Facebook and General and Google and Microsoft and Social Networking and strategy chris on 21 Jul 2009 12:51 pm

I was catching up on some reading last night when a recent Roll Call story on Twitter’s need to hire a lobbyist caught my attention.  The article links Twitter’s success to the rise of Microsoft and Google and asks a key question – when do you hire a lobbyist in DC?  In Microsoft’s case, they moved quickly, responding to the Department of Justice’s interest in the company’s business practices.  In Google’s case, they built their office slowly before any major issues arose.  With that in mind, is it now time for Twitter to hire a lobbyist?

The answer is no. And the reason is clear: Twitter doesn’t need a lobbyist!

Twitter continues to be the hottest thing on the social web.  However, let’s not forget that the company is not making any money.  The resources necessary for representation would be better served elsewhere.  For instance, hiring more developers to strengthen the quality of service (think FAIL WHALE) or growing the treasury for more acquisitions (think Summize) to make Twitter more valuable as a service are better investments for the company.

Twitter also has something that many companies (many of which have huge arsenals of lobbyists) are trying to build now — an active community!  Twitter founders Evan Williams (1,129,147 followers), Biz Stone (964,023 followers), and Jack Dorsey (927,253 followers) could easily start a movement in response to a misguided attempt by a lawmaker to cripple the popular social networking website.  On a related note, @Ev, @biz, @Jack already have relationships with lawmakers on twitter.  They already engage in direct conversations with key policymakers without spending a dime at a fundraiser.  Not to mention the attention Ashton “Mr. Twitter” Kutcher (2,858,856 followers) would draw to the legislation.  He is already using his Twitter fame to mobilize around causes.  Let us not forget his talent for publicity – his achievement of 1,000,000 followers before Larry King did and his appearance on Oprah was all over the news!

Companies such as Twitter are changing the world, and the Internet is changing the way business is done in Washington.  Twitter allows us to connect directly with Congress and to build connections with people around the world among common interests.  This is good for our democracy.

Twitter will need to play the traditional Washington game at some point in the future.  It is a fact of life.  However, they can play it differently.  Once again, they have millions of users who can carry (tweet) their messages to Congress.  Ashton will lead their battle and not the lobbyists.

Follow me on Twitter – @mobilediner

CTIA and mHealth Brin on 29 Jun 2009 09:21 am

Last year’s historic election brought great optimism about what Congress, working with a new administration, can accomplish to repair our broken health care system.

Today, this system – which so many Americans rely on to protect their health and prevent disease – is costly and dysfunctional, providing myriad reasons for concern and rally points for change.

To name a few:
•    Half of all U.S. bankruptcies are the result of medical expenses.
•    Approximately 1.5 million families lost their homes last year due to medical bills.
•    Health care now accounts for $1 in every $6 spent in the United States.
•    As President Obama has pointed out, “The biggest threat to our nation’s balance sheet is the skyrocketing price of health care.”

Despite such bleak statistics, there is good news.

America’s health care crisis is driving innovation and creative thinking. It’s also fostering exciting collaboration between the medical and wireless industries.

Those concerned about rising health care costs and reduced access to quality, affordable care aren’t simply relying on policymakers to tackle these problems. They’re proactively seeking solutions.

This was clear last Wednesday, as dozens of leaders in the medical and wireless technology industries attended CTIA’s “mHealth Solutions and Policy Forum” on Capitol Hill to discuss the latest innovations mobile health.

Dr. Eric Topol, Chief Medical Officer of the West Wireless Foundation, delivered an enthusiastic presentation, highlighting the convergence that’s taking place between medicine and wireless technology. This collaboration has the potential to revolutionize health care delivery, improve millions of lives, and save millions more in tax-payers dollars.

Dr. Topol pointed out that, while many advances have been made over the last few years, the field of wireless health is in its infancy. This burgeoning field includes telemedicine, telehealth, e-health, mHealth, and mobile health. Its players range from small start-up ventures, to Fortune 500 companies, to global health organizations, to leading universities and major foundations, as well as the federal government.

Wireless health includes a broad range of solutions that enable physicians and caregivers to prevent, diagnose, and monitor health conditions in a cost-efficient way.  It can also improve treatment management and communication and help pinpoint when intervention is necessary.

How will the future of wireless health look? Imagine patients wearing small sensors that transmit health and activity information to physicians, caregivers, and fitness coaches. Imagine patients taking ingestible pills with tiny sensors that let doctors determine if they are receiving the proper dosage of medication and monitor their caloric intake. Imagine patients wearing “smart Band-Aids” that allow doctors to remotely monitor vital signs such as heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure and temperature, as well as weight, glucose level, and oxygen saturation.

These are just a few of the innovations that already exist and will continue to improve. Without question, wireless health experiments will lead to more treatments we’ve never before seen or imagined — and we must support and accelerate this work.  Such breakthroughs have the potential to change the world for patients and physicians and, let’s hope, help to make our nation’s ailing health care system well.

