Mobile Marketing Top News

Search This Blog


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Mobile Rehab

I have five mobile devices in my bag right now. Yes. Five. Of course, I'm an anomaly...I work in mobile marketing and emerging technology, so it's normal to see me juggling a few devices here and there.

Having worked in mobile marketing & technology for over 12 years, I've always been amazed at the promise of mobile. I was texting before there was SMS interoperability in the US. I created my first WAP site in 2001. I purchased the first Sony Ericsson Bluetooth headset and the first color screen phone, the T68i in 2000. I'm as big of a mobile nerd as you can get.

I've always hoped that someday, all consumers would own a smart and connected device. I salivated at the marketing opportunities that the mobile internet could bring. The possibilities were endless. With the recent adoption of mobile in the past 3 years, this has all come true. I received my wish. Mobile IS here.

Here's my dilemma, now, I see a sea of mindless people zombie-ing across down, crossing streets without noticing oncoming traffic. I see mobile app notifications interrupting intimate conversations, dates and meetings. I see an increasing ADHD in our youth and our addiction to instant gratification. Are we slaves to our mobile devices?

Are we heading down an inevitable path towards Idiocracy?

I've recently read some commentary about early adopters moving away from technology and simplifying their lives. Enter Mobile Rehab.

What is Mobile Rehab you ask? It is disconnecting and turning off the phone. It's at least having the will power to NOT pick up the phone every time it buzzes. It's not Foodspotting every single meal you've had this month or tweeting every single thought in your mind. It's not showing off everything you've ever purchased or show how exotic you're vacation is. Yes, I'm telling you this from my experience. I've been guilty of all of the above, but I'm not proud of it.

Some have said that the connected mobile device feeds the seven deadly sins. I'm starting to see why. While I still believe in the promise of mobile technology, I hope people will start being more cognizant of their mobile use. The analog world has a lot to offer too! Face to face conversations, sharing physical photos and actually discussing your favorite products and this one :)

Now go forth young Jedi. Spread the message and rehab.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

StartupBus Midwest Represent!

StartupBus 2013 starts tonight with a meet and greet with team members. I'm so proud to be representing the MidWest region and the great city of Chicago!

I have so many ideas on what problem to solve that I'm up at the crack of dawn. Ultimately I want to create a concept that solves two major challenges in the current US market: mobile and healthcare. mHealth is a hot topic right now and one that is primed for disruption...ask any VC.

What's wrong with Healthcare in America you ask? Read this and tell me it doesn't upset you.

So I've started noodling an idea around and will hope my other bus-mates will feel as passionate about fixing healthcare as much as I am.

Let's join together and make the US WHEALTH.EE again. More to come, follow this blog if you want to join me in my journey.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Rise of the Enterpriseneur

Since I was a wee little lad, I've been fascinated with entrepreneurship. My parents immigrated to the US about 30 years ago and I've watched them work hard. They worked so hard in fact, that they had to sacrifice time with my sister and I. All of this was with hopes that we would get a proper education and "make something of ourselves".

Throughout my career, I always thought it would result in being the "king of my own castle" and creating a successful business. I've spent the first 10 of my career years paying my dues in the marketing & technology industry while simultaneously studying the art and science of Entrepreneurship. Now, I feel like I understand where all of this has brought me to..."Enterpriseneurship".

I'm not sure if this term is coined yet but if not, you've heard it here first folks :)

I work for an innovation group at a large enterprise in Chicago that I love. When asked whether or not I'd ever start my own business, I've come to the conclusion of "No"*. I feel that I have the same challenges that most entrepreneurs have, but placed in a much better position to succeed than a start-up with zero traction trying to bootstrap their way to success.

Here's why I believe in "Enterpriseneurship":
-Existing customers that will have immediate impact based on our work.
-Access to resources unheard of at a bootstrapped startup.
-The ability to balance personal life and still put out great work.
-If the product doesn't validate, I'm not out of a job.

Now, with that said, working at a large enterprises not without its challenges:
-There will be politics. Any time you're trying to disrupt an industry or business group, you may experience resistance.
-Business goals and ROI must be defined at the being of product conception (no shiny toys for the sake of shiny toys).
-No Multi-Million Dollar exits.

