2015 Mobile Marketing Predictions—from 2005: The Internet of Everything


Let's just say I was into the "Internet of Things" before it was much of "a thing" at all.

Never mind that a survey this year finds 87% of consumers say they've never heard the term. In my 2005 book BRANDING UNBOUND, I wrote extensively about the Internet of Things (or, IoT), and such coming innovations as "smart clothes" that would one day routinely monitor heart patients and alert doctors of impending heart attacks.

And intelligent homes, buildings and stores that will react to, and even predict, your every command—setting temperatures and lighting to your liking, and offering up goods and services based on your personal preferences.

Then there was the personalized content streamed direct to your car. Designer clothes that tell the washing machine, "don't wash me, I'm dry clean only." Medicines that warn users of dangerous interactions. Cars that get "upgrades" remotely via mobile software. And frozen dinners that tell the microwave oven how to cook them to perfection.

Nest, Tesla, Pandora, Proteus Digital Health's "smart pill," the Apple Watch and the Polo Tech Shirt notwithstanding, this world of pervasively interconnected services and solutions remains in its earliest stages. And yet, as far as the brand experience goes for these companies and others, it is beginning to create meaningful differentiation that is shaping consumer expectations with each new day.


When Tesla recently faced a recall nearly 30,000 Model S cars because of overheating issues with their wall chargers, the company was able to fix the issue by simply update the software in each care remotely, eliminating the problem without owners needing to go to their dealerships. What have other car brands have to compete with that?

While not quite proactively ordering new supplies, Amazon's Dash devices, WalMart's Hiku roll out this week, and Red Tomato Pizza's refrigerator magnets mean all you have to do is push a button or swipe an empty container to have laundry detergent, groceries (or piping hot Pepperoni Pizza) heading your way, without ever having to take out your mobile phone, activate an app and enter an order.

Netflix even recently released DIY instructions for building a push button that dims your lights, orders food, silences the phone and fires up Netflix queue.

Factor in product innovations—such as the Nike+ Running System (which runners found so compelling that the brand's already enviable share of the running shoe category skyrocketed from 48% to 61% in its first 36 months); Prada's continuing refinement of retail technologies (which identify what garments you pick up and instantly showcase runway video and accessories on the nearest store display); or new Johnnie Walker bottles that let you create personalized gifting experiences, and interact with brand promotions, using your mobile phone—and it's easy to see that brands that leverage IoT technologies stand to benefit mightily while those that don't may fall evermore behind.

At stake—a slice of a market expected to top $1.7 trillion dollars in value by 2020, according to IDC.

Yet even big winners will need to tread carefully.


Even back in 2005, I warned that interconnected everything means you can run, but never truly hide.

Or, as techno-anthropologist Howard Rheingold tells me in the book, "A world in which you are connected infinitely is a world in which you are surveilled infinitely."

Yes, online ads and street side billboards that call out to you on a first name basis, offering exactly what you're looking for—even before you realize you're looking for it—will have their place. Much of this will seem quite magical—at rightly so. But brands and media partners must be careful to resist the temptation to personalize pitches to the point of creeping consumers out.

Or putting them in danger.

One need not look beyond recent news reports on automobile software systems being hacked from afar to understand personal information is not the only thing put at potential risk in this interconnected world.

As I write in the book, as marketers (and as consumers), you and I will face decisions our predecessors could never imagine about what is acceptable—perhaps even moral—when anything and everything is possible.

As brands we exist to serve our customers and their needs, not the other way around.

Ultimately, that may mean recognizing that consumers should be able to control how "smart" they want their "smart products"—and advertising aimed at selling them those products—to be.

Perhaps they even need control over deciding which "Things" (and the associated data) that they want to be part of this "Internet of" —to better serve them, in the ways they want to be served—even if that sometimes means less, instead of more, of what we hope to sell to them. Even while making what we do sell them more profitable.

The brands that get this balance just right will not only attract consumers. They'll gain their loyalty and their trust.

Perhaps that's where the true power of the IoT is waiting to be found.






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5 Top Forms of Content Marketing: Author Rick Mathieson on the Jim Blasingame Show (Concl)


Games can be good for business—even (perhaps especially) when it comes to B2B marketing.

In the second half of my recent appearance on the Jim Blasingame Show, we continue our conversation on 5 of the top forms of content marketing. Not so much about channels—blogs, shared social media platforms, email, landing pages, websites and so on—rather, what kind of content makes for, or enhances, posts in those channels.

