iPhone

Direct Marketing: Who Does It Well?


I was recently asked who I think are some of the best direct response marketers today.  This is what I said:

I have chosen four brands that showcase different aspects of excellence in DR marketing: American Express, JetBlue, Target and Starbucks.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 2.17.29 PMAmerican Express:

American Express is a good example of a marketer that uses modeling, and mail/offer testing effectively. It also uses a wide range of channels, from mobile/geolocation to direct mail, email, social and telemarketing, and has even experimented with addressable television.

American Express uses its reserve of transactional and other data to target and space offers and to reach customers through their individually preferred channels. I personally receive and respond to offers via my mobile device through the geolocation application foursquare. These offers are timely, relevant and easy to redeem. Once I have “unlocked” a special offer, American Express applies the discount directly to my statement. This program originated as a way to drive activity for AMEX’s small business customers; however, it is equally valuable for card members. The direct application of the rebate to a card holder’s statement resulted from research that showed that members often feel uncomfortable or inconvenienced by having to show a coupon at a restaurant or other place of business.

American Express offers are tied to segmentation such as the type of card or specific activity. For example, Gold card members receive a Platinum offer every 3-4 months, a customer who shops at Petsmart might receive a $10 offer for a future purchase there, and someone who travels might receive offers related to places he or she has visited or for a traditional AMEX product set such as Sign and Travel.

My understanding is that American Express dedicates 15% of its budget to testing. This reflects the brand’s commitment to continuous learning, using controls and checks, trying new things, tweaking, and defining and tracking measures of success.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 2.09.49 PMJetBlue:

JetBlue uses DR marketing more for relationship building than acquisition. They manage the relationship with their patrons in a structured and fun way that clearly reflects the brand’s personality.

JetBlue is a good example of brand that demonstrates its relevance to the customer, expresses itself in its own voice, and delivers timely and appropriate messages. In addition, the brand and the message stand out and add value to the relationship for both parties.

The JetBlue birthday email depicted here is simple, unexpected, quick and to the point. It recognizes the fact that people are likely to fly around the time of their birthday and offers a potential bonus for flying with JetBlue.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 2.23.04 PMJetBlue uses social channels such as twitter for both promotion and customer service. In this twitter exchange, you can see the airline’s promotional offer: “Spread yur wings & try an exciting new destination w/ flgts from $59.” The message is short and enticing with an effective call to action and means to take action by clicking on the link. Note that the reach of this offer has been amplified by being retweeted. In addition, this exchange demonstrates how JetBlue’s social customer care presence is consistent with its brand personality. The response from the JetBlue representative to M Schackne is energetic, playful, timely and personal – showing a consistency across channels.

19cover2-sfSpan-v3Target:

Target used sophisticated statistical modeling to identify mothers-to-be by mapping buying behaviors of loyalty card members to those who had signed up for baby registries – thus giving Target access to a highly profitable customer segment.

Because birth records are usually public, new parents are immediately inundated by all kinds of offers and advertisements, so the Holy Grail is to reach these parents before their child is born. Target was able to pinpoint customers who were pregnant and even estimate their due date. This allowed them to send extremely targeted offers to drive in-store traffic. Some say that this strategy of reaching new families and making them loyal Target customers was key to Target’s revenue growth of $44 billion in 2002 to $67 billion in 2010.

Target’s strategy became public due to a New York Times article that featured a story in which Target knew that a teenager was pregnant before she had told her family. This story highlights the fine line between relevant and “creepy” that direct marketers must navigate in this age of big data and personalization. DR marketing is permission based, and we must be careful not to impose upon customers’ good will and sense of comfort.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 2.20.41 PMStarbucks

Starbucks uses digital, particularly mobile, channels to integrate itself into the day-to-day lives of its customers, from “home to store to home.”

Through its mobile application, Starbucks sends offers that range from value added items such as free music and applications to specific offers to try new products for free or at a discount.

Starbucks also uses this channel to provide loyalty rewards, which include free products. Other offers encourage and enable customers to serve as advocates by, for example, tweeting promotional offers to friends.

 


Mobile Facts Change So Fast! – a repository for key mobile stats and facts (2011+)


On at least three occasions, I have written posts that incorporated a summary of notable stats about mobile apps and the mobile space in general to set the scene for a topical discussion.  But the facts change so fast that I was continuously updating the posts, and the posts had a tendency to grow and grow at the rate of foursquare subscribers.  (See here for 2010 post) So, I’m starting afresh and focusing specifically on notable mobile facts starting with these:

A mobile marketing strategy is a must-have for retailers - and, I would venture, anyone that sells products to consumers.  In fact, with today’s predictive marketing capabilities, retailers and marketers can target purchase intenders at the time and place of potential purchase.

