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Category — Mobile Interactive

Mobilize all your marketing activities

At the recent CMA Mobile Marketing conference I asked to see a show of hands for all those who worked for brands or agencies that had created “mobile marketing” capabilities within their organization. I was impressed that the majority now claimed to have mobile as part of their marketing mix.  This is a significant change from even a year ago. When I followed up that question with how many have mobilized all their marketing activities, I got mostly blank stares.

It’s one thing to hire a mobile “expert” to create messaging campaigns, help you build and app or figure out your mobile web experience, but to harness the true potential of mobile, marketers need to think about mobilizing the entire marketing mix. 

Incorporate mobile to enhance and create engagement with existing print, broadcast, outdoor, PR, social, retail, training and event marketing activities. 

Remember how hard it was to convince Creative to add a URL to that print add or TV commercial a few years ago? Dust off those cognitive dissonance management skills and march back into black turtle neck row armed with your shiny new QR codes, SMS Short codes, mobile friendly URLs, app store and bluetooth logos and your quick reference sheet on mobile adoption in North America and get ready for round two.

May 13, 2011   5 Comments

BSTREET launches new digital platform for the Toronto Entertainment District BIA

We’re really excited about our latest digital platform we just launched for the Toronto Entertainment District BIA.

We won this business a few months ago through a competitive pitch process and this week the final two pieces went live. This is a true 360 digital campaign that syndicates content and experience across multiple channels while being supported by a robust digital media plan.

In summary we have now launched:

  • New Drupal CMS templates & overall better user experience for the primary website at http://www.torontoed.com. We’ve incorporated Google maps (with street view), an enhanced events section and created a full microsite for the Toronto ED BIA Master Plan which was previously only available as an 82 page PDF file.
  • A new mobile website that creates a mobile specific experience (for consumers on the go) while leveraging functionality and content from the primary website. The site works great on all mobile devices with a mobile browser and feels like an App – although it is not. To access the mobile site, go to http://www.torontoed.com on your mobile device
  • A new facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/TorontoED) that will feature community initiatives and updates. This is where the BIA will engage people for input, feedback and comment on things such as the upcoming John Street Initiative.  We’ve also leveraged the events database from the website to stream events automatically into a dedicated tab
  • A digital media campaign that will see advertorials, content, and placements across Toronto.com, BlogTo.com, the Weather Network and others online, on mobile and on facebook

June 15, 2010   1 Comment

5 reasons why i won’t be buying an ipad

The Jesus tablet has been revealed and the product hasn’t lived up to its hype.  I’m intrigued by the device, but it’s not really a great mobile device – nor is it a great netbook. In fact, it’s not really even a tablet as we’ve defined them.

It’s essentially a large ipod – or a Kindle on steroids.

Here are 5 reasons why i won’t be buying the first version:

  1. Poor resolution – 1024 resolution is a major disappointment. You can’t watch full high definition video.
  2. No Camera – most laptops now come with a camera for things like skype calls and making raw videos. 80% of all new mobile devices also come with a camera…. So not including one with the ipad was odd and a major miss. You also can’t access external content from outdoor media and printed magazines that are increasingly coming with 2d (or QR) codes and AR codes. No camera also limits potential gaming applications.
  3. No GPS – along with no camera, having no GPS means you can’t use the device for navigation or for any of your geo-social media apps – like foursquare, Gowalla, and Yelp. The future of digital media is going to be location driven – so why make the ultimate media device already irrelevant? Now I have to carry around my mobile phone and the tablet. No GPS also means Apps such as Layar that leverages augmented reality to add data to your view will also be restricted to your mobile device. Outside of layer, how useful is google maps without GPS on a mobile device?
  4. No flash support – so many websites that you’ll now be able to enjoy on a larger screen will have lots of broken buttons. I know that flash is dead (or dying), but many sites including the new york times integrate flash elements to enhance the browsing experience. I’m sure site designed for the mobile web (even the iphone mobile web) will look great – but on a screen that stretches nearly 10 inches, I’d want the full web experience.
  5. No expandable storage or USB port – so that means I’ll need to carry my netbook or laptop in addition to my iphone along with the ipad. That’s too many devices for even me to carry around

Don’t get me wrong – the device looks beautiful and the user experience will be typically amazing as Apple always puts a premium on it; however, it fails as a true tablet device and even at its attractive price point, I will wait at least until the second generation of the device to appear (likely next year) before I consider picking one up – or at least paying for one out of my own pocket :)

January 28, 2010   8 Comments

Does Canada really need another National mobile carrier?


Last night Tony Lacavera (Chairman & CEO of Globalive) fulfilled his promise from a year ago and presented an updated perspective on the mobile industry in Canada and an update on his own mobile wireless project at Mobile Monday Toronto.

