Customer journeys start with smartphones, but brands still don’t get mobile

Customers are not going to wait for brands to get the mobile journey right…they’ll move on and find someone else who gets them. Customers are increasingly and overwhelmingly mobile-first. For the most part, many brands are still learning how to optimize traditional e-commerce experiences let alone mobile sites and apps. The Amazons of the world don’t make it any easier to keep up. Yet every day, customers are reaching for their smartphones to learn about what to buy, what to do or where to go. But without being mobile-centric and integrating digital touchpoints, customer journeys are certain to be rife with obstacles between mobile sites and apps and even the desktop web.

Mobile journeys straddle mobile sites and apps

When customers reach for their smartphones to learn and make decisions, they begin a  mobile purchasing journey that’s complex and incredibly fragmented. As a result, the lines blur between mobile sites
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For Immediate Release 134: We start with Starbucks and end with drones

In this April edition of The Hobson & Holtz Report, Neville and Shel talk about…
  • Starbucks’ response to a racial incident in Philadelphia that went viral and sparked protests
  • In an effort to reduce “noise pollution,” Ghana wants Muslims to issue the call to prayer via WhatsApp
  • The line between earned and paid media is blurring and consumers don’t care which is which
  • There’s a reckoning coming for terms and conditions
  • Augmented Reality is making huge inroads (except in corporate communications)
  • Journalists in developing countries are using drones and sensors to cover environmental crimes and pollution
In his Tech Report, Dan York reports on what he found when he downloaded his Facebook data, Jordan Peel’s deepfake PSA from Barack Obama, why Chrome’s article recommendation feature could drive huge traffic to publishers, Flickr has been acquired by SmugMug (which plans to revitalize the photo service), and Mozilla has issued a call
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How to be a magazine publisher with Flipboard

Flipboard In the summer of 2010, a new visual way of consuming news stories was launched for iOS mobile devices – especially the iPad which had been released a few months earlier – in the form of Flipboard, an aggregator app that brought together content from social media, news feeds, photo sharing sites and other websites, and presented it in magazine format. This highly-appealing visual communication tool became popular very quickly on iPads and iPhones, enabling users to “flip” through the articles, images and videos being viewed in the app, and share them across their social networks. I discovered Flipboard when the company launched an app for Android devices two years later, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. The big appeal for me wasn’t using Flipboard purely as a method of consuming content in an attractive way, on my mobile devices as well as on the web (a
Flipboard Publishers
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How to be a magazine publisher with Flipboard

Neville Hobson
How to be a magazine publisher with Flipboard
Flipboard In the summer of 2010, a new visual way of consuming news stories was launched for iOS mobile devices – especially the iPad which had been released a few months earlier – in the form of Flipboard, an aggregator app that brought together content from social media, news feeds, photo sharing sites and other websites, and presented it in magazine format. This highly-appealing visual communication tool became popular very quickly on iPads and iPhones, enabling users to “flip” through the articles, images and videos being viewed in the app, and share them across their social networks. I discovered Flipboard when the company launched an app for Android devices two years later, and I’ve been a huge fan ever since. The big appeal for me wasn’t using Flipboard purely as a method of consuming content in an attractive way, on
Flipboard Publishers
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It’s not the End of Retail, It’s the End of Retail As We Know It

Retail, like every industry, faces digital Darwinism as technology and markets evolve and disrupt. This isn’t new. But what is clear, executives are not prioritizing bold strategies and investments that save them from their “Kodak Moment,” that moment when consumer behaviors and values evolve beyond brand recognition. If you read about the state of retail today, you’ll see dramatic descriptors such as “apocalypse,” “the end…,” “dying,” you get the picture. While doom and gloom and disruption is inherent in every industry, not everything is lost or hopeless. Those who recognize the gap between today’s value proposition and the evolution of what consumers value and why, will learn exactly how to not only close it but also ways to innovate and introduce new value. I recently spent time with Hal Conick of the AMA (American Marketing Association) to explore the state and future of retail. He wrote an exceptional
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Is podcasting about to get its tipping point?

NHC
Is podcasting about to get its tipping point?
Podcasts There’s been quite a sense of anticipation, if not excitement, among podcasters about Apple’s announcement last week on some significant enhancements the company is making this autumn to its podcast app for iPhones and other iOS devices. The big change in the app is potentially a game-changer for podcasting as it will provide podcasters with basic analytics functionality to offer evidence of listening behaviours by subscribers (where they paused in a podcast, how much of it they listened to, did they listen to all of it, etc) rather than just metrics on downloads (how many downloads, which country are downloaders in, what directory listing did they click, etc). In simple terms, it means podcasters will now be able to answer the question “How many listens does your podcast get?” with some confidence that will fill a major gap in understanding
iTunes Podcast Directory
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Would you make a decision to join or leave a company based on how you work?

