Posts Tagged ‘mobile marketing’

Technologists are Vital to Agency Success

Can agencies be successful without strong technologists?

Many digital agencies are quickly coming to terms with this issue.  Even the best of traditional agencies would have to admit that it is very tough to realize true success in digital efforts without significant technology capabilities.

The sheer number of digital technologies has exploded.  Looking at the expanding landscape of programming languages, tools, application types, and rapidly growing new delivery channels such as mobile & digital signage, combined with increased demand for analytics and measurement on all fronts, and it is easy to understand why agencies must look to take a more holistic approach to technology.

Gone are the days where great creative resources leveraging simpler, visual web development skills were enough to get the job done.  In addition to creativity, it now takes the ability to work across multiple technology platforms and apply skills such as technical feasibility, strategy, architecture, integration, reusability, innovation, and good old-fashioned R&D to thrive in today’s tech-laden world.

Strong technology capabilities are not something agencies should merely outsource and call upon on an as-needed basis.  They must be in-house and involved early in the creative process.  A recent AdWeekMedia special report, The New Tech Heads, underscores how in-house technologists are helping to transform agencies.  With titles such as “Creative Technology Director”, these resources complement agency creativity with IT-based production and problem solving skills.

The bottom line benefits of technologists to agencies and their clients include better ideas, more innovation, less production headaches, and ultimately a much better digital experience for audiences.

Do you agree that technologists are key to agency success?  Disagree?  I’d love to hear your opinions.

– Jim S.


What’s Exciting in Mobile Marketing? – Augmented Reality

December 31, 2009 1 comment

In this final installment of a multi-part post, we wrap-up a look at three technologies in particular that will have a potentially huge impact on mobile marketing, whether used independently, or in various combinations: mobile barcodes & tagging, location based advertising (LBA), and augmented reality (AR).  This third and final post will focus on augmented reality (AR). 

Augmented Reality (AR)

How does it work?

If you’ve ever seen football games on TV where scores, statistics, first down lines, and yards-to-go indicators are superimposed over the live action, you’ve already experienced a form of augmented reality.  However, the much more interactive world of mobile and the Web allow augmented reality to be taken to new levels.    

In the mobile world, the cameras in our smart phones allow us to view and take photos of our surrounding indoor or outdoor environments (people, objects, signs, buildings, street corners, etc). Augmented reality technology allows for additional imagery, graphics, symbols, and data to be superimposed over this view to “augment” what you see.  Examples of this augmentation includes maps & directions, descriptions, statistics, and more.

The mobile augmented reality content is currently delivered through a variety of different methods, including individual smart phone applications, tools, and mobile browser plug-ins. 

What capabilities does it provide to marketers?

The scope of capabilities and possible applications for mobile augmented reality is truly immense.  In his PersonalizeMedia blog, author Gary Hayes does the best job I’ve seen so far of identifying the types of, and potential business models for, augmented reality:

Nearly all of the models outlined above hold a strong potential for marketers, particularly in a mobile environment.    

Great, but does it have legs?

Yes, definitely!  I believe mobile in particular is an ideally suited platform for the use of augmented reality,  as it comes the closest to approximating how we naturally encounter people, places, and things in the real world.     

The potential applications for mobile augmented reality are further enhanced by how it can be used in varying combinations with other versatile mobile technologies such as GPS, mobile barcoding & tagging, and location based advertising (LBA).

In terms of revenue potential, a recent study by marketing intelligence company ABI Research states that “new handheld platforms will transform the Augmented Reality ecosystem”, forecasting revenue associated with Augmented Reality will grow from around $6 million in 2008 to more than $350 million in 2014, with the bulk of the increase occuring during the latter portion of that time frame.

This prediction of a growth “curve” makes sense to me.  As smart phones continue to evolve into ever more powerful mobile computing devices with a true convergence of capabilities, the prediction here is that the number of tools, apps, plug-ins, browsers, and content providers that support mobile augmented reality will dramatically increase over the coming 1 – 2 years.  Beyond this period of maturation, I believe that revenue generation will really begin to take off. 

Want to learn more?

