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On Multitasking, Integrated Social Accounts, and the Future

I know, a very heady and timely topic for someone that posts as infrequently as I do. I've been a little pre-occupied with my Twitter steam and ignoring this blog, but hopefully that will change and I'll be back to some semblance of weekly posting again soon. Anyway...

In the past few weeks there have been two big mobile OS announcements, and both of them have featured (at least publicly) the same thing.  Both Apple's new OS4 and RIM's new Blackberry 6 feature touch-interface based multitasking as well as integrated social networking accounts. Of course there were other things in Steve Jobs' 7 pillars and BB seems to be focusing on appealing to a younger demographic, but as far as consumers are concerned, multitasking and social integration are the big steps forward.

Those of you that follow me on Twitter (or have just glanced at the stream on the right) no doubt know about my feelings on these "innovations" from Apple and RIM. Simply put, Android has been doing multitasking out of the gate and Motorola has this great little UI called Motoblur that does an amazing job of social integration. I won't go into depth here about those two, other than to say that I love my Cliq XT simply because it handles both multitasking and integration so well, and all this before the Android 2.1 upgrade scheduled for this quarter!

What I'd really like to note here is that the adoption of these features by Apple and RIM (in addition to the Facebook announcements from F8 last week) should mean great things for the inter-connectivity of the web. The thing that I love about the integrated social accounts on the Cliq XT is that it allows me to have a true snapshot of my life. If you looked at my old phone, you would assume that I'm a recluse that orders a whole lot of take-out (nearly 30% of my phone book was dedicated to delivery joints in my neighborhood). Now when I look at my phone I see all of my work and personal contacts with an option on how to contact those that blur the boundaries.

Allowing people to feel connected (and indeed reflected) by their hardware will, in the long term provide a greater incentive for sharing and web usage, which is exactly what applications (like Facebook and Twitter) and cloud-based services like Google and now Microsoft want. This is also crucial information for marketers and advertisers to keep in mind.

Both the mobile and social spaces will continue to expand exponentially in the next 2-3 years (I include tablets in the mix here, since I see them more as mobile computing devices than a replacement for the desktop). Mobile gaming and location-based services should be in the front of mind when looking to emerging and new technology. Same with QR and AR, especially if Motorola continues to move forward in 3D tech for mobiles.

These are just a few suggestions for people and agencies to keep in mind when it comes to the utilization of next gen tech. What you do with it is of course entirely up to you.

Consumers don't even trust consumers anymore

Very interesting article from AdAge today on the results of Edelman's recently released Trust Barometer. According to Edelman consumer trust has dropped significantly in the 2009, with trust among friends and peers falling from 45% in 2008 to 25% in 2009. When asked about a "person like yourself", namely a blogger, or average people in testemonials, the percentages from from 45% to 39%. Interestingly though, consumer trust in CEO's had a year over year increase from 17 - 26%.

According to AdAge, "People have caught on to the fact marketers are increasingly behind that influential blog post or tweet. Despite regulations regarding disclosure of marketer-driven efforts, consumers may feel that whatever it is these people are receiving from companies positively influences their endorsements."

What does this mean to those of us who use digital media as a marketing communications tool? Has our field gotten the better of us where we are no longer able to rely on WOM from bloggers?

Perhaps one solution to this situation is to pull an idea from "The Great Schlep", the highly successful social media campaign starring Sara Silverman, and look instead to target those who influence our decision makers. \

WOM continues to be a strong tool, but it is necessary for marketers to remain nimble when crafting a campaign and look to not only the end consumer, but also to those who influence that consumer. Look to the children, grandchildren, co-workers, etc... as an additional tool for reaching your demographic.

Most importantly, be honest with your consumers. In this day and age if there is something that can come out and bite you it will.Toyota found that out the hard way, learn from their mistakes.

Establish trust on all levels and you'll be building the foundation for generations of brand loyal consumers.

New York Times Website May Charge: Will You Pay? [Mashable POLL]

Really NYT?  Are we really doing this again? People are not only accustomed to free news content, they expect it.  Unless you have a very defined niche (see WSJ) pay for news doesn't work.  Any news organization that will be competing with the NYTimes will see an instant increase in online readership when/if the NYT goes forward with a pay plan. I understand that the revenue from online ad sales do and will not make up for the loss of revenue from traditional print advertising.  Print publications need to look towards the expanding possibilities presented by e-readers.  CES this year featured a nearly endless supply of new readers from traditional emerging tech companies such as Aesus to entrenched traditional companies such as Barnes and Noble (with an new/update to the Nook).

People expect for the news to be free, that's not about to change.  However, people are willing to pay for a service that will make accessing that news easier.  A news outlet would be able to charge individuals to have items constantly updated on a reader, especially if it has the opportunity to present itself in a traditional format.

New York Times Website May Charge: Will You Pay? [POLL]

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Random thoughts on new techonologies

As new mobile communications technologies emerge, we're beginning to see the reality of real honest-to-god augmented reality (AR). Now I've never been one to go in for the VR/gamer version of AR. I'm more of an overlay/heads-up/constantly available encyclopedia kind of guy. Seeing the possibilities simply beginning to be explored with Google's Android platform and it's grab bag of GPS/accelerometers and other goodies of course brings one to think about the future of marketing and advertising. Previously sci-fi only visions of individually projected advertisements are beginning to become possible. If you can now identify landmarks and buildings via RFID tags and semantic visual searches, how long can it possibly be before there's a Pepsi advertisement plastered at the bottom of your cell? And is that really such a bad thing? From a marketing viewpoint it would be possible to truly target/segment your audience. Already in Asia and Europe purchases can be made through a cell phone via RFID, why is it improbable that you phone can/will/does store your purchase information and use that as a filter for your new AR advertisements? This would conceivably allow companies/organizations to develop even stronger engagement with their customers, even if this means seeing a Slurm ad while touring the Vatican.