Play 'Buzzword Bingo'—CES Edition

Buzzword_graphic

 

 

 

 

 

This is one game that's easier to play than avoid.

We're all guilty of overusing tech industry buzzwords. And why not? They play a useful role as common shorthand that (conveniently) confers an aura of "cool" to those fluent in the lingua franca of 21st century business.

But as CES 2016 reaches its climax, many of us are finding ourselves facing buzzword burnout over what feels like an egregious level of noise pollution emanating from Las Vegas over the last few days.

“Disruptive.” “Influencer.”“(Anything)-Hacking.” “Unicorn.” I'm sure we've heard them all this week, many times over.

Never mind that some of this lingo could be headed for limbo faster than Kim (or any other) Kardashian can “Break the Internet.”

“Unicorn,” for instance, is quickly morphing into “unicorpse,” as concerns grow that companies like Gilt, Tango and SFX Entertainment may prove emblematic of some of these hard-to-find beasts with billion-dollar valuations may ultimately fare.

In the meantime, GEN WOW found some catharsis in a piece this week by Shawn Paul Wood in PR Newser, lamenting some of the most irksome buzzwords found in news stories and press releases.

When we mentioned the article in our GEN WOW LinkedIn Group, member Rick Wootten, senior director of global marketing for Seagate, mused about having some fun with it all—in the form of a game of "Buzzword Bingo."

That sparked an in-group and subsequent email conversation about developing a mobile app for facilitating a decidedly tech industry-centric version of the game at events such as, well, CES.

"It's natural for industry buzzwords to come and go in cycles, but sometimes enough of them peak at the same time to create Lingo Overload," Wootten says. "We're experiencing one of those times right now—and I think we should make the most of it!"

It's a great idea—and one that might prompt us all (myself included) to be a little more judicious about how often (and how accurately) we use these phrases.

Best of all, while it could take even the most agile development team (another buzzword) days or weeks to produce a full-blown app, we figured we'd just mock up a bare bones Buzzword Bingo card so you can start playing today.

Buzzword_card

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Play

  1. Each time a news story or press release using one of these painfully overused words or phrases hits your inbox or browser window, mark off a square.
  1. Capture the link to the story or release for validation.
  1. Mark off a solid horizontal, vertical or diagonal line of lingo—and BINGO!

If the mood strikes us, we'll try a formal round this coming Post-CES news week. Who knows, there might even be a prize involved.

That is, if the game doesn't go too fast. A three-minute audit of my inbox and news feeds this morning produced plentiful junk jargon, including:

“SHARING ECONOMY”

A particular pet peeve. Not merely because it’s so overused, but because there’s no such thing.

So far as I can tell, the total number of so-called “sharing economy” companies that are “sharing” anything comes to zero.

That Uber driver isn’t “sharing” her car. You have used an app to request a ride that you will pay a fee for using. The only thing that may get "shared" is polite conversation on the way to your destination. The far more accurate term is “the on-demand economy,” since that’s truly the distinction separating many of these new services from what has come before. Then again, I'm biased.

Perp:  Business Insider (quoting a car company executive). Again, I am including links not to call out the pub or its sources—we're all guilty of geekspeak—but rather to document buzzword use so I can claim my square.

 "IoT" & "IoE'

Ah, "The Internet of Things" or "The Internet of Everything." Whatever variant you want to use, it’s surely vying to be #1 biggest buzzword at CES this year. Perps just today include EE Times, ZDNet and EWeek.

"DISRUPTIVE"

Actually, I take back what I just said about "IoT;" this one could very well take the cake, with numerous entries this morning, ranging from Forbes’ look at “The Five Most Disruptive Innovations at CES” to WIRED's "Best of CES" and beyond.

And this is all in under three minutes.

What do you think your card might look like in the same amount of time?

Could games like this raise our awareness and encourage us to seek other terms and phrases?

Or are these words, flawed as some are, just too useful and compelling in (catchphrase alert:) the marketplace of ideas?

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TOP 10 BEST MOBILE MARKETING CAMPAIGNS 2015 (VIDEO)

 

GenWowAwards-2015

Mobile is where it’s at again this year, though we quibble with its definition these days.

For instance, Facebook says nearly 80% of its ad revenue come from mobile advertising. But in our humble opinion, just because an ad is experienced on a mobile device doesn’t mean it’s “mobile.”

Small wonder then, that as in year’s past, most of our top pics for 2015 bring something more to “mobile” – by in fact, relating to place, or the specific capabilities or key functionality of the device in which they are consumed.