General and strategy chris on 15 Jun 2009 02:55 pm

The evidence is below.  In each instance, there is zero engagement or call to action.

Don’t ge me wrong.  I love the marketing (you got my attention) and the demographic (non-smartphone users) that each company is targeting.  However, you’ve blown it!

What is respekt?

Where are the nearest stores?

Do you really think the consumer is going to remember the website to visit?  Once again, you are not targeting the smartphone community that would be predisposed to check out your website (via mobile).

These are great examples of missed mobile marketing opportunities and leveraging the power of short codes.

General and strategy David Nassar on 07 Apr 2009 01:40 pm

Political campaign organizers have known for many years that the more targeted the message, the more likely it would be to generate a voter to take a desired action.  In 2008, the technologies were finally customized and utilized to make hyper-targeting possible. Because of the brilliance of the Obama campaign, politics is out in front of the traditional marketing world.

The result is a growing recognition and understanding that, through the internet, a transformational shift in the marketers capacity to reach smaller and smaller audiences is occurring.  Whether the product being marketed is a consumable good or an idea, our ability to reach down to the micro level for targeting is changing what is said about it into a more and more personalized approach.  Increasingly, I believe that those who understand that and can craft those messages effectively will drive the larger communications program of organizations, corporations and campaigns.

On TV and radio, while we may have a target audience, our desire to avoid alienating anyone else that might be listening, leads to a lowest common denominator in the message.  With a greater capacity to reach a micro audience, the value is already shifting from the quantity of the contact to the quality of the contact.

This reality requires that everything we know about advertising changes.  Instead of marketing the end – which is the product – we need to market the community itself that will then support the product.  Continue Reading »

General chris on 02 Apr 2009 01:55 pm

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09CTIA and General chris on 01 Apr 2009 02:26 pm

We are out at CTIA in Las Vegas and much of the buzz before the first keynote session was focused on what RIM Co-CEO  Mike Lazaridis’ keynote would highlight this morning.  Obviously, most folks knew that BlackBerry App World was launching but not necessarily where he would lead the conversation.  Once again, for me, it was that BlackBerry is your media outlet and your platform to participate.

Mr. Lazaridis started the conversation by reminding us that it was the 10 year anniversary of BlackBerry in coming to America.  Since its debut a decade ago, RIM has come along way attaining the status of #1 smartphone in the States (in terms of market penetration).  If the presentation was any indication, they have no intent of losing that position and their popularity with consumers.

U2 360 TOUR

flickr photo credit mikeybain

Continue Reading »

09CTIA and Facebook and social media chris on 30 Mar 2009 07:33 am

I’ve had a bunch of folks ask me about the diner and where we’ve been cookin’ the last few weeks…

A smorgasbord of answers to that question:

(1)  Mobile Future Coalition

As some of you know, the Mobile Future Coalition launched last year to raise awareness about all of the innovations occurring in the wireless industry (much of it in the mobile-social space) and to advocate for a regulatory environment that does not look like the legacy wireline one.  In any case, we are doing more blogging and engaging consumers in other forums too (follow mobilefuture on twitter).  After a year of planting seeds, we intend to be more proactive in a number of conferences and in Washington.

(2)  Tin Can Communications®

More companies (post-election) are now interested in blending and augmenting their traditional communications with new media (especially in the tech community).  There has also been an increasing interest in integrating a mobile component to their communication efforts.  Putting our clients first is our first priority – so the food may get stale on occasion (my apologies in advance).

(3)  Folks want snacks not meals these days

One of the reasons for Twitter’s growth is “snack size” content.  Folks do not have time to read or write a bunch of long blog posts (nor do they want to).  How many times have you actually had the time to read all the articles in your RSS reader?  Or when was the last time you checked your RSS reader?

Not only do people want their content in small portions, but they want it from trusted sources – people they know.  That’s why people are flocking to Twitter and Facebook to find out what their friends are watching, reading, and doing.

On that note, much of the posts on twitter are now links to other content.  Accordingly, as a part of the Amplify team, we are creating a solution called “Clogging” that makes it easier for friends, colleagues, consumers, and students to share and discuss what they are reading on the web.  In this information revolution, I can’t think of a more socially productive tool for an organization.  Thus, I’ve been spending more time clogging not blogging (I promise to have more on this in a future post)…

I think I just killed it for everyone with this long post!

General and Guest Chef chris on 15 Feb 2009 01:09 pm

Second Course by Guest Chef Tamara Gruber…

Getting Mobile Right

Whether your campaign objectives are direct response or branding, there are a few important considerations to keep in mind when testing the mobile waters.

