2015 Mobile Marketing Predictions - from 2005 (Pt 1)

Unbound revisitedLet’s just say I had a head start on my 2015 mobile marketing predictions.

In 2005, my first book, BRANDING UNBOUND, hit bookshelves proclaiming a new era for marketing – one where the most measurable, personal and direct link to consumers ever created would change the world of marketing forever.

Written in 2003 and 2004, and published in June of ’05, I prognosticated about Apple Pay, iPad, Google Glass, Nest – and trends like marketing personalization, social applications mixing physical and digital worlds, augmented reality and more.

The book came out in June 2005. Two years before the first iPhone was launched and heralded seismic changes to our relationship with technology.

When I first started pitching my book to publishers, first reactions to this thing called “mobile marketing” tended toward “Wait, What? Do you mean marketing mobile phones and service?”

Once I explained the tsunami these little computing devices and the networks behind them meant to our consumer republic, eyes got real wide, real fast.  

Ellen Kadin, my now longtime acquisitions editor at Amacom Books (and one of my favorite people anywhere), instantly grasped the enormity of this revolution when I described it to her in the fall of 2003, at a time when only around 1/2 of 18- to 24-year-olds in the US actively sent text messages via mobile phones (and those users sent, on average, fewer than 20 mobile text messages per month). 

Advertising displays that call you to you on a first-name basis.

Services that let you shop for pizza, music, books and movies – anywhere, anytime.

Offers sent to you in-store, based on your age, gender, location, stated preferences and past purchase history—and even what merchandise you’re holding, in real time.

Mobile social platforms that let you do everything from get your gossip on to facilitating real-world meet ups between “crushes” who happen to be within 10 blocks of each other’s physical location.

Stores where the costs of goods is automatically deducted from your bank account – without you ever writing a check, doling out cash, swiping a card, or standing in line.

It all seems so commonplace now. But 10 years ago, very few people believed any of this would so quickly come to define modern living. 

Brandingunbound revisited1Then again, as I wrote at the time, mass consumer adoption of the World Wide Web - only about 10-years-old at that point - was all just a warm up act.

Just think about the hype about the Web back then, and how it represented a marketer's dream come true – an interactive, one-to-one utopia linking shoppers and their quarry in the electronically enabled Elysium Fields of 24-7 commerce.

Of course, Google, Amazon and eBay notwithstanding, banner ads, online communities of interest, and click-and-mortar etailing had yet to truly the deliver the attention or sales they had long promised – tethered as they were to cumbersome, confounding devices called desktop and laptop PCs.

But over the first half of the aughts, a new generation of wireless and mobile technology was quietly liberating the Web from its PC-based subjugation.

Thanks to high-speed mobile networks, what we used to refer to as the “Information Super Highway” and its advertising, applications and services were finally hitting the road with you.  Unlike its first 10 years, the Internet was finally living up to its anywhere, anytime premise.

And yet despite all of this, most marketers didn’t have a clue about what was happening all around them—much less how to leverage it.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll share some of the predictions I made way back then about what mobile marketing would be like in 2015.

We’ll see where this long-ago stranger staring back at me from the book jacket got it right, and where he got it laughably wrong.

Along the way, we may just also start glimpsing what the world of marketing looks like in 2025 (it’s closer than you think).

First Up: Wearables

To be clear, I was nearly done writing the book when Google even had its IPO, and the company was almost exclusively known for search.

I had no idea Google would have a product called Glass, which is scheduled to go into wide release in 2015. And even now it remains to be seen whether it or some future wearable, eye-based tech will meet mass adoption.  

But I was clear that glasses (and wristwatches) would be among the earliest forms of wearable interfaces to layer mobile Web and even augmented reality elements over the physical world.

We’ll check email and exchange personal contact information and even multimedia content with our friends and colleagues while on the go; place transactions without ever reaching for a wallet or purse; and look like lunatics as we walk down the street jabbering away on hands-free phone calls.

Using the conventions of virtual worlds like There and Second Life as illustrations of this model, I talked about how we would one day use interfaces built into glasses and other devices to instantly access a pervasive, always-on, global mobile network.

Once logged on, we would toggle between the physical and digital world. Check our buddy lists to see where our friends are. Conduct transactions. And do an endless array of daily tasks from the beach, the back road, or even above the clouds.