Did you know that employees and employee prospects judge the immediate and long-term potential of a company by their reliance on desktop phones? To some it makes total sense. Why would any company have tethered devices to talk to someone else? Don’t we have mobile devices and apps for that? Besides, I’m always on the go. On the other hand, some might wonder as to why we would be having this conversation at all. Of course there are desktop phones! We’ve always worked this way. There are other more important initiatives IT and business managers need to think about any way. Both are true. With so many other priorities within the enterprise and so little resources to go around, why would companies give desktop phones any attention in their digital transformation efforts? Turns out that doing so is 1) low hanging fruit and 2) delivers short and long term ROI that
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In Mobile, Some Brands Are Their Own Worst Enemy

Sometimes, to succeed, you need to learn how to get out of your own way. That’s certainly the case for Starbucks and Panera Bread, according to March EVP Jodi Petrie. In her new LinkedIn Pulse piece, Jodi explains how the two brands are sabotaging the success of their new mobile ordering platforms. She argues that consumer adoption of mobile payments is slow not because shoppers don’t like the technology, but because retailers are struggling to integrate mobile payments into a fast, easy, enjoyable shopping experience. As a result, they’re unable to make the most of the customers who pay via mobile. The companies that create mobile payment technology could help solve this challenge, Jodi says. In her blog, she offers tips for how mobile tech providers can better communicate with their retail partners, giving them the tools they need to create powerful mobile-first buying experiences that customers love. You can read the full post here. And customers really
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Dial M for M-Commerce: Why Now’s the Time to Swipe Right for Mobile Revenue

all-this-technology-is-making-us-anti-social I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the mobile screen is the first screen, not the second screen. Design and invest accordingly. Tell me if you’ve heard (or experienced) this one before… You’re in the market for a new product. You’re on your mobile and you see something in social that prompts you to go online. You hop from page to page and site to site only to become increasingly frustrated with the process because the sites are incredibly difficult to navigate, relevant information is impossible to find, and you can’t complete a transaction without switching screens. Even though many sites/pages are optimized for small screens these days, they’re not optimized for mobile behavior and decision-making. Did you know that in mobile-first micro-moments (as Google calls them) that 90% of mobile customers are not sure which brand they want to choose and 73% will go with the brand
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Dial M for M-Commerce: Why Now’s the Time to Swipe Right for Mobile Revenue

all-this-technology-is-making-us-anti-social I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, mobile is the first screen, not the second screen. Design and invest accordingly. Tell me if you’ve heard (or experienced) this one before… You’re in the market for a new product. You’re on your mobile and you see something in social that prompts you to go online. You hop from page to page and site to site only to become increasingly frustrated with the process because the sites are incredibly difficult to navigate, relevant information is impossible to find, and you can’t complete a transaction without switching screens. Even though many sites/pages are optimized for small screens these days, they’re not optimized for mobile behavior and decision-making. Did you know that in mobile-first micro-moments (as Google calls them) that 90% of mobile customers are not sure which brand they want to choose and 73% will go with the brand that offers
pasted_image_10_17_16__7_52_am
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Privacy, WhatsApp and Facebook: a matter of trust

WhatsApp WhatsApp has been getting a bit of stick this past week with news of changes to its terms and privacy policy that will allow the messaging service to share your usage behaviours and other data with Facebook.
[…] by coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of.
There’s more to WhatsApp’s announcement, but it’s the changes to the privacy policy that have produced the most negative reaction as this handful of headlines suggests:

Privacy, WhatsApp and Facebook: a matter of trust

WhatsApp WhatsApp has been getting a bit of stick this past week with news of changes to its terms and privacy policy that will allow the messaging service to share your usage behaviours and other data with Facebook.
[…] by coordinating more with Facebook, we’ll be able to do things like track basic metrics about how often people use our services and better fight spam on WhatsApp. And by connecting your phone number with Facebook’s systems, Facebook can offer better friend suggestions and show you more relevant ads if you have an account with them. For example, you might see an ad from a company you already work with, rather than one from someone you’ve never heard of.
There’s more to WhatsApp’s announcement, but it’s the changes to the privacy policy that have produced the most negative reaction as this handful of headlines suggests:

Give your chatbot some real personality

C-3PO Chatbots are all the rage at the moment. These clever computer programs (algorithms, to be more precise) are popping up everywhere online to help you with mundane tasks from getting a weather forecast or currency exchange rate to travel planning to online shopping. Organizations everywhere are experimenting with these useful bits of technology, with varying degrees of success as part of the learning process (remember what happened to Microsoft’s Tay earlier this year?). If you use Siri on your iPhone, Cortana on a Windows 10 device, or say “Okay Google” on your Android device, arguably you’re using a chatbot. For the first two, Apple and Microsoft respectively sometimes describe these tools as “personal digital assistants” (PDA: there’s a déjà vu acronym) or “intelligent personal assistants.” Personally, I prefer IBM’s more precise descriptor of “cognitive personal assistant” although such a term embraces technology
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Meet the omni-channel experience that is Wimbledon 2016

Wimbledon app The 2016 tennis championships at Wimbledon started yesterday, June 27, and run until July 10. During these two weeks of intense competition, Wimbledon and the competing players will be names and brands in an event that will not only be on television screens large and small across the globe in real time and recorded, but also available and accessible on myriad devices, from smartwatches to big-screen PCs, almost anything that can connect to the global internet any time anywhere. To be sure, there’s a terrific amount of great tennis to interest and captivate tennis fans as the process of elimination in these championships reaches its culmination in the finals on the Centre and No 1 Courts on Sunday July 10. The courts will be packed, and a global live television and social media audience will be huge. Wimbledon truly is a global omni-channel (digital, social, TV and physical) experience. In
Wimbledon mobile app screenshots
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Hyper reality: merging physical and virtual realities

Hyper Reality Augmented reality will be a huge part of our individual and collective experiences in the not too distant future. Our daily lives will be like a journey in virtual reality except in actual reality, immersively overlaid with personalized information that we will engage with, where everything we do is part of a giant contest that awards points to reward behaviours and actions. This is a future vision that I think is persuasively presented in a high-definition video (embedded below) that runs a little over six minutes, created by London based designer and film-maker Keiichi Matsuda. It’s a project Matsuda calls Hyper Reality:
Hyper-Reality presents a provocative and kaleidoscopic new vision of the future, where physical and virtual realities have merged, and the city is saturated in media.
Since I posted this video on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, I’ve seen reference to it across the social web. It
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Ad blocking: reaching a tipping point for advertisers, publishers and consumers

fingeronsmartphone Last week, mobile operator Three UK announced it will block advertising on its network in a trial taking place in mid June. Three’s action marks a new milestone in long-running arguments about online advertising between the online advertising industry, individual web publishers, and consumers who are the targets for much of that content. There’s growing opinion – authenticated, so to speak, by the increasing use of software to block online advertising – that a large proportion of advertising delivered primarily via web browsers is obtrusive, annoying and unwanted. The explosive rise in ad blocking techniques, notably software you install on your computer that prevents display advertising showing in your web browser, finally gives control of such content to the consumer rather than the creator and distributor, who decides what advertising content they want to see on their online journeys. In its Q1 2016 Advertising Benchmarks report, comScore noted that such
Ad blocking growth [comScore report]
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Are chatbots in the workplace the entry point to cognitive personal assistants?

HR chatbot Like robots, artificial intelligence and machine learning, one topic getting a lot of attention at the moment is chatbots. Much of the news and commentary about these relatively simple computer programs have been on the negative side – Microsoft’s Tay, for instance, and the blanket coverage of the conversational meltdown that happened within days of the chatbot’s public trial in March. Not a good pointer to the utility and value of such algorithms! (I noticed, btw, that the Tay URL currently gives a DNS error rather than displays the site itself.) My take on this is a simple one – what we’re seeing now is just the tip of an iceberg where literally anyone can create a chatbot and make it openly available to meet a need where the tool and how it’s offered – text messaging typically via smartphones and also via computers with a computer algorithm
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Lights, camera, action: the unexpected rise of live online video

streaming mobile video One of the most credible articles I’ve read this year on what’s happening with live online video appeared in the Guardian last week. Written by Jerry Daykin, a global digital partner at Carat UK, the feature describes a complex landscape where live-video tools like Periscope, Facebook Live Video and Snapchat enable individuals to create and share content on-demand, yet highlights an issue that could have a big impact on how this landscape continues to evolve:
A growing problem for social platforms is not people’s willingness to watch video, but their ability to produce it – newsfeeds are increasingly dominated by video posts but few of them come from friends. Setting up, recording and uploading a video is a much bigger undertaking than just snapping a picture, and for all but the most spontaneous of moments it’s a process that requires more thought and effort that we’re willing to give, not to mention the pressure to
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3 great reads for this week

Inoreader starred Catching up this weekend with news and information in Inoreader, my RSS reader of choice on every device I use, I selected a good dozen or so stories to blog about when time permits. They all join a long list of in-draft posts that, by the time I really do get moments to complete and publish them, the attention opportunities will probably be long past. So I’ll share some of the actual stories directly in this aggregate post that might enlighten your Sunday/Monday morning reading if you hadn’t come across them until now. ICYMI, in other words. 3 great reads: One In Three Employees Don’t Trust Their Employers, says Rachel Miller citing a new report on employee advocacy by the Edelman PR firm. Miller says the report also highlights that more than two-thirds of employees feel their CEOs are too focused on short-term performance. As a result,
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Why Mobile First is No Longer Enough; It’s Time To Think About Mobile Only Design

For the last few years, “mobile first!” has become the mantra among savvy digital marketers. But a mobile first approach seems to be more of an ideology than it is a standard in digital design. Recent research shows that marketers still invest in mobile as an afterthought or as a bolt on to more mainstream digital programs. For some reason, executives still need more convincing to properly fund and support mobile initiatives that span the entire customer journey not just pieces of it. While mobile is often referred to as the second screen, the reality is that smartphones are really the first screen among connected consumers. It’s always within reach. And, it is the first place consumers go to communicate, research, and share. As of last year, mobile platforms accounted for 60% of total digital media time spent according to ComScore. And, mobile devices accounted for one in four
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