Here's 10 of our favorites from the year that was.

10. JOHN LEWIS: MAN ON THE MOON

This wildly popular (and widely spoofed) holiday campaign from UK retailer John Lewis includes a mobile app featuring augmented reality that lets you point your phone toward the moon to unlock daily facts about each phase of the moon. There’s also a game in which the player has to avoid obstacles and collect power boosts to get a specific item up to the man on the moon.

9. COKE ZERO: "DRINKABLE ADVERTISING"

Despite the fact that we're never ones to require any additional prompting to drink Coke Zero – we live on the stuff – this year’s “drinkable advertising” caught our notice. The campaign’s TV spots featured Coke Zero being poured from an onscreen bottle – before migrating to viewers’ mobile phone screens before transmogrifying into a coupon.

8. WWF: #THELASTSELFIE

What’s not to love about the World Wild Life Fund’s “Last Selfie” promotion with Snapchat, which takes advantage of the fleeting, transient nature of Snapchat snaps with short ads that show just how quickly an endangered species can be wiped off the planet. Powerful, and perfect for the platform. In just its first week, consumers posted 40,000 tweets about the initiatives to 120 million timelines. And in just three days, WWF reached its fundraising target for the entire month.

7. GUESS: VIRTUAL SUNGLASSES

This year, Guess's special mobile ad units enabled users to snap selfies and then “try on” sunglasses via augmented reality, complete with pointers on which styles work best for your face shape. The user takes or uploads a selfie, adjusts the placement, applies from a wide selection of sunglasses and can even share the image for feedback from far-flung friends via their social platforms. Add a "buy" button and this could be m-commerce magic instead of just promotion.

6. TOYS 'R US: IN-STORE MOBILE AR

How do you get shoppers into store locations during the Easter season? Launch an augmented reality Egg Hunt for the chance to win store gift cards. Here’s a brick & mortar retailer (in Australia) that refused to shy away from mobile and instead embraced it to enhance the retail experience.

5. SPOTIFY: #FOUNDTHEMFIRST

This summer, the online music streaming service rolled out a "Found Them First" microsite that lets users see which musicians the system knows they heard before the artists became megawatt sensations. Users can then build and share a playlist built on those early discoveries. In exchange, Spotify will offer them a new playlist with other new acts they might help “discover” as well.

4. MINI USA: 'BACKWATER' & 'REAL MEMORIES'

MINI USA is big on short online films featuring its cars, so it made since that the brand would be among the first to take 360-degree video for a test drive. Two such films, “Backwater” and “Real Memories” are definitely worth a gander—and could mean big things for the road ahead.

3. SNICKERS 'HUNGER BAR'

Let’s face it: You’re not quite you when you’re hungry, are you? Which is why the latest installment of Snickers’ long-running "You're Not You" campaign includes a mobile app that enables consumers to create images related to their particular hunger symptoms and share them socially. The key isn’t to show off what kind of hungry you are, of course. It’s about calling out family and friends for acting “snippy,” “loopy,” “cranky,” “confused,” “spacey," or ... insert your own adjective here.

2. QANTAS: ‘VIRTUAL DESTINATIONS’

Yes, I’m still fixated on this VR initiative from Qantas, which enables you to go on a eight-minute, 360-degree virtual vacation to Hamilton Island. In fact, it was really hard to decide between this and our #1 pick this year. It is, after all, either instant justification for the VRevolution, or a sure sign of the Apocalypse. Once companies start producing VR content like this that lasts not minutes but for hours on end, the human race may just opt out of the “reality” part of the equation all together—at least when they aren’t physically going to these amazing locales.

1. PIZZA HUT: ‘PIZZA BOX PROJECTOR’

Okay, there's rarely a moment when a large TV screen is much out of arms reach these days. So maybe this is the solution to a problem that few will ever face. But it's still hard not to dig the Pizza Hut Blockbuster Box - a pizza box that's also a movie projector. Throw in a cold one and this could be the best thing to happen to pizza since pepperoni.

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Top 10 Best Brand Viral Videos 2015 (Video)

 

As I put it in my book THE ON-DEMAND BRAND, viral isn’t a strategy—it’s an outcome.

While many people believe it’s a matter of simply posting a video and waiting for it to take off, success comes from share-worthy content backed by promotion—and plenty of it.