Nine out of 10 smartphone shoppers use their phone for “pre-shopping” activities like finding store locations, comparing prices and reading product reviews. Source: Google via Shop.org Think Tank. 07/24/2013

Teens and Mobile (July 2011 data, except where noted) – Pew Research:

  • As of July 2011, 77% of teens have a cell phone (Teens, Smartphones & Texting).
  • Older teens ages 14 to 17 are substantially more likely to have a cell phone than younger teens ages 12 and 13 – 87% of older teens have a cell phone, compared with 57% of younger teens.
  • 23% of teens have a smartphone; 54% have a regular cell phone (or are not sure what kind of phone they have), and another 23% of teens do not have a cell phone at all.
  • Overall, half (49%) of all American teens have gone online on their mobile phones in the last 30 days.
  • The bulk of teens are 12 or 13 when they get their first cell phone (see: Is the age at which kids get cell phones getting younger?)(September 2009).
  • See more in the Teens, Smartphones & Texting report.

Teens and Communication choices (July 2011, except where noted) – Pew Research:

Texting dominates teens’ general communication choices. Overall, 75% of all teens text, and 63% say that they use text to communicate with others every day.

  • 39% of teens make and receive voice calls on their mobile phones every day.
  • 35% of all teens socialize with others in person outside of school on a daily basis.
  • 29% of all teens exchange messages daily through social network sites.
  • 22% of teens use instant messaging daily to talk to others.
  • 19% of teens talk on landlines with people in their lives daily.
  • 6% of teens exchange email daily.

Teens and Texting (July 2011, except where noted) – Pew Research:

The volume of texting among teens has risen from a median 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts for the typical teen text user.

Older girls remain the most enthusiastic texters, with a median of 100 texts a day in 2011, compared with 50 for boys the same age.

Click here for more on what teens do with their phones.

26% of American teens of driving age say they have texted while driving, and 48% of all teens ages 12 to 17 say they’ve been a passenger while a driver has texted behind the wheel (September 2009 survey; see Teens and Distracted Driving)

This is the year of the Tablet:

About 68.7 million tablets shipped worldwide in 2011, according to IDC, which forecasts 106.1 million units to ship this year (April 17, 2012)

Smart Phones have reached the tipping point:

86% of mobile internet users are using their devices while watching TV.  Are people fast forwarding through your commercials or engaging with their smart phones while they’re on?  If so, has your commercial motivated them to do something related to your brand or prompted them to do something else to pass the time?

Android Apps Reach 400,000

In December 2011, Google celebrated their ten billionth Android app download, and now new research from mobile app analytics firm Distimo reports that there are 400,000 apps available in the Android Market. (Scroll all the way down for a post about Android apps reaching 90,000 in July 2010!)

Free apps make up a considerable portion of that 400,000, and Distimo’s research indicates that the ratio of free to paid apps has jumped from 60% to 68% over the last eight months. Distimo pegs the prevalence of free apps on the current popularity of the freemium  app economy, which also isn’t much of a surprise considering the potential payouts inherent to the model.

Mobile Is a Hotbed of VC

Mobile marketing was the most active segment within digital advertising for mergers, acquisitions and investments in 2011, according to a new report from marketing and media investment bank Petsky Prunier.

The iPad Revolution:

Only 13% of Web Traffic Is Mobile:

While mobile devices are expected to surpass laptops and desktops for accessing the Internet, they account for only 13% of web traffic today (still not shabby).  This is due in part to the lack of mobile optimized websites, a situation that is changing.  Within the 13%, more than 80% of comes from iPhone and iPads:

40% of Mobile Phones Are Smart Phones (Source: Nielsen)

Becoming the Primary Means for Accessing the Internet

Mobile devices and connected TVs are expected to overtake personal laptops within the next year as a means for accessing the Internet.  I hope your website is optimized for mobile and mobile search…

“I Love My MacBerry”  – Literally

  • A study using MRI scans showed evidence of not only addiction to iPhones but also Love.  (I admit it.  I’m hopelessly hooked.  I’m even willing to put up with the fact that my AT&T iPhone often hangs up on me.  Is that a sign of codependency?)

