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Posts from October 7, 2012 - October 13, 2012

Why is Coca-Cola Looking at Apps? Because They're Smart

The Coca-Cola Company have always been one of the best companies in the world when it comes to brand marketing. For years they have been far and away masters of being ahead of the game, constantly forcing the competition to play catch up and making them aggressively challenge them for their market leadership. And, in reality, only Pepsi has been able to be even a challenger but has never been able dominate the market globally the way Coca-Cola has done for many, many, many years. That's why the Reuters story about potential investment in music service Spotify is so interesting, and more importantly, very likely to happen.

For as long as I've been in marketing, and that now spans almost 40 years (I started very, very young) Coca-Cola has done things well ahead of their competition. Their investment in theme parks, led by Disney's properties set the stage for what has to be the text book case study on how to leverage sponsorship and tie it to sales of product via a true psychographic and lifestyle marketing effort. Their investment in sports, festivals and fairs starting with concerts, sports teams, arena pouring and serving rights as well as stheir grass roots upport of local county and state fairs through their local bottling partners as well as corporate led initiatives has made Coca-Cola both a loved brand, and a staple in many homes, and restaurants. Their pouring rights in chain and franchise based businesses like McDonalds, Domino's, Little Ceasers and more has boosted visibility of the brand here and around the world, just as their support of the Olympics every four years (winter, summer).

Now with the rumor of the potential investment in Spotify, Coca-Cola is again showing the signs of brilliant category marketing leadership as it signals a shift in how they market and to whom, because if it's not obvious already to you, mass media, long the bastion where brand marketers spent their ad dollars is dying out --- fast.

Those proof points are Apple's iTunes for music, iTunes for television programs as well as other time shift, location shift services like Hulu and Netflix. Pandora, like Spotify, along with RDIO, MPme and others are moving people from traditional AM and FM radio to what I like to call "music my way." As this music proliferates from the airwaves of commerical radio to the airwaves now delivered by the Internet brand marketers like Coke need to be able to stay relevant to their audiences in ways they never had to before, when impressions, target rating points and such were the factors that led to media buying decisions.

Now, brand marketers need to establish deeper bonds, stronger ties and be more relevant to their customers, and also interact with them in ways that are very different. So by investing in Spotify Coca-Cola will be doing in the music category what Anheuser-Busch did when they became the first and original beer category sponsor of ESPN, back when the network was a fledgling, carrying sports like high school wrestling and women's basketball before it was in vogue. 

The possible investment in Spotify by Coca-Cola is not an aborition, but the harbinger of things to come in marketing. And if I'm right, for Spotify, and their users, things really will go better with Coke.

What People Don't Like About Mobile Apps

Mashable has a very good slide show of what people don't like about mobile apps. The slides are worth seeing but if you're time famished, well, here's the short version:

  1. Too many emails
  2. Irrelevant push notifications
  3. When great apps are abandoned
  4. Frequent "rate this app" requests
  5. Connecting to Facebook unnecessarily
  6. Full-screen ads
  7. Video ads
  8. Non-wrapping text
  9. Non-retina apps
  10. Desperate pleas for followers

Mobile Operators SMS Revenue Threatened

Mobile operators are going to be in for a heap of hurt, blues, pain and agony if a report released today by leading telecom research and analysis shop OVUM is on target regarding SMS revenues shifting to social messaging services.

Ovum defines social messaging as messaging that occurs through platforms other than SMS, MMS, or email, and which is either tied to a social network or has a social component attached. Social messaging players include mobile apps, mobile social networks, and even some mobile instant messaging platforms.

Is SMS dying? Hardly. What we're seeing is evolution in the messaging arena and the shift of dollars from SMS revenue into data plans, because all the traffic that was on SMS networks will move to the newer, richer capable LTE/4G networks.

