Tuesday, October 31, 2006
So first off, there was the excellent NMK event on virtual reality communities, ARGs and MMORPGs which really was food for thought. We explored everything from early text based games, discussed the difference between virtual games and virtual worlds (plot vs space to create), and the latest in ARGs from the likes of PerplexCity.
Michael who heads up PerplexCity took us through a virtual journey and showed us examples:
World of Warcraft (which is massive 21.7m entries on google) and Huxley
Second Life, Habbo Hotel and Korea's Cyworld (where 90% of Koreans aged 16 to 24 have logged on and where $300k a day is spent on virtual stuff) and has now launched in the US
Webkinz, which is where tamagotchi meets Ty beanie babies - you buy a plush pet, it has a unique ID, enter the ID on the website and you're in the virtual world as that plush pet
Test Drive Unlimited, which sounded a bit like Trackmania which I worked on 3 years ago and although I don't generally like driving games, I could really see the appeal of Trackmania because of the element of sharing and racing on each others racetracks
Naughty America The Game which is out soon is the 'adult' version of virtual reality which looks like virtual swinging to me from the home page!
The Nokia Game which started well, but fizzled out.
Virtual Laguna Beach from MTV which is a virtual spin-off from the TV show
All in all, a really good intro to the virtual space.
If you're interested to know more about what went on during the day, then check out Jemima Kiss's round up on Paidcontent.org and also Tom Hume's postings from the various sessions on Second Life, Esther's academic viewpoint (and the full paper can be found here), Michael's intro, Tom's thoughts on it all.
So with all that in mind, when I was invited to a virtual networking event to celebrate the launch of the new mobileYouth report, I could hardly say no. So I toddled along and met the other 'oldies' in the MY hotel room and experienced Habbo Hotel first hand. Firstly, it was a bit weird working out how your avatar moved around. Then when everyone's in the room and talking at the same time it could be confusing. Also, you couldn't have any one2one side conversations with anyone (or at least if you could, I didn't work out how) which at a normal networking event is exactly what happens. Still, I got to chat to the W2F team, Tomi Ahonen, and a couple of folks from AOL and a fair few other members - some of whom I'd met recently at Swedish Beers (a real life networking event).
Because it's browser based, Habbo Hotel is more accessible than most virtual worlds. But it does mean there are limitations such as the conversations aren't stored for long enough so it can be tricky to keep track of a thread. And you keep being 'bobbed'. There are certain words that automatically get moderated and replaced with 'bob'. As in 'hi te...bob...bob..the....bob...s.....t'. We got used to that fairly early on. We also got thrown out of the room a few times which was annoying, but I gues that's a technical issue.
I did enjoy the session and a big-up to the mobileYouth guys for trying it. I can see a virtual environment could work as a discussion space for projects or for learning. Trouble is, as it's computer based, you've also got your email and MSN running, your landline and your mobile's going and you've got t'internet which means there are a *lot* of distractions. You think you can multi-task but you can't really - it needs focus for you to get anything out of it. As the saying goes, you get out of something what you put in. And this is certainly true for virtual networking. Still, I think it's worth exploring further. Screenshots, courtesy of Jan, are here on flickr.
Links added 2 Nov 2006
Jan's write up of Habbo Hotel Session is here.
And check out Roo Reynolds, Mike Butcher and Broadstuff for their take on the NMK event.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
|Your Brain's Pattern|
Your brain is always looking for the connections in life.
You always amaze your friends by figuring out things first.
You're also good at connecting people - and often play match maker.
You see the world in fluid, flexible terms. Nothing is black or white.
Monday, October 23, 2006
If you'd like to join the virtual networking bash, find out about the new Mobile Youth report and ask the writers and analysts any questions you might have about mobile youth, then come join us. All you have to do is sign up to Habbo Hotel (it's free), log in on Friday between 2pm and 4pm BST and look for the guest room "mobileYouth". Jan and his colleagues Savka and Nick will be there and hopefully a few other (virtual) grown-ups wanting to talk about things mobile and things youth.
In the meantime, you might want to listen to the latest podcast from the W2forum team.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Hopefully will be back to normal levels of blogging shortly once I've caught up with everything!
Monday, October 16, 2006
Also, if you have 5 minutes, then please fill in Michael and Russell's quick anonymous survey on Carnival blog readership. I've filled it in and really does only take 5 minutes.