iPads, iPhones, iPods and More – How Many Were Sold in Apple’s 4Q 2011

  • The Company sold 17.07 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 21 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.
  • Apple sold 11.12 million iPads during the quarter, a 166 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. (That’s 20.37 million iPads in Apple’s fiscal 2011 2H – ALONE, which does not include what will likely be a huge holiday purchase season for the device, and annualizes to 44.5 million per year)
  • The Company sold 4.89 million Macs during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter.
  • Apple sold 6.62 million iPods, a 27 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

iPads, iPhones, iPods and More – How Many Were Sold in Apple’s 3Q 2011

  • 9.25 million iPads were sold during Apple’s 3rd quarter, 2011, up 183 % vs. year-ago (That would annualize to 37 million per year.)
  • 20.34 million iPhones were sold, up 142 percent vs. year ago (That’s a pretty nice stat – and impressive given growth of the Android.  A testament to the dramatic growth of smartphone in general)
  • (That means that nearly 30 million iPads and iPhones were sold this quarter.)
  • 3.95 million Macs, up 14 percent vs. year-ago (iPads cannibalizing Macs.  I would say, “yup.”  Especially laptops – by all manufacturers – and, perhaps MacBook Airs.  I think the Christmas season is going to blow the current iPad number out of the water)
  • 7.54 million iPods, a 20 percent unit decline from year-ago.  (I saw a young man on the subway today using the iPhone as an iPod with headphones – ironic as he had to hold the relatively large device.)
Observations,  Implications and Hypotheses:
  • Nearly 30 million iPhones and iPads were sold.  Compare that to less than 4 million Macs (laptops and desktops, up only 14 percent vs. year-ago) – and less than 8 million iPods, DOWN from year ago.  iPads and iPhones seem to be cannibalizing laptop, desktop and iPod sales.
  • More than twice as many iPads sold as Macs.  iPads are definitely cannibalizing laptop sales
  • iPad sales equivalent to 1/2 iPhone sales
  • In sum, iPads are HOT.  They’re starting to reach a tipping point from: it’s cool to have one to it’s not cool not to have one (I hope that made sense, i.e., it’s becoming embarrassing to not have one – I predict I’ll give into peer pressure within the year at most)
  • Quite a large increase in iPhone sales given growth of Android penetration; hence, it seems that the overall pie is heating up

Source: Apple 3Q earnings report

Being Mobile at Home

Don’t mistake mobile device usage with being mobile… A good chunk of time spent with smart phones, PDAs, iPads, eReaders and other such devices is spent at home.  Think about it.  Picture your well-wired friend – or maybe it’s you – with a laptop before you, a smartphone in your hand, an iPad on the sofa beside you, and an Internet connected TV shimmering its HD (or 3D) images from across the room.  In fact, the latest data from ComScore shows that tablets have the highest share of traffic for digital news consumption during evenings, beating out computers (as well as smart phones) in at-home news consumption. (Source: Moxie Pulse)  Moreover, GlobalWebIndex data suggests that, globally, half of those who access the mobile web do so from home or work, rather than while traveling or “roaming,” or while in a public place.

91 MM Americans Use Mobile Search

Overall, more than 91 million US consumers use the Internet through a mobile device at least monthly, and this increase in on-the-go web usage goes hand in hand with more search activity, particularly for local content.  20% of mobile search users do so almost every day.

Meanwhile, the debate between App and Wap (ok, browser) continues, with mobile search engine usage currently exceeding search via apps by 70% as of August 2011 – According to Yahoo! and Ipsos, via eMarketer.

Facts from Jimmy Wales at OMMA Global (September 26, 2011)

  • One out of every two Americans owns a smartphone [whoah, that's DOUBLE the 25% shown for Q2 2010 if you scroll down]
  • 15.1 million tablets shipped worldwide (I have seen other numbers for this metric that I will add to this post… Ok, eMarketer is estimating 24MM for 2011 and 46MM in 2012)

Android is #1 U.S. Mobile Operating System – Q2 2011

  • As of June 2011, the Android operating system accounted for 39% of the total U.S. mobile market, making it the #1 mobile operating system in the country.
  • Apple maintains its share of 28% share, while Blackberry OS from RIM (Research in Motion)  has fallen from market leadership (nearly 40% in 2009 – scroll down) to third position with only 20% market share.
  • These three operating systems (representing 87% of the market) are followed by Windows Mobile/WP7 (9%), Palm/HP Web OS (2%), and Nokia’s Symbian OS (2%)
  • Apple is the leading handset maker in the United States whilst Android is the top mobile operating system. (Nielsen)
  • Apple overtook Nokia to become the world’s leading smartphone vendor in July (Nielsen research and IDC figures)
  • According to a report by the NPD Group, the Android operating system accounted for 52% of the smartphones sold in the second quarter of 2011, up from 36 percent sold in Q1 2011 according to previous data by Gartner.