And the networks behind it would create a mesh of mobile technologies that extend the Internet, with apologies to Visa, “everywhere you want to be.” 


TBD, at best. There’s no doubt these technologies are quite topical. It’s jut an open question as to whether Google Glass or Apple Watch will prove successful; if later products gain more traction in the marketplace; or if other technologies leapfrog them altogether (look for direct mobile-to-brain connections by 2025 – seriously).

However it all shapes up, my point in 2005 was that all of these emerging trends and technologies create questions with which marketers would spend the next decade struggling.

What does mobile mean to businesses trying to keep up with – and serve – the increasingly mobile masses? What happens when eyeballs once aggregated by “gross ratings points” and “mass markets” now gather in micro-markets and niches of one?

How do we redefine “advertising,” "marketing" and the “brand experience” when the most direct link to the consumer is less and less the 52-inch flat screen TV in the living room, the 17-inch PC monitor in the den or office, or the 15-inch laptop screen  - and more and more the completely personal, interactive device in the hands of virtually every man, woman and child on the planet?

This coming year, it will be fun to revisit some of my predictions on how marketers would sort this all out by 2015 (to the degree they have succeeded at all).

As I read passages from the book today, I come across some that make me think, “Nicely played, smarty pants” – and others where I roll my eyes and wonder, “WTF was I thinking?”

As I put it in the close of the book’s first chapter, “One thing is clear: Something cool – and very important – is happening on the wireless frontier. And in the decade ahead, it’s going to change expectations for consumers – and the companies that serve them – in ways most of us can’t even yet imagine.”

On that score, prediction has now progressed to everyday reality for billions of people (and brands) around the world.



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Chipotle's 'Scarecrow': The Most Successful Mobile Marketing Campaign Ever? (Video)


It's looking like Chipotle has scored big with a new mobile campaign centered on YouTube video and mobile game. 

As Venture Beat reports, Chipotle and Moonbot Studios produced an animated film and mobile game as part of its overall "Food with Integrity" campaign.

Here's the thing: As a branding initiative, it's generating boffo results. In its first two weeks, the YouTube video saw 6.5 million views. And within four days of the mobile game's release on the App Store, it was downloaded 250,000 times, making it the top 15 free iOS apps in the U.S.

According to VentureBeat, with success like this, other brands will take notice and start creating their own branded games.

But as I write in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, this has been going on for some time, as I take an in-depth look at how Coca-Cola, Burger King, Axe, Dove a growing number of major B2C (and B2B) brands have been doing some very serious business with branded games.

Chipotle scarecrowAnd while VentureBeat credits the fact that there's no overt selling in the Chipotle game, which is being praised for its production values, I think the game is more powerful than just that. In my view, the reason it was worth developing in the first place is because it delivers on one of the main precepts I put forth for creating successful branded games. 

Yes, there's the constant presence of the Chipotle icon on the phone (as VP points out). But far more importantly, the game play, which entails finding, protecting and delivering wholesome food to people, ties directly the the Chipotle value proposition, reinforcing its brand positioning every time someone plays it.

Read more here and here.

Play the game yourself, here.

And go far more in-depth on how to do branded games right, here.

And then ask yourself, how might you put games to good use in the service of your brand?


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Augmented Reality Ping Pong Could Put Marketing in Play (Video)

Most people don't realize that augmented reality has been around and in use for decades - the ballpark ads behind home plate in baseball, or the yellow line showing first down in football, are just common examples.

But that doesn't mean you can't get excited about how advertisers might use it as it becomes more mainstream.

Just look at how AR ads dazzle to ping pong in the video above. And just imagine the way brand sponsors could use it to spectacular effect to thrill player and fans alike.

Read more at ubergizmo.

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Interview: AKQA CEO Tom Bedecarré (Conclusion) - Alternate Reality Games, Location-Based Marketing & Targeting


In the conclusion of this source interview for my book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, AKQA CEO Tom Bedecarré offers his view of alternate reality games (ARGs), social media, location-based marketing and that most controversial of issues: targeting.

CLICK HERE to listen to: Tom Bedecarré, CEO, AKQA (Conclusion): ARGs, Social Media, Location-Based Marketing & Targeting



(Approx. 5:45)

Digital Marketing: 5 Top New Year's Resolutions


It's 2013: Do you know what your digital marketing's up to?

Here are five quick resolutions for the new year. Like lots of behaviors, these are practices we know we should keep - like eat less, move more - but rarely do. All of us are guilty of bypassing these common sense rules from time to time.

So if we do just five things this year, let's resolve to:

5. Not Ask How - Ask Why

I said this in a recent post on social media trends for 2013. But it's really true of anything we do. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a million times at agencies and client-side brands throughout the land: Let's do "X" - insert your digital buzz word du jour here - not because "X" is central to a brand's objectives, but because it's considered cool. But saying "we need a mobile/social/viral strategy is akin to saying "we need a brochure strategy," or a radio strategy, or a signage strategy. These are channels & platforms, not strategies. First figure out what you have to accomplish, then decide which approaches and channels will get you there. It's so simple, yet we all get caught up in coolness from time to time.

4. Know thy customer - and thy channels

On that note, as I write in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, insight comes before inspiration. Today's most successful digital marekting initiatives typically don't come from a great idea for some hip new experience, or a me-too approach to major trends. Instead, they start with consumer insights culled from painstaking research into who your customers are, what they're all about, how they interact with consumer technologies, and what they want from the brands they know and trust. Just look at the work Unilever's done over the last few years with the Dove brand's "Campaign for Real Beauty" and all its crazy ass work for Axe - including everything from QR code peep holes in bathroom bars to faux "Shower Together" PSAs. These marketers have a firm read on their customers and the channels with which to reach them. In 2013, look for social + mobile + local to be a key to accomplishing this.

3. Always commit multi-plat-fornication

Innovate through as many channels and platforms that make sense for your strategies and audience. It's what MTV calls "multi-plat-fornication." As I show in the book, MINI USA has made an art form of this, using insights on its "fun-tech" loving audience and how they congregate online to use numerous approaches - branded games, especially, but also things like RFID-based key fobs that enable roadside billboards to call out to passing drivers by name - to actually enlist customers to market the cars for them. And Coca-Cola has raised the bar over the last year, with everything from branded iPhone apps to the Polar Bears' social stunt at the Super Bowl to its Kinect-Powered Vending Machine, to a magazine-ad-turned-mobile-stereo-speakers and much, much more. Small wonder the brand has been named "Creative Marketer of the Year" for the 2013 Cannes International Advertising Festival. 

2. Honor traditional as the sizzle to digital's steak

It's heresy these days to point out the obvious. In a fragmented media universe, the channels that still attract any semblance of "mass" are more powerful than ever - with TV being exhibit A. For all our gadgets, we're watching more TV, not less. And whether it's "Walking Dead" or "Dancing with The Stars," TV has communal power like nothing else. As a result, many of today's most innovative integrated campaigns use traditional advertising - old school TV, print, radio, etc - to build awareness and then point consumers to deeper, richer, more meaningful experiences online, or via mobile and other digital platforms. Again, Coca-Cola's Polar Bear stunt at the Super Bowl immediately comes to mind, attracting over 9 million consumers who spent an average of 28 minutes with the brand. And Doritos has effectively done all this in reverse every year, with its Crash The Super Bowl user-generated ad contest - with the chance to work with director Michael Bay at this year's bowl.

1. Never put "buzz" before "business"

Obviously digital marketing is about endless and innovative experimentation. If it were as easy as creating any old viral video, branded game, or mobile app to generate enough buzz to bring in business for our brands, we'd all be rich. For many lifestyle brands, this kind of experimentation is enough - especially in categories where an aura of hipness is a prerequisite for sales success. But while there is obviously a lot of fun and games in all this fun and games, it's important - critical - that we approach digital initiatives with specific objectives in mind (see resolution #5).

As Harley-Davidson's global CMO Mark-Hans Richer puts it to Ad Age, "This is a new gold age for marketers. The shackles are off, and the possibilities are nearly endless. If we aren't conducting radical experiments, trying new ways to engage our targets and adding value to them, then we're not doing our jobs."

But, he adds, "It's not about chasing the buzz; it's about chasing the biz." Marketers who get this formula right - by fueling innovation through substantive consumer insights - weill thrive in the on-demand era.

