From online to offline with a smile…

We love living digital. We love being online. We love taking our mobiles with us. Anywhere, anytime, any place. However, sometimes people might make fools of us, out of our new digital reality.

In the summer the English National Opera picked up the social networking habits of Twitter and Facebook and created a great commercial that promoted their latest act, transfering our online attitudes to offline. As we all tend to pretend to be friends these days, we sometimes might loose our focus and just make our world seem to be “friendly” and “social”.

And friendly does not mean to make shopping online be easy. Many customer where I have been speaking and doing some consulting business, forget to find out and regularly double-check where their customers are “checking out”. A trend that with Google Analytics picked up with a lovely commercial that illustrates how difficult online shopping might be in the real world. Just think about the annoying digital experiences you have had in the last years, and then transfer them into our offline world. That’s what Google has done.

And it was only a loaf of bread he wanted to buy. It made me smile… And you?

Productivity squared? Future productivity vision 2011 (video)

Many of us web techies have seen the 2009 version of Microsoft’s productivity vision. In their video, Microsoft offered an outlook on how technology could “transform the way we get things done at school, at work, and in the home over the next 5 to 10 years”. Some things have become real in their vision…

Many companies fear that productivity might get lost with the advent of Millenials working in companies in the future. And one things is for sure, screens will change our productivity and our daily working habits in the future.

Also, in their latest version 2011 we can find visions that seem to be not too far away from us, not even visions any more. The video gives still some interesting aspects to think about on how future technology could make our time more efficient to focus our attention on productivity. Now, whether this really strenghtens our relationships when we do different things at the same time, needs to be seen.

Watch it and tell us if this is how you would like to see your productivity squared, and if this is to become real in your future…?!

Is this how Google affects our memory? (infographic)

We all rely on Google search to find the truth on our current questions, right? Isn’t it scary in some way? Is Google becoming our brain in the future? What if you cannot find the answer on Google? We all use Google – and not only search. But do we use it too much? Could Google become an intelligence pitfall?

An interesting infographic by Onlinecollege.net on “Google and Memory” explains the impact Google has had and will have in our daily life in the future, especially on our collective memories. The infographic is well created as it separates “The Google’s Brain” into four separate quadrants. And all of us who use Google can see what effect this has on our habits… We don’t need our brain anymore it seems. Google give us all information: “just a click away”, “available all the time” and makes us remember where we stored the information we needed.

Will we forget to memorize? Will we lose conceptual thinking? Will we be misinformed?

1 in 3 of 18-34s will do mobile shopping this christmas

Harald Wanetschka/pixelio.de

Are you going shopping in stores to find some christmas presents? Or will you be doing your shopping tour via mobile? Well, if you use your mobile you are not alone…

According to a UK survey by marketing community site UTalkMarketing and online survey platform Toluna. 32% of 18-34-year-olds will use their mobile to buy Christmas presents this year.

However, this might sound as if only the young generation is shopping via their mobiles, the study makes clear that also older age groups are purchasing mobile with an increasing amount: 14% of 35-54 year-olds and 9% of over 55s year-olds also plan to get their presents for Christmas by using their mobile.

“The fact that a third of young adults are planning to buy their Christmas gifts via their mobile device is proof that the year of mobile-commerce is finally upon us. The fact that most mobile shoppers will do so directly via a retailer’s app is also strong proof that brands wishing to contend in the mobile-commerce arena must do more than simply provide a mobile optimised website,” says Melanie McKinney, Publisher, UTalkMarketing.

The survey questioned 1,300 UK consumers and found that iPhone users are the most likely to make a Christmas purchase via their device. 42% said they will make a Christmas purchase via their iPhone devices. 31% of those that say they will make a Christmas purchase via their mobile will use a BlackBerry and 27% will do so via an Android phone.

However, the advent of HTML 5 is near, apps are the retail channels of choice for the survey’s respondents. 88% of mobile shoppers will only make a purchase this Christmas if their retailer of choice has a transactional app. Only 12% of mobile shoppers will make a purchase directly from a retailer’s mobile-optimised website.

“The results of this survey are a clear indication that retailers cannot ignore the mobile-commerce wave. They need to adapt to and embrace the changing ways consumers now shop,” states McKinney.

Spot On!
Poor shops on the streets… The study is a good proof that mobile commerce is on it’s way towards mainstream. Also, the tablet movement, especially with the increasing use of iPads these days, will change consumer habits to go shopping in the future. Another YouGov survey released earlier this week suggests that 84% of consumers will buy at least one gift online this year with a third saying they will buy all of their gifts online. However, marketers have to be clear about the fact that more than a quarter of consumers (26%) are concerned about privacy issues when it comes to shopping via mobile according to the uTalkMarketing survey.