Geolocation: What Art Thou to Me? Part VII


Welcome to the continuation of a day in the life of geolocation and me.  Not really a day but several years.  I started keeping this little journal (in chronological rather than blog order…) several years ago (three?) when I first met Baratunde Thurston and Dennis Crowley and joined Foursquare.  I was so fascinated by the “game” from so many perspectives: a user, the founders, national marketers, local retailers, data junkies like myself.  So, in the name of good ethnographic and social anthropological research, I started keeping this journal of my time with geolocation.  I welcome you to check it out should you like to share my thoughts:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Little to no mention of geolocation here at Social Media Week NYC thus far. Get Glue (not really LBS) was represented on a panel. No sign of Dennis Crowley. Pinterest and Instagram (which does have a bit of a geolocation aspect) are all the talk at the moment.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Facebook has recently enabled Near Field Communication (NFC). Is this this first step towards social commerce such that you can transact within the social environment as you can within the Facebook newsfeed?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Starting in August 2011, I have posted several entries about Amex’s foursquare program. (See, for example, January 13th above.) For more insight and information, check out this live stream video of a Social Media Week panel. As a consumer, I did not realize at first that the strategy came from the B2B perspective, i.e., as a value add/service for AMEX’s small business customers (AMEX Open). The consumer insight was that AMEX cardholders, especially affluent ones, don’t want to pull out coupons or even show their foursquare checkin to a waiter or clerk. This way, by activating a special offer by simply checking in on foursquare and getting the discount credited directly to the user’s AMEX account, it can all be done discreetly (and simply). Now that I’ve got it all connected, I really like it, although… I haven’t had any relevant check-in specials pop up recently. Maybe I need to get out more.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dennis Crowley (the founder of Foursquare) is starring in an ad for Best Buy and Samsung smart phones.  Does that mean Foursquare is in the public consciousness or that smart phones have gone mainstream. Or both? I have to remind myself that there are people who don’t have smart phones. In fact there are people who don’t have access as to the Internet, as evidenced by a public service campaign I saw recently.  To the second point, I recently had a moment of insight during a recent trip to Atlanta.  As I sat on the MART public transport system with my new iPad, I downloaded an app of the public transport system to familiarize myself with the journey, mapped the journey from the transit stop to my hotel, sent “text” messages to my tennis partner, checked my email, thumbed through my digital photo album and listened to music, I looked up to realize that no one else on the train was using a mobile device.  Ok.  One.  There was one person using an iPhone.  For those of you in NYC, I invite you to count the number of smartphones and tablets in use in any one car of a subway, particularly in Manhattan.  I would venture to say 75-80% are “plugged in.”  Very useful, of course, because it’s completely taboo to make eye contact with anyone else on the train.

American Express continues to leverage and expand its program with foursquare – and twitter.  It’s expecially evident during these three weeks of restaurant week.  I was pleasantly surprised during a recent visit to Aquavit that AMEX would reimburse me $5 for my $24 meal if I checked in and activated the offer on foursquare.  In fact, when I check into four restaurants (on my way…), I will receive an additional bonus – $20, I believe.  Today, I checked into China Grill and was devastated to realize that I had left my linked AMEX in my office!  I had taken it out of my wallet to buy a cookie for someone in my office.  That $4 cookie just became a $9 cookie!

Similarly, I recently checked into Andy’s Deli and received a notification that I would get $5 back if I spent $10.  This is part of a “Shop Small” program to encourage small, local establishments to accept AMEX.  I immediately upgraded my $3 salad to a $10 expenditure that included extra add-ins as well as two big bottles of water.  Unfortunately, I realized the next day, when I unlocked a similar special at the nail salon, that I needed to click through one more screen to activate the deal.  I had not done so the day before.  Hence, my additional $7 in expenditures went unrewarded.  I contemplated going back to buy 4 bottles of water for $7 rather than $12 but didn’t want to mess up my pedicure on the walk home.

August 19th, 2012

I’ve just been ousted as Mayor of the Central Park Tennis Center.  Truly devastating after 212 check ins.  I’m not kidding. :-(

Techno-Disaster Averted


ImageWalking home from tennis with my iPad and my iPhone in my open summer purse.  Saw the lightning…

Quickened my gait.  Felt the raindrops!

Jumped a bus.  Arranged the devices as best I could.  I’ve seen this before…

Pulled the cord.  Leapt to the pavement.

Dashed three blocks in my Pliner wedge sandals.  Running between the raindrops, as my mother likes to say.

Made it home!

Watched the people scurry to safety from my window.  Watched the light show from my desk.

Techno-disaster averted.

Geolocation: What Art Though to Me? Part VI


Each day, geolocation has a unique impact on my life as I watch the way it influences my city, myself, and increasingly, my world. A few months after joining foursquare in 2010, I decided to keep a journal of my new life with geolocation.