The problem with our 2015 list of favorites is that there was so much video that fit the description above that it’s hard to zero in on just 10 favorites. So out of easily two dozen brand videos that hit and stayed on our radar this year, here is an unusually imperfect breakdown of 10 that rose to the top.

(Though our annual list captures videos that generated massive numbers of online views, it reflects personal appeal, not literal rankings).

As in year’s past, a large number of our selections pull at the heartstrings. Others also made some of our other awards lists, most notably this year’s of Top 10 Prankvertisements. And a few won’t be appropriate for every person (or every setting).

But every one of them is worth at least one last look.

10. JEEP: ‘BEAUTIFUL LANDS’

Yes, we’re suckers for patriotic branding. And yes, this Super Bowl spot from Jeep was not without some sniggering (Adweek was quick to point out similarities with the North Face spot that ran during the Super Bowl last year—right down to the soundtrack). It still works for us.

9. NIKE: ‘SNOW DAY’

Athletes get to relive their childhoods with winter’s two most perfect words. A sure way to fire up your competitive spirit, even when it’s freaking freezing outside.

8. ALWAYS: ‘UNSTOPPABLE’

Always’ Effie-wining #LikeAGirl campaign’s summer 2015 entry. Not as good as the original “Like A Girl,” but still heroic.

7. HYUNDAI: “A MESSAGE TO SPACE’

Maybe we should call the Nazca Lines the NASCAR Lines. No, Hyundai’s not exactly going for racing glory here. But in an effort to highlight and humanize its innovative thinking, the brand is using synchronized driving to create markings that can only make sense from space. Nearly 70 million earthlings got the message.

6. SQUATTY POTTY: ‘THIS UNICORN CHANGED THE WAY I POOP’

It’s the “stool for better stools” – and it’s the latest potty humor-infused brand video from the team behind Poo Pourri’s mega hit “Girls Don’t Poop.” Over 50 million views later, this little brand that could has seen sales rise from $3 million last year to $15 million in 2015 (an appearance on NBC’s Shark Tank late last year didn't stink, either).

5. FAN PAGE: ‘SLAP HER’

On the flipside of the “Girl Power” ethos of #LikeAGirl, this public service spot from Fan Page spot addresses male attitudes toward domestic violence in Italy on the heels of a UN report calling it “the most pervasive form of violence” in that country, and after Prime Minster Enrico Letta referred to the problem as “femicide.” Put on the spot, some young men school some other members of their gender on basic human decency.

4. BARBIE: ‘IMAGINE THE POSSIBILITIES’

Is it ironic or fitting that Barbie—a dichotomous figure that has always aspired to empower even while being seen by many to objectify—also made our list? In a year when an artificial intelligence-enabled "Hello Barbie" creeped out some parents (and child psychiatrists), it’s hard not to love this prank video that gets to the brand’s ambitions perfectly.

3. AD COUNCIL: ‘LOVE HAS NO LABELS’

Though it’s not exclusively about any one segment of the population, this video captures the spirit of summer 2015, when the US Supreme Court caught up with the rest of America in its collective declaration that love wins. It always does, even if it takes a very long time.

2. JOHN LEWIS: ‘MAN ON THE MOON’

In the UK, it has become an annual tradition to keep an eye out for the new holiday spot from retailer John Lewis. Even here in the US, this one has touched millions. That is, when it’s not being spoofed (with a mashup with this December's other big pop culture property, Star Wars, natch).

1. EXTRA GUM: ‘THE STORY OF SARAH & JUAN’

Who knew a gum commercial could pack as much narrative emotion as any of the year’s top movies into a two-minute video (at top)? Now that’s something to chew on. And in the spirit of giving a little extra, check out this BTS video of Haley Reinhart doing the Elvis cover. (You're welcome.)

 

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TOP 10 BEST PRANKVERTISING CAMPAIGNS 2015 (VIDEO)

 

EmojiI keep thinking Oxford Dictionaries was only pranking us by naming this emoji as its 2015 Word of the Year.

Not the word “emoji,” mind you. Literally this symbol – “tears of joy.”

GenWowAwards-2015But for those who have been doing their best to resist letting lose with their emojis, myself included, the year’s prankvertising-slash-stuntvertising videos proved "mischievous" doesn’t always have to be "mean," at least not all the time

A look at some of our favorites from what seemed (mostly) like a kinder, gentler year in branded pranks:

10. CHEVY CRUZE: CELL PHONE FAKE OUT

From WTF to WiFi in 6-seconds flat: The 2016 Chevy Cruze comes with built-in 4G LTE connectivity. Which is fortunate for the guy at the center of this prank.

