Friday, 21 December 2012

When will technology for kids go mainstream?

I have been reading a lot of researches as well as observing that kids today are the new tech junkies. To them, Mobile phones, tablets and PCs are what Scrabble, hop scotch and hide and seek was to my generation. They not only use technology but are a prime influencers of technology purchase. This is not a news to anyone. Apart from a few tablets such as Micromax who have tablets which cater to kids, I don't see much action in that segment, specially by the handset makers. I am sure there are a few available but why is it not mainstream?

I see tremendous potential there. Kids today are most discerning about technology. Their use and understanding is intuitive. But what they get straddled with are either hand-me-downs or cheap feature phones for basic use. I don't think they are looking at a phone to call or text but to stay 'connected' in a larger sense. There in lies the opportunity.

Imagine an app store designed only for kids. Where they can download apps using the points they earn by playing games or answering a quiz which could be educational in nature.

A phone which allows content downloading specifically meant for kids. The developer needs to put a 'suitable for age groups x to y' rating and bingo!

A phone built for their nimble fingers yet hardy enough not to break even if they drop it a million times.

Kids lose everything. From their sweaters to water bottles name it and they would have lost it a multiple times. They are bound to lose their phones as well. So an in built mobile trakker to locate the lost phone.

A phone which pairs up with their parents so the parents keep a track of their mobile activity - who they call, what they watch, what they download - the works!

A phone with voice capability and reads out a story to a 6 year old.

The opportunity is immense. Content to user experience - there is a world of possibilities there. The way today's parents splurge on their kids, get them to believe its good for their kids and (I hazard a guess here) they will be happy to shell out money on things they don't spend on themselves.

Who knows, perhaps by the time I hit the publish button, phone for kids will be everywhere. After all tech trends do change super fast.



Tuesday, 18 December 2012

What's your Klout score?

It’s no secret that the internet has moved from pages to people. Brands no longer control how they want to be perceived but perceptions are pretty much shaped by what people have to say about brands. People influence other people.  As far as social media is concerned, influence is the currency. The ability to measure that currency is helpful in evaluating one’s effectiveness in social media compared to others.

Klout does just that. It uses over 35 variables across 12 social media platforms to measure true reach and amplification probability of a person. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing wider and stronger spheres of influence. Brian Solis observes that some people today check their klout scores just as investors check their stock prices.   

But to be considered a key digital influencer, is it good enough to have a high Klout score? No, it isn't.  Audience will consider the person a great influencer depending on the content he produces and the content one wants to be associated with. So instead of just concentrating on collecting comments and likes, to be a true digital influencer, one must produce content related to a specific area of interest and the only the power of relevant conversations, will separate a key digital influencer from a noise maker.

As a marketer, I am truly excited about the future of Klout scores and the potential it holds in driving the intention economy.

The video here is a conversation between Brian Solis and Joe Fernandez, the CEO of Klout. Watch it to get a first hand perspective on Klout.  

Monday, 17 December 2012

Mobile is clearly the future but is it the present?

Bollywood and cricket finally have competition. If you notice any Indian today, chances are, he is either texting, calling, surfing, searching - using his mobile phone - even while watching his favourite flick or Tendulkar's batting. But what are the chances that he is engaging with a brand using his mobile? Rather scant, I think.

The ubiquitous device which is an extension of our hearts, minds and fingers is the most important screen among the multiple screens which guide our lives today. But is it getting its fare share of attention from the marketers? I think perhaps its a bit of a neglected area. While there is unanimity on its growing importance, specially in the future but currently I sense a hesitation to invest into a mobile strategy to utilize its full potential, today. And I wonder why. 

Could it possibly be because we are still grappling with the full potential of the internet through desktop and don't want to move to the next thing without completing our understanding? 

But these are 2 mutually exclusive media. Desktop marketing tactics, differ from mobile marketing just like outdoor media differs from television. They could help a marketer to meet completely different objectives in absolutely different time frames. 

While a mobile strategy can help in building awareness like every other medium, but it can best help to deliver results in the area of customer acquisition. Today, search is one of the top 3 activities in mobile interactions and if google's Marissa Mayer is to be believed, about 40% of search on Google are for local things.People on mobile devices are seeking and interacting with things around them. 

 If that be so, the key opportunity of mobile marketing lies in delivering highly contextual and relevant information that directly engages individual customers.  

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Moving from an attention economy to an intention economy

There was a time not so long ago, marketers were busy devising ways to 'buy' their consumer's attention.  'Time' they said was the currency. After all, in a busy world why would you 'spend' your precious time with a brand if it did not give you back something you valued. Pretty much the same way you will not open your wallet for something which you did not see of much use. This, we the marketers termed as 'attention economy'.

But world has moved on and consumers have gotten smarter. Time has gotten more precious and no matter what, they are protective about time and are conscious about what they spend it on. If we are to go about the increasing searches on google and status updates, one thing that is proved is that consumers are happy to spend their time on their 'intentions'. They are happy to search for the dream holiday, the dream house, weight loss, face list and what have you.

Thanks to social media, the intentions are all over - as status updates, as pictures of a perfect evening at their favourite coffee shop, choice of holiday and so on and so forth. This truly is the golden goose.   Consumers themselves are advertising what they are after and brands are reading into it only to plug themselves in in every possible way. If my status update reads that I went for a 5 km run, I will be bombarded with popular running shoe brand's ads in every digital media I consume. Soon, if I put my dream house on Facebook, some loan provider will ensure they let me know the best deals on home loans on every media I consume. This is what I call the 'intention' economy.

Every expressed intention will be an opportunity for a marketer to bombard the consumer with a specific and highly targeted communication putting forth their best salesmanship in print.

So next time you do express your intention, watch over your shoulder. The big brother is indeed watching.