Next week, Carnival number 50 is back at Mobhappy.
p.s. we're hoping the lovely Carlo from Mobhappy will be at Swedish Beers tomorrow night... fingers crossed he'll make it :)
The Second Life statistics are impressive... it's been inhabited by 380k users in the last 60 days with a total of nearly 950k registered. There's about US$3.2m of real money within the game and about US$70k is traded daily on its currency exchange. Big brands are taking it seriously too with Reebok, American Apparel and Sony all in there touting for business.
And since I don't know enough about this Second Life mullarkey, I'm heaing to NMK's event "My So-Called Second Life" on 24th October. I think it'll be *really* interesting to get the lowdown.
There's also a good article here about Second Life which you might find useful.
And yes, I realise this *isn't* mobile but what if it were? What if you could live a parallel Second Life via your mobile? And isn't it just a matter of time before this happens? Comments on a virtual postcard please...
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Of course, regular readers of Musings of a Mobile Marketer will know that the 17th of October is *not* a weekday of no significance since it's Swedish Beers Mobile Networking 5th Birthday and we're having a party courtesy of our friends at Bango. Should be a good one, no RSVPs required just turn up and mingle, so hope to see you there!
Monday, October 09, 2006
Google's chief executive officer Eric Schmidt said: "We are natural partners to offer a compelling media entertainment service to users, content owners and advertisers."
I liked it when the internet was about young upstarts trying to make a difference to the world. Now it's all big business deals. I guess I need to nurture the capitalist in me or something to appreciate this kind of deal!
We've had some top entries this week including a newcomer and the topics hinged around 7 key themes.
1. Mobile Events
There have been a couple of key events in mobile this week. The first was NMK's New Directions in Mobile where newcomer Deirdre over at Beers and Innovation did a marvellous roundup of the afternoon's proceedings. Meanwhile, Enrique went to the Wireless Summit in Texas and shares his thoughts on his learnings from the event with us. Which leads me on to Mobile 2.0 event being held on November 6th in San Francisco.. sounds like it will be a really useful event and it's only US$45. Bargain if you're in SFO!
2. Mobile 2.0
Talking of Mobile 2.0... What's happened with Mobile 1.0 and what is 2.0 anyway? Rudy at m-trends explains why flat rate data plans are needed to make Mobile 2.0 a reality, whilst
Anders atAbiro discusses what is actually meant by Mobile 2.0 and Daniel at Mobile Enterprise questions why we need to 2.0 it anyway.
3. Mobile friendly content
Barry at StayGoLinks believes that news feeds provide good enough mobile content for now and explains why. Meanwhile over at Mobhappy, there's an ongoing debate about repurposing content for mobile devices and mobile web standards stemming from the recent Mobile Monday event in London. Do join the discussion. It's lively.
4. Music and mobile
Yes, these two sectors are inextricably linked. Justin at MoPocket tells us how to sell your music with Textango over in the US whilst Mobile Gadgeteer Matt tells us why he's ditched the ipod and is a convert to the delights of the wireless Samsung UMPC (when are manufacturers going to come up with less geeky names please?!).
5. Technical stuff
OK, we're getting a bit more geeky now. Arjan at the Mobile Games Blog shares his journey from working in J2ME to FlashLite in a very readable diary format whilst Martin gives us some technical tips about TCP settings for HDSPA and ADSL. And Simon over at Big Picture explains the impact of Wibree - could it be the new bluetooth and the dawn of further real world digital interactivity?
6. Reviews and rants
We have a lovely history of the videophone and its role in the media from Patrick at Mad for Mobile Phones. Dennis at Wap Review does a really thorough critique of Time magazine's mobile offering, whilst Alfie, via Ewan, via New Directions in Mobile rants about mobile services from the customer's point of view. It's well worth a read!
7. Last but not least
I've written up my thoughts on 12 business models in mobile as discussed at NMK last week (warning long but possibly useful post alert!) whilst Jan at Wireless World Japan gives us a 5 minute podcast of how IC chips are being used in Japan citing two interesting case studies.
As for my favourite post of the week, it has to be Alfie's spot-on monologue over at Ewan's SMSTextNews . He gets it just right. And I'm biased, I was there and heard him deliver and it was brilliant!
That was the mobile week that was.. Next week it's Michael Mace's turn at Mobile Opportunity.