9. TERMINATOR GENISYS: WAX ATTACK

Arnold pranks fans as the Terminator—to promote his summer movie, and to benefit afterschool programs. Worth it for the wax museum segments.

8. MICROSOFT COLLECTIVE: BIONIC ARM

Iron Man meets Bionic Boy as Robert Downey Jr. surprises this child with a new 3D-printed bionic arm.

7 & 6: DOVE: CHOOSE BEAUTIFUL & ALWAYS: UNSTOPPABLE

Let’s not forget that Dove’s “Campaign for Real Beauty” and Always’ Effie-winning #LikeAGirl campaign are really prankvertising – putting young people on the spot to ask provocative questions in an effort to prove a point. Heck, I pull pranks on my daughter all the time, but rarely (okay, never) so successfully. This summer’s “Unstoppable,” timed perfectly around the hype around CBS’s girl power-themed ‘Supergirl,’ may end up describing this campaign. And “Choose Beautiful” is just that: beautiful.

5. CARLSBERG: CARLSBERG DID CASES

Would it kill Samuel Adams or Sierra Nevada to pull this prank on one my outbound vacation or inbound business flights? Carlsbad did, in this prank pulled on some very happy Londoners on their way home from holiday, as the Brits say. A nice little souvenir that’s sure to put some fun on tap at home.

4. DISLIFE: MORE THAN A SIGN

Sometimes pranks are well deserved. This noteworthy effort from Y&R Moscow used technology to scan cars to see if they had disabled stickers. If they didn’t, and the driver pulled into parking places designated for the disabled anyway, a holographic image of a wheelchair-bound man accosted them on the street. Surely a sign of signs to come.

3. AD COUNCIL: LOVE HAS NO LABELS

 

Even in a year with some pretty monumental Supreme Court decisions on personal liberty, this is pretty powerful stuff – a prank to make passersby come face to face with their own snap judgments about age, race, sexuality, gender, religion and love. Projects like this makes me proud to be in this business.

2. JAGUAR: ‘ACTUAL REALITY’ PRANK

 

Longtime readers know I’m partial to horror movie promotional pranks like “Devil’s Due” and “Telekinetic Coffee House” but this one from Jaguar New Zealand may just take the cake. Not only does it play off all the hype around augmented reality, but it's spot on from a positioning standpoint – nothing can simulate what it’s like to drive a Jag, right? – and it drives it all home in unforgettable fashion. Hat tip to Rick Wootten for finding this one.

1. HEINEKEN: DREAM ISLAND

This video (at top) from Heineken takes our top this year—as a group of young contest winners get an amazing wake-up call.

 

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Top 10 Social Media Campaigns 2015 (Video)

 

GenWowAwards-2015Turns out all the crazy rumors were true: Social media marketing is more than just Facebook, YouTube & Twitter these days.

For all the buzz we’d hear over the years about how this or that social platform is sure to be a boon for marketers (…remember Google+?...) talk usually just circled back to Facebook, Twitter and maybe throw in a YouTube video and a vine and call it a day.

Not in 2015 – at least not all the time.

With certain audiences (read: millennials) Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat and others helped marketers seriously hit their marks.

A look at some of our favorite social media campaigns from the year that was, not necessarily in any order:

10. GOPRO: SKATEBOARDING CAT

GoPro is obviously a brand built on content – it is, after all, its raison d'etre. Who doesn’t love those extreme sports shots of people doing acrobatics as they skydive or ski or jump trashcans in the driveway on their bikes? But even in 2015, we can’t escape online cat videos—and in the case of this Instagram (and YouTube) campaign, you wouldn’t want to. Meet Didga, an Australian cat that skateboards—incredibly well. That said, there's a family nearby that has a dog—a little bulldog named Henny—that skateboards all over the place, and even has her own YouTube channel. I'm not sure she's quite Didga's level yet. But who knows: Maybe she'll have her own GoPro video series one day.

9. SPOTIFY: #FOUNDTHEMFIRST

My wife could seriously be a talent scout for any genre in the music industry—I can’t tell you how many times she has discovered bands and said “these guys are going to be huge in a couple of years" and been spot on. Unlike my wife, many music aficionados like to claim bragging rights for being the first to find hot acts. Which makes Spotify’s #FoundThemFirst social campaign so compelling. Last summer, the online music streaming service rolled out a "Found Them First" microsite that lets users see which musicians the system knows they heard before they became megawatt sensations. They can then build and share a playlist built on their discoveries—and Spotify will offer them a new playlist with other new acts they might like as well.

