Staying Current After the Recent Apple Event...

There are three significant items to take away from the most recent Apple event (at the historically significant Flint Center in Cupertino, CA).

  1. The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are the direct result of growing market pressure on Apple to offer larger phones.
  2. Apple Pay has the potential to catapult company revenue to levels we have not seen in any other company. Ever. 
  3. The Apple Watch is a first generation offering. I didn't buy the first generation iPod, or the first generation iPhone, or the first generation iPad. The watch is no different. However, I am very much looking forward to watching Apple iterate on the now public commitment to each and every one of our wrists.

Spend 10 minutes with Ed Kless on a recent podcast we recorded and dig into the details of the three items above.

The single most significant item is the timing of Apple Pay. I kept waiting for a journalist to connect the dots between why Apple is "suddenly" interested in including NFC in their phones and the new chip-and-pin standard headed our way. In October 2015, gone will be the days of magnetic stripe credit cards as we usher in a new era of chip and pin (conveniently, something you have and something you know for the security buffs out there). 

This will create an environment of mass adoption for the much needed NFC chips that have gone underutilized in mobile phones to date.

Well done Michael Carney of Pando Daily. You win the prize.

I’m Just Not That Into You

 not-that-into-you-heart-sweetart-candy

not-that-into-you-heart-sweetart-candy

I’ve seen a fair amount of debate over Google+ lately.  The media has debated growth numbers, stickiness, and whether or not Google has the fortitude to stick this one out and make an impact. Frankly, I don’t care.

No, really.  I don’t care because it’s not a winner takes all competition.  There is room for multiple social networks and we (collectively) will learn how to use them to our advantage over time.  The use of a specific social network is a personal preference at this point.  Not for brands, that is.  They play by different rules.  For the individual, it’s your choice.  If Google+ doesn’t work for you, I’m not sure that’s the end of the world.  Likewise for Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

Ultimately, I think you should end up choosing a social network based on three questions:

  • Where are my friends?
  • Where is the best source of information for my personal interests?
  • Where can I find information about my profession?

The answer to these 3 questions will not always be the same social network.  Lets break down my personal habits to demonstrate.

  • Where are my friends?  That’s an easy one.  I suspect for the large majority the answer is Facebook.  Fair enough.
  • Where is the best source of information for my personal interests?  Your “friend” social graph is not necessarily aligned with your personal interests.  I found the answer to this question is a mixture of Twitter and Facebook.
  • Where can I find information about my profession?  For me, that’s LinkedIn and Google+.   Google’s efforts are still in their infancy and many of the people I have circled are posting information about social media related topics.  Intelligent conversations ensue.

From my personal example hopefully you can find a takeaway.  Pick the social networks that work for your interests and needs.  This is not an all or none choice and I’m afraid many treat it as such.  For example, “I already have a Facebook account.  Why should I sign up for XYZ social network?”  That’s a fair question if you are only looking to answer one of the 3 questions above.  Diversify and you’ll find the information streams across these networks are much richer when used for specific purposes.

The Email You Never Want to Send...

I received the email below from the Chief Marketing Officer of Best Buy recently.  The key takeaway?  If you are responsible for customer data, please make sure you are being careful with said data.  You never want to send an email like the one below but you might have to one day.  It's a dangerous world out there and, while this is probably not an issue for Best Buy in the long term, it sure does sting a little bit.

Dear Valued Best Buy Customer,

On March 31, we were informed by Epsilon, a company we use to send emails to our customers, that files containing the email addresses of some Best Buy customers were accessed without authorization.

We have been assured by Epsilon that the only information that may have been obtained was your email address and that the accessed files did not include any other information. A rigorous assessment by Epsilon determined that no other information is at risk. We are actively investigating to confirm this.

For your security, however, we wanted to call this matter to your attention. We ask that you remain alert to any unusual or suspicious emails. As our experts at Geek Squad would tell you, be very cautious when opening links or attachments from unknown senders.

In keeping with best industry security practices, Best Buy will never ask you to provide or confirm any information, including credit card numbers, unless you are on our secure e-commerce site,www.bestbuy.com. If you receive an email asking for personal information, delete it. It did not come from Best Buy.

Our service provider has reported this incident to the appropriate authorities.

We regret this has taken place and for any inconvenience this may have caused you. We take your privacy very seriously, and we will continue to work diligently to protect your personal information. For more information on keeping your data safe, please visit: http://www.geeksquad.com/do-it-yourself/tech-tip/six-steps-to-keeping-your-data-safe.aspx.

Sincerely,

Barry Judge Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Best Buy

It's the End of the World As We Know It...

Read this snippet from a recent report about the changing face of advertising and then we'll get to the good stuff.

Traditional advertising players risk major revenue declines as budgets shift rapidly to new, interactive formats, which are expected to grow at nearly five times that of traditional advertising. To survive in this new reality, broadcasters must change their mass audience mind-set to cater to niche consumer segments, and distributors need to deliver targeted, interactive advertising for a range of multimedia devices…

OK. Here's the interesting part. The snippet above is from a report published by IBM. You read that correctly. Big Blue has chimed in on the state of advertising and how new media is going to turn the old model inside out.

  • From highly targeted ads on Facebook (you do have a Facebook page, right?) that allow you to focus on a key demographic, between the age of 30 and 60 that live in Florida to...
  • ...building a community around your blog to...
  • ...creating a fan base by publishing low quality (cheap) YouTube videos to...
  • ...using affiliate codes to cut out the middle man (publishing a book? use Lulu and Amazon) to...
  • ...creating a new level of transparency with Twitter to...
  • ...forming your own social network with Ning to...
  • ...building awareness about interests and links via Del.icio.us

All of these niche tools and markets have the ability to seriously impact the effectiveness of your company's advertising dollar or your personal reputation (you are managing your reputation online, right?)

The takeaway:

Learn to market the social presence of yourself or your company.

If IBM gets it, shouldn't you? It might just be the end of the advertising world as we know it and, you know what? I think I feel fine.

Is $15 Million Not Enough?

music_money.jpgSeriously, I am the only one that finds the current state of the music industry (and the larger entertainment industry) just pathetic? All you hear from the RIAA and MPAA day in and day out is how the internet is just killing their ability to deliver quality entertainment. Here is the latest horrid attempt from NBC president Steve Zucker. He is trying to convince us that earning $15M from the iTunes store in one year on re-purposed content is just not enough. Puh-lease. Napster (circa 2001) was the greatest thing to ever happen to the music industry since Jimi Hendrix. And the RIAA sued Napster out of existence (it still technically exists but you would be hard pressed to find someone that uses it). The RIAA has been suing individuals for stealing music off the internet ever since. Don't get me wrong. Stealing is wrong. BUT....the music industry has done NOTHING to replace the functionality of Napster that was so clearly appealing to their customers. Repeat after me: I PROMISE I WILL LISTEN TO MY CUSTOMERS.

The Takeaway: I could rant about this for hours but, as readers of this site, the message should be clear. Don't ignore your marketplace or, eventually, the marketplace will ignore you.