The Virtual Handshake

Marko Greitschus / pixelio.de

When I was a kid, my grandparents had a little pub. Nothing special. Nothing glamorous. Just a comfortable meeting point for friends or business partners to catch up for a drink. The best day always was the “market day”. Merchants were setting up their booths at the marketplace in the little village my grandparents were living in, early in the morning when most people were still snoring in their beds. When their job was done, they popped up at the pub around 7am when their wives took over to sell their goods.

The guests in the pub did not expect very much. A drink was their desire. A tasty sandwich was luxury to them. Competition amoung pubs was tough, even in this little village a long time ago. There were many pubs around in that coal distrinct north of Germany. The owners of the other pubs in the village changed more or less every year, some even earlier. My grandparents’ business stayed for over a decade, until they decided it was time to stop working. The guests loved their attitude, their individual touch, their personalized way of talking to them. My grandparents’ business was successful.

What was the key to their success story?

Before I answer this question, let me ask you something… When did you shake hands last time with a friend, or a business partner? Do you remember? Did you ever think about why we are shaking hands with people? Have you ever not returned a handshake? It is a common habit of introducing ourselves and of saying Goodbye. We just do it. Well, let’s say in the offline world we do it…

Those days, whenever somebody came into my grandparents’ pub, my grandma and granddad gave them a personal handshake, embedded in some small talk about the weather or last nights sports results. The conversation made people feel good, feel wanted, not just being anonymous guests. They created a living room. People started talking with them about their personal hopes, fears, issues. The handshake had broken the ice…

In our social web world of today, customer relationship management and social networking become an increasingly important factor to be maintain a successful business within a more and more challenging and competitive world.

Many relationships today begin with a virtual handshake. So you may ask: What is a virtual handshake? Today, it comes in the format of a comment on a blog post, a LIKE on a status update on a Fanpage, an introduction mail inside a social network, or an invitation to join a community (Facebook or LinkedIn or a company specific).

In the offline world, nobody would turn away and not return the handshake. However, in the online world individuals put effort in terms of writing, talking and engaging with companies and brands, making their brand passion transparent, or just opening their minds to “business” (or privat?) conversations. All of that often before having received a virtual handshake with those companies that are reaching out to them via their -often anonymous- social hubs.

By participating in a community or engaging in conversations, customers take the initiative, they state a case and describe an act of will. Companies tend to forget that this is a virtual handshake. “Hello! Here I am! Look what I am telling you…”.

Many companies and brands do not answer. They don’t reply on social networks. They don’t value the hand that is right in front of them waiting. The hand which feeds them and their business. The free opportunity to connect, collaborate, or convert. Lack of time and resources is the killer of many of their social web activities.

My grandparents never forgot to shake hands with people that came to visit their pub. This was their success story. So simple, right…?

Think about it next time you set up a group, start a community or approach someone on a social network (be it via InMail on LinkedIn or a status update on Facebook). Relationships start with a handshake – whether real or virtual. There just needs to be somebody that returns the handshake. For some this might be a change management process, for some it is just natural attitude towards customers…

Prime Time in TV and Mobile Apps is similar

The prime time for TV broadcasters is 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., for radio it is all about commute time, and for the web it is completely different. While news sites have their peak in the morning and midday, the internet at 7 pm. Social Media sites have their main usage time in the evening like TV. And how about mobile web usage? Is it following TV’s prime time?

A study by Flurry shows the audience for iPhone and iOS apps increases during the day and finds it’s peak at about 9 p.m. “Mobile consumers are using apps either instead of, or along-side prime-time television and the Internet,” tells us a Flurry blog post on the study. Well, it is a US usage study but I can imagine that many people in the rest of the world also change their habits and use mobile devices while watching TV. The two-screen viewing seems to become common standard.

Nevertheless, the relative size of the TV audience during prime time was larger than that for mobile apps with over 60%. And when app usage remained higher than TV from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and higher than the Internet, it suggests that people spend quite some time accessing the Web during their working hours. Still, mobile apps already reach over 20 million U.S. consumers per hour in the time between 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The numbers come as no surprise, seeing that Flurry estimates the combined number of active iOS and Android devices in the U.S. at 110 million. If produced properly and promoted correct, apps could act like TV shows in the future. Although it will be difficult to target apps through app stores by age, gender, dayparts like TV, the future could look different and these targeting opportunities might evolve over time.

Spot On!
The question is what the future of app usage will look like (think about HTML 5 and some other reasons) and how this will affect the advertising industry. At the moment, many companies focus their main interest on apps but mainly to push their brands, and not often to create something extraordinary that really competes with TV. Although, there s a massive opportunity to reach mobile consumers overtime, everywhere, companies are not very innovative in establishing TV like series that could affect the TV world – neither in Social Media, nor in Mobile. If this remains as it is, TV will not have to fear the Prime Time power of mobile.