You have now entered Part VI this ongoing tale – tracking the personal, sociological and historic milestones associated with the rapidly growing service/game/application. Click on the Geolocation tab for the full story or check my archives for Parts III,  IIIIV and V.

 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eureka!  I’ve rediscovered specials and – in a way – trending on FourSquare.  And, in the process, I happened upon a tie in with Groupon.  It’s all so incestuous, these frenemies.  In the images below, please note: (a) “Special” next to my local designer pizza joint Freddie and Pepper’s  – tied in with Groupon (b) little person image next to the Beacon that shows that 12 people have checked in (c) This is new to me – “Show” icon next to the Beacon.  I’ll have to investigate that further.  Something GetGlue-ish???

Just arrived home from a phenomenal meal at a restaurant in Chelsea called Westville – an amazing meal thanks to all the people who left me tips on foursquare, from the scores of them who recommended the four market sides for $14 to a non anonymous stranger named Frank, who recommended the chocolate pecan pie.  My friend Nancy and I thank you all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It seems that my taste in primetime television is on par with other GetGlue users – and that the app (which is not actually geolocation but was initially positioned as the foursquare for people who stay home..) is gaining serious traction.  I checked into “New Girl” along with 7,173 other viewers and joined 14,682 other Glee fans when I checked into that show.  I watched both via DVR.  Keep you eye on this one.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Have you checked out Square’s Card Case app. You should. If only to experience the art of what’s possible. You can pay for things by simply giving your name to the retailer.

Ok, so I’m working my way through Mary Meeker’s 2011 Internet trends and discovering all kinds of treats and terms along the way.  Many of which are mobile, and many of which are location based.  (I’ve even adopted a new phrase: “Geosocial networking.”  Nice.)  Here’s one I find intriguing: Shopkick. And here’s what they have to say about themselves:
“shopkick gives you awesome deals and rewards simply for walking into your favorite stores. You can collect your kicks™ rewards at millions of stores in America, and great deals at many of the top national retailers.

Collect walk-in rewards: Have you ever gotten rewarded simply for walking into stores – yes, just for visiting? Now you can collect boatloads of kicks™ in the kicks Reward Program and unlock awesome exclusive deals at your favorite stores. Just walk into 1,300 Best Buy stores in all 50 states, and hundreds of Target stores, Macy’s, American Eagle, Sports Authority, Crate&Barrel, West Elm, Wet Seal and the largest Simon malls! Open the shopkick app on your iPhone or Android phone in the entrance area, and wait for a few seconds. Your shopkick app will reward you instantly.  shopkick is adding more stores in more cities every month.

Get exclusive deals: Discover and unlock awesome deals in the shopkick app at dozens of national stores, many of them are exclusively offered to shopkick users only.

Collect scan rewards: Collect additional kicks rewards by scanning barcodes of featured products with your phone at 250,000 stores across the United States.

Redeem your kicks™ for rewards! Get rewards like iTunes gift cards, restaurant vouchers, Best Buy/Target/Macy’s/American Eagle/Sports Authority instant gift cards, Facebook Credits, movie tickets, or if you go all out, a 3D 55″ Sony Bravia HDTV or a cruise around the world! And if you want to change the world, donate your kicks to 30 different causes!”

Friday, November 18, 2011

The next (current) phase in location based services is Near Field Communication (NFC).  (I call it a LBS because the two devices need to be near each other.) Here’s how wikipedia defines NFC:

NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION, or NFC, allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and wireless connections between two devices in proximity to each other, usually by no more than a few centimeters.  It is expected to become a widely used system for making payments by smartphone in the United States. [Gosh, it seems like decades ago that I read about Japan doing this.  Oh right, it was.  It was commonplace as long ago as early 2006 when I did my first mobile study for BusinessWeek.] Many smartphones currently on the market already contain embedded NFC chips that can send encrypted data a short distance (“near field”) to a reader located, for instance, next to a retail cash register. Shoppers who have their credit card information stored in their NFC smartphones can pay for purchases by waving their smartphones near or tapping them on the reader, rather than using the actual credit card. Co-invented by NXP Semiconductors and Sony in 2002, NFC technology is being added to a growing number of mobile handsets to enable mobile payments, as well as many other applications.

And, here are some of the applications (by applications, I mean uses) – again, from wikipedia:

(1) Social Networking

NFC simplifies and expands social networking options:

  • File Sharing: Tap one NFC device to another to instantly share a contact, photo, song, application, video, or website link.
  • Electronic business card: Tap one NFC device to another to instantly share electronic business cards or resumes.
  • Electronic money: To pay a friend, you could tap the devices and enter the amount of the payment.
  • Mobile gaming: Tap one NFC device to another to enter a multiplayer game.
  • Friend-to-friend: You could touch NFC devices together to Facebook friend each other or share a resume or to “check-in” at a location.