Picture from Hydra after randomly googling Carnival 48 - this was the first picture to appear! Hope they don't mind me using it.
tags: mobile+technology & mobile+marketing & mobile & wap & wibree & carnival+of+the+mobilists & wireless
So just how do you get paid to do mobile stuff? Historically, media (TV, magazines, newspapers) has been paid for bya combination of advertising (who then pass the costs on to the consumer in terms of product pricing), licence fees (in the case of the BBC) and paid-for product (subscriptions or one-offs e.g. pay per view TV or your monthly cable TV or magazine subscription).
But the 'free' nature of the internet has changed consumers perceptions. The youth of today don't understand the economics behind making a TV programme or a videogame or a piece of music or a web service and do expect it to be free. A case in point, a teenage friend of mine was having trouble with her MSN spaces account - she couldn't upload her pictures. She emailed MSN several times and got no response. And she just couldn't understand why. I tried to explain to her that it was a free service so why would they prioritise her and that they had millions of customers worldwide and if there was a technical glitch, the chances are it was affecting a big chunk of their audience. She still didn't really get it. She felt that if they offered a service they should do it right. She has a point. But it still has to be paid for. So how do you do it...
1. Ad funded content
Recent Jupiter research on behalf of PitchTV tells us that:
- Mobile advertising is set to reach £2bn in the UK by 2010. (Good news for Admob I'm sure but I'm not convinced by that figure. Analysts are often wrong.)
- Almost half of the 16 to 25 y/os vs 32% of the over 25s were happy to accept adverts in return for free content
- 30% of those then said they would be likely to respond to marketing messages
- 25% of customers said they'd respond to mobile marketing - and this was equally split between the sexes.
For this to work, you have to match your advertiser closely with the end user and the service you are offering. So I don't think this would work for pushing messages out about Persil as there's not much of a link between Persil and mobile content (well not that I can think of anyway). I hear it's doing well for mobile content advertisers anecdotally. That said, I've been signed up a while now and have never received any marketing messages from them at all. I guess I'm too old and female when they're more than likely looking for young men. It's early days though so watch this space as they say.
2. Mobile Advertising
Using a service like Admob (there are others out there - Admob's probably the biggest though), wapsite owners can generate income from offering pay per click advertising from their sites without having to search for the advertisers themselves.
If you're an advertiser, you can target by country, handset capability, genre of wapsite and set a budget and a maximum bid per click. Ads only get served 3 times to the same user and the ads are very simple - just a few words with a click thru to a landing page.
I've used it to support the distribution of a free java application during the World Cup. It worked better than any other media we tried including newspaper ads and editorial. We also found out that India and South Africa are mad for Wap!
3. Sponsored SMS
An example of this is 118118 who offers space at the end of their directory enquiries text messages at a low cpm (cost per thousand).
One of my clients tried this method (before they were a client of mine) and were disappointed with the results. I think there are some obvious reasons why this isn't quite working yet...
- There was no click-thru to a wapsite so you couldn't act on impulse
- No obvious targeting - you're just a 118118 customer who accepts text messages
- There's not a lot you can get into the 40 or so characters you have to play with
- When you've paid to receive the text message, do you also want a marketing message? Possibly not.
4. Selling your list
A lot of database owners I've met, when they're struggling for cash, cotton on to the idea of selling their database to any willing buyer. It's a mucky business. Rates for your data will vary from less than 1p per name to about 12p. But you'll be *very* lucky to get to the upper end of that range. Branded lists (Kiss, FHM, MTV) fare better when it comes to pricing and can attract cpm rates of £250. But the chances are you're not Emap or MTV.
If you are thinking of selling your list, there are lots of data protection hoops to jump through - and rightly so. It's unlikely that you'll be able to sell your list and just hand it over to a third party. The chances are, if you've structured your terms and conditions properly you'll have permission to send messages on behalf of third parties, but that the data can't leave your hands.
For this to work, there needs to be a close association with the brands of the list owner and the brand advertiser which isn't easy to achieve. And in my opinion, third party lists have been so badly abused in the past that they are suffering from the law of diminishing returns.
An example is that I still get text messages from Lakeside Shopping Centre. I signed up to ZagMe back in 2000 (I was working for them). When ZagMe went under, the database was sold to a third party who re-opted me in at the end of 2001. That company then changed its business model and the data, AFAIK, is now in the hands of Lakeside itself. Has anyone asked me to re opt-in? Am I able to unsubscribe? Do they send me anything remotely relevant to my interests and lifestyle? It's a resounding No to all three. Yet it would be so easy to get it right but that would suggest resource to do that when there are so many other things that they need to do. Mobile marketing is at the bottom of their priority list I suspect.