1.  Think Beyond The Click

Here’s the scenario, I’m browsing the mobile web and I see an ad for a brand I’m interested in, so I click the banner.  This brings me to a landing page with some brief copy about how wonderful the product is.  Done.  Seriously?  That’s it?  Tell me where to buy, tell me more, show me pictures, let me sign up for coupons or alerts on availability, engage me with a video and sign up for the next installment in this funny series, make it really cool and I’ll send it to a friend.  Maybe even paste it on my Facebook page so all my friends can check it out.

2.  Offer Mobile Content

Give me contact snacks that are relevant to me when I’m on the go and make it easy for me to share with my friends.  Get your spokesperson to record a ringtone or voice-mail message.  Give me a useful tool that is relevant to your product but helps me when I’m mobile like finding the cheapest gas, get a tip calculator, calorie counter, etc.

3.  Don’t Make It A Secret

Have a mobile presence or campaign?  Awesome, tell me about it.  Redirect traffic from mobile devices to a site optimized for mobile consumption with relevant content.  Make sure I know about it when I visit your website.  Let me sign up for coupons via SMS so I don’t have to remember to print something and bring it to the store.  Send me an alert when you have a special offer or something new.  Include your short code in your advertising (and keep it up long enough for me to write it down…remember the early days of the web before search was what it was today?).  Provide a mobile response channel for ALL your out-of-home advertising.

What are YOUR favorite mobile marketing campaigns?

What brands would YOU like to see on your mobile?

Please share your hits and misses!

About the Author – Tamara Gruber is Vice President of Marketing at Crisp Wireless.  She can be reached via email tamara.gruber@crispwireless.com and you can follow her on twitter.

General and Guest Chef chris on 12 Feb 2009 01:00 pm

First Course…

Putting Mobile in the Marketing and Advertising Mix

Amist the doom and gloom over print and online advertising revenue predictions, there have been some highlights and positive outlooks for mobile advertising.  So if we accept that investment in mobile marketing and advertising will continue to grow in 2009, albeit not necessarily at the level some of us would like, there still remains the debate whether mobile is better suited for branding or direct response marketing campaigns.

Mobile Advertising: Branding or Direct Response?

My answer is both.  The mobile medium is well-suited, with its ubiquity, always-on nature, and relatively uncluttered landscape, to increase your brand recognition.  Mobile advertising has proven to aid in brand awareness and intent to buy.

As appropriate as mobile may be for branding, mobile also inherently offers a direct response given its connected nature.  Whether its click-to-call, click-to-locate, click-to-buy, click-to-video, or click/text-to-subscribe, consumers have multiple avenues of responding to and interacting with your brand.  Recent direct marketing campaigns offering mobile coupons, sweepstakes entries, invitations to VIP clubs, and alerts have generated phenomenal response rates for the likes of Ed Hardy, Little Ceasars, Church’s Chicken, and more.  In fact, research has shown that mobile advertising and mobile SMS campaigns outperform online response rates.

Continue Reading »

General chris on 09 Feb 2009 09:06 am

As diners know, I’m turning the kitchen over to some of the best subject matter experts in wireless this year.

Lou Lehrman kicked off the conversation with a dish on the rise of mobile technology and its potential for mobile marketing and whether or not self-regulation in that area will be enough to satisfy the concerns of privacy advocates.  Once again, thank you Lou and we look forward to future dishes…

The next Guest Chef in the diner is Tamara Gruber.  Tamara will cover mobile advertising and whether it is more suited for branding or direct response.  She also will walk us through the appropriate thought process when considering a mobile campaign and how to make sure it hits the mark.

Tamara is currently Vice President of Marketing at Crisp Wireless.  She knows her stuff and I’m really excited about her joining us in the kitchen this week!

General and Guest Chef and Policy and Privacy chris on 02 Feb 2009 08:37 am

It was only a matter of time, of course, until privacy concerns would migrate to the wireless world.  As the popularity of handsets such as the iPhone and the BlackBerry Storm soars, and with it consumers’ appetite for mobile content and video, mobile marketing firms have found a new, deep vein of advertising potential — more targeted and personalized than ever.  Not only can online marketers now reach consumers on the go, technology can now reveal where mobile consumers are located at any time – inspired in part by the FCC’s E-911 mandate a decade ago that wireless carriers provide emergency 911 dispatchers with callers’ locations.  Add to this innovative mix the capability of tracking users’ online activity, and you have the makings of a powerful new way to reach and satisfy the tastes of mobile consumers – that is, assuming they don’t mind.