While Part One focused on video and touched on case studies, this second half addresses infographics, webcasts and branded games.

...Wait, branded games?


A content marketing report from Hubspot earlier this year finds 64% of B2B marketers rank webinars/webcasts as the most effective kind of marketing content, followed by video at 60%. Old-school case studies are close behind, at 58%. And posts and articles that contain infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than ones without.

Indeed, while specifics (and content categorizations) vary from survey to survey, the five we discuss are at the top end of most surveys in terms of both adoption and effectiveness.

So what content type is missing in most of these studies?

Games—which are used by just 1% to 12% of B2B marketers, and don't tend to show up in even the top 20 in terms of most effective content types.

But does that mean it doesn't work? Or that it's untapped opportunity?

For his part, Jim sounds as if he might be at least a little perturbed by the whole rise of gamification in our lives—and perhaps a little skeptical about its use in B2B marketing.

But as you'll hear me tell Jim, key research on gaming among white collar workers informed an engagement with one B2B client that resulted in a branded game that was played over 1 million times, resulted in 5,000 leads, and over $1 million in direct sales in its first six months (see case study video above).

Not only did the initiative earn coverage in a report on content marketing in The Wall Street Journal, but I include it in a chapter on branded games in my second book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND.


As Jim wisely points out, this is not the kind content that you should necessarily deliver directly to just any B2B prospect or client.

Indeed, as I say here, it's better that your communications should point to a game, and let interested parties come to it.

It's also important to point out that Jim's show is targeted to SMBs, which, as we discuss, would impact the types of games that are truly feasible. Think knowledge games versus full, high-concept productions.

And while I touch on it in the interview, I want to add that in my view, whether it's B2C or B2B, and whether it's large brand or small, there are three key rules of the game, so to speak:

  • The best games are built around, and clearly communicate, your value proposition. They are not just games for the sake of games.
  • Branded games are best played with others—meaning they should have built-in incentives to make the games social and viral, creating a multiplier effect in communicating your value proposition.
  • They should always include a call to action to continue the conversation about your offerings. Before you even start developing a game, define what it is you want your audience to do, feel or think about your brand once they play it.

So is gaming and/or gamification right for your content marketing operations—B2B or otherwise?

You won't know until you try.

But make no mistake: B2B marketers at Microsoft, Dell-SonicWALL, IBM and other brands long ago discovered that they can turn fun and games into serious profits.

Why not play with the possibilities—and see how well you score?



 (Approx 5 min)



 (approx. 6:16)


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It’s the biggest buzzword in marketing today—but also the most over-hyped.

Indeed, for all the promise of “content marketing,” it’s not as easy as it seems. In a recent poll, a full 43% of B2B marketers, for instance, cite content marketing as an effective tactic for lead generation. But 43% also say it's also one of the most difficult.

It's also not always as effective as you might believe. According to eMarketer, developing the right content for the right audience is a major factor in why content marketing efforts fail to get desired results.

Indeed, despite today’s emphasis on all things digital, 84% of marketers develop old-school print brochures as #1 in their lead generation efforts.

Not that that's bad. Print does have a place as a delivery mechanism for some forms of content marketing—if anything, it's gained more cache in the digital age. But it's just one of many.


In this recent appearance on the The Jim Blasingame Show, I attempt to demystify content marketing.

Here in part one, I share five of the most effective types of content today, starting with the kind of video content consumers spend 6 billion hours per month viewing—and the kind up-and-coming-brands like Poo Pourri and BetaBrand (above) are using to break into the big time.

Some of the other top content forms will obvious to you, others maybe less so. Either way, any conversation with Jim means you’re going to have some fun along the way.

Of course, since Jim’s show is targeted to SMBs, our conversation is focused more on marketers who hope to gain traction in the marketplace without big-brand budgets.

But as you'll hear, whether it's big brand or small, one thing is clear: For all the time and money spent developing content to draw in prospects, a growing number of marketers are realizing they most overcome one cold, hard fact: Nobody anywhere is waiting around for your content.

This audio Q&A might help you find new ways to change that.



(approx. 6:16)


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Q&A: Chris Lindland, CEO of Betabrand on Newsjacking HP T-Gate (Video)


Betabrand knows how to break news. Or at least break into it.

The San Francisco-based online clothing company has a history of newsjacking—it made a name for itself when Mark Zuckerberg met with Wall Street bankers in (what else) a hoodie. Zuckerberg's sister Randi stumbled upon Betabrand's $148 Executive Hoodie (think worsted wool) and inventories instantly sold out.

Fast forward to this week, and the small brand has made an art of fast-turn content marketing that this week included a one-take video capitalizing on reports that Silicon Valley legend HP was banning t-shirts in its engineering department to recruit some engineers of its own.

That was Monday. On Tuesday I told CEO Chris Lindland that he had a hit on his hands. By Wednesday Adweek and FastCompany had covered the video. And whether responding to it or simply the news reports, HP Human Resources felt the need to post its own video reassuring employees that the ban was just an unfounded rumor.

I talked with Chris again this morning about his amazing week—and what is says about effective content marketing in general—and powerhouse newsjacking in particular.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO: Q&A: Chris Lindland, CEO of Betabrand on Newsjacking HP T-Gate


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'Like A Girl' Returns 'Unstoppable' (Video)


Don't look now, but this "Girl" is "Unstoppable."

A year—and countless awards—after the debut of Leo Burnett's "Like A Girl" video for Procter & Gamble's Always brand, the effort is out with a new spot dealing with a lack of confidence and perceived limitations—and conquering them.

It's worth noting that the themes here, including comments from one girl about how only boys can be heroes, play well with a TV platform that's custom-made for causes like this—if CBS rises to the challenge ("Supergirl," anyone?).

The new spot includes a call to action encouraging girls to share how they're unstoppable at the Twitter hashtag #likeagirl.

And stealing a page from Dove's long-running "Campaign for Real Beauty," viewers are urged to join the effort to champion girls' confidence at always.com.

According to ADWEEK, the brand is also partnering with TED to develop confidence-inspiring content through its educational unit, TED-Ed.

I can't say this spot resonates as much as the first.

But it's got a great message that's definitely worth sharing with girls and women everywhere.


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Rick Mathieson on Blasingame Show/Forbes Radio (Concl): Newsjacking


From "prankvertising" to "newsjacking."

In the conclusion of my recent appearance on the Jim Blasingame Show/Forbes Radio, we get into newsjacking, which is more popularly known as real-time marketing. 

If you're not familiar with the term, think Oreo's much ballyhooed Super Bowl moment, Arby's Grammy hit, and NASA's gravitational pull, among many others.

In truth, I would characterize this all as "real-time social media marketing," as real-time marketing has evolved to become more associated with real-time, personalized marketing-to-sales conversion on websites. Think personalized offers displayed to the right person at the right time as part of a retail website experience.

That's not what we're talking about here. We're talking about marketing efforts to break through the clutter with highly-relevant social media marketing (and advertising) tied to real-time events in hopes of generating brand moments that get shared and gain widespread attention. The video above is a great summary of some of the most positive elements of Oreo's initiatives.

Of course, there are some who are more than skeptical over the ROI of such efforts—witness this recent piece from Content Strategist. And yes, given the infrastructure some brands deploy for it, real-time marketing may not make a lot of sense.

But for smaller brands, it may be a different story.

While I normally work within the world of larger brands, the Jim Blasingame show has me on from time to time to translate trends in world into possible opportunities for his audience, which is primarily SMBs.

In the conclusion of this recent interview, we'll talk about how for local businesses, newsjacking could make for a low-cost, low-bandwidth proposition that lets these companies demonstrate they are active members of their communities and dialed into the things that matter to their customers.

And they can do it in a way that larger brands will never be able to emulate.



(4-mins, 30-sec)


Part One of the Interview: Products Are The New Services

Part Two of the Interview: The Rise of 'Prankvertising'


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Potty-Mouthed Grandma has Choice Words on Saving Water in New Poo-Pourri Video


If you thought Poo-Pourri's first video was outrageous, just wait til' you see what Grandma has to say about it all. 

In the latest from Suzy Batiz and her Addison, TX-based "spray-before-you-go" bathroom spray demonstrates once again how to market sensitive products by being as up-front and flagrant about it as you can about it.

Clearly, this isn't for every audience.

But Batiz (full disclosure: a past client) knows how to reach the hipper, hard-to-reach 18-35 audience she's after to round out her base of fun-loving women 38 to 64. This new video may even be a, er, slam dunk with all her constituents.

Either way: Who knew bleeping out an everyday word like "flush" could be so fun?


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'Like A (Super)Girl': 3 Ways CBS Could Do Some Serious Good This Fall (Video)


Can a new TV show about a female superhero aspire to create positive messages for girls and women as well as (or better than) a certain viral video from a feminine products brand?