8. GROUPON: BANANA BUNKER

I've never been that into Groupon, but I have to admit this campaign was, er, ballsy. In April, Groupon posted a Facebook photo of plastic banana containers, as if they were packaged goods, and responded to everybody who posted a suggestive joke. I have no idea if the bunkers sold well, but it’s still fun. And at over 45,000 shares, apparently others also saw the appeal. Pardon the pun.

7. TACO BELL: SNAPCHAT STORIES

Taco Bell and millennials are made for each other. So Snapchat must be the perfect platform for both, right? Well if this little initiative is any indication, the answer is an emphatic (thumb’s up). Taco Bell hired two twentysomethings to essentially set up a “Stories” studio/”news room” where they could create and collaborate with super fans on fun real-time and more thought-out content (including a lot of UGC). And while we haven’t seen any sales figures for platform promotions, we still have to imagine this channel can’t hurt with this QSR’s most devote customers.

6. DUREX: #CONDOMEMOJI

Let’s try to get a little control over our Emoji, folks. Yes, Oxford named this emoji as its 2015 Word of the Year. Not the word “emoji,” mind you. Literally this symbol—“tears of joy” is the Word of the year. And as if by magic, Durex has a new hashtag campaign that might just inspire you to use that emoji – or even better, one that helps young people talk about safe sex. As it happens, Durex research shows that 50% of 18-25 year-olds use emoji when discussing sex. So for World AIDS Day December 1, Durex is asking for help encouraging the Emoji masters who create the official icons to create a condom Emoji.

5. HEFTY ULTIMATE CUPS:#PARTYHARDMOMS

Worth it: This series of online videos for Hefty Easy Grip plastic cups turns conventions on head with stereotypical moms who speak fluent over-the-top teen that had had fans going cray. One installment, #Turnt (shown at top), has been viewed 2.6 million times on YouTube alone, #WorthIt, 2.1 million times. Who knew suburban moms could have so much street cred?

4. CO-OPERATIVE INSURANCE: NOSTALGIA FM

This UK-based consumer insurance cooperative was putting on the hits this year with NostalgiaFM, which allows users to enter the year they first past their driver’s test for a playlist of #1 songs from that month and year. Over 15,000 people used the app on its first day. And in its first five days, the effort generated 200,000 engagements on Twitter and Facebook, and a huge amount of traffic to the company’s website.

3. WWF: #LASTSELFIE

What’s not to love about the World Wild Life Fund’s “Last Selfie” promotion with Snapchat, which takes advantage of the fleeting, transient nature of Snapchat communications with short ads that show just how quickly an endangered species can be wiped off the planet. Powerful, and perfect for the platform. In just its first week, consumers posted 40,000 tweets about the initiatives to 120 million timelines. And in just three days, WWF reached its fundraising target for the entire month.

2. TOMS SHOES: #WITHOUTSHOES

These shoes were made for helping: TOMS built its brand on donating a pair of shoes to needy children for every pair sold. This summer, whenever someone posted an Instagram photo of their bare feet using the hashtag, TOMS would give away a pair of shoes to someone in need—no purchase necessary—to the tune of 296,243 pairs.

1. ALWAYS 'LIKE A GIRL': #UNSTOPPABLE

Maybe it’s not as good as the original, GoodWorks Effie-winning #LikeAGirl (60 million views on YouTube, and millions more on other sites) but it’s still a powerful message, perfect timed around all the "Fight Song"-infused hype last summer for CBS’s new hit show "Supergirl.” #Unstoppable has generated nearly 40 million views on its own. And best of all, Always is partnering with TED-Ed to launch programs to boost girls’ confidence. An heroic effort, for sure.

 

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

Unbound_screen

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.

SMART START

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.

LIFE AS A POP-UP AD?

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.

READ MORE FROM THE '2015 MOBILE MARKETING PREDICTIONS—FROM 2005' SERIES:

PART 1: A BOOM WITH A VIEW: WEARABLES

PART 2: REACH OUT & SELL SOMEONE: MOBILE ADVERTISING

PART 3: SHOPPING FOR INSIGHTS ON THE MOBILE FRONTIER: MOBILE AT RETAIL


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2015 Mobile Marketing Predictions—From 2005: Mobile at Retail

M_branding_unbound_capture

What a difference a decade makes.