5. Branded content
Get a big name to put its name to your work. Examples include Coca Cola, Land Rover, Max Power, MTV, Disney. Using a trusted brand would imply greater sales potential but it's not necessarily so. Some of these content deals had the content creators paying the big brand a big licensing fee and or promise a minimum revenue for the privilege of using their brand name. There was supposed to be co-marketing going on, but it never happened because the brand's core business is not mobile content, it's selling drinks or cars or whatever and that's where their focus is. They also made their money on the licensing deal so have no need to do further marketing as they've made their cash from you already. So make sure you know what you're getting into when dealing with a big brand.
6. Sponsored content
Create useful/entertaining/must-have mobile media such as an application, game, mobile TV loop, news, gosspi, messaging or whatever. Then get access to a loyal customer base and get a big brand sponsor in to fund it. The World Cup Match Centre I worked on in the summer for The Sun, News of the World and The Times did just this. The application was your World Cup companion and meant that you could keep up with all the scores and news around the World Cup as it happened. It was promoted in the newspapers in print and online. And the sponsors' l0ogos, Betfair and Three, appeared in all the media promotion so the whole was greater than the sum of its parts in terms of media coverage.
I know it's a long post, but we're halfway there now. Bear with me!
7. Off the page promotion
This could be a revenue share deal or a bounty deal (where the content company pays the publisher for each customer acquired - pay per acquisition). A good example of this was the promotion that 82ASK did with IPC's Pick Me Up magazine. The promotion was co-branded. It was reinforced throughout the magazine in the following weeks and generated a high response rate.
8. Subscription model
This is where you offer customers either an all you can eat package or a limited weekly use package for a fixed fee per week or per month. These services are still advertised on television and were a big part of Crazy Frog's success - the adverts shown at the time didn't just advertise Crazy Frog. To get the Frog ringtone, you had to subscribe to a weekly or monthly service. This type of service has got itself a bad name with unscrupulous providers not being clear about costs and how to opt-out. If you're interested to find out more, just spend 10 minutes browsing Grumbletext which I co-founded back in 2003.
That said, if you get it right, it's a very profitable way to run a business - LoveFilm, BCA book club and many others find it a very successful model. But for it to work, you need a trusted brand image, squeaky clean operations, great customer service and strong customer focus.
Don't do this though.
Both of these were seen advertised on weekend mornings on Channel 4's T4 programming strand. £9 a week for 3 animated screensavers or sounds. What *are* they thinking?!
9. User generated content
This is a neat model - get your customers to create their own content. Give them the ability to market, buy and download each others content. Reward the creators with a percentage of sales and only payout when they reach a certain amount (say £25). Examples of this are SeeMeTv, PeekabooTV (NSFW), LookAtMeTV (spot any similarities?!)
Syndicate your content to a network operator, media owner or content aggregator/s. There is a protracted value chain - not least the big chunk of money that the network operator takes for premium SMS payments - and this means limited margin. So what you're aiming for is multiple niche deals rather than one big deal, going for global makes sense, if you can. Some revenue may well be better than no revenue at all and if you do start selling content, it all adds to your sponsorship story and credibility for creating things that customers actually want.
Don't expect miracles though. There are 1000s of content providers out there and the chances of you hitting the jackpot will be slim. Don't rely solely on your partner's marketing - you may well need to do your own as well.
Go direct to consumer or d2c as it's called in the digital world. This means you have to build your brand and trust. You have to put effort into your own marketing and distribution.
The 5ps of mobile marketing are important here - product - what is it, easy to use/understand/download; place - where will customers find it? On some dodgy back of beyond website or your own branded lovely place to be?; price - you may need to play around with pricing models; promotion - how are you going to promote? You'll need to look at the whole marketing mix, online, offline, mobile; partnerships - getting revenue share deals with publishers will be really helpful so you share the risk and don't have to pay out advertising costs up front.
12. Don't have a business model
Hope you'll be the next big thing in mobile and someone will buy you for loadsa money... it could happen! I know it sounds mad, but there are plenty of internet business out there who didn't have a business model when they started up. So it could happen in mobile. I suspect, like the online world, the successes will be very few and the failures will be many.
Have I missed anything? Do you have any other examples to contribute? Comments and discussion very welcome.