There are a ton of great online resources and articles on augmented reality and its use in mobile marketing.  In fact, the real challenge in identifying additional suggested reading was knowing when to stop!  Though the focus of this particular blog post was the use of augmented reality for mobile marketing purposes, I’ve included links that cover its use in the web world as well.  Each delves further into the types, models, and potential uses of augmented reality:

Mobile augmented reality builds deep consumer engagement 

16 Top augmented reality business models

10 Awesome uses of augmented reality marketing

Location-based ads come to augmented reality in the US

IKEA uses augmented reality to engage shoppers’ imagination

GPS based augmented reality

There are also some very cool demonstrations of augmented reality apps of all types on YouTube

Got feedback?

This wraps up my first series on what’s exciting in mobile marketing, but based on the explosion of growth in mobile technologies, you can bet it won’t be the last.  It is certain that we’ll be visiting this topic again in the near future.  In the meantime, I’m always interested in hearing your questions, comments, and points of view. Please let me know what you think!

– Jim S.

What’s Exciting in Mobile Marketing? – Location Based Advertising (LBA)

November 29, 2009 2 comments

In this multi-part post, we continue to take a look at three technologies in particular that will have a potentially huge impact on mobile marketing, whether used independently, or in various combinations: mobile barcodes & tagging, Location Based Advertising (LBA), and augmented reality.  This second post will focus on Location Based Advertising (LBA). 

Location Based Advertising

How does it work?

Part of a broader category of Location Based Services (LBS), mobile Location Based Advertising (LBA) takes advantage of Global Positioning System (GPS) technology.  While we have traditionally thought of GPS as a navigation based aid, things have definitely evolved.  A growing number of smart phones now have GPS technology integrated into them, allowing their locations to be precisely tracked by signals sent by the GPS satellites high above the Earth. 

What capabilities does it provide to marketers?

While the science of GPS and Location Based Advertising may not be all that important to us, the capabilities they bring are definitely important.  Marketers and service providers can now make use of the geographical position of smart phones to send very specific, targeted information to their owners.  This information can come in the form of nearby stores & services,  customized ads, offers, coupons, and loyalty-based offerings.  And, as we have seen and heard so many times, the more specific, targeted, and relevant a marketing message can be, the better the results we can expect. 

Great, but does it have legs?

A quick look at the numbers says yes, LBA absolutely has legs.  First, consider the sheer number of mobile devices.  There are roughly 4.6 billion mobile phones out there globally, with an ever-increasing number of them coming with GPS capabilities.  Second is the size of the overarching Location Based Services (LBS) market.  At around 41 million users in 2008, this is expected to grow to nearly 96 million in 2009.  Finally (and perhaps most importantly), there is the revenue picture.  Gartner forecasted in June of 2009 that the global LBS revenue will more than double from just under $1 billion in 2008 to over $2.2 billion in 2009.  You can bet that Location Based Advertising will play a large role in this growth.

The reality is that our smart phones are really becoming powerful handheld computing devices that we’re depending on for a wider variety of daily uses, and are perfectly suited for LBA.  If potential privacy and security concerns can adequately be addressed, the only real question in my mind is how responsive U.S. based consumers will be to LBA and mobile advertising.  However, given that in Spain over three quarters mobile phone owners already receive ads, in France nearly two thirds do and in Japan over half do with relatively high response rates, I believe that the success of LBA in the U.S. is a near certainty.   

Want to learn more?

Admittedly, it was hard to settle on the title of Location Based Advertising (LBA) for this particular post.  While conventional wisdom places LBA within the broader category of Location Based Services (LBS), I’ve consistently been finding that terms like LBA, LBS, mobile marketing, and mobile advertising are often being used interchangably – most likely because this vast set of mobile capabilities is still in its infancy, and there is not a great deal of standardization yet.  Therefore, don’t be thrown by some of the link titles below.  Each of them can help you understand what this technology entails and how it is being used:

2009: The Year of LBS (Location-Based Services)

GPS + Mobile Marketing = Goodness

Mobile GPS Opens Doors to Content, Commerce

New Platform Offers GPS Location-Based Ads

Burger King, Subaru Trial Location-Based Mobile Advertising

Placecast Raises $5 Million for Location-Based Advertising Platform

Got feedback?

I’m always interested in hearing your questions, comments, and points of view. Please let me know what you think!

– Jim S.