Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Why the iPad will drive reading of digital content

Here's the thing. People won't buy the iPad to read books, they'll buy books because they bought the iPad.

Remember when the very first first iPod launched back in 2001?
At that time I was working with 20 of the most hyper loyal Mac enthusiasts you can imagine. We were all huge Apple fans. Of course we were thrilled by the iPod launch. Or were we?

Just like with the iPad now, media were not entirely sure who the iPod was for and what problem it actually solved. Remember that File Sharing wasn't on everyone's tongue at that time. Also bear in mind that iTunes Music Store launched a year or so after the release of the iPod. To use the iPod you actually had to rip your CDs, and who wanted to do that?

I was not just media that had their doubts. Out of my 20 hyper loyal Mac enthusiasts only two of us ended up buying the iPod. The others decided to wait. Then something happened and it was not only the rest of my colleagues that decided to invest in their very own iPod. You know how the story continues. Now, Apple have sold more than 200 million iPods

So what exactly did happen? Well it's Apple and Apple's great at marketing. It didn't take long before celebrities started using the iPod. Everywhere you turned there were iPod Ads. Product placement where ever you turned your head. Thanks to those little white ear plugs you could immediately spot people who were listening to an iPod. What happened was that demand for the iPod surged. It became a hype. People started buying iPods, and because they bought iPods they started ripping their CD's and eventually they started buying songs and albums on sites like iTunes Music Store. It was the iPod that drove the demand for digital music - not the other way around.

I predict we'll see the same with it iPad. People will buy the iPad because it's such a great product.
You and I will buy it, and because we have our iPad we will begin to change the things we do everyday. We'll start reading books, magazines, blogs on the iPad. We'll discover that browsing at our photos on the iPad much more resembles they way we used to browse our old photo albums. No more fight for who's in charge of the mouse/track pad.

Soon we'll forget how we used to use the computer to do these things. Just the same as we have forgotten what it was like to search for a CD in our collection, put it into the CD player and press play. Not to mention how it was to operate those CD changers...

I really believe the iPad will drive change. Don't just limit this change to your personal life. Think about all those books students ar forced to buy. Think about what it could do for sales reps making presentations. Think about what it could do for gaming. Think about what this could mean for the software industry? Who will ask for a Desktop Application in the future? Perhaps we won't even ask for web applications? I already think Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are better experienced via my iPhone apps than via the web. I for one, will start start waving bye, bye to the File meny, Trash Can and even the Finder/Explorer.

Just one last thing. The iPad won't save anyone. The iPod didn't save the Record Labels so why should the iPad save Publishing or the Newspapers? Sure, people will start to buy digital content but from where, or from who? That is the question.

Monday, 1 February 2010

Think, your Loyalty Program growing Location Aware

Last week I downloaded Foursquare to my iPhone and unlocked the Newbie badge.

Haven't heard of Foursquare before? The following text is from their web site:
”Foursquare is a cross between a friend-finder, a social city-guide and a game that rewards you for doing interesting things.”
Basically you launch the application on your iPhone, wait a little while... and then Foursquare finds your location and displays available places near your location. This could be restaurants, a coffeeshop, someone's office etc. In short places other users have created and visited.

If the location you are at is listed you can check in, earn points, view tips and see who else is checked in to the same place – or create a new place. By checking in you tell your friends where they can find you. As you start checking in to more and more places you will earn points and unlock badges, and here's the twist:
”We all have our local hangouts and foursquare keeps tabs on who's the most loyal of all the regulars. If you've been to a place more than anyone else, you'll become 'the mayor'... until someone else comes along and steals your title.”
You might ask why this is relevant. How is this related to me?

Well, I'd say it doesn't really matter whether you're the owner of a small coffeeshop or whether you are in charge of the Customer Loyalty Program for your business. I bet you would like to know when the Mayor of Foursquare checks in to your place, right?

The question is what you are going to do about it. After all the Mayor is the most loyal of all the regulars. Wouldn't you like to honor that somehow? When I become the mayor of my regular coffeeshop, I would really appreciate to be offered something. Perhaps a double espresso for the price of a regular?

One of many
Foursquare is just the tip of the iceberg. I mention it only to illustrate a new trend. Mobility will be huge thanks to smart phones, but smart phones also include GPS chips which means that a smart phone knows where you are. This in turn means that applications like Foursquare knows where you are and can act accordingly. In short they are Location Aware.

This is called Locations Based Services.

If you, like I am, are interested in new technology and how it relates to marketing you should be thrilled about this. This is a technology that allows you to communicate with your customers when they're at, or near, your location. Think - Direct a personalized message to your customer. Just in time, just in place.

As I said Foursquare is just one of many. There are many more. You should definitely keep an eye on the big ones – Facebook, Twitter, Google etc. Twitter recently introduced location aware tweets. Google knows where you are - at least in the US.

Available options
How do you take advantage of this?
Using the Foursquare and the coffeeshop example above, I'd say it's as easy as just posting a sign at the cashier. ”If you're the mayor, show your phone and you'll get a free...” something.

You can also take it one step further. Here's an article describing what a Canadian Newspaper did together with Foursquare. Very interesting indeed.

Of course, you could also go all the way and develop your very own app. I'd love to see location aware apps put an end to all those plastic cards that keep fighting for my wallet space. All those cards that proves that I'm enrolled in the Loyalty Program. Imagine if apps could replace all those cards?

Of course the loyalty program cards serve another purpose. They're commonly used to track the amount of money you spend. How much money you spend is of course key, but imagine combining that information with information of how often, and when, a customer actually visits one of your locations? I bet you can think of many ways you could leverage that, right? Think, your Loyalty Program growing Location Aware.

And, don't forget. Customers who use these services also spreads the word to her/his friends. Think, your Loyalty Program going Viral.

What you think? Does this give you any exciting new ideas?


PS. If you'd like to read more on this I include a few links to interesting articles:

Great ideas of how Marketers can use Foursquare

Describes the Canadian newspaper Metro News partnership with Foursquare to display location aware restaurant reviews, tips, to-dos and articles

Talks about the location-aware tweet

Twitter Local Trends:
Explanation of Twitter's new feature - Local Trends

4 Tech Trends You Must Understand to be an Effective Marketer
Talkes about Location-based services and the possibility to market right outside the customers front door.

Think Global, Tweet Local - Finding Local Customers
Good article that describes how small business owners can find local customers using Twitter tools

Near Me Now: Google's Mobile Homepage is Location Aware
Explanation of the Google's mobile homepage that's location aware (US-only)