(2) Bluetooth and WiFi Connections

NFC can be used to initiate higher speed wireless connections for expanded content sharing.

  • Bluetooth: Instant Bluetooth Pairing can save searching, waiting, and entering codes. Touch the NFC devices together for instant pairing.
  • WiFi: Instant WiFi Configuration can configure a device to a WiFi network automatically. Tap an NFC device to an NFC enabled router.

(3) eCommerce

NFC expands eCommerce opportunities, increases transaction speed and accuracy, while reducing staffing requirements. A Personal identification number (PIN) is usually only required for payments over $100 (in Australia) and £15 (in UK).

  • Mobile payment: An NFC device may make a payment like a credit card by touching a payment terminal at checkout or a vending machine when a PIN is entered.
  • PayPal: PayPal may start a commercial NFC service in the second half of 2011.[15][16]
  • Google Wallet is an Android app that stores virtual versions of your credit cards for use at checkout when a PIN is used.
  • Ticketing: Tap an NFC device to purchase railmetroairline, movie, concert, or event tickets. A PIN is required.
  • Boarding pass: A NFC device may act as a boarding pass, reducing check-in delays and staffing requirementsFr.
  • Point of Sale: Tap an SmartPoster tag to see information, listen to an audio clip, watch a video, or see a movie trailer.
  • Coupons: Tapping an NFC tag on a retail display or SmartPoster may give the user a coupon for the product.
  • Tour guide: Tap a passive NFC tag for information or an audio or video presentation at a museum, monument, or retail display (much like a QR Code).

(4) Identity documents

NFC’s short range helps keep encrypted identity documents private.

  • ID card: An NFC enabled device can also act as an encrypted student, employee, or personal ID card or medical ID card.
  • Keycard: An NFC enabled device may serve as car, house, and office keys.
  • Rental Car and hotel keys: NFC rental car or hotel room keys may allow fast VIP check-in and reduce staffing requirements.

The future (or past…) is here.
Sunday, December 4th, 2011

I’ve checked into the Central Park Tennis Center 88 times and into my apartment building 726 times.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

On Monday of this week, Gowalla was acquired by Facebook.  That’s huge.  What impact will this have on foursquare?

Friday, January 13, 2012

The American Express tie-in with Foursquare has been simplified and is quite nice.  When you check into a participating location, you are notified of an AMEX special.  If you use your AMEX card there, you get a $10 credit on your statement.  Nice.  I’ve used it at a restaurant and a nail salon.  It’s a good promotion because it encourages you to use your AMEX card to pay – at the time and point of purchase.  Moreover, it gives you an incentive to spend at least $10, a requirement I met easily with my yummy chicken parmesan and lovely pedicure.  What will be especially valuable is to use it for an $11 manicure…

If you’d like to read more of my thoughts on geolocation, click on the Geolocation tab or check out Part V of this series.

Mobile Facts Change So Fast – 2010


On at least three occasions, I have written posts that incorporated a summary of notable stats about mobile apps and the mobile space in general to set the scene for a topical discussion.  But the facts change so fast that I was continuously updating the posts, and the posts had a tendency to grow and grow at the rate of foursquare subscribers.  So, I’m breaking 2010 into its own post.  It’s not meant to relegate it to the past because it’s not only fascinating but important to see from whence we’ve come.  So feel free to compare these stats and info graphics to those in the 2011-2012 post.

Smartphone Penetration and Share Q3 2010

  • Twenty-eight percent of US mobile subscribers have smartphones as of Q3 2010, according to data from The Nielsen Company
  • 41% of recent mobile phone acquirers have smartphones
  • Among US smartphone owners, the Apple iPhone OS has practically caught up to the market-leading RIM Blackberry OS, with 28% and 30% marketshare
  • Google’s Android OS is now at 19% and growing.
  • The Android is less than 2 1/2 years old – AndroLib.com

Smartphone Penetration and Share 1st Part of 2010

  • Droid outsold Apple: In the first half of 2010, Google-powered Android phones outsold Apple’s iPhone in the U.S. (Nielsen)
  • Among consumers who purchased a smartphone in the first half of 2010, 27% opted for Android phones, compared with 23% who bought an iPhone. Android’s total market share of 13% still lags well behind both Apple (28%) and Research in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry (35%).
  • Look at Droid go!  Look at Droid grow!