Technorati tags: mobile+technology & mobile+marketing & mobile content & mobile+media & business+model & mobile
Friday, October 06, 2006
To sell something, just snap a picture and sent it to 07720 11 00 22 and fill in the simple form with the details. There is no charge for selling an item.
MobMart is the first auction site to let you do everything from your mobile; sell, browse, bid and pay. Because you're using your camera phone, you can post video clips too. This means you can create your own TV ads too which I think is a really nice touch.
It also has online features so you can do all this from the comfort of your desktop or laptop if you wish. You'll get a text message when bids are placed on your items or when you're out-bid. And the team has done their best to keep everything simple so it's really easy for you to sell stuff and find a buyer quickly. And you can pay from your mobile using Luup too. But if you find any glitches or hitches, they'll be all ears I'm sure as they're the kind of folks who actually care about your experience as a customer (after all, one of the team is also behind the wonderful MoblogUK).
And if that's not enough, there's a fab competition starting on Monday 9th October. The MobMart team will be looking for the "best" item posted each day and giving the seller £50. That might be the biggest, the smallest, the craziest, the best video, or just the most well crafted sales pitch. So that's a really nice incentive... not only are there no seller fees, but you might well find a buyer and you're in with a chance of winning 50 quid. Can't be bad.
- To sell, snap a picture, send it to 07720 11 00 22 and fill in the simple form.
- To browse and buy just text "MOBMART" to 80988 to get the link to your phone or go straight to http://mobmart.mobi/ on your phone if you want to type in the wapsite URL.
- To browse online, go to http://www.mobmart.com/
Now, I need to go and find some things to sell and get my creative juices going to create my own TV ad...
Thursday, October 05, 2006
In the meantime, I've booked to attend 'My So-Called Second Life' on 24 October also run by NMK. Virtual reality and massively multi-player games are on my radar but I've never really got into it but I know it's huge. I've spoken to a few folks about their love for Second Life and I find it fascinating but until I upgrade my computer, I won't be venturing there (my hard drive and processor just won't cope with the software and I don't want to kill the damn thing!). I'm also really interested in the learning angle of Second Life and virtual communities (there are seminars and classes streamed into SL) and also the commercial opportunities (like Adidas setting up their own island recently). So this is a good chance for me to really check it out and get the lowdown.
Anyone fancy joining me? Tickets are a very reasonable £80 (or a bargain £50 for freelancers) for an afternoon of information, discussion and debate. Oh, and I expect there'll be some networking thrown in.
There are some rules to follow:
1. Bring your favourite dance music and walkman/mp3/ipod/phone with you
2. Arrive at the station at around 19:15
3. No dancing before 19:24
4. Spread out throughout the whole station concourse
5. When the clock strikes 19:24 DANCE LIKE CRAZY!!
6. Try not to dance in one place
7. Dance like you've never danced before
8. Dance for as long as you can
9. Enjoy :)
Don't worry, you'll be one of many (apparently) and there are also events happening on the same day in New York, Paris and Madrid.Unfortunately I won't make it as I'll be otherwise engaged with my brownies in South London (I've just received my 5-year long-service award). But if you do go, be sure and take some photos.
Mobile clubbing photo from willismonroe at flickr
Story via Trendcatching.
Added Thurs 12 Oct. It seems that a few folks turned up at Liverpool Street last night and there's a link here to a short video clip of the event over at youtube. It's well worth a watch. Thanks to Anthony for sharing the link!
And there are photos over at flickr here and here. Photo from Monkeys & Kiwis.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Swedish Beers – Tuesday 17th October, 6.30 pm at the Nordic Bar.
Swedish Beers is held in London at the Nordic Bar at 25 Newman St, London W1 – (nearest Tube – Goodge St or Tottenham Court Rd). The Nordic Bar’s web page is at http://www.nordicbar.com/. You’ll find us in the back bar.
About our sponsor
Bango helps content providers maximize their mobile revenue opportunities. The mobile internet is opening up a huge potential market for content providers and using Bango's open, global platform, you can take advantage of this opportunity immediately. Bango removes the complexity of selling content off-portal by understanding the direct-to-consumer market and what content providers need to be successful. Follow the lead taken by MTV, The Sun newspaper, Discovery Networks and Sony BMG to build a profitable, direct relationship with consumers on mobile.
Check them out at http://www.bango.com and of course, I'm sure a few of the team will be with us on the 17th. As will a fair few of their clients I expect.
Looking forward to seeing you there.
Helen, Steve and the team from Bango