It should come then as no surprise that privacy advocates would soon train their sights on the wireless market and the mobile advertisers.  Recently, the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) and the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) filed petitions with the FTC, urging regulators to investigate mobile advertisers and even consider new rules to protect the privacy of wireless consumers.  The petition cites a raft of new innovative tools – including location-based targeting, user tracking analytics and data mining – now employed by mobile advertisers as threats to consumer privacy.  Mobile Marketers like Admob, Bango, and Marchex, argues CDD and PIRG, collect information from mobile users without sufficient notice.  Continue Reading »

General chris on 31 Jan 2009 05:38 pm

Mobile Diner was launched a few years ago in the hope of raising awareness about what was happening in DC and how legislative and regulatory policies could affect wireless consumers.  It also sought to engage those passionate about their devices and serve as a place for carriers to connect with consumers.  Ultimately, engaging in a dialogue to get it right or make it right.

I believe we have made a small impact during that time.  Many carriers are now actively utilizing digital tools to listen and augment their customer service departments.  I hope this trend continues.

On a related note, another goal in the diner was for other folks in the wireless space to cook up some dishes.  I have been honored and privileged to work with some very talented people and I have started to ask them to contribute content here.

The first Guest Chef will be Lou Lehrman, a Vice President at Dutko Worldwide.

Lou was a policy counsel to me when I was at AT&T Wireless and I learned a great deal from him.  Lou is tech savvy and really has a handle on all matters pertaining to privacy.  Accordingly, I asked him to give us a taste of what’s cooking in the mobile marketing / privacy arena.

Stay tuned!

General and Policy chris on 08 Jan 2009 04:01 pm

A bunch of my wireless and tech friends are out at CES in Las Vegas this week.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the trip this year.  However, as many companies go “all in” at CES to show off their new gadgets — the Technology CEO Council has doubled down on their efforts to influence policymakers in DC.

The Technology CEO Council was founded in 1989 and is a CEO policy advocacy coalition that is focused on ensuring U.S. competitiveness through technology leadership.  With the Obama Administration promising to make broadband deployment a key piece of their larger tech agenda, the Council has announced the addition of Jonathan Hoganson as Deputy Executive Director.  He joins Bruce Mehlman who is the Executive Director.

Prior to joining the Council, Jonathan was on Capitol Hill where he spent 5 years serving former Congressman Rahm Emanuel.  In that capacity, he served as his Legislative Director and Policy Director of the House Democratic Caucus.  Most recently, he served at the Information Technology Industry Council, where he was Director of Government Relations.

Jonathan and Bruce are a dynamic duo.  They both know how the machine works and they know how to get things done in DC.  Accordingly, we wish Jonathan all the best in his new position.

Additional note – In addition to the Tech CEO Council, Jonathan and Bruce will continue in their roles at Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti.

General and SprintNextel and Verizon Wireless chris on 15 Dec 2008 02:18 pm

December has been a busy month.  Accordingly, I apologize to mobile diners for the stale food the last few weeks.  Rest assured, I’m cooking up some stuff for you in 2009 and look forward to the many conversations ahead.

In the interim, here are a few nuggets that might be of interest:

SPRINT Press Conference at National Press Club –

Sprint will be holding a press conference tomorrow morning to give folks the 411 about their network preparation for the big inaugural festivities next month.  I’ve seen estimates of 5 million people (that is 10X our population) in DC for the big party and I can tell you that our wireless networks in the district were not designed for that many folks.  Kudos to Sprint for getting the word out to consumers on their efforts…

One additional note, this a good opportunity to remind our fellow Americans that we still do not have wireless service for everyone in the Metro.  However, the good news is that language that will set the course for wireless infrastructure improvements to Metro was a part of the Rail Safety Improvement Act that was signed into law by President Bush in October.

After many different roadblocks over the years, on the horizon, is wireless connectivity for everyone!  In the interim, since the law was just signed in October, you will only have access underground with a CDMA phone (if you have Sprint you will be roaming on Verizon).

Mobile Monday DC –

Mobile Monday DC is back in action tonight.  On the menu is a further look at “Electioneering in the Mobile Age.” Speakers for this evening include: Kevin Bertram (CEO, Distributive Networks); Michelle Mayorga (mobile program manager, Rock the Vote); Cyrus Krohn (e-Campaign Director, RNC); Scott Goodstein (external online director, Obama campaign)…

It should be a great event!

Apple and Broadband and General and Policy chris on 30 Nov 2008 10:30 am

I recently wrote about the Broadband Opportunity in America and one of my major points was urging policymakers to take a new approach in tackling the Broadband challenge.  Specifically, focusing on the demand side of the problem.

Over the years, in telecom policy discussions, we have always discussed how wireless could be a major factor in enabling folks to reach the web.  When I was at AT&T Wireless, I was proud of our relationship with NTT DoCoMo and had faith that we could replicate much of their success in 3G.  It has taken a few years but the industry has arrived.  Wireless can now offer a reliable link to the internet with devices that consumers demand.

A recent article in PC World highlighted research that showed low-income users were the fastest growing segment of new iPhone users.  The study found that users with income levels of $25,000-$50,000 represented the largest demographic of consumers for the month of August. Continue Reading »

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