Ovum, whom I rank in the elite group of the large Tier One analysts firms including Gartner, Forrester and IDC vs. boutiques like Altimiter Group, iGR and Disruptive Analysis is pointing to a takeaway of some $54 billion dollars by 2016 to go to apps including What's App, Google Voice, GroupMe (now owned by Skype) TextPlus and others which all fall into the OTT (over the top) category. This lost revenue also has to include RIM's BBM service that has been a longtime favorite of mine, as well as Apple's recently fully launched iMessage which brings SMS like IM features to laptops, desktops and all iOS devices including the iPhone, iPad and iPod's.

This is important, as it shows the shift in desire for more innovative services that the apps offer. In the case of Apple, the major benefit is all devices work with iMessage. With GoogleVoice, your message also go everywhere and ride on both the data and SMS networks. With What'sApp you have MMS like features inside the SMS like app. GroupMe allows you to create groups ala a mailing list. But there's more. The biggest feature some of these services offer is the ability to archive, store and forward SMS like messages, providing users with more history. The other benefit is some allow you to send message to Twitter as well as provide API's to hook into within other apps.


Skype Down--Are they Out?

This morning I attempted to log in to my Skype account management page and went nowhere. That's funny because their HeartBeat page reports that the problem was fixed. Well, it's not.

But it seems given the support for their web ops in based in the UK and in the Ukraine there's no body still working as it's after hours there now. Guess the web page isn't the only thing that's out.

Telephone companies have also reverted to this non-24/7/365 mentality, but the issue here is Skype is not supporting customers in real time in the time zones they reside it. As a paying customer that's not acceptable business practice any longer. Maybe when Skype was "free" but as someone who uses Skype for Business, pays for services, numbers and plans, not being able to see, manage and gain clarity as to the state of accounts is unacceptable. 

I guess they switched from Linux to Microsoft servers... :-(

Space Available for a Cool Discussion Event

Pal Martin Geddes, one of the sharpest minds in telecom just let me know that he has two open slots due to a cancellation at his workshop on HyperVoice..I am well aware of what Martin is up to so if you're in the Bay Area you may want to grab one of the two slots. Here are the details..You'll also get to see client HarQen, and their HyperVoice related offering Symposia which really changes the way collaboration occurs on confernece calls.


Due to late cancellation, I have two places available on the hypervoice workshop in San Francisco on Thursday this week (11th October). The event is supported by Telefonica Digital and HarQen, and is attended by a wide range of senior industry participants. You can learn more about the workshop here.

If you are interested in taking up one of these places, please contact me by replying to this email.

Martin Geddes

The iPad Mini

If I was Apple and I wanted to stay ahead of the rest of the industry I'd make the reported iPad Mini more than a tablet. I'd make it a phone. 

The reason I suggest this is after using my Google Nexus 7" over the weekend using CounterPath's Bria for Android Tablet, the form factor is great for being a multi-function device. Even if brought down to 5" or about the size of the Galaxy Note from Samsung, the mixed use functionality makes it a device that means you can have it all. And candidly, I want it all in one device vs. having to carry more than one device.

Reflections on Last Week's IT Expo in Austin

I really like going to Austin. It's one of the nations emerging towns. Great music scene. A food and coffee culture that comes from being a cross between the state capital, a college town a booming tech mecca. As a matter of fact if I wasn't living in San Diego, Austin would make it on my short list, along with Boulder, CO and Portland as places to live. But for a tech event like IT Expo--well, let's just say that the locals were not really out in force. Sure a few startups like Shango were there, and an entrant into the very excellent Startup Camp was from there, but I didn't see the "LOCALS."

And locals are one of the reasons why TMC liked Austin so much. I also didn't run into that many NEW folks from Dallas or Houston either, and given technology is in both markets in different ways, but Telecom Alley is just an hour flight from Dallas (or less) one would think the crowd would come on down Austin way. 

And that's a shame because Austin has a growing, modern hotel scene, great food, nice people and a wonderfully new airport. I'm actually looking forward to next year's event as I got so much done in what was one of the best networking IT Expo's ever.

Hats off to Rich, Dave, Michael, Tom and all the guys put on a great show, as did Larry Lisser with Startup Camp...I just wish the Austinites would have turned our and appreciated it more.