Two years before the launch of Apple's iPhone, my book BRANDING UNBOUND ventured forward to explore the future of advertising, sales and the brand experience in the mobile age.

Excerpted in ADWEEK, the book generated a lot of attention for envisioning a world of games, music, video, shopping and more via the device in the hands of virtually every man, woman and child.

Looking back now, it's fun to see what I got right—and where I went laughably wrong.

SHOPPING FOR INSIGHTS FROM THE MOBILE FRONTIER

I recently found myself chuckling about how I predicted Apple would indeed create a mobile phone, and by 2010 potentially go onto become a MVNO - a mobile virtual network operator - piggybacking on say, AT&T's network to offer its own branded Apple mobile service.

As it turned out, it was August 2015 before news reports surfaced about potential plans for an Apple-branded service in Europe (a rumor Apple quickly denied).

Hey, playing marketing futurist isn't a certain proposition.

But long before you could name the topic and rest assured that "yes, there's an app for that," I wrote about the potential for m-wallets that enable you to purchase goods in physical world stores and have it charged to a prepaid account, a credit card, or as a debit on your phone bill. And I talked about how one day, we would walk into stores, scan product tags to place a purchase, and then simply walk out the door without ever digging for cash, swiping a card, writing a check—or ever again standing in line.

To be fair, a lot of this was already in its early stages in other countries and only seemed impossible (or improbable) in the US because of a lack of standards and interoperable mobile networks. But that day did indeed come, even if some of these capabilities are still in their early stages.

MOBILE EVERYTHING

Looking ahead, I also write about how by 2015, services deployed over mobile networks will wake you up in the morning; deliver email; enable you to schedule and reschedule your day based on real-time traffic patterns, travel plans, unexpected meetings, and more. You'll buy plane tickets on the go. You'll call up news, entertainment, and shopping content—anywhere, anytime. And everyday consumers will gravitate toward solutions "that make their lives easier and help them do the things they already do easier and faster, whether it's staying in touch with friends, capturing life's moments, listening to music, or playing games."

For marketers, this would mean location-enabled, or place-based, personalized advertising that calls up "relevant offers based on personal buying behavior"—in-store or on the go.

To be sure, much of what I write about has yet to be realized—like product innovations such as RFID-like tags on frozen foods that tell the microwave oven how to cook them to perfection, or coffee machines that serve up the perfect brew based on instructions from tags placed on the bean packaging. But it is amazing to look back now at how so much of what seemed fantastic at the time has become part of our everyday lives.

That last part about product innovation is more about the Internet of Things, which I write about extensively in the book. We'll save that topic for a later installment in this series.

In the meantime, you might enjoy reading about what I got right and wrong on wearable technology (let's just say I was bullish on what Google Glass would one day seek to accomplish) and mobile advertising (I predicted the current state of mobile advertising, but thought it would progress to its next, far more powerful stage by now). 

One thing is for sure: Here in the last few months of 2015, innovative retailers and pure-play digital competitors are using the mobile channel to actively reshape what it means to shop in the twenty-first century.

Which means if you're not already into mobile-enabled retailing, don't worry.

It's already on its way to you.

ALSO READ:

PART 1: A BOOM WITH A VIEW: WEARABLES

 PART 2: REACH OUT & SELL SOMEONE: MOBILE ADVERTISING


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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?

GAME ON

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.

PUTTING YOUR BRAND IN PLAY

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?

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO:

TOP 5 FORMS OF CONTENT MARKETING: AUTHOR RICK MATHIESON ON THE JIM BLASINGAME SHOW (PT 2)

 (Approx 5 min)

PLUS:

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO PART 1

 (approx. 6:16)


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5 TOP FORMS OF CONTENT MARKETING: AUTHOR RICK MATHIESON ON THE JIM BLASINGAME SHOW

 

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.

SO WHAT'S WORKING?

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.

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO:

5 TOP FORMS OF CONTENT MARKETING: AUTHOR RICK MATHIESON ON THE JIM BLASINGAME SHOW (PT 1)

(approx. 6:16)


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Pepsi Max Drone Helps You Find Friends at Concerts (Video)

 

Pepsi Max's new 'Friend Finder' drones help you find your friends at concerts.

In a world where these airborne 'droids seem to be taking over everything from Amazon deliveries to skywriting, technology is always searching for new ways to reach you.

At concerts at least, Pepsi Max's drones are searching on your behalf, so you can reach your crew.

If only they could help us find our way to the car afterward, too.

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