A lot has changed in a year – although his story and perspective really hasn’t. Tony’s favorite slide is a graph demonstrating the regional mobile duopolies in Canada that effectively show that in nearly every region 90% of the market share is controlled by 2 carriers.  Because of this, pricing from the major carriers have largely stabilized resulting in Canadians paying the third highest cell phone bills in the world.

This is the reason why he believes Canadians need a third true alternative in order to create competition and deliver a better overall value and experience from consumers. This is the reason why he believes his mobile brand WIND will do so well. After all, WIND will offer:

  • Unlimited plans
  • No contracts
  • No hidden fees
  • No catches

Additionally, Tony has stated his platform will be open and come with wifi partnerships already in place. He’ll allow person to person mobile top ups, offer the most current blackberries (although no iphone to start) and is focusing next on mobile payments, international money transfers, mobile advertising and near field communications (NFC).

There’s just one catch – the CRTC has ruled that they cannot launch in Canada due to foreign ownership issues around control and debt.

The CRTC recently exercised its subjective discretion to reverse the finding that was previously made by both industry Canada and the Department of Justice. This means that despite all the investment and ramping up, WIND mobile is effectively still-born. You can read more about the decision here.

Tony is confident they can still find a resolution to get the CRTC’s approval and in the mean time his staff has been sent out into the community for random acts of kindness to keep them busy – such as helping at the daily food bank.

Having said all that – do we really need a third major competitor in each market?

Although Tony’s chart was updated from a year ago (which showed 2006 numbers) to reflect the market reality of 2008 – it doesn’t really show the impact the iphone has made to Rogers in other regions in the last year.  The iphone as we know transcends carrier loyalty and has impacted the competitive landscape in regions where Rogers has been traditionally more passive.  As Tony outlined, carriers have traditionally been passive in other regions where they don’t dominate in order to keep reciprocal actions out of the markets they control. The iphone changed all that.

The other major news from a year ago is that Telus and Bell launched their new HSPA high speed 3.5 G network that now competes or bests Rogers across the country in terms of 3G access and overall speeds.  Because their new network is GSM based – they too can sell the iphone.

Recent public squabbles between Rogers, Telus and Bell about claims of who is better and who is faster certainly doesn’t make it sound like we are living in a Country with no competition or where the regional duopolies are complacent.

Although I hope all the best for WIND and look forward to them eventually entering the market, the conditions have changed from a year ago and regardless if we have 2 or 3 real choices in our local market, it looks like Canadians finally have real choice and options when it comes to plans, devices, and networks.

I’m wondering (and hoping) that Tony comes back again this time next year at MoMo Toronto with his favorite graph – updated to either prove he was right all along or that Canadian’s are actually doing just fine with two real major choices in each market.

December 8, 2009   3 Comments

The barrier to mobile marketing is not infrastructure silly!

old pipes

Steve Levy, president of Canadian Market Research, Ipsos Reid, presented highlights from a survey of marketing executives at Marketing Week today in Toronto. As stated in the afternoon daily, Steve indicated that only about 12% of marketers are actually incorporating mobile into their marketing mix.

The reason… apparently infrastructure barriers. Huh?

The only barriers are marketers and brands who haven’t yet educated themselves on where / how mobile fits into the marketing mix NOW.

With over 75% of Canadians actively using mobile phones and with numbers approaching 40 billion for SMS messages sent in 2009, I don’t know how anybody could say infrastructure is barrier to leveraging mobile.

Earlier this year I blogged about Rogers breathing rarified air with the introduction of their 7.2 mbps network. Since then they have nearly trippled those speeds to 21 mbps which has also since been matched by Bell and Telus with their new 3.5G national network.  High speed (nearly broadband) wireless is now truly available to most Canadians.

Having said all that, any marketer reading this post who has yet to incorporate mobile into their marketing mix should erase this post from their memory and go back to their usual ways.

Understanding how to use mobile in the marketing mix is one of our agency differentiators. The longer inaccurate messages are propagated about the mobile opportunity the better our competitive advantage will continue to be :)

November 11, 2009   4 Comments

6 Mobile things observed while on my European Adventure


Over the last 2 weeks I had the opportunity to travel to Europe for a ski and adventure trip to Zermatt, Zurich, Paris, and London.  It was my first time back in Europe for pleasure in a few years and it gave me an opportunity to observe & immerse myself in European mobile culture.