I still believe the pros outweigh the cons. Ultimately, I want to be challenged, create amazing products and make life better for other people. Applying entrepreneurial passion in a large org is challenging and that's what keeps me going. I'm fortunate because I have great leadership that understands the value of innovation.

What do you think of Enterpriseneurship? Hopefully we can bring the "sexy back" to big business.


(*unless I get a multi-million dollar valuation *wink*)

Monday, February 11, 2013

How to correctly hire a Mobile Marketing Pro

In the current state of the Mobile Marketing, Advertising & Technology, there is hype. In my opinion, hype builds fear, and as a result, fear builds budget and headcount at many brands.

With all the hype in the past 3 years in Mobile, how do you know what to look for when hiring a mobile person?

Here are my thoughts based on my past 12 years across the Mobile Marketing ecosystem:

Are you looking for a mobile technology, operations or marketing person? Although these are starting to merge, having one individual with strength in all disciplines is still somewhat rare still these days. Those with previous Brand & Agency side experience will be best suited across tech, ops and marketing.

Regardless of your mobile maturity state, every brand needs someone to lead the Mobile Marketing & Operations efforts. I'd like to stress the Mobile Operations part. Without product, brand and data integration from a mobile perspective, all the marketing & display ads in the world will not provide the long term benefit that brands are expecting.

A growing number of people have Mobile on their resumes, but it is unlikely that they will have complete ecosystem experience. Here are the questions I'd ask if I was hiring:
  • What was their role in their Mobile programs?
  • How many mobile products or campaigns have they launched?
  • Where in the mobile ecosystem do they have experience?
  • How did they measure their campaigns and were the campaigns successful?
  • How integrated were the campaigns to CRM systems?
  • Was there an established Brand Specific Mobile Playbook or were decisions made on the fly?
There are plenty of more questions I'd ask. In an effort to keep this post short, I'll stop it here, but I'm more than happy to hear your feedback.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Responsive Web Design - Not The Holy Grail

Friday, December 28, 2012

by J Schwan from Solstice Consulting

Responsive Web Design (RWD) is increasingly becoming legacy web designers' answer to solving usability for mobile devices. While responsive design may make sense in some instances, in a majority of cases, it simply doesn't.

 First a quick Wikipedia explanation of Responsive Web Design:
Responsive Web Design indicates that a web site is crafted to use  fluid proportion-based grids, to adapt the layout to the viewing environment, and also use flexible images. As a result, users across a broad range of devices and browsers will have access to a single source of content, laid out so as to be easy to read and navigate with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling.
This sounds great in theory.  A single front end code base to cover all screen sizes: big browser, tablet and smartphone.  This paradigm may work well for content-focused sites (i.e. a marketing campaign landing page or a blog) but it's applicability doesn't extend much beyond that.

Think Tasks Not Content

Most sites aren't made to simply consume content; they provide self-service capabilities, user and social interactions and integrated feedback mechanisms. In these cases RWD patterns fall down. The tasks users expect to complete in the mobile channel will often be decidedly different than in the big browser.  Users are often looking to do a subset of their normal tasks on a mobile device, or a different set of (mobile only) tasks all together.  They will also expect to perform these tasks in a more streamlined manner.  Responsive Web Design may address changes in page layout but it doesn't address significant changes in a site's information architecture, or the workflow a user may follow to perform a particular function.  Take a look at the difference in American Airlines big browser and mobile web layouts for example:

The design of the mobile site (information architecture, features and workflow) are considerably different than the big browser site.  Even the tasks are different (i.e. Mobile Boarding Pass).  RWD only addresses a small part of this equation. Using a RWD pattern in this case would actually require quite a bit more development than managing separate front-end code bases for the two channels.

The Native App Channel

Responsive Web Design patterns also do not effectively address the native app equation.  Whether or not a company is looking to invest in native apps now, eventually they will need to.  If they want to save money, companies need to think about native apps while they are laying down the architecture for their mobile web channel.