In just the last few weeks, Procter & Gamble's viral sensation "Like A Girl" won the GoodWorks Effie, which is designed to recognize marketers for effectively using their platforms for "purpose-driven' campaigns. That is to say, campaigns that accomplish some social good, beyond (just) promoting the brands behind them.

As most everyone in the world of marketing and advertising knows by now, the video, for P&G's Always brand, explores the meaning of the phrase "like a girl" - and how to redefine it. It's powerful stuff, and since its debut last summer, it has generated nearly 60 million views—and has been likened to some of the best work coming from Unilever's long-running "Campaign for Real Beauty."

Right around the same time, we also saw the release of a six-minute trailer for CBS-TV's new show "Supergirl" from Berlanti Productions—the team behind "The Flash," "Arrow," and the upcoming "Legends of Tomorrow" on CW.


Based on the character in DC comics, the series follows Kara Zor-El, the preteen cousin of baby Kal-El, as she is rocketed to Earth in the moments before the planet Krypton explodes (or the surviving Argo City becomes contaminated, depending on your origin story of choice).

Through the peculiar dynamics of space-time, Kara arrives on Earth many years after Kal-El has grown up as Clark Kent, finding herself in awe of the man (and hero) he has become. As she enters her twenties, Kara must forge her own path, and decide if and how to best use her own considerable gifts to make a difference in the world.

Just as with "Like A Girl," the trailer instantly broke the Internet. In just its first week, it had generated over 10 million views—though no exclusively to fanfare.

Commentary on one side included the usual fanboy outrage, as well as criticism likening the trailer (not without merit) to some of the  rom-com tropes parodied in a recent SNL spoof for a "Black Widow" movie, based on Scarlett Johansson's character in "The Avengers."

In fact, part of the ensuing online conversation was debating whether the "Supergirl" trailer was actually sexist.


On the other side: Viewers who looked past the cliches and saw something more promising. (A leaked video of the full first episode seems to have put reviews decidedly in the positive column, with some indicating the worst elements of the trailer are only minor facets of the show.)

'The World's Greatest Heroine'

One can't help but find star Melissa Benoist utterly captivating here.

But as a marketer who has written extensively about cause marketing in books such as THE ON-DEMAND BRAND and BRANDING UNBOUND; as a lifelong genre fan; and, I should add, as a husband and father, I see lots of potential for something that is not only a blast to watch, but something that can make a difference.

This optimism has a lot to do with Greg Berlanti, whose "Flash" has balanced unabashed exuberance with unexpected heart. The Season One finale is chock full of both, served with enough Easter Eggs to fill a master's thesis.

That show, based on another DC property, follows a young Barry Allen and his origins as The Fastest Man Alive. And it toys with our understanding of the character, as well as themes and story lines shaped through 70 years of mythology (including a pivotal moment in the character's history—a moment he handled to disastrous effect in the comics, and tackled in another, more painful and poignant way in the show), in compelling ways.


"The Flash" and "Supergirl" will not feature crossovers for some time, if ever, due to the fact that they air on separate networks.

But press reports indicate they do exist in the same universe. And it is not lost on Berlanti (or fans) that within the mythology, Barry and Kara are bound by a shared destiny at the center of a cataclysm that has been amply foreshadowed in "The Flash."

A Force for Good—or Not?

"Supergirl" is clearly aimed at teenage girls, far more than even "The Flash" or "Arrow," which have found footing with both sexes—and all ages.

So how can "Supergirl" do some good this fall?

1. Play Up the "Girl Power" Ethos.

This appears to be built into the equation.

Just look at the show's (brilliant) tagline: "It's not a bird. It's not a plane. It's not a man....It's Supergirl." Throw in Rachel Platten's "Fight Song," and the trailer makes an unambiguous statement. Even better: Despite hints to the contrary, word has it that despite hints to the contrary, the pilot at least avoids indicating that Kara needs a love interest to complete her.

This kind of roll model is not without precedent.

Decades ago, Wonder Woman became a symbol of female empowerment, inspiring Gloria Steinem to feature the character on the cover of the first issue of Ms. magazine. That was three years before Lynda Carter hit prime time as the character, in a version of the heroine pulled from one of the more prominent of DC's alternate realities. And it was 40 years before psychologist Amy Cuddy took to TED to share research with 26 million viewers that striking a Wonder Woman pose for two minutes every day can help women build self-confidence. (Read more on this amazing history here.)

This didn't happen through didactic, "After-School Special" moralizing.

It happened through the simple act of portraying a powerful force for truth and justice who just happened to be a woman.

Berlanti's first job is to entertain, not preach. But there's no reason the show can't redefine what facing danger and demonstrating heroism "like a girl" can mean.

2. Grant Viewers a Whole Lot Less "Cat"

Calista Flockhart's "Cat Grant" character could make for an outstanding rival, so long as Kara's view of "girldom" counterbalances Grant's worst stereotypes.

I'm not (just) talking about the "Devil Wears Prada"-esque elements in general—which are freaking painful to watch. I'm talking specifically about a certain (overly-long, overly-precious) moment between Kara and Cat, after Grant has dubbed Kara's alter-ego "Supergirl":

KARA: We can't name her that.

CAT: 'We' didn't.

KARA: Shouldn't she be called 'Super Woman'?

CAT: What do you think is so bad about 'Girl'? I'm a girl. And your boss. And powerful. And rich. And hot. And smart. So if you perceive 'Supergirl' as anything less than excellent, isn't the real problem you?

Kara seems to take this not as the narcissistic blather of a preening ass clown, but as words of wisdom. Or at least the trailer seems to play it that way, with Kara immediately proclaiming she's all-in.

This character will either provide Kara with a model for what not to be, or a simplistic and negative template for how powerful women establish dominance.

Berlanti's track record—along with word that the show has less of the trailer's most irksome elements—give me hope.

3. Extend the Platform

Find advertisers who don't just fill ad space with empowering commercial messages. Find partners who leverage the storytelling in ways that can be extended into digital initiatives that encourage girls to start being "super" in their own lives, through public service and/or by identifying and building on their own strengths to shape their futures in positive ways.

Which is a way of saying that while the show can't be pedagogic, perhaps extensions can.

A Real Cliffhanger

Will "Supergirl" transcend its cliche-tinged trailer to become a positive cultural influence?

Will consumer brands from the likes of P&G, Unilever and others recognize the potential of this platform, and leverage it for "purpose-driven" campaigns aimed at girls?

And will CBS avoid screwing up a show that CW would ride to long-lasting success?

Time will tell if Kara Zor-El soars high—or bites Kryptonite dust—on these and other scores.

Here's hoping it's fun finding out.




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3D Projection Mapping vs. Augmented Reality: Q&A with Go2's Adrian Scott (Concl)


"Like magic before your eyes."

That's how Go2 Production's Adrian Scott puts it when comparing 3D projection mapping to most virtual and augmented reality experiences requiring mobile phones, Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard or other consumer devices to enjoy.

In the conclusion of my recent conversation with Scott, we talk about a 3D projection experience we developed for Seagate Technology's brand relaunch at CES this January.

Playing off the "data tile" elements of Seagate's new Living Logo (the world's first patent-pending brand identity), the experience (video at top) features the voice talent of William Lyman (narrator of "PBS Frontline"), as well as an original score from Alain Mayrand, who did orchestrations for the movies "Ender's Game" and "Elysium").


Be sure to check out the behind-the-scenes video, too (directly above).

And then listen to the finale of our audio interview, where you'll hear about some of the considerable challenges associated with trying to pull off a 3D projection like this in the middle of the day, in a very unconventional space—and about Scott's favorite 3D projection project ever.



(Approx 4:47)


LISTEN TO PART ONE: Move Over 3D Projection, 4D Projection is Here

LISTEN TO PART TWO: From Here to Holograms

LISTEN TO PART THREE: The Secrets of Success with 3D Projection



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The Secrets of Success with 3D Projection: Q&A with Go2's Adrian Scott (Pt 3) (Video)


So how do you do 3D projection mapping right?

Go2 Production's Adrian Scott gets into the secrets of success with 3D projection mapping in part three of my recent conversation with him.

We'll hear about some of the Copperfieldian stagecraft he and his team used to pull off experiences like the one shown above, which was part of a project we worked on together for LoopNet and involved making a 10-story building disappear.


The effort went on to win Best 3D Projection Mapping Content at the 2014 Digital Signage Expo, and was part of an integrated campaign that won Best of Show: B2B Marketing at the Summit International Creative Awards

In addition to the main event, we'll get some insights on how to use video of your 3D projection as a social media lever long after the projector lights have gone dark.


(Approx 4:08)


LISTEN TO PART ONE: Move Over 3D Projection, 4D Projection is Here

LISTEN TO PART TWO: From Here to Holograms



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