App vs. WAP

  • The discussion of Apps vs. WAPs is heating up with the growth of the Android market and the number of Android champions – Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Google, etc.  The advantage of the mobile app is that it can tap into other mobile apps – and, for me, it’s just cleaner and faster to get to.  The advantage of the WAP (wireless application protocol) is that it can be richer and closer to the online experience.
  • Apple has revolutionized the mobile space by spurring the development of 200,000+ mobile apps for Apple platforms.  Google is calling the browser the “killer app” for mobile that will eradicate the need for developers to create different apps for each platform: Apple, Android, etc.  Personally, I don’t see the app marketplace going away any time soon.  The use of browser applications may increase as connectivity speed increases (says the poor woman with the AT&T service plan), but I would advise my clients to cover their bases with iPhone, iPad, Droid, and WAP versions – at the least.

Apple’s Spring Season (quarter ending June 26th, 2010)

  • Apple sold nearly 12 million iphones and ipads in the quarter ending June, 2010
  • 3.5 million Macs and 8.4 million iPhones were sold, with  iPhone sales increasing 61% versus year ago.
  • The Company began selling iPads during the quarter, with total sales of 3.3 million.
  • iPod sales declined 8% versus year ago, tapping out at 9.4 million units

Apple’s Summer Season (quarter ending September 25th, 2010)

Apple sold:

  • 3.89 million Macs (+ 27 % vs. YAGO)
  • 14.1 million iPhones (+ 91 %)
  • 9.05 million iPods (-11%) – looks like iPhones are cannibalizing iPods
  • 4.19 million iPads (that means 7.49 million since introduction last quarter)

RIM sold 12.1 million units in their last reported quarter – as a point of comparison

Apple achieved its highest revenue ever this quarter ($20.3 billion)

Apple Apps

  • As of September 1, 2010, there are at least 250,000 third-party applications officially available on the App Store, with over 6.5 billion total downloads (“Apple Special Event” via wikipedia)
  • As of June 22, 2010, there were more than 11,000 new applications created exclusively for the iPad (Apple)
  • This does not include “unauthorized” iPhone apps
  • There is a category of apps developed to help people discover… apps.  Notable examples include: AppMiner, BargainBin and StoreExtend for finding bargains and seeing what’s new; Apple’s own iPhone Apps Recommendations and Genius offerings; and Appsfire, Appsaurus, Appolicious, Apptizr and Chomp for recommendations and reviews.
  • iPhone customers who go to the App Store download almost twice as many programs as those who use Google Inc.’s Android Market or BlackBerry’s App World, according to a study from Nielsen Co. (via Bloomberg, September 13, 2010)

How Wired Are We – U.S.?

  • There were 291 million U.S. wireless subscribers as of June 2010
  • 93% of Americans have a mobile phone
  • The number of consumers accessing the mobile Internet in the United States has jumped from 54 million in May 2009 to 72 million in May 2010, a year-over-year increase of 33 percent (Nielsen)
  • Multipurpose smartphones that allow users to access the web and email as well as run thousands of apps and share text and picture messages reached 25% of the U.S. mobile market in June 2010, up from 23% in the prior quarter and 16% just one year ago (data from The Nielsen Company published on its blog Nielsenwire). By the end of 2011, Nielsen predicts smartphones to overtake feature phones in the U.S. market.

How Wired Are We – Globally?

  • There are approximately 5 billion mobile phones in the world; that’s more than two mobile phones for every three people on the planet.  (4.6 billion at the end of 2009; 4.7 billion according to U.N. in February; expected to reach 5 billion in 2010)
  • There are currently 636 million mobile subscribers in India, representing 65% of the population.  The subscription base is expected to reach full penetration by 2014, creating a market of 1.2 billion mobile subscribers. (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India – TRIA, Gartner, Informa Telecoms and Media – July and May 2010)

Ad Networks for Sale

  • In November 2009, Google purchased AdMob for $750 million
  • In January of 2010, Apple acquired Quattro Wireless for $275 million
  • After stating that Google and Apple overpaid for their acquisitions, RIM opted not to purchase Millenial Media for the ad network’s $400-500 MM asking price

The All Elusive Mobile Metrics and Analytics

  • Nokia acquired Motally, an analytics firm that provides companies with data that helps them profile their customers – August 20th, 2010

Mobile Advertising

  • US mobile ad spending is expected to increase nearly 80% in 2010 to reach $743 million. eMarketer estimates that mobile ad spend will exceed $1 billion in 2011 ($1.1 billion) (eMarketer, October 2010)
  • Brand recall rates from mobile marketing are 20 times greater than for the web and 10 times greater than for direct mail (HipCricket via Mobile 4 Franchises – October 26, 2010)