The best way to lay the groundwork for native is by building a mobile site that utilizes an ajax-enabled mobile web framework (i.e. JQuery Mobile or Sencha Touch) that integrates with back-end content and services via web services (typically JSON).  Sites that utilize an asynchronous web service interaction model can reuse their mobile web services in the native channel.  This gives you the flexibility to build fully native applications in the future without incurring additional server-side development cost.  This pattern also sets the stage for integration with future human-computer interfaces like augmented reality devices and the internet of things.

There is a place for RWD,  but its functions are limited to content-focused sites. Arguably, even in those cases the cost savings will quickly diminish as the features and user experience of the two different channels inevitably diverge.

Be careful of web designers pedaling legacy web techniques to solve future platform problems. We need to utilize next generation patterns and technologies to take advantage of next generation opportunities.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

MobileX Cincy Conference 2012

For those interested in my latest presentations on mobile that I gave at MobileX Cincinnati please see below:

MobileX Corporate Track Breakout 1 - David Ip, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois - Mobile Marketing, Enterprise Uses

Marketing and Social Media Track Breakout 4 - David Ip, BlueCross BlueShield of Illinois - Mobile Marketing, Demystifying the Hype

Enterprise Panel Discussion with:
Eric Bishop, Rockfish
Robb Moretti, Verizon
Ben Love, Vantiv

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Milk, Eggs, Bread: Mobile Food Shoppers Still Need It Simple


There is nothing more basic, boring or essential than a shopping list. We write them on our hands, on the backs of envelopes, dictate them to Siri or just tell our spouse to “remember to remind me.” For all of the wonderful gadgetry we now have to bring to the store aisles, it turns out that even shopping apps still need to get the basics right -- milk, bread and eggs.

The folks at just updated their very popular grocery companion, Grocery IQ, to version 2.6. They passed along some data that is as interesting as it is essentially boring. The most common items added to shopping lists in the app are:

Toilet Paper

Yes -- unsurprising, but also instructive. Mobile apps are at their best when they are facilitating rituals and patterns that we already have. The staggering blandness of the typical American’s food shopping list reminds us how basic and predictable many of our core needs can be. My guess is that the majority of us make our mobile lists using the built-in notepad on our deck.

But what marketing benefit is there in that? Much of the list Grocery IQ supplied is made up of staples from which few of us has a brand knowledge, let alone a preference. The challenge for the modern shopping app is to keep it simple and find ways of weaving marketing offers into a process that most of us reduce to scrawling on a post-it.

Sure, there are focused and serious grocery consumers -- the ones who digest the weekly circulars. For them, perhaps the art of finding the best bargain is a job unto itself. Apps like Grocery IQ are made for them. This is a widely reviewed and generally popular app. It ranks 48th in popularity in the free section of the iPhone Lifestyle category. An app that actually snaps images of physical coupons for use in-store is well ahead of it at #2 right now. Clearly, there is a battle of feature sets going on.

The version 2.6 upgrade launching today for iOS pours on the bells and whistles. Voice recognition allows the user to dictate multiple items for the shopping list. Predictive searching will make it easier to build brand-specific lists. And you can keep the list synchronized across mobile and Web, and even among other members of the family. Coupons in the database also will be matched up with items on your shopping list.

This may all be too much for me. Siri will likely remain my shopping buddy. But for that important niche of semi-pro food shoppers, third parties are fighting to get into their proactive habits. I am still undecided on whether some of these mobile tools will become standard for many of us. Will we build shopping lists by scanning UPC codes on our shelves? Will we do it if it packs coupons and savings into our store loyalty cards? Obviously, some people are already doing this in their apps.

But I think most of us do a bother-to-benefit calculation on a lot of this stuff. I am old enough to remember how Personal Information Managers (remembers PIMs?) Like Lotus Agenda and GrandView were going to hyper-organize our lives, help us filter out the clutter, etc. But all of these apps also required some organized input of data to work their magic. Most of us discovered that hyper-organizers worked best for the already hyper-organized –- those who had the discipline and the stamina to do the front-end input work. Many of these shopping apps seem to understand that legendary problem with any kind of digital organizer, so they are trying to make the input experience smoother and the back-end value more obvious.

I will try to live up to the digital expectation.

“Siri, remind me to put my loyalty card number in that shopping app…tomorrow.”  

Read more: