smartwatches, describing his experience of the Samsung Galaxy Gear as “disappointing”.

In general, I can’t see how a smartwatch can add much purpose or benefit to my day to day life. The thought of remembering to charge a watch would annoy me, especially when I have a Casio sitting on the shelf that can tell me the time and date, operate as a stopwatch, light up in the dark and is water resistant to a reasonable depth.

All is not lost on wearable tech though. Where the real benefit and value lies relates to health and fitness. The ability to track activity and take vitals, such as pulse rate serves some purpose in a smartwatch. Right now, a smartwatch seems nothing more than an extension of a smartphone which is not really necessary, nor beneficial.

Google Glass

The Wonderful World Of Wearable Tech

The way that technology is now a part of our daily lives is extraordinary. Who would have thought that you could have a map, a GPS tracker, pedometer and a telephone in the palm of my hand today?

The race for manufacturers to create devices that we can wear is becoming more prominent in our daily lives. When Nike teamed up with Apple 7 years ago with the Nike+ system to keep track of runs, it helped the sportswear giant develop a greater connection with their customers (pun intended) by creating products that utilised this system. It also helped Apple to tap into Nike’s market though their synergistic ties, developing apps and hardware that enabled owners to track their runs, map routes and sync their music with their workouts.

Nike further extended their adventures in technology by releasing the FuelBand and setting up the Accelerator program in 2012, aimed at leveraging their technology through their API and SDK for Nike+.

The widely reported, Kickstarter-backed Pebble watch project is another wearable device that enables you to operate certain functions of your smartphone without reaching into your pocket. The device also enables developers to create applications for the watch, ranging from fitness to…

Google are planning to gain a foothold through the creation of Google Glass, an augmented reality device worn as a pair of glasses that displays information to the user in a similar format to a smartphone, operating via voice-activated commands.

Such a device offers many application and product collaboration opportunities for Google. By marrying technology and fashion through Glass, manufacturers can create products with aesthetic appeal that target a new customer demographic, or adapt their current range of products to accommodate Glass, thus extending the lifecycle of eyewear products in developed markets.

Privacy issues?

Despite the potential possibilities that Google Glass presents, there may be some drawbacks regarding Glass’ functionality, most notably the privacy issue. The trade-off with ‘free’ internet services such as Google, Twitter and Facebook is that your input (personal data) becomes a commodity that such services use to generate advertising revenue through the creation of targeted, personalised ads.

Furthermore, being tracked using such products like Glass does raise personal security concerns about who has access to the data and how it is protected. A Fast Company article outlines a list of places that are likely to be resistant to the use of Glass in certain public and private places.

What does it mean for marketers?

Marketers need to consider whether wearable tech is relevant to their company activities. Architecture and design companies, outdoor adventure or athletics companies may find wearable tech products useful to their business, for instance, especially in terms of the different functions and options that such technology provides. Another consideration is whether wearable tech complements their target market. Such products could be seen by a company’s target demographic as pointless or a privacy infringement. Conversely, they could embrace the technology and see it as way of simplifying daily activities, perhaps even provide opportunities to discover new things they would not have thought about.

Either way, wearable technology is not going away any time soon, and I believe that if Google can strike the balance between protecting customer privacy and providing a purposeful product with numerous applications, they could make the world a much smaller place.

What are your views on wearable tech? Please comment below or tweet me @ChuxOnye

New World Marketing: Infographic

Magic Number Three: 3 elements for a modern-day marketer to ponder

3 Is A Magic Number

“Three is a magic number” – Schoolhouse Rock

Since I’ve started writing my marketing blog, I have come to realise that other blogs that I have visited and read have this common habit of writing lists. Lists are rather useful ways of distilling a multitude of thoughts about one subject. From topics such as the top three inbound marketing strategies for mobile apps to 25 sneakers to own before you die, lists are a useful way of increasing visitor traffic, gleaning reader’s opinions and objections to your ‘definitive’ lists and generally showing you know your topic (supposedly…). Ironically, from my own general reading and discussions with a good friend of mine on the field of marketing has highlighted some interesting points in this current internet/data/technology era (I deleted all three because I couldn’t make up my mind). Anyhow, I digress. Here are the three elements that a modern-day marketer should consider for future market and business development.

1. “Free” products

When you consider how some ideas were conceived (i.e. Dropbox, Spotify, Farmville, Google Docs, etc.), they created services that people could utilise and get to grip with for ‘free’. The ‘Freemium’ model is a useful model, especially for start-up companies, to acquire a large user base where a portion of them can be converted into paying customers.

Consider Dropbox for example, which is a cloud storage service where users are initially offered 2 GB free storage. For a user to increase their storage capacity, they can either through referrals (500 MB per referral, up to 18 GB = 36 new users) or by subscribing to their ‘Pro’ plan for even greater storage (starting at 100 GB). Dropbox is an exponent of the ‘freemium’ model, taking advantage of rapidly decreasing prices in storage space and the shift towards cloud computing to increase the number of users and to generate income from power users derived from their user base.

Such models do need to be scrutinized, as they can be rather costly if they are not ‘leveraged’ properly in terms of the product/service offering, however they can be very successful for growing a business, as Dropbox can testify.

2. Marketing the product OR the product does the marketing?

Some companies are market/marketing driven whilst others are product-driven, relying on its relative strengths for the marketing sales pitch. Take Microsoft and Apple for instance. Here is the Microsoft advert for their Surface tablet.

Microsoft Surface Commercial

Apple iPad Commercial

As you can see from these commercials, Microsoft has gone for the more visual, dramatic, let’s-put-on-a-song-and-dance approach in showing off their Surface tablet, whereas Apple have gone for the ‘Let’s show you what the iPad and the iPad mini can do’ approach. Microsoft package and wrap up their product in the most glamorous fashion, marketing it in a way where it sells you the dream. Apple’s approach is clean and minimalistic, showing the product in action and its features. There’s no right or wrong way in how to market or promote a product, however the approach a marketer should decide on depends on how they want to present their offering to their target market and customer.

3. Innovation

How were Nintendo, Nokia and Google initially founded? Nintendo initially started by making playing cards back in 1889. Nokia’s first steps as a company was as a Finnish paper manufacturer back in 1865, and Google’s story started as an search engine called ‘BackRub’ from the creative minds of Larry Page and Sergey Brin back in 1996.

Where are they now? Nintendo is now one of the biggest computer game console manufacturers across the globe, creating iconic characters such as Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong. Nokia is one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of mobile phone devices, creating classic models such as the 5110 and the current Lumia 920. Google is now the web’s go-to page for search results and has expanded into other areas, from creating the Android mobile platform to offering map services on the internet. Despite Nintendo and Nokia being many years older than Google, who are the gifted genius wunderkid, what has kept these three global icons continuing their longevity is innovation.

Through constant change and adapting to future needs and disrupting existing business models and paradigms, these companies have survived the test of time whilst maintaining their brands by pushing new boundaries and frontiers in their respective fields. Who would have thought Google would be competing with Nokia in the mobile industry?

These are my thoughts on the elements that a modern-day marketer must ponder in order to create new markets and develop and grow their business respectively.

What are your thoughts? Please comment and connect with me via Twitter @ChuxOnye and via LinkedIn.

Survival Of The Fittest: 4 tools for Marketers

High Street Chains that folded

Can your business survive the High Street?

The demise of HMV, Blockbusters, Comet and Jessops in the past two months has brought sharp focus to the high street. Despite the Government’s best efforts in appointing Mary Portas to find solutions to revive the high street, it seems that this current age of technology and the internet could see further casualties for businesses. Such challenges require modern and forward-thinking solutions for businesses to survive and thrive for the future. Here are my 5 suggestions for survival:

1. Improve e-tail offering

The number of people purchasing goods and services using the internet is increasing year by year, with over 10% of total retail sales being made online during December. With e-tailing expected to grow further in the coming years, traditional bricks-and-mortar retailers should improve their online offerings. Techniques such as SEO, multi-channel marketing and branding using social media, responsive and adaptive web design for different devices and user-friendly web pages enhance the shopping experience. Additionally, using discount codes for purchases and loyalty vouchers may increase online purchases for a retailer.

2. Use alternative methods of payment

Mobile payments are becoming an increasingly common method of receiving and making payments for businesses. Services such as PayPal, iZettle and Square have add-on devices for mobile payments. These enable consumers to pay for goods and services in a fast and convenient fashion. Furthermore, NFC technology has caused an influx of payment services such as Google Wallet, Visa mobile and O2’s mobile payment service offers businesses many solutions to accept payments for now and the future.

3. Adopt ‘smarter’ methods in products for consumers

Smart products are becoming more commonplace in society. From smart readers in the home that monitor energy and power usage to sensors in vehicles that assist parking and uses intelligent lighting when driving in certain road conditions. Such innovations can be applied for food packaging, with the use of smart packaging used to detect food that has gone off to reduce wastage. Additionally, other applications for ‘smart’ food could be portion size recommendations (smart labelling) and notification alerts for when food is running out in the fridge. These methods may potentially save businesses money, by using data gathered may provide supermarkets within a particular area about the type of customers that purchase items from their stores. This enables the supermarket to use efficient stock control methods and reduces their food wastage.

4. Ask the audience

With crowd-sourced funding platforms such as Kickstarter, Indiegogo and RocketHub providing opportunities for businesses and start-ups to raise funds for their projects, this provides an excellent opportunity for businesses to innovate and experiment for new products and services. Also, crowd funding is useful as a means to gauge the viability and popularity of a project, as well as finding new and exciting products to stock for sale. Successful projects include the Pebble watch and the POP charging stand, which received significantly more pledged funds that their original target amount. Finally, using crowd-sourced funding guarantees purchases for your product or service offering provided a business follows through on their promise of producing the product purchased.

What are your thoughts on ways that businesses can survive the high street? Please comment or connect with me on Twitter @ChuxOnye and on LinkedIn.

Photo Wars: The bigger picture

Photo War Pictures

The Photo Wars.

The race to become (or develop) the most popular photo-sharing app has taken an interesting turn over the past week, with Google and Apple forming an unlikely alliance to bid for patents from the former photo giant Kodak. Google, having recently made the popular photo-editing app Snapseed available for its Android platform last week, after being a paid-for app on Apple’s iOS platform since 2011. Google’s purchase of Nik Software (the company behind Snapseed) in September may have been an early indication of their intentions to integrate the software on their platforms such as Google+ and Picasa.

Another point of interest was the sudden emergence of a battle between the Facebook-owned Instagram and Twitter photo-sharing platforms, with Twitter making the move of removing visibility of photos taken on Instagram off its timeline for users. Twitter’s earlier actions of removing integration with the app stem from July this year where they revoked access from Instagram users wanting to add their Twitter contacts on the platform. It could be suggested that the purchase of Instagram by Facebook for $1bn earlier in April may be a factor in the tactics used by Twitter, who want to retain control of their platform by either revoking or limiting access to their API from third party developers. Furthermore, the addition of filters for pictures posted directly through Twitter is an indication of the importance of pictures by competing directly with Instagram.

What does this mean for marketers?

In this current era of social media and technology, storytelling has become a key element for marketers wanting to reach out and connect with customers, building relationships and loyalty through the products and services they provide for them. The visual element of storytelling, promotion and advertising has become more viral with advances in mobile technology and the ease of sharing content over a variety of platforms. The current battlefield between Twitter/Instagram/Facebook and Google, Apple and Microsoft is a prime example of the fragmentation experienced by both marketers and customers to participate and connect with each other for the best social experience.

Instagram and Twitter are social communities in their own right, with Instagram far more picture-oriented by its nature in comparison to Twitter, which also enables users to share their 140 character musings and article links from across the web. Both platforms are useful for marketers in monitoring and understanding user activity, especially in terms of how they communicate with other users and the type of photos they share that provide an insight into their personal lives. Instagram does have the considerable network strength of Facebook behind them (1 billion+ users and counting), who are taking steps to improve their mobile offerings to increase advertising revenues, making it an attractive platform for marketers working in the B2C business sphere.

Twitter is a fast-growing network, with 500m+ users on the site and closely follows Facebook as a favoured marketing tool for companies, and seems to be more friendly as a B2B platform. Additionally, with mobile and tablets becoming a popular choice for users to access content, marketers need to take advantage of the opportunities that are present from using these photo-sharing platforms as a means of delivering unique content, telling stories and case studies that interest customers and businesses alike.

The Photo Wars have just begun.

18/12/12 UPDATE: Instagram are seeking the rights to sell users’ photos to advertisers without notifying them. This is an interesting development in the changing landscape for photo-sharing, I wonder how Twitter may respond in the coming weeks and months with regards to it’s users data and content?

What are your views on the current Photo Wars? Please comment and share your thoughts with me on twitter @ChuxOnye