Here are some highlights of what I learned:

  1. SMS is ubiquitous. We took a bus from Luton Airport to Heathrow (coming from Paris to London to home) and the Coach bus we took had cling-on signs on many of the windows encouraging passengers to text their feedback on the driver, comfort or experience to a shortcode. Who needs to write a letter, send a fax or call an automated IVR system when you can simply text instantly?
  2. Even Grandma is mobile.  Standing on a train I watched as an older and white haired women gleefully shared an MMS picture of her grandson and his dog to her friends that she had just received
  3. Many phones but not necessarily smart phones.  I saw very few blackberrys, iphones, or other smartphones. People we interacted with mostly carried Nokia, LG  or Samsung phones
  4. Wifi is everywhere but not very reliable. Having turned off my data roaming ability on my iphone in order to keep my phone bill under $1,000, i was constantly searching or checking for wifi.  Many cafes had wifi – but it either wasn’t working or you had to go through a 7 step process to get access. I tried to pay a few times on some of the city services, but the sites weren’t optimized for mobile and only in French… which made it difficult to figure out what to do.
  5. Roaming rates are killer. If you go to Europe, make sure your mobile device is unlocked so that you can buy a local SIM card for data so that you can cost effectively use your GPS, check email, or look for things to do.
  6. 2d codes are not yet ubiquitous. The Metro paper in Paris didn’t have any 2d bar codes, but interestingly enough many of the free tourist guides came with QR Codes. The call to action sent consumers to 2dscan.com – the same site the National Post uses to auto-download 2d bar code readers for their paper. It’s also the same one I’ve used recently for our SKI PRO Ontario magazine.

Like in Canada, it’s expected that the iphone will be offered from multiple carriers all over Europe over the next 6 months.

In combination with the next generation android-based devices about to hit the market, I’m sure my next visit will yield very different observations about how mobile fits into the European culture.

November 4, 2009   2 Comments

Mayor Miller proclaims this week Mobile Innovation Week (See video of speech)

This morning at Mobile Media World Toronto Mayor David Miller proclaimed this week mobile innovation week.

Check out the 7 minute video below that I recorded with my iphone – (the audio gets better after the first 15 seconds):

So far this week the content & speakers presented rival any other mobile conference I’ve attended over the last two years.  I’ll be writing about my panel from yesterday shortly on consumer insights & trends in mobile.

September 15, 2009   2 Comments

Why social media matters – and why mobile matters more

Here’s a video I came across last week that essentially updates the classic “did you know 2.0″ video with the specific context of the value and impact of social media today.

It’s a great introduction for any client or marketer still wondering what all the hype is all about. I’m actually including this video as part of a pitch presentation this Wednesday for a potential client who is still uncertain about the value of updating their online properties to enable syndication / social media.

Having said all that, did you know that more Canadians are accessing the mobile web through a smartphone than there are Canadians using Twitter?

According to sysomos, 5.69% of Twitter accounts are Canadian – or about 2.25 million users.  Adding up iphone and itouch (~2.5 m), blackberry (~1 m) + other smartphones stats in Canada, there are about 5.25 million smartphones in use. About 4 million are already accessing the mobile web.

Are you spending as much time on mobile as you are on social media?

August 24, 2009   3 Comments

A mobile marketer’s buyers guide & best practices

Last week the American chapter of the IAB released a buyer’s guide on mobile marketing.  It’s a great introduction for marketers, brands and media buyers looking for help in de-mystifying mobile as a customer acquisition tool.

The 15 pages guide covers everything from SMS to 2d bar codes – but be careful not to use some of their statistical data in building your plans as they are specific to the U.S. market only. For example, on page 4 of their report they classify a small or test mobile campaign to be 15-50k, a medium or expanded by that goes up to 150k and a full campaign starts at 150k.

The 10 to 1 rule may apply here (U.S. budgets are generally 10 times larger than Canadian), but a safer approach in assessing what to allocate is look at % of allocation relative to your other channels. I currently plan for up to 10% of my media budget for mobile for example.

You can download their report in PDF format here.

Looking for more reference guides and best practices? Be sure to check out the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) advertising guide here as well as their guide on mobile consumer best practices here.  Both guides were developed for the U.S. market, but are still great reference guides for Canadians and other markets. Their website is also a great global resource on mobile marketing and contains many case studies as well.

July 31, 2009   1 Comment

CRTC agrees that industry can self-regulate itself when it comes to short codes

On 21 January 2009, the CRTC received an application by l’Union des consommateurs (l’Union) requesting the Commission to intervene in the wireless services market to regulate billing of text messages from short codes – which is what marketers use for SMS / mobile marketing campaigns.

Based on the filings by Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) and members, the Commission has denied the application.

“In this decision, the Commission denies the application by l’Union des consommateurs requesting the Commission to intervene in the wireless services market to regulate billing of text messages from short codes.”

In concluding, the Commission affirmed CWTA’s position, namely:

  1. The Commission considers that the evidence presented by l’Union does not lead to the conclusion that market forces have systematically failed to resolve complaints about billing of text messages from short codes.
  2. The Commission is of the view that it can rely on market forces,(2) including industry self-regulation through the mechanisms put in place by the CWTA and the CCTS, to resolve complaints about billing of text messages from short codes.

Full text of the Decision is available at http://www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2009/2009-445.htm

This is good news for mobile marketers who rely on SMS as part of their marketing efforts. Having the CRTC step in & regulate short codes would have likely slowed down and further complicated a process that is already perceived to be complex.

July 27, 2009   3 Comments