Those who don't will have to settle for some fun - but ultimately fruitless - experiments.

Here's to a blockbuster 2013 for us all.

Social Media Street Fight: Duke It Out for Your Dream Mustang (Video)


Mustang's not horsing around when it comes to social media.

In an innovative new social game, consumers can use the very cool Mustang Customizer to design their dream Mustangs, and then compete to win the car by spreading their creations as early and often as they can through social channels.

This works on a lot of levels. As I write in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, in the digital age, it's all about "Accentuating The P-O-S-itive." That is, creating experiences that are Personalizable, Ownable & Sharable.

In the on-demand era, the Web is no longer merely about content retrieval. It's about real-time content creation, participation, collaboration and exhibition. And this effort embraces all of these notions within a gamification dynamic that's sure to catch on with the brand's most avid fans.

Hat tip to Adverblog for the very cool find. 

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Can't Miss Webinar: Coca-Cola's Mobile Team Reveals Secrets of Mobile Marketing Success







Thursday, August 16, 2012

11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PDT

(Sponsored) Digital is clearly key for Coca-Cola, and they do it right. As a mature brand, they understand consumer behavior and see the need to adopt innovative marketing technology and approaches to bring value to the consumer, customer and organization. One of the major reasons the Company has been so successful in connecting the physical to the digital world is their Mobile Center of Excellence (MCOE) which has developed key strategies, identified gaps and opportunities. This continual process accelerates development with key vendors, partners and constituents to help drive initiatives using mobile.

In this webinar, members of the MCOE will share the vision, mission, method and results of the Mobile Center of Excellence, as well as discuss the needs that Mozes, a mobile engagement partner, helps to fill through supporting events like Essence Music Festival, NASCAR 600, Coca-Cola Beach Spring Break, and College football games.

Attendees will learn:
- How to approach cultivating an in-house mobile expert or team.
- How mobile is transforming the event experience.
- How to convert participation into long-term relationships.
- Best practices for building a successful mobile engagement strategy incorporating audience engagement.

Michael Becker, Managing Director, North America, MMA

Tara Scarlett, Senior Manager, CRM and Mobile Marketing, The Coca-Cola Company
Chris Bigda, Connections Planning & Investment, Media & Interactive, The Coca-Cola Company
Dorrian Porter, CEO, Mozes Inc.



Q&A: Jeff Hasen, Author of 'Mobilized Marketing' (Pt 1)

Jeff HasenJeff Hasen is one of my favorite people in mobile marketing today - and as you're about to hear, it's easy to understand why.

Hasen serves as CMO for mobile marketing powerhouse Hipcricket, and is the author of the new book MOBILIZED MARKETING: Driving Sales, Engagement, and Loyalty Through Mobile Devices.

I'm amped about the book, and not just because I'm featured in it.

As you'll hear here, Hasen is a fount of interesting stats and insights on the mobile revolution, and is always at the ready with information on compelling ways marketers are using the mobile channel.

Listen to what he has to say here, and then check out the book here.


Read more here.

(9 min, 26 sec)

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 OD_cover "... EXCELLENT ..."


“Through persuasive arguments and Q&A's with the major players in advertising, Mathieson makes an excellent case for greater creativity and outside-the-box thinking backed up with solid ideas."

Publisher's Weekly




Author Rick Mathieson Takes on Top Digital Trends At Visual Media 2012 in SF

VisualmedI'm looking forward to my talk at Visual Media 2012 next week in San Francisco.

It looks like a fantastic agenda, and I'm amped about being invited to speak

Read more here.


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 OD_cover "... EXCELLENT ..."


“Through persuasive arguments and Q&A's with the major players in advertising, Mathieson makes an excellent case for greater creativity and outside-the-box thinking backed up with solid ideas."

Publisher's Weekly




Author Rick Mathieson to Talk Digital Marketing at Marketing Edge 2012, Feb 14

Marketing edge 2012 copyCan't wait for next week's big Marketing Edge 2012 in Houston, where I'll be talking trends in social media, mobile marketing, branded games, augmented reality & more!

If you're in the area, this is one event you won't want to miss - not just because of me. Take a look at the great line up here, and get your tickets today.