Mobile Health

  • 70% med students own iPhone/iTouch, + 39% vs. 2009. 24% plan to switch to Android –ePocrates, summer 2010
  • Stanford School of Medicine has given an iPad to every incoming student in the Class of 2014.
  • According to an interview with Manhattan Research’s Monique Levy posted on the blog sitePixels and Pills, nearly 75% of physicians have smart phones – 3 times the general population.
  • According to Manhattan Research, as reported on darkdaily.com, smartphone penetration among physicians is expected to reach to 82% by 2011, with more than half that number using the devices for such tasks as administrative work, continuing medical education, and patient care.
  • 20% of physicians plan to get an iPad within the first year of its introduction – Epocrates, February 2010
  • 20 million U.S. adults are accessing health information from cell phones, smart phones or PDAs – a number that has doubled in the last year (March 2010, mmm)

Android Apps

That actually took me quite by surprise.  I had heard and believed estimates that there would be 150,000 Android apps by the end of 2010 back, I believe, in late 2009 or at the start of the year.  But during Internet Week, I was hearing numbers closer to 40,000 (apps available at that time) and over a recent dinner with Sony Ericsson execs, the number I was hearing was 60,000.

But Sebastien Chalmeton tweeted this morning that Android had surpassed the 100K mark – on about the same day that foursquare passed the 2 million mark, by the way, so I am hereby sharing that up to date mobile stat.

However… on July 14th, I attended a talk by a Google mobile executive, and the number he was given by Google PR was, in fact, 65,000, which is more consistent with what I had been hearing  I will have to circle back with AndroLib to understand the discrepancy.  Quite a contrast with Apple’s App Store – single provider, single source of data.  Does Droid have that kind of walled garden approval structure?

  • A year ago, there were 10,000 Android apps – AndroLib.com, July 10, 2010

Taking Flight… My Summer in Warsaw after the Fall of the Berlin Wall – June 23, 1990


This evening as I was organizing my closet, I came across my journal from the summer of 1990 (yes, 21 years ago).  Now, this might serve as interesting reading just because of the passage of time, but in this case, it was particularly noteworthy, because it journaled my summer in Poland as part of a team with Jeffrey Sachs just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, i.e., when Poland was trying to become a market economy.  A pivotal period of history.  Well, I couldn’t put it down, and an hour later, I find myself sharing it with you.  I hope you find this window into the Poland of 1990 as intriguing as I did.

June 23rd, 1990 at 6:45am

Dear Journal,

I know I should sleep, but I am too excited…

I love to fly!  I don’t love sitting here, but I love what flying represents.  I had been looking forward to the takeoff of this flight with such anticipation.  Taking off is so definitive.  It means that you are leaving one place and going to another.  And while you are doing so, you are restricted to being alone with yourself and thinking about what you are doing.  It is forced down time – to read or write or watch a movie or meet people or listen to music or just think.  (Do you remember those days – no electronic/mobile communication devices – just books and in-flight movies and portable tape players) And you can’t turn back.  You can’t change your mind.  And there are a limited number of daily tasks you can attend to while you are flying.

This flight is so significant.  It is a turning point, and it represents freedom.

Traveling like this simplifies my life.  There are a finite number of things I can deal with, and the cut off for whether I put something on my to do list is much higher.

My main task for the next two months is to experience and also to be focused – to read Polish literature, Polish history, Polish maps, Polish dictionaries – because the more I know about Poland and Polish culture and language, the richer my experience.

My goal is not to save money or get staffed on a consulting engagement – but to experience life.

In two hours I will find myself at the Warsaw airport where I will be met by a representative of the Stephan Batory Foundation.

I will collect my baggage and go with him to the home of Pani Jasienski – Michal Jasienski’s mother. (Michal was a tutor in my college dorm.)

I may have a phone, (note the word “may”)  but I will not be able to work my way down the list of people I need to call to prepare for my time at Wharton.  My life will be simple.  My wardrobe is simple – despite the weight of my bag – cut down to a minimum.

Of course the flight over is more than symbolic.  It is the beginning of the journey.

Starting at the baggage check, you meet people who speak only Polish.

Then  you encounter the stewardesses and either they reprimand you for carrying too many large carry-ons or they help you store it away.  In this case, they helped me.

And of course, flying is full of class distinctions.

Which brings me to another issus – the cost of the flight.  The cost of this flight – had I paid for it (rather than using frequent flier points) – would have been at least $800.  How much does it cost a Pole?  Where would a Pole get that kind of money?  That’s like 8 months rent.  That’s like $60,000 to me.  Do they offer it cheaper when bought in Poland or when bought by a Pole?  How does purchasing power parity work?

I’m happy…

(More to come.  